Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tau'chikomatic Tutorial: How To Build a Fuchi!

A long time ago, I said that, when I got a job, I'd do this tutorial. Well, I got  a job, so now I'm doing this tutorial. Apologies to those who have been asking for the Weathered Penny. I got caught up in a flurry of parts buying for another project, and so bought the parts for this as well, but rest assured, that's next on the docket. 

Step 1: Parts. Go buy a Tau Crisis Suit, minus the feet and head, and get yourself an extra pair of legs and a Shield Generator dish as well. Weapons and other systems are up to you. We're building a basic Fuchikoma here, so I just included his signature plasma gun. 

You're also going to need some sprue, for reasons we'll go into later. If you buy your Crisis Suit on the sprue, perfect, you're ahead of the game. Now, tools: 

As you can see, our intrepid engineers are equipped with X-Acto blade, saw, tin snips, and  CYA glue. Other blades for the X-Acto are desired, but not required. I also have a complete set of other, shallow-angle blades and so on, but you should at least have the saw, because it makes cutting things SO much cleaner than, say, using the tin snips. You'll also need a little hand drill (AKA a pin vise) for drilling holes in things. I forgot to put it in for the photo, but you'll see one later. 

We start by simply gluing together the backpack as normal. Easy-peasie. 

Next, cut those ball joints off the torso plate and put them aside. We'll need one of them to make his eyeball later. Use you X-Acto to shave this smooth. Do it. Things adhere better when they're smooth. 

An extra step here to make life much easier: dig a shallow hole in the center of the now smooth shoulder joint. We'll need this as a guide hole for when we...

...turn this into a shallow pit using our blade. Simply stick the point in and twist to shave away the plastic and widen the hole. Don't be too vigorous or you'll bore right through the plastic. This is to make a ball joint for the leg  to fit snugly into. If you don't do this, you're asking for a world of hellish frustration when you try to glue on the forelegs. After a minute of effort, you should get something like this: 

Every so often you should test-fit the pit to make sure everything fits together nicely. 

I also sheared away a bit of corner to make the torso plate fit into the back piece. Now put that aside so you can....

Glue a pair of legs in the back piece. Angle them out, back, and down, but not straight down. These are the Fuchi's "pusher" legs. His ass should be higher than his front for that iconic Fuchikoma look. 

When the legs have hardened, glue up the lower part of the chest plate jam it the hell in there. There's actually a lot of contact area inside, and if you do it right, it'll be nice and snugly fit in there. A corner of this piece on either side will be resting on the ball join of the legs we just glued on. 

When that's good and set, it's time to glue on the forelegs. Dry-fit these prior to gluing to get the look you want. It's possible to vary the Fuchi's pose by shifting his way this and that; this just requires forethought. Remember that the farther down the leg is angled, the higher that side of the Fuchi will be, so if you want, say, a Broadside angling his guns up: 

You have to really splay out those back legs and play up the front ones. Likewise, to can't it left or right: (such as those Fuchis closest to the Major)...

You angle the legs on one side down and the other side out. Just make sure the two legs on a particular side are even, otherwise you end up with a wobbly Fuchikoma. Anyways, moving on...

Really, you can mount any one gun to the underside of the Fuchi, but for this example we're doing a plasma rifle. Sheer off the back of that pipe, and make sure you carefully shave down the end till it's dead even with the back. This is so it'll adhere evenly with the inside of the torso piece: 

When gluing it in, make sure the top of the barrel adheres to the underside of the front torso piece. More contact points make a sturdier model, so this is important. You don't want the sucker snapping off. My Fuchis have survived multiple falls and are sturdy as hell. When you've done this step, put him aside. 

Saw away the upper arms from the forearms and put them aside. Make sure those contact points above the elbow drums are good and flat. It's okay if there's a little angle, as long as there's a big flat patch on that drum to adhere to the model. If you've also been pinning the legs and things as we go and want to drill pin holes here, then you get a gold star. It isn't necessary, but it's easy to do with plastic and makes the little fella that much more durable. 

See that square corner on the back of the chest plate? That big friendly square is where we're gonna glue our forearms. It's sort of easier to do this before you put the front legs on, but it's not to bad, since they're splayed out of the way. Angle the forearms inward to give him that iconic cute pose. If you want to replace these with, say, twin rifles or something, you can, just remember your Fuchi needs the clearance: 

But he'll still need a round piece to form the Fuchi "mouth".  I used a spare round bit from my bits box. Again, depending on the weapon you replace his manipulator with, you may need to vary your leg pose to give him ground clearance. Now, on we go...

Here's our Fuchi so far. Looking good, but the little guy can't see. Help him aside, fellas. 

Remember our shoulder balls? This part is easy to screw up, so that's why we saved BOTH of them. Take your tin snips and cut the plastic ball in half. If you have sharp snips, the half-ball shouldn't shoot out and blind you,  but just in case, pinch it between your thumb and forefinger and you should be okay. If you do it in one try, then gold star for you. 

Remember that Shield Generator? We need that as a mount for his eye. Shear off that little tiny nub at the bottom, and then take your saw and, using the larger rectangular piece as a guide, saw off the bottom1/3rd of of the dish. 

Yeah, I know, I broke the blog template, but this is important. Glue the half-ball you just made low-center on the half-dish, and mount it as shown. That shades the gun and gives the Fuchi his little moon-pie face. It also gives as a big, smooth surface to mount the Fuchi's crash bar on. Speaking of which:

You'll have to a do a bit of looking on your sprue for a bit that'll fit on there. You want something with a corner and preferably a convenient peg (not required) . Refer back to your Fuchi for sizing; you want something as wide as the dish, and you want that peg to reach just underneath. Really, the pegs aren't entirely necessary, but they do add another contact point and look better. When you've cut/made the crash bar, attach it to the dish, framing his mono eye thusly: 

Aaaaaaaand from the side: 

As an option, shave the edges down a bit to round it off and give it that worn look. Or, simply use a round sprue instead of a chunky GW square one. Either way, once it's on there, you're done! Attach any additional weapons/systems to his back rack, mount him to a base, and paint to match the rest of your Tau. 

Also, this model is for sale, at cost. So, if you want him, go get him.


AbusePuppy said...

I love you so much, mang.

SinSynn said...

Oh my goodness these are cool!
...and probably a better use at the moment for a Tau Crisis Suit or Broadside kit than building them properly would be...

Now...get started making a Major Motoko Kusanagi model out of Lelith fig (or something else appropriately Infinity model maybe?) immediately.


#2501 said...

@ABP: Uh... You're.... Welcome?

@SinSynn: I would, but you can already get an excellent model of the Major at the following URL:

Which is where I got mine :)

James S said...

That is really cool. I really like your anime-style conversions, good to see a new one :)

And thanks for that Kusanagi link, that model is fantastic!

Gibbo_the_Great said...

Someday I will follow this tutorial! Useful and funny, thank you!

Always great stuff on your blog...

doom_of_the_people said...

The conversion looks really cool but the tutorial steals the show.

#2501 said...

Thanks man! It was fun to stage.

Bix said...

Simply outstanding, great conversion and even better tutorial; couldn't stop chuckling to myself as your 'helpers' got stuck in; even ended up hearing their high pitch voices narrating the post.

Off to dig out my copy of SAC, thanks for a trip down memory lane.