Sunday, March 2, 2008

AT-43 Terrain Project: A-Tis phone home! AKA completing the hyperlink antenna

In the last installment, I had most of the pieces laid out for the hyperlink antenna but I had not started to assemble them yet. Before gluing anything, I did a dry run of the parts to make sure that they went together well.

As you can see, I also included a Storm Golem and a Hekat to give a sense of scale. Anyone familiar with the Cry Havoc article will notice that my hyperlink antenna is definitely larger than the one included in the magazine (it is printed on a standard sized card just like the unit cards) but I am okay with that. This thing is supposed to be transmitting to a distant planet, of course it is going to be kind of big!

The next step was to place the light into the base. I had originally planned on attaching the base and then stopped and thought about it. What about when the batteries run out? I would have to break the thing apart to change them and that just would not work. Instead I cut a circle of foamcore small enough so that it fits inside of the base without being too tight. This means that not only can I change the batteries easily, I can also simply remove the top of the piece to turn the light on and off.

To better focus the light, I lined the base with aluminum foil, as you can see above. This really helped as before I did this the base actually glowed when I turned on the light. This reflects the light back and cuts down of the glow factor.

Once the piece was assembled, it was time to get it ready to paint. I had originally thought about painting the whole thing by hand but instead I decided to use masking tape to cover up the parts that I wanted to remain transparent, which I think was one of the most time consuming parts of the whole project. Even so it really was not that bad and it did make it much easier to paint, but more on that later.

I had originally planned on just painting it up at this point but instead I decided to add a few details to enhance the piece. I had some small rubber tubing which worked perfectly for creating some hoses and I used some green stuff to sculpt the connections for the hoses and to add a few glowing domes that you commonly see on some of the Therian pieces. It would have been easy enough to do the hoses with some guitar strings instead of the rubber tubing but since I don't have any I decided to use what I had on hand.

The next step was to prime it and then paint it, which my daughter was kind enough to help me with. She loves to paint! Once this was done I was really glad that I had taken the time to thrown the little detailing bit on it. Seeing it all in black let me really look at the overall structure more rather than seeing the pieces assembled and it definitely looked much better with these small finishing touches.

And finally, here is the finished piece. I added a little weathering to it so that it is not all shiny and new looking, plus I painted orange onto the small domes that I had added. Overall I am really happy with how it turned out, though if I were to do it again there are some things that I would do differently.

1) Paint the inside to! In my enthusiasm to complete the project, I overlooked the fact that I am dealing with a clear dome. That's right; I didn't paint the foamcore inside the clear dome black. D'oh! It is not that noticeable now that it is done, but if I were building this again it is something that I would make sure that I remember to do.

2) Is bigger better? I do like the fact that this is a sizeable terrain piece and I do think that it should be that way; how would a tiny antenna transmit to a distant planet? Still this does seem more fitting for an emplaced piece of equipment while adding it to your army list makes it seem like it should be a bit more mobile. I really am happy with how it turned out regardless, especially since this is my first attempt at building a lighted piece of terrain.

And that, my friends, is how you build a homemade Therian hyperlink antenna. Going out, buying Cry Havoc #14 and just using the card might be faster, but I think that having an model to represent it is much better.

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