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My 1/55 Custom Valkyrie Project: 19 Years in the Making!


Anasazi37
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Before the Bandai 1/48 DX and 1/100 HM/HMR lines, the Arcadia 1/60 line, and the Yamato 1/48 and 1/60 lines, there was only the 1/55: the Chunky Monkey. Not long after I joined MW in 2001, I started seeing all of the awe-inspiring 1/55 customization work happening and wanted to try it myself. I bought some beat-up Jetfires on eBay and started acquiring resin parts so I could recreate the entire original lineup of Takatoku and Bandai valks, because the alternative was to spend A LOT of money trying to track down rare ones like the Super Ostrich, Elintseeker, and VF-1S Strike. Plus, I thought it would be fun to do something this challenging and creative. I continued acquiring parts and eventually got my hands on a dozen Bandai reissue valks so I'd have enough to recreate the lineup, plus a few more variants that were never made. That's actually the origin story for all of the decal work I've done for this community: I needed decals for my own 1/55 customs. Printing decals for MW members quickly ate up my available hobby time, as did working on Yamato 1/60 and 1/48 customs for members. I put my own customs on hold, promising myself that I'd get back to them soon. Life interfered, as did work, and suddenly it's the fall of 2019 and I have no customs of my own. So, I kicked off a project to complete the entire lineup and the first one is finally done (see pictures below). As I complete the others, I will post pictures of them here. I have thirteen planned:

  • VF-1J Hikaru
  • VF-1J Max
  • VF-1J Milia
  • VF-1A Cannon Fodder
  • VF-1A Max TV
  • VF-1A Hayao TV
  • VF-1D
  • VF-1S Roy Strike (I prefer it to the Hikaru and having a TV Roy as well seemed redundant)
  • VT-1 Super Ostrich
  • VE-1 Elintseeker
  • VF-1S Blue Roses 002 Strike
  • VF-1S Minmay Guard Paris Act
  • VF-1J Hikaru with GBP

Part of my reason for making all of them is to work on, and finish, a project that has a lot of meaning for me. Another part is to show the 1/55 some love, making it look its absolute best. I have some crazy-fun, super-rare resin parts that I'll be using to help with that, like a highly-detailed custom nosecone with a canopy that opens and a DYRL pilot in the cockpit. This first custom took almost a year to complete because I had to rebuild my entire workshop, relearn a huge amount of customizing skills (and pick up some new ones), and repair a lot of damage to the custom I decided to start with. I began that one a very long time ago, before I had any idea what I was doing, and it showed. So I stripped it down and started over. I'm hoping to complete one every month or two, so this project could take a few years. I hope you enjoy these customs.

The first custom is an iconic one: the Hikaru VF-1J. I spent months fixing all sorts of mistakes I made all those years ago, which included rescribing a bunch of panel lines, filling holes, and doing a complete repaint. The head is from Rob Beers, the heatshield is from Chris Barretta, hands are recast 1/48 Yamato GBP. The hands are swappable with the originals and attached using a Kotobukiya ball joint system. Gunpod was modified (I removed the gunsight). Decals, which look painted on, are of course my own designs. :D The chest stripe is also my own design, which is an attempt to honor the original line art within the confines of what can be done with the part. I used a Hasegawa chestplate as a reference and ended up creating a paint mask in Adobe Illustrator that I could run through my vinyl cutter. Beats using masking tape and trying to eyeball the stripes. Could I transform this? Yes. Would I? No. Turns out the tolerances on the swing bar were too tight and there's some nasty paint scrape on the midsection of the nosecone, so this bad boy is staying in battroid mode. He's eventually going to end up in customized GBP armor, so that's okay. I need to find a solution for the swing bar problem before I start on my next one. Last picture is a before/after. This custom started out life as a Hikaru 1J reissue. I thought that was fitting.

 

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1 hour ago, Kicker773 said:

Wait til I dig up some of the custom 1/55 resin and metal parts I collected back in the day 

I bet you have a nice collection of those--can't wait to see it!

