Tekkoshocon Projects

Lately I’ve been working on various projects for the Tekkoshocon model contest. I have a couple projects that are nearly ready for paint and a couple others that are in various earlier stages of work… But these two will probably be the be the most substantial new projects I’ll have ready for the con: a Bandai Scopedog and a Hasegawa VF-0 Battroid.

There’s not much to show of the VF-0 at this point, as so far I’ve just been doing the basic assembly. This has been a very interesting build for me personally: the Hasegawa VF-1 battroid has long been one of my favorite anime model kits. Hasegawa’s done several Macross fighters now, but only a couple of them in their humanoid battroid form. The battroid kits are nice because they’ve got great detail, but are fairly low-cost and they don’t go overboard with features like inner frames and such like Bandai kits tend to. The result is a great-looking kit with relatively little excess to it. It’s a pleasure to be working on a Hasegawa battroid again, and it’s very interesting to see how they refined their approach for the VF-0 kit. I haven’t figured out yet what variant I’m building. I initially planned on the Focker version, but that VF-0A head is rather temping as well.

The other kit I’ve decided to take a shot at finishing for Tekko is this Bandai Scopedog. This kit has always looked a bit odd to my eye – something weird about the proportions in the chest – though I think that may just be because I’m used to the look of the old Takara and Wave kits. I’m not quite sure. If you look at the manual for this kit they have an excellent side-by-side comparison of the Bandai kit’s CAD design and the original lineart: it makes a compelling argument for Bandai’s design.

Anyway, apart from questions of the kit’s design, one other thing always bothered me about this version of the kit: it is very short on weapons. It packs only the Scopedog rifle. Normally this is all a Scopedog would carry, but it really doesn’t seem like much, and I do wish they’d included a more complete weapons set… the flamethrower, for instance, or the pentatrooper? Or even the “solid shooter” bazooka… Still, I’ve been giving some thought to the question of what sort of Scopedog I really want to build: heavily armed variants like the Red Shoulder Custom are cool, but most soldiers would’ve gotten much more ordinary equipment for their Scopedog… This is what led me to the same conclusion I reached last time: I want my Scopedog to carry the Parachute Pack.

The thing about the Parachute Pack is that it carries more than just a parachute. It carries additional fuel and ammunition, some kind of large tarp-thing, and, I’m guessing, a small amount of cargo. In other words, it’s not just something you mount to a Scopedog when you’re gonna drop it out of a plane, it’s something you mount to a Scopedog when you’re gonna send it somewhere and don’t know exactly when you’ll pick it up again. In other words, it’s a Scopedog upgrade for soldiers who are being expected to continue to do their job with minimal outside support. Perfect for “VOTOMS”.

Since Bandai hasn’t released a parachute pack for their Scopedog, and the current price for the 1:24 scale Takara/Wave one is completely unreasonable, I’m scratch-building it. My design is based on some measurements from the 1:35 scale Takara version from my earlier Scopedog build, and some observations from the lineart and other sources.

On the design sheet, there’s actually two versions of the design there. The one on top is the earlier one. For the second version below, I made the pack a little bit narrower and angled the ammo rack as on the Pailsen Files mission pack. With the design roughed out I created the second and third pages to design the shapes I’d cut out of styrene plate and assembled to make the pack. After a few hours of cutting parts with a straight-edge and blade and gluing them together, this is what I came up with:

Unlike some of the early construction I did for the Zaku Kai chest block where I had to mitre-cut all the plate edges to join them together at weird angles, here I just used box joins. This means, for instance, I cut two 1mm plates for the left and right faces of the parachute pack, and then the top and rear plates would be 2mm narrower than the full pack width, so that the plates can be simply glued together. The parts will require some more refinement later on, of course. If you look inside the pack, you can see how I mounted it to the backpack: basically I just cut a couple holes in the place where I’d measured the mounting hooks to be (and then cut them again, because I’d measured wrong) and mounted a rod in there. The holes are just big enough that the pack can be lifted off the Scopedog. Also note that once the ammo magazines are mounted on there, the Scopedog won’t be able to go to “down-form” any more. This is actually pretty common on Scopedog equipment. Several mission packs, including the Parachute pack, handle this problem by hinging upward to get out of the way for “down-form”. I won’t be reproducing that feature in this build, though it’s something I’d like to address in the future, perhaps.

One problem with the Bandai Scopedog and mission packs is that they made the ammo magazines very small: only 8mm wide. The magazines on the Takara 1:35 scopedog are nearly 8mm thick. However, it all comes down to an issue with the lineart. Bandai’s ammo magazines are very accurate to how the magazines are shown when mounted on the rifle, or on the Scopedog’s side skirts. But the lineart for mission packs like the parachute pack shows two or three ammo magazines mounted side-by-side on the bottom of the pack taking up almost the entire width of the pack. It was common in older kits for this discrepancy to result in different-size ammo magazines on a single model. On the other hand, Bandai’s magazines just don’t fill enough space for backpack ammo racks, as seen on their “Pailsen Files” version. The Bandai Scopedog’s chest is about 54mm wide, and my parachute pack is 46mm wide. Three 8mm ammo magazines would take up 24mm, barely more than half that space. Even adding 4mm spacing between the packs they would only fill 28mm of width. To solve the problem I’ve decided to bulk up the magazine to 10mm thick and cast copies. This way, with 3mm spacing between magazines, they’ll fill 34mm of width, roughly 3/4 of the width of the pack. A 2mm increase in thickness is a noticeable change but not a drastic one: I think it’s a good compromise.

4 Comment(s)

  1. that’s one sweet backpack. I like the fin/vent looking area up top, and the general flow of shapes.

    rc | 2010-03-04 | Reply

  2. Well, the open areas aren’t really vents – they just look that way because that’s the state construction was in at that point. To keep things simple I mostly only cut out plates for areas that I could join at right angles. Areas with slanted faces I left open and filled in later with putty.

    tetsujin | 2010-03-04 | Reply

  3. I gotcha. I’ve recently gotten into styrene shaping myself. I would like to see where this beast is going bro. I’d like to see what the backpack is going to turn out like. And the rest of the kit. hehe.

    rc | 2010-05-06 | Reply

  4. Nothing going anywhere at the moment, unfortunately. Had basement flooding in mid-March. I had to tear out the carpet. Workspace is sort of in limbo, more or less, until I get new flooring put in.

    tetsujin | 2010-05-19 | Reply

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