1:100 Zaku Kai – Experimental Blender Model

My Zaku plans have been pretty well realized in 3-D for some time now, but it can be hard to visualize exactly how the MS, as designed, will look in different views. For this reason, I’ve decided to try my hand at making a 3-D computer graphics version of my design, so I can spin it around all I like. The CG model started off very crude, but it’s gradually been taking on a much greater level of refinement, and now work that I’m doing with the CG mesh is becoming my main point of reference for work with the physical model.


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In some ways this effort is a bit of a sidetrack: I’m eager to put some kind of stamp on my plans and begin building in earnest. But to me this is a very interesting diversion. I’ve wanted to know how to make 3-D CG models for some time, and now I’m finally learning how to do it. I feel like Blender doesn’t provide all the editing tools I would hope for (as a modeler used to working with solid materials, it’s a little disconcerting that Blender offers so few tools that let you actually think of the CG model as a “solid” of some kind rather than a collection of polygons and vertices) but it’s a very fun process all the same. At this point I have most of the major parts laid out, though just about everything is missing some piece of detail or some refinement to the structure. As I mentioned above, as the Blender model’s getting more refined, it’s becoming my testing ground for changes to the design. It’s much easier applying experimental changes to the CG mesh than it is to redraw the paper plans each time I want to make a change – plus I’ve used data taken directly from Blender to build some of the physical model parts. It’s basically reached the point where I may not bother making a final set of “master” paper plans – the paper design process was very useful but since the Blender model is a true 3-D reference it’s more useful in some ways. At this point I’ve rigged most of the model, allowing me to experiment with poses like the kneeling post. From here I want to finish the rigging process so the model will be fully animatable – I want to animate a walk cycle and maybe a few other things – and continue the detailing process to make the CG model a much better representation of how the physical model will look.

2 Comment(s)

  1. Hi,

    I’ve been looking around for a 3D modeled Zaku FZ kai I could use to print out some part I need to make a conversion kit for my F2 MG I have. I was wondering if you still have this model

    Thank you

    Gatchaponkei | 2017-12-27 | Reply

  2. I do have the model. I haven’t made a lot of headway on this project in recent years but it’s still very much at the front of my mind. I’ve done some experimentation 3-D printing parts of it, and some work making the parts better-suited to 3-D printing, with the ultimate goal that I could print out all the parts, add polycaps, and have a poseable model. To that end I’ve printed a few test assemblies in 1:60 scale, the most extensive of these was a leg with a working knee joint.
    As it is some portions of the model aren’t quite ready for 3-D printing. Dimensionless flat surfaces, non-“watertight” volumes, some intersecting parts, things like that. That’s part of what I’m trying to resolve in my efforts to make the model printable.
    I’ll share the model on here, as well as other stuff I’ve been working on. Before I do that I want to set up a version control system on the site so it’ll have version history in addition to more basic stuff like making the model accessible to people who want to do things with it. Probably as a “Creative Commons/Attribution” style license – I’m cool with people doing more or less what they want with this stuff, as long as they don’t misrepresent it as their own work.
    As for turning the Blender model into a 3-D printable conversion set for the MG Zaku F2 – I’m sure it’s doable but I expect there will be some difficulty there. Some proportions are different, that’s probably the main thing. Like I’m not sure if my Zaku FZ arms will fit over the frame parts for the MG F2 arms, that sort of thing. You’d need to either alter the design of the parts to get them to fit, or replace the arms altogether (and come up with a working elbow joint – I haven’t designed a functional one yet.)
    In the mean time, if you don’t want to wait for me to get the model files uploaded, I do have my 3-D design plans for the Zaku FZ on this site (http://scope-eye.net/?tag=plans+1100-zaku-kai) – they’re drawn at 1:100 scale on 1mm graph paper, so if you’re good at 3-D modeling you could re-make the CG model yourself.
    I dunno. Watch the site. I’d like to get the files online anyway, maybe I could make that happen over the next week or so.

    tetsujin | 2017-12-27 | Reply

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