 

2 hours ago, nightmareB4macross said:

Simply stunning!

After all the years you have spent supporting many other members here with your custom print shop, it is nice to know you now have time to carve our out your own pieces of heaven.

Keep the inspiration going!

Thank you! It feels really nice to be spending time at the workbench again, especially with how crazy the world is right now. The 1/55 part of my collection has been a big gap because I kept wanting to fill it with customs. Now there's one on the shelf and more on the way!

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7 hours ago, Anasazi37 said:
  • VF-1S Minmay Guard Paris Act

 

Looking forward to seeing this done chunky style.  :good:

I've seen the 1/48 versions, but I don't think I've ever seen it done with the 1/55's.

In regards to the custom above, it's pretty crazy to see all the work you put in on this Hikky 1J.

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22 hours ago, Slave IV said:

Magnificent! The most worthy of all toys to devote this much dedication to. Look forward to seeing the completed set and everything in between!

I wholeheartedly agree! Finishing this one and getting this feedback from the community is inspiring me to start work on the next one sooner than I planned.

21 hours ago, Mog said:

Looking forward to seeing this done chunky style.  :good:

I've seen the 1/48 versions, but I don't think I've ever seen it done with the 1/55's.

In regards to the custom above, it's pretty crazy to see all the work you put in on this Hikky 1J.

Me, too! I might have provided a few 1/55 Minmay Guard sets to members back in the day, but I don't recall anyone ever posting pictures of a finished custom. I've had the decals set aside for mine for a very long time. My goal is have the MG in 1/72 (Hasegawa), 1/60 (Yamato v1), 1/55 (Bandai reissue), and 1/48 (Yamato).

12 hours ago, vladykins said:

Love it! Looking forward to seeing the rest of them as you complete them.

Thank you!

11 hours ago, valkyrie312 said:

Gorgeous work!  Can’t wait to see the rest!  

Thanks to you as well!

2 hours ago, Lolicon said:

Wow! Looks like a well-built vintage VF-1 model kit rather than a toy. Great work! :good:

Are those the DX hands? 

That's high praise! The fixed pose hands are from a 1/48 Yamato GBP. Turns out that they're just the right size to fit with the overall "chunkiness" of the valk. I had to cut out some material on the inside of the right hand so I could get the gunpod in there, but otherwise it was an easy adaptation. I do have a closed right GBP hand, too, along with both original hands, all painted and detailed to match. To make the interchangeable hands work and allow for them to move a bit, I cut the originals off, drilled holes into the base of the pieces that slide inside the arm, attached a Kotobukiya Poly Unit Ball Joint L to each one (from behind), and then drilled holes into the back of each hand. Easy peasy.

Edited by Anasazi37
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On 9/22/2020 at 9:48 PM, Toonz said:

This awesome! Beautiful work! I hope someday someday the 1/55s will be re-reissued again with these new parts that you have done.

It would be really great to see a new release of the 1/55 with more detailed and anime-accurate parts, painting, and markings. Additional poseability would be nice, too. I have to give tons of credit and thanks to members of this community for finding ways to upgrade the 1/55 on their own and then helping others, like me, do the same. I'll freely admit that there is a nostalgia factor at work here, where there's something about the original design that is very comforting and powerful, and I simply must build all of these customs. I wouldn't mind a straight reissue of the entire line if Bandai would actually do it and not turn it into the dumpster fire we're dealing with on the DX line, where there is limited supply and huge demand. While it's not too difficult to find the existing reissues in the secondary market, prices are all over the place and they didn't reissue everything. Either way, these customs are getting built. ^_^

On 9/23/2020 at 12:48 AM, vt102 said:

Looking good. I started collecting parts to custom a 1/55 also. Never came to be.....

It was really hard to get started and there were several times where I almost threw in the towel because I had to learn (or relearn) techniques and it felt like progress was way too slow, but the end result was worth it and the remaining ones should (fingers crossed) go a lot faster.

