Arrow's Fio Log: Building the Arrow Pattern XV8

Post long term projects you have devised for your Tau or other hobby projects.
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Agentarrow
Fio'Vre
Posts: 1604

Arrow's Fio Log: Building the Arrow Pattern XV8

Post#1 » Jul 10 2013 08:21

Since the entries have been officially unveiled and the contest is officially over, I thought that now would be an excellent time to begin discussing my conversion for this year's ATT challenge. Any good Fio takes notes on his processes and results to pass on to others and to improve his own later work. The XV105 is certainly deserving of such a report.

Stage 1: Conception and Preparation


From the earliest glimpses of the Riptide Battlesuit I could tell that while I did not care for the stock model, it had major potential. The general theme was nice enough, but I did not like much of the execution. In particular I did not care for the skinny legs, the stubby Heavy Burst Cannon, the tiny cooling intake and head, or the disruptive chest. I began my early conceptualization with a quick photoshop job that conveyed what I wanted to do with the model. I was fond of the legs in the photoshopped image, though I thought that they needed to get even bulkier. The head felt right to me, though others had suggestions for improvements. The jetpack was lifted straight from the XV9, and so was the center of the chest. The outer pieces of the chest were lifted from the standard XV8. I had hoped to use these to improve consistency across the range of battlesuits, tying the XV10 platform to its smaller brethren.
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The gun I already had plans for. I knew that I wanted a more realistic looking Heavy Burst Cannon, something that truly conveyed its awesome power.
I referred to Fil Dunn's Tau mechs for inspiration. I was specifically drawn in by this particular model:
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I loved the long, parallel barrels that it possessed. This led me to begin thinking about a larger 8-barrel version for the riptide to possess as a main weapon.

The thoughts and brainstorming went on for another week or two, and then I finally got ahold of my very own Riptide Battlesuit. I immediately tore it open and began measuring out parts from which I used a program called SolidWorks to create a digital replica of the components that I wanted to modify. These were specifically the torso, and the legs.

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Once those were created, I had a 1:1 scale digital model of my primary targets for the riptide. I could begin virtually constructing my conversion and bringing it to life.

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Agentarrow
Fio'Vre
Posts: 1604

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#2 » Jul 10 2013 08:22

With my digital Riptide created, it was time for:

Stage 2: Design, Part 1


One thing that I discovered that I really like about designing my conversions on the computer, is that I can make minor or major changes very quickly and return to square 1 if I don't like them. There is no material wasted in the process. I can also cut into the model without harming the real one and plan out exactly what will have to come apart/together to make my conversion work.

Like a sculptor with clay, I began carving my masterpiece onto the face of the Riptide, beginning with the jetpack.
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I knew that I wanted to make the jetpack seem special. I talked with our own Tael and Wolfs16 to gather suggestions and settled on warning lettering, something to solidify the experimental status of the suit. I engraved "Caution: Nova Reactor" in Tau lettering into the left side of the jetpack. I also engraved a large "ATT" into the right side. This was a more personal choice, but one that reflected upon my growth as a hobbyist since joining this community. It's a branding of how the culmination of lessons learned, suggestions taken, successes, and failures led to my most recent project.
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After the jetpack came the torso. I knew that I wanted to combine elements of the XV8 and XV9, while still leaving the character of the XV104. After several trial and error type models, I decided upon some up-armored intakes that better blend into the torso than the stock ones and a beefier version of the XV9's central torso. I also decided to add some XV8 styled details to the pectoral plating of the torso.
Like a sculptor I once again began carving, stretching, and extruding the shapes I desired.
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With the torso out of the way, I moved into developing the other improvements to the Riptide.

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Agentarrow
Fio'Vre
Posts: 1604

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#3 » Jul 10 2013 08:22

Entering the next phase of my development, I set my sights on the weapon system.

Stage 2: Design, Part 2


Keeping Fil Dunn's Tau mech in mind, I measured out the section of the stock Heavy Burst Cannon that inserts into the main weapon body. I recreated this on my computer and began sculpting my own gun from it. I wanted to seamlessly blend the absurd weapon styles of contemporary Sci-Fi and the aesthetics of Tau weaponry. I gave it the stock HBC mount, while exchanging the stock HBC itself for a more streamlined and complex series of tubes, finished off with a large outer shell reminiscent of the Imperial Punisher Cannon and some Burst Cannon-esque enlarged tube sections. I felt that this tied the two themes together exactly as I had hoped, and looked quite stylish. It would also be an excellent area to paint and add color to the model.
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With the torso, jetpack, and HBC out of the way, I quickly created my beefier shin guards and set my sights on the last task: the head.

I first created a head with the approximate shape and size that I wanted to utilize and began seeking opinions about it.
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Multiple members that I conversed with on the matter, including Tael, Wolfs16, and Modelglue agreed that I needed to look at a variety of head options to truly choose the best one for my model. My original design was similar to the targeting pieces from the Space Marine Land Raider. I decided to also try a larger replica of my favorite XV9 head and a taller, thinner head.
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I did ultimately decide on the wider, Land Raider inspired head after all, but not after some revisions based on things I learned from the other heads.

