Detail Wagging the Dog (day 32)

Tonight I didn’t really know what to work on. There’s no shortage of things to work on, of course, but picking one and moving forward with it in a meaningful way can require some thought. I decided to spend tonight adding a bit of detail to the chest block. It’s relatively simple work, the main thing about it is it requires a bit of care to get it right.

I did have to make a decision before starting this work: Basically I had considered possibilities like that I might want to put on a layer of epoxy putty to give the chest block a bit of subtle curvature, or I might want to adjust the chest block parts for better symmetry or something… In that case it’d be far easier to do that before I started adding details. Once details are on the process becomes more complicated: Either I pull the details off, make the adjustments, and then recreate them again, or I go forward with the alteration and then have to fix the areas where the details got disrupted by the process. After giving it a bit of thought I decided I’m happy with how the chest block looks as it is. The beveled edges look nice and I don’t think it really needs a curved surface to look good. It’s possible I’ll change my mind at some point – if I reach that point I can just make new parts for the look I want. Sometimes you just have to dare to be stupid.
The ridge detail is one of those things that’s just slightly ambiguous in the source material. Specifically there’s the question of whether they should be raised, or recessed. I’ve always leaned toward “raised”, but I may be in the minority on that one. All the model kits other than the HGUC, and a lot of the builds in my “other renditions” page have these as recessed details. There’s even a close-up in the anime that clearly establishes them as recessed detail. But I think the line art is ambiguous on this question and personally I like them as raised details, so, raised details they are.

I thought the chest ridges were a nice addition, but I decided to do a little bit more, so I added the angled fringe around the shoulder openings. I started with some triangular styrene strip, cut to 20mm lengths and then mitre-joined. I checked the work with calipers, verifying the resulting frame was a 20mm square and that (as far as I could tell) the two sides matched in dimension, position, and orientation as well as I could manage.
One thing I did discover after doing the work is that the strip cross-section isn’t really an isosceles right triangle (of course) – one of the two right-angle sides is a little longer than the other, so depending on which way certain strips wound up being turned, they could protrude out farther than others… It’s OK though, I’ll fix it in post.

I mentioned that I had wondered if it was too soon to do this work – that I might want to work more on the form of the chest block before building out the surface details. That’s actually a pretty common concern for me with this project. How far do I go with trying to get the underlying shape right, before I accept it and start working on the details needed to make it complete? This sort of thing is one of the reasons it becomes difficult sometimes to make progress. In this case I’ve had a lot of time to think about it – I’m happy with these parts and it’s nice to see them looking a little closer to finished.

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