On 9/23/2020 at 4:23 AM, sqidd said:

I can't believe that there are no aftermarket SSP's (that I could find) for the Chunkies. That seems like a no brainer.

I've often wondered about that myself. If one were so inclined, one could design a really nice SSP set digitally and make it available for 3D printing. Same goes for all kinds of parts. If one were so inclined. The only one I can recall seeing is a 3D-printed gunpod being sold on eBay as a replacement for Jetfire. I don't remember the quality being that great.

18 hours ago, peter said:

Makes me want to dig out my chunkie

Then my plan is working! More love for the Chunky Monkey! :D

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/4/2020 at 5:54 PM, DYRL VF-1S said:

Just seeing this thread. :hail:

Thank you! I still smile every time I walk past the custom on my shelf.

23 hours ago, Convectuoso said:

Me too

Awesome job, @Anasazi37!

Thanks to you as well!

21 hours ago, nightmareB4macross said:

Anasazi37,

How goes the next custom? Any progress you can share?

Would love to see a WIP thread.

I've been spending my available build time on two things. The first is upgrading my workbench. There were a lot of things that weren't quite right when I started the 1J custom, but it didn't make sense to fix stuff until I could get the project off my bench. I finished that project last weekend! The second is 3D laser scanning. I bit the bullet and purchased a scanner so I could create a digital archive of my resin parts before I use them. I'm also thinking about scanning in armor sets and other parts so I can use those as a base to create more detailed versions that are printable. Ran into some issues with the scanner and had to return it. Replacement arrived recently and I've been testing it out. Here's a decent scan of a 1/55 chestplate (second attempt).

image.thumb.png.a19b79d5005df5c2cccbb45da5b6f365.png

image.thumb.png.dd81e90e69a2d900c351af5c5f2e699d.png

I posted pics of my first attempt in the 1/55 parts thread in the Workshop section. My third attempt will be even better (I hope). I'm thinking of creating a VF-1D chestplate from this one. :D

4 hours ago, Mog said:

Yes, we need another hit for our chunky monkey fix! :crazy:

I'm working on it, I promise!

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14 hours ago, Anasazi37 said:

Thank you! I still smile every time I walk past the custom on my shelf.

Thanks to you as well!

I've been spending my available build time on two things. The first is upgrading my workbench. There were a lot of things that weren't quite right when I started the 1J custom, but it didn't make sense to fix stuff until I could get the project off my bench. I finished that project last weekend! The second is 3D laser scanning. I bit the bullet and purchased a scanner so I could create a digital archive of my resin parts before I use them. I'm also thinking about scanning in armor sets and other parts so I can use those as a base to create more detailed versions that are printable. Ran into some issues with the scanner and had to return it. Replacement arrived recently and I've been testing it out. Here's a decent scan of a 1/55 chestplate (second attempt).

image.thumb.png.a19b79d5005df5c2cccbb45da5b6f365.png

image.thumb.png.dd81e90e69a2d900c351af5c5f2e699d.png

I posted pics of my first attempt in the 1/55 parts thread in the Workshop section. My third attempt will be even better (I hope). I'm thinking of creating a VF-1D chestplate from this one. :D

I'm working on it, I promise!

Awesome!!

You definitely have to start working on your GBP so it can be set up alongside (which I am sure of) your soon to be purchased DX GBP-1J Bundle.

Sharing a pic for inspiration.

 

38BD91E6-AECE-4429-9E52-EBF3C1C39646.jpeg

2B2EBA27-494B-4477-B380-91E174BB4C2D.jpeg

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3 hours ago, nightmareB4macross said:

Awesome!!

You definitely have to start working on your GBP so it can be set up alongside (which I am sure of) your soon to be purchased DX GBP-1J Bundle.

Sharing a pic for inspiration.

