EWAC Messer Progress (2021-04-15)

Working on the #EWAC Messer!

Work so far

I made some progress that I’m really happy with on this build over the last couple of weeks. The big news is getting the head to a point where I’m calling it done for draft one, which moves me on to the legs and booster pod as my next focus for this initial pass.

I’ve also started spinning this out from a single build into a diorama and story in my head, and I’m seriously considering building it out further. Some thoughts are:

  • a hab-ring to be towed by the Messer so it could be dispatched for long-term missions
  • another HG or RG kit to be towed for defense, and sniping missions. Current idea is the HGGTO MS-06R-1A High Mobility Zaku II

This is slowly turning into the kind of thing that could be a photonovel like Sentinel or Advance of Zeta, which is both a little presumptuous and exciting as hell.

Head from front

I am very happy with how well the radome pod from the F90 E-Type worked out as a head replacement here. My initial plan had been to mount it to the Messer’s shoulders, but on a whim I popped the Messer’s cowl off and tried this… and I love the way it looks like the spec-ops cowls from Ghost in the Shell.

GitS headgear

Getting this to finally sit took a little work though. The way that the radome arm articulates, it was coming off of the back of the Messer’s head, which, when extended, meant that the radome was sitting awkwardly out in front of the kit.

It was a pretty simple fix to reverse this, but it did take a sec. I cut the center post off of the base part of the radome rotation unit and reattached it rotated 180 degrees. Then I used some putty and a brass rod to secure it in.

The side (surprise!) benefit was that the putty was still soft for a bit so I used it to fit the rotating bit down into the Messer’s head’s base, so it now sits really snugly and securely.

The rotation base had complete replaced the Messer’s usual… pate? Forehead? entirely, so that was fine, but I also had to cut out a bigger gap in the part that covers the back of the head to accommodate the rotation base.

The cutout didn’t go so far back as to replace the v in that cowl that fits around the original pate piece, though I have deepend that a bit–that’s where the mess of wires come out from.

Head profile

In general, as I’ve worked on it and realized that the head replacement aesthetic was pushing it towards a very Aramaki/Masamune aesthetic, I’ve leaned into it. Those wires are probably going to end up being a unifying design element for the whole thing, and will connect to any element of the build that is a long-range sensor. I really want the head to be as alien as possible.

Head profile again

Finally, I’m going to put some shallow holes into the front of the rotation base so that I can stick some eye parts in–leaning even harder into the GitS aesthetic. Sort of bug-like. This also provided a good excuse to order some Godhand spin blades ;)

Booster pod and arm

Messer with booster pod on custom arm

The booster pod in these shots isn’t fully assembled–the nose and some other parts aren’t on it (it’s all still taped together anyways). The big piece of work was building the arm from 2 Action Base 4/5 arms.

The AB4/5 arm is great, because at each of the terminal ends, there’s a locking mechanism so you can angle your kits however you need, with a little lever that drops into a cog to keep things stable.

Traditionally, the AB4/5 depends on a third part to regulate its internal angle, but instead, I cut the cog ends off of a second AB4/5 and grafted them into the center of this one. Hence all the putty.

There’s a possibility that I’ll end up replacing the Nightfighter fuselage for something less recognizably WWII plane, but we’ll see. For now this is a useful validation of general approach, and I’m happy with it. In terms of disguising the WWII plane-ness, I really like the way that the MaK Falke mostly hides the fact that its booms are Spitfires is great–I’d rather lean further in that direction than less.

That said, the arm and fuselage feel a little bare, so I’ve ordered a bunch of mini ping pong balls to attach like fuel pods. They may end up everywhere. I really want this thing to feel like a field modification, so slapdash is cool.

Work so far

From behind

Other work

The shield is going to end up mounting cameras… I haven’t decided if they’re wire-guided like the EWAC Nero, or radio. Probably wire-guided (I’ll need to find a different cable from the head cables, that looks stronger and more dynamic).

Messer with booster pod on custom arm

I’ve used the shield generators from the HGUC Penelope, a kit that I’m sorta… meh about. But the parts in isolation can be great! I’ve also started setting some parts from the Vehicle Model Millenium Falcon inset into the shield as exposed electronics detail. We’ll see if that pays off.

The legs are still troubling me. In the pose they’re in now–swept all the way back with the feet removed, they’re giving me a good sense of what I would want from engines for this, and I’m stuck between using them or not. I really like the look of the Messer’s lower legs, but I also want this kit to feel… well, like a field mod. And I don’t know if the legs will work for or against that yet. They’d likely need some heavy mods, possibly to make it so that the knees, and possibly hips, look fully fused in place. General use mobile suit this is not.

Diorama thoughts

If this guy ends up pulling a hab-ring for long-term missions, I’m thinking about how to scale it so it’s immediately recognizable as living quarters, but also immediately feels claustrophobic. Current ideas are a narrow ring, with a diameter about 3/4 or 2/3 of the height of the Messer–big enough to provide a cot, an exercise area with like, 3/4 artificial (rotational?) gravity, a bidet, etc.

And it’d need an O2 reclamation facility. If it’s a sphere hab area, that’d probably be hanging off the back. If it’s a ring, there could be a bunch of utilities packed into the center.

And I’d want to run airlines from the O2 plant to the Messer’s cockpit, just to give it that really… ad-hoc feel.

I’d love for the hab area to have windows, so I could stick tiny scale people inside–two pilots for the Messer so they can rotate shifts, and possibly a third for the towed escort suit (if I do that).

Touchstones for that would be… Moon maybe? Sunshine. Anything with tight, compact, claustrophobic space quarters.

In general, the look should have lots of semi-slack cables for towing, and comms, and air, and water. Microimpacts from space debris, some scoring. The escort/sniper suit can be old and beat to hell–just make the firing arm look cared for. The way that Unicorn (for as much as I think it’s terrible) used a Zaku I as a super effective sniper was great–snipers don’t have to be fast, or powerful, or whatever. They just need a good shot. And the Messer can act as a spotter.

Oh! that reminds me! If I go the sniping route, there could be a massive cable rope running from the Messer’s sensor apparatus into the side of the Zaku’s head, to feed across hyper accurate targeting data.

OK. That’s enough for now.