Thought I would start a thread to post progress pics and create a space to archive feedback and suggestions from those in the hobby.
Backstory: Long before 3D printing was a widely accessible thing I had been working on a ultra detailed, mechanically functional, variable VF-1S. There are a bunch of posts in the Fan Works section of the model and archived on the "old forums". Some old screenshots I'll post a few for reference since this project uses that mesh but modified and updated with my understanding of the 3D printing process and how the VF-1 transforms. The original version of the model was based on the Hasegawa 1/72 fighter kit from the early/mid 2000s. It had the best line art and detail at the time. However, when in battroid form the scale and dimensions for the legs, arms and head just looked off. I started messing with my own take on dimensions working with mocked up fighter, battroid and gerwalk modes. I settled largely on what is in the Fan Works forums and only minimally mess with the proportions any more.
Now that I have gotten in to the 3D printing hobby and have a Prusa Mk3S FDM printer and a Elegoo Mars SLA printer I've dusted off the old files and started working on modifying the mesh and creating STLs for the model. When thinking about scale I knew 1/72 and 1/60 would be too small. 1/48 ... maybe but I have the toys already. 1/32 seemed appealing until I saw the 1/20 Plamax kits that are out now. At 1/20 we can get the details in the cockpit, landing gear bays, panels with incredible detail. The resin SLA printer is AMAZING at detail work and I'm looking forward to finishing those meshes (landing gear , landing gear bay details, cockpit, radome, head, hands, vernier thrusters, joint gears, etc). 1/20 also allows for more gimmicks like hinge design and maybe even onboard lighting one day
The first draft prints are of the arms to get a sense for scale and hep me with joint and articulation challenges. I had a bit of the factory PLA that came with the printer. The seams/alignment pins and fit all seem pretty good. The underside of the inside of the forearms is stringy/bridged and sags a bit. Need to figure out how to build better supports in the voids. The great thing about 3D printing this is even though it takes time (and fails) we can keep refining the model.
There are renders of fighter and battroid below. No morphing on either, rendered in orthographic view. The joints on arms and legs are floating as well as a bunch of other locations as I still have to engineer how it all comes together piece by piece, then design how it will split and joining after printing. It took almost 2 days for me to work out and draw how to work the arm articulation.
Going forward I'm continuing to use the Hasegawa lineart for panel lines/markings etc. Also using the Yamato 1/48 and Bandai DX 1/48 toys as reference for joints and mechanical movement. I REALLY like the Bandai 1/48 leg articulation. In a break from the norm and because 1/20 gives you lots of space for strength, I'm using the swing legs mechanism from the Bandai 1/72 kit.
I look forward to your tips and any feedback or lessons learned you may have!