Saturday 1 August 2015

Attack of the Mecha Spider...

As promised, a little more detail on the build of the robo-spider.  As mentioned in the last post, this was a bit of work done for an old friend from Uni days.  She is part ofr a group called "The Lakes Collective", a group of mixed-practise artists in Ambleside, Cumbria.  Every year they have a big arts event at Rydal Hall in the village, and tend to do an open-call sculpture piece.  The theme for 2015 was "Swarm", and having failed to enter the "Flock" call in 2014 due to a change in personal circumstances and work generally being busy, I was determined to enter this one.  Having toyed with doing something Steampunk, I ended up agreeing to a rather bigger Steampunk build for this group in 2016, so I decided instead to stick with what I knew and cobble something together with bits of model kits and toys...  It had to be plastic rather than my preferred method of using card bits, as it needed to survive a few weeks exposed in the Cumbrian rain.
In terms of background to the project, it ties in with some experimental work I've been doing for a personal project called "The Iron Monsters" about mechanical, self-aware creatures, but more on that in a future posting.
There's a bit more on the general photography blog here:
The starting point was the bits-box... lesson here, never throw anything away.  A mass of bits leftover from previous builds, mainly from the Steampunk and Model Village projects.
At this point I thought I'd still have time to make several spiders, so was trying to see if I had enough components to make a few of them.  The basis for each was going to be a cobbled-together mix of the 1/32 and 1/48 cheapo toy tanks bought for the Model Village.
I quickly realised I wouldn't have time to make three spiders, nor did I have quite enough parts, so I decided to do one big spider and build a web for it to sit in.  As the above picture shows, it really was thrown together with bits and pieces, the majority are cut-up toy tanks, the legs leftover from wind-up train sets, and then anything else which looked vaguely right was glued on.
For the flies in the web, they were built around some Poundland knock-off versions of the old Micro-Transformer toys (from the 80's), these were bought many years ago to donate parts for the abandoned spaceship project.  Again, never throw anything away...
A bit of a quick and dirty build this, the wings were hot glued on from cellophane packaging material... these could be fairly crude, as they would be wrapped up in the web.
I've always thought a coat of primer does wonders to tie a design together...
The painting was very quick, it was sprayed black then lightly dusted with bronze and copper spray.  I had thought about doing some more detailed work, but it didn't seem to need any more painting; it would be seen from a distance anyway.

It was then sprayed with varnish, then sprayed again, bearing in mind that it was going to get very wet in Cumbria...
Installing it at Rydal Hall involved a lot of cable ties on the tree, amongst the many other sculptures which people had contributed.

The web was made from cheap wire mesh, attached to a suitably large bit of fallen tree I'd picked up after a storm at work.

So that was that.  Not quite what I'd originally planned, but it was nice to do a build like this after a while of being out of practise; at the time I made it, it was the first big-ish model making project I'd done for a while, and it was nice to get back into doing work like this.
Next, maybe a post about the upcoming mega Jaberwock project, or something railway related.



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