Monday, July 15, 2013

Converting the Tau XV8 Crisis Battle Suit, Part 2 - Structural Changes

Welcome back to FTGT's series on converting the Tau XV8 crisis battlesuit.  If you missed part one, you can find it here: Crisis Suit Conversion Part 1.  

When we last left off, our trusty crisis suit had ended up on the wrong side of a sharp hobby knife. 


This article will focus on the rough structural changes required to update the suit to match the codex art dimensions I discussed in the first part of this series. Putty work and detailing will happen in the next installment (part 3) of this series.  So lets get down to it. 



My first step in the process was to create a waist for the little guy.  I cut just below the detailing on the front.


I filled in where the grooves had been for the legs on the upper torso with some putty and set about lengthening the bottom portion I cut off with some 3.2mm thick plasticard.  This was accomplished by placing the bottom part on the plasticard and tracing it.  I then cut out the shape in the plasticard, glued it to the bottom portion and shaved it down to match with my knife.    

If you look close you can see that I glued the jumpack on the left backwards and had to fix it later, haha oops.
I cut the jumppacks off, and cut them just below the top portion.  I inserted more 3.2mm plasticard in the gap, and shaved it down to fit.  


I then added some plasticard to the upper arms, and pinned the balljoint to the upper legs.  I had cut this balljoint out so I could reposition it like the codex art (and to allow me to sand it down a bit).  

Is that blood??!!
After that the only structural change left was the ankles.  These things were just drastically too small, and given the lack of detail - I felt pretty comfortable just cutting new ones out of plasticard.  I used the old one as a guide and made some custom ones.  These were done with 3.2mm plasticard as well (3mm happened to be the amount most of the adjustments to match the art needed to be).  I'll beef these out width wise a little more with some thinner plasticard  in the next post.  


With the ankles made, I set down all the parts to see how close I was getting to the codex art.  So far so good.  There is still a fair amount of work to be done however:  The jumpack vents could use some more height, the hips need some more work to get the angle right, the upper thigh armor plates need to be extended on the outside and shaved down a bit near the knee, the shoulder pads need to be beefed up, the ankles and upper arms need details (thin plasticard will be used for this), and some putty needs to be added to blend the join lines.  Phew, the devil is definitely in the details.


Just for kicks - I used some tack to put him together temporarily and compared him to one of Evan's standard suits who posed for a cameo.  I am quite happy with the overall proportions!  I am going for a subtle change here, one that retains the character of the XV8, and so far so good.  It makes it easier to see the problems the old suit has when placed next to this converted one - The jumpack vents aren't visible from the front, the legs attach just below the chest, and are wider than the chest, the head is too far above the torso, the ankles and upper arm are non existent.

So there we have it.  There is still a decent amount of work to go - but the structural changes are in place.  Stay tuned for Part 3 where we give this little guy some pieces of flair (and hopefully get him posed dynamically).  Thanks for reading!  I'd love to read your questions/comments/suggestions down below!

You can find the final part of this series here!

-Ron