 

38BD91E6-AECE-4429-9E52-EBF3C1C39646.jpeg

2B2EBA27-494B-4477-B380-91E174BB4C2D.jpeg

I now consider myself inspired :D

And I'm definitely getting my hands on whatever DX GBP-1J thing Bandai releases

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  • 1 year later...
On 9/21/2020 at 3:52 PM, Anasazi37 said:

Before the Bandai 1/48 DX and 1/100 HM/HMR lines, the Arcadia 1/60 line, and the Yamato 1/48 and 1/60 lines, there was only the 1/55: the Chunky Monkey. Not long after I joined MW in 2001, I started seeing all of the awe-inspiring 1/55 customization work happening and wanted to try it myself. I bought some beat-up Jetfires on eBay and started acquiring resin parts so I could recreate the entire original lineup of Takatoku and Bandai valks, because the alternative was to spend A LOT of money trying to track down rare ones like the Super Ostrich, Elintseeker, and VF-1S Strike. Plus, I thought it would be fun to do something this challenging and creative. I continued acquiring parts and eventually got my hands on a dozen Bandai reissue valks so I'd have enough to recreate the lineup, plus a few more variants that were never made. That's actually the origin story for all of the decal work I've done for this community: I needed decals for my own 1/55 customs. Printing decals for MW members quickly ate up my available hobby time, as did working on Yamato 1/60 and 1/48 customs for members. I put my own customs on hold, promising myself that I'd get back to them soon. Life interfered, as did work, and suddenly it's the fall of 2019 and I have no customs of my own. So, I kicked off a project to complete the entire lineup and the first one is finally done (see pictures below). As I complete the others, I will post pictures of them here. I have thirteen planned:

  • VF-1J Hikaru
  • VF-1J Max
  • VF-1J Milia
  • VF-1A Cannon Fodder
  • VF-1A Max TV
  • VF-1A Hayao TV
  • VF-1D
  • VF-1S Roy Strike (I prefer it to the Hikaru and having a TV Roy as well seemed redundant)
  • VT-1 Super Ostrich
  • VE-1 Elintseeker
  • VF-1S Blue Roses 002 Strike
  • VF-1S Minmay Guard Paris Act
  • VF-1J Hikaru with GBP

Part of my reason for making all of them is to work on, and finish, a project that has a lot of meaning for me. Another part is to show the 1/55 some love, making it look its absolute best. I have some crazy-fun, super-rare resin parts that I'll be using to help with that, like a highly-detailed custom nosecone with a canopy that opens and a DYRL pilot in the cockpit. This first custom took almost a year to complete because I had to rebuild my entire workshop, relearn a huge amount of customizing skills (and pick up some new ones), and repair a lot of damage to the custom I decided to start with. I began that one a very long time ago, before I had any idea what I was doing, and it showed. So I stripped it down and started over. I'm hoping to complete one every month or two, so this project could take a few years. I hope you enjoy these customs.

The first custom is an iconic one: the Hikaru VF-1J. I spent months fixing all sorts of mistakes I made all those years ago, which included rescribing a bunch of panel lines, filling holes, and doing a complete repaint. The head is from Rob Beers, the heatshield is from Chris Barretta, hands are recast 1/48 Yamato GBP. The hands are swappable with the originals and attached using a Kotobukiya ball joint system. Gunpod was modified (I removed the gunsight). Decals, which look painted on, are of course my own designs. :D The chest stripe is also my own design, which is an attempt to honor the original line art within the confines of what can be done with the part. I used a Hasegawa chestplate as a reference and ended up creating a paint mask in Adobe Illustrator that I could run through my vinyl cutter. Beats using masking tape and trying to eyeball the stripes. Could I transform this? Yes. Would I? No. Turns out the tolerances on the swing bar were too tight and there's some nasty paint scrape on the midsection of the nosecone, so this bad boy is staying in battroid mode. He's eventually going to end up in customized GBP armor, so that's okay. I need to find a solution for the swing bar problem before I start on my next one. Last picture is a before/after. This custom started out life as a Hikaru 1J reissue. I thought that was fitting.