With my design complete, it was time to move on to stage 3.

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Agentarrow
Fio'Vre
Posts: 1604

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#4 » Jul 10 2013 08:22

Stage 3: Fabrication


Stage 3 began by compiling all of my creations into one model and sending it out to be 3D printed.
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This was probably the hardest part of the entire process: waiting. It takes up to a full 2 weeks to get back the physical plastic components after the model is approved for printing. Luckily, my turnaround time was short and in just 9 days I had plastic parts to begin dry fitting.
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As you can see, this model actually came out even larger than I had anticipated, with the Tsunami's HBC being as long as a Nemesis Dreadknight is tall.

The first stages of assembly went quickly. I was actually very pleased with how easily assembled the Riptide kit was. Again, the scale compared to a Dreadknight was simply staggering. I was taken aback by the shear volume of the figure.
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with just a few weeks remaining in the contest, my heart skipped a beat when I noticed something wrong. While modeling the torso of the Riptide, I had neglected to realize that the pods on the side for containing the Nova Reactor were actually tapered. This resulted in a torso that was significantly larger than the spot that it attached to. It was time for a little old-fashioned greenstuff to fill the gap.
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Once the model was glued, cleaned, and greenstuffed, I began my paint work.

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After an additional 3 weeks of painting, my entry was ready for the contest with just 4 days remaining.
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XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit. Designed by Fio'Vre Agentarrow, deployed by Shas'O Ko'Vash M'yen as a ground-level exploration force assist.
Elapsed time: 85 days (non-consecutive).
3D printing by Moddler LLC
Photography by Daniel Ernst

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Isaac
Shas
Posts: 85

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#5 » Jul 10 2013 11:25

That is awesome how you 3d modeled your own pieces and printed them off, I have been making 3d models for a few years and have always thought how awesome it would be for my tau army if i had access to a 3d printer (Which I will soon have :D ). What program did you use to design the pieces? (I use autodesk Maya)
For The Greater Good (and icecream) :D

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Cannonfodder
Shas
Posts: 116
Contact:

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#6 » Jul 11 2013 02:59

Isaac wrote:That is awesome how you 3d modeled your own pieces and printed them off, I have been making 3d models for a few years and have always thought how awesome it would be for my tau army if i had access to a 3d printer (Which I will soon have :D ). What program did you use to design the pieces? (I use autodesk Maya)

SolidWork (indistry design tool rather than CGI)

You have my biggest respect for pulling that one off. It is done in a very professional manner. As a amtter of fact, it was done so well, that without pointing out what you did yourself I figured you had only used conversion parts available on them market. The fact, that your writing was embossed rather than painted on did not even occur to me until niw.

May I ask who your 3D printing service is and what you paid for the parts that you used?

Xeones
Shas
Posts: 416

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#7 » Jul 11 2013 09:40

See, this is the reason that I voted for your entry in the contest. :smile:
Your work was just so well thought out and executed. I couldn't tell from the contest pictures that you had your parts printed. Did you do any prep work on the printed components (sanding etc) to remove any of the stepping and texture common to 3D printing or did you just use them straight from the manufacturer?
SPRUE FOR THE SPRUE GOD!!!

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Agentarrow
Fio'Vre
Posts: 1604

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#8 » Jul 11 2013 10:57

Thanks for the positive responses guys.

All of my 3D modeling is done in SolidWorks 2013. I have a copy on my laptop for work and I've been permitted to use it for personal projects, using "maintaining proficiency" as an excuse. The only reason that I chose that over Maya or 3DSmax is because I'm familiar with it and already have it installed. Solidworks also works well for 3D printing because, unlike CGI type modeling software, everything has associated dimensions. This means that my part has a specified size, and using some of the calculus-based features I can estimate the volume of the model very accurately, which helps with pricing.

I personally use Moddler LLC (http://moddler.com) because they're very friendly, their prints are high quality, and their plastic is durable. They have a minimum order price of $50 and charge $6 per cubic centimeter. It's expensive, but the quality of product and customer service is spectacular. All in all I believe that my total was roughly $51.50.

As for cleanup, I used my hobby knife, some 800 grit sandpaper, and my dremel to get a smooth surface finish. I also used compressed air and cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol to clean dust out of the lettering. I used small, thin sausages of greenstuff to blend the edges of the parts into the model so that the final transition was seamless.

I'm happy to answer any additional questions, feel free to ask.

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Revenant
Shas
Posts: 86
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Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#9 » Jul 11 2013 11:11

Masterfully done in all aspects! Your methods of 3D sculpting really show a great up and coming section of our hobby. Do you have any other such mods planned?

What do you use to get all of your measurements for the stock model? Is it just a matter of measuring with a caliper step by step?

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Cannonfodder
Shas
Posts: 116
Contact:

Re: Fio Log: Developing the XV105 Tsunami Battlesuit

Post#10 » Jul 11 2013 11:54

thank you very much for your detailed expanation and recomondation.

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