The arena is empty except for one man, still driving and striving, as fast as he can…

SCGMC is only about a day away, and for me that day is a travel day. So, sadly, the Zaku FZ won’t be ready. I actually realized yesterday that I had run out of time to make molds for the parts that needed to be duplicated. By the time a new 2-part mold would have cured, I wouldn’t have had any time left to cast parts in it… And the parts that needed duplicating weren’t all ready anyway. It’s really a shame that it didn’t work out, I’m going a long way to attend SCGMC and I would have really liked to have something new to show apart from the HG Zaku. But I don’t feel too bad, the trip will be fun, it’ll be nice to see everybody and the model work at the event and so on, and even though this burst of activity working on the FZ hasn’t resulted in the completion of the project, I feel really good about what I’ve accomplished in the past couple weeks of working on it. Even though it didn’t work out, this is the first time with this project that I’ve dared to draw a line in the sand and say, “this is when it’s gonna be done.” Pushing for completion on the project, and looking at it as a practical, tangible goal has made a big impact on this project. I didn’t complete all the parts I needed, but because I treated the project as an attainable goal with a fixed deadline, I was able to motivate myself to focus on the project, and get past some perfectionist obsessions that had been holding me back. The project’s not done, and I didn’t even get far enough to hack together something showable, but I made a lot of progress, and I feel that I can keep on making a lot of progress and maybe finish this thing by the end of the year.

Since the last update, most of the work has focused on trying to clean up parts that needed it, add detail where it’s missing, and get parts ready for casting. There were still some parts that hadn’t even been started yet, unfortunately, like the cockpit hatch or the top of the foot. But my basic goal was to have as many display-ready parts as I could manage, as soon as possible.

The Shield

I showed the initial work on the shield in the last update. Overall it’s been a very fun part to work on. It’s really simple, of course. A Zaku shield is just a bent rectangle with a few detail bits on it, so I was able to crank out the initial rough shape for it in a few hours. I thickened the shield up, added detail, arranged a mounting solution, and worked on refining it. I didn’t quite finish the shield: there’s still some more raised and recessed detail that needs to be added. I think it’s looking great, though.

Foot

In a sense, the work I did on the foot worked against my goal of having something displayable for SCGMC. Most of the work I did was stuff that wouldn’t readily be seen, like foot sole detail. I could have skipped it for the sake of a SCGMC finish. However, that didn’t appeal to me, and I felt I could get the sole work done pretty quickly and then move on to more critical stuff like the tops of the feet. Sometimes you just need to do what feels right.

Legs

The legs are always a big thing for me in this project. In the previous update I pondered whether I might want to change how the lower legs come together to make casting or assembly easier, help me get better symmetry, and so on. This time around I decided to act on that. After putting all that work into refining the front and top of the lower leg parts, I didn’t want to go through all that again and worry about making the two copies match. I wanted to take advantage of casting to make these areas, common to all four parts which make up the lower leg sculpt, truly match up. So I did something that would probably be pretty scary if I’d stopped too long to think about it: I cut through the backing plate of the part and separated the area so I could further refine it and its boundary where it meets the rest of the leg.

Casting

You could say that the last battle fought in my effort to get this project ready for SCGMC focused on trying to finalize what parts I could, and make molds to recast them. In the end, I got five parts to a state where I felt they were ready to be recast, but of course many others like the shield were close but not ready, or were too far from ready to even consider it. Once it was clear I no longer had time for this, I had to accept that the attempt to hit the deadline was over.
Again, it’s kind of sad that I didn’t meet the deadline, but let’s take a moment to appreciate this. I’ve had this project ongoing for something like 6 years, with long stretches where I’d make no progress or avoid the project entirely and work on other things. The project has been with me so long that sometimes I forget that it’s a thing that can reach conclusion. It’s simply a part of my involvement in the hobby… But here’s the thing. I finished some parts, made molds of them and everything. It’s a great feeling.


So that’s about where things stand at this point. I feel like with another week I might have been able to hit the deadline, though the resulting model probably would have been a bit crude in some places… As it stands, I feel like the current state of the lower legs is a bit scary. I think hacking up the parts was a good choice, as it will save me from having to remake the knee area, and make the two copies of that area match up… But in the current state, nothing really fits together right due to alterations I’ve made since splitting the parts. It feels like a big step backward in a way, though I believe it’s just a temporary setback, and a useful step.

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