 

20200921_151531.jpg

20200921_151011.jpg

20200921_151051.jpg

20200921_151117.jpg

20200921_151151.jpg

20200921_151210.jpg

20200921_151244.jpg

20200921_152248.jpg

Any updates on your list?

It’s hard carving out time for customs. Just wanted you to know we patiently await more to come.

Looking forward to more.

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On 8/22/2022 at 8:57 AM, nightmareB4macross said:

How’s the progress coming along on the scans?

 

I ran into some arcane and complicated hardware issues with the scanner I built. Took me about a year(!) to resolve them since I don't have a lot of free time these days. I'm now getting really consistent, insanely high resolution scans of objects. This is a sample scan of a 3D printed part from a 1/35 Gunstar kit. I use it for testing because of its complex surfaces. The dark portions are where the scanner couldn't see anything because of how the part was positioned with respect to the scanner, so you generally have to reposition the object multiple times across multiple scans in order to get data for all surfaces.

image.png.3e42ebe5a56d468710acdc7dbd20a4b9.png

The next step, which involves the most magic, is developing the method for automatically aligning multiple scans of the same object to produce the final model. This is the "secret sauce" for companies that sell scanners to consumers. I wanted to be working on this over a year ago, but couldn't due to the hardware issues. In the interim, I can use manual alignment to get things pretty close and then let the computer take over. It's a bit trial and error, and takes time, but generally works. Since I don't need to scan a large number of parts to get my custom projects moving again, I'll likely start with this approach.

On 8/22/2022 at 12:02 PM, nightmareB4macross said:

Any updates on your list?

It’s hard carving out time for customs. Just wanted you to know we patiently await more to come.

Looking forward to more.

I really appreciate the continued interest. I will indeed be getting back to these soon. I first need to complete some decal orders for a few MW members that have been waiting a VERY long time. One of the things I'll likely do for my Strike customs is scale up and resin print the RMS-1 and UUM-7 that come in 1/72 missile pack that Senovis posted online:

https://cults3d.com/en/3d-model/art/vf-missile-pack

The quality of the designs is really nice. I wasn't looking forward to designing the armaments myself or scanning in the 1/55 resin cast ones that I have.

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38 minutes ago, Anasazi37 said:

I ran into some arcane and complicated hardware issues with the scanner I built. Took me about a year(!) to resolve them since I don't have a lot of free time these days. I'm now getting really consistent, insanely high resolution scans of objects. This is a sample scan of a 3D printed part from a 1/35 Gunstar kit. I use it for testing because of its complex surfaces. The dark portions are where the scanner couldn't see anything because of how the part was positioned with respect to the scanner, so you generally have to reposition the object multiple times across multiple scans in order to get data for all surfaces.

image.png.3e42ebe5a56d468710acdc7dbd20a4b9.png

The next step, which involves the most magic, is developing the method for automatically aligning multiple scans of the same object to produce the final model. This is the "secret sauce" for companies that sell scanners to consumers. I wanted to be working on this over a year ago, but couldn't due to the hardware issues. In the interim, I can use manual alignment to get things pretty close and then let the computer take over. It's a bit trial and error, and takes time, but generally works. Since I don't need to scan a large number of parts to get my custom projects moving again, I'll likely start with this approach.

I really appreciate the continued interest. I will indeed be getting back to these soon. I first need to complete some decal orders for a few MW members that have been waiting a VERY long time. One of the things I'll likely do for my Strike customs is scale up and resin print the RMS-1 and UUM-7 that come in 1/72 missile pack that Senovis posted online:

https://cults3d.com/en/3d-model/art/vf-missile-pack

The quality of the designs is really nice. I wasn't looking forward to designing the armaments myself or scanning in the 1/55 resin cast ones that I have.

Just wanted you to know there are people here rooting for your success.

Happy to hear you still support the community with your wonderful decal sets. Would be great to see more customs come out of them.

 

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