Thursday, October 20, 2011

We done, baby. We done.

Well, its official.  The Build-A-HQ project has been built. This morning, I cemented the last video panel in, just above its one inch styrene conduit, waited 30 minutes, and called it complete.   Here are the photos.

Busy night in the TOC.
First a shot of the Tactical Operations Center itself.   I played around with a few different figures, but Cover Girl, Pit Commando, (aka Red Shirt), Helix, and Mainframe just looked the best staffing the workstations themselves.  I put Mainframe's computer next to him on the back wall desk, and General Hawk's briefcase computer next to Cover Girl. They are nice accessories and fit in well here.  I've got Sargent Stone briefing General Hawk in the front.  The graphics Vexar Designs made to go with their Build a HQ design are fantastic. I purchased both clear and white project paper to print the graphics on, and my advice for anyone else trying this is to print your decals out on the white paper, and trim the white edges off.  The clear paper, especially when it is being placed on dark styrene, ends up looking too dark and the stickers become hard to see.  The white paper keeps the ink fresh and bright regardless of what color styrene you put the decal on.  If you have to use clear sticker project paper, use it for graphics that are going to go on white styrene surfaces.

Snake Eyes is glad to be home.
Next up we have the lobby; Scarlet and Snake Eyes are back from who knows where.  Ripcord is clearly happy to see Scarlet back, and Duke keeps an eye on the feeds from the security cameras around the base.  Oh yeah- one thing I still may do is build a little Cisco IP phone for Duke to have at the reception/security desk so he can keep in touch with the rest of the base.  Back before I started grad school, I worked at an IT company and we all had IP phones on our desks. They looked pretty cool.  They were also completely redundant, because when you have IP phone systems, you can actually answer your phone using your computer itself.  We all had wireless headsets anyway, so we didn't need a phone handset or a deskset.  There was a little app we had installed on our laptops to place calls choice voice mail, etc, and any calls themselves placed using this app would be routed via Bluetooth to our headsets, which we were always suppose to have in our ears.  But people are just used to having phones on their desks.  I think having an IP phone at the security/reception desk would just be a nice touch, and as soon as I can find an image I can turn into a decal, I am making Duke his own little deskset phone, which is technically unnecessary, but something I think will look cool and useful on his desk.

Stg. Stone updates General Hawk on global ops status
Ok, here are Stone and Hawk.  Check out the beauty and detail in Vexar's decal images. In this picture you have a world map with different hotspots in red, a satellite image at the Pit Commando's left workstation (lower right side of the image), a sound wave analysis of Destro's voice and a work screen at Helix's workstation (lower left side of the image) and a keypad just to the right of Hawk on the right middle section of the image.  Vexar spent some time putting these things together.  I printed them up at highest quality on my HP deskjet printer, and they look crisp and near lifelike, as if they could plausibly be the kinds of screens one would see on computers performing the various tasks in a tactical operations center.

Scarlet checks in.
At my old job, the company I worked for was global and dealt with some security related services.  In one of our buildings, we had a TOC with a window between it and the lobby so potential clients could walk past and be impressed with our sophistication.  I never worked in that room, but I knew people who did.  They said it was actually a pain in the ass to work in there because while they always had the newest hardware, that also meant they were also always fixing bugs in the new machines and that everything in there felt like it was for show instead of actually being useful for the business.  Which I'm guessing was probably close to the truth.  

In the next image I've got going here (just above this paragraph) is the lobby from the right side.  You can't see Duke's keyboard or mouse (yeah, I cemented the mouse to the desk- it isn't going anywhere, and I decided it was a wireless mouse, so I didn't have to make any kind of cord between it and some part of the desk.) You can see the Exit, keypad and security screens decals here.  I think we kind of have a love triangle going on here between Scarlet, Ripcord and Snake Eyes.  Sorry Rip, I've got my money on SE.  He's got the strong silent type thing *down*.  Nothing personal, but that is what Scarlet is into and I don't think anyone can compete in that arena with Snake Eyes.

Helix, Mainframe, Cover girl and Red Shirt process their feeds.
Ok- Next image is of the TOC from the left side  Yes, the first thing I will always see here is the fact that the right most screen of Cover Girl's workstation is about 1/16th of an inch lower than her other computers.  I could try to pull the screen off and re-cement it, but the desk itself is *extremely* fragile, and comes disconnected from the rest of the dio if you look at it too hard, much less try to pull a piece of cemented styrene off of it.  I have thought about redoing that screen many times, but the fear of having to fix who knows what else keeps me from doing it.  I'll just have to live with the results, even if it gives me the heebie jeebies. I think Mainframe and Helix would make a good team together.  Helix strikes me as a kind of computer wizkid, and Mainframe looks ever the tech guru, like the kind of guy who writes COBOL code in his sleep, whereas she is more a Ruby on Rails kind of girl.  Yes, I don't think you'd ever seen developers or engineers working a TOC in real life, but its a flavor thing.  More than techie, I am going for a non-combat look in the TOC, and there aren't many non-combat looking figures in the GI JOE universe.  Beggars can't be choosers.

Never a dull moment.
Here it is- the entire thing on one overhead shot.  I don't know if I mentioned it before, but all the chairs swivel. None of them can turn a full 360 because the back of the chair bumps up against the desk, but none of the chair backs will hit each other in this dio, so I can have my TOC staffers turn to each other for a conversation or have Cover Girl or Mainframe twist to check out the computers next to them on the desk.  Everyone could turn toward the back of the room if they needed to give General Hawk their full attention.  Duke, in his security desk seat, can spin there too.  It gives a little action feature capacity to what is otherwise a cool but utterly frozen in time diorama.

Well, that is it for this project.  I'm thrilled with how it went, and I hope you like the results.  I do have some plans for a next project- Dr. Mindbender is going to get a robotics lab from Cobra Commander and work on the next generation of cobra food soldier there.  Before I work on that project, I may work on the long neglected Clipper custom.  I should give that one some time.  It has been sitting on the edge of my workstation for a long time now.  ::sigh:: that means I'm going to have to brush paint again.  We'll see how that goes.

Until next time,

David D.


  1. Dave! This is fantastic! It turned out great. I'm always impressed by the cool stuff Vexar cooks up. I dig your Mainframe and Helix pairing, by the way!

    (Also, I want to apologize for not making the post about your Workshop on the A25U blog yet. I will do it, though! I just haven't done it yet. Heck, I didn't even get around to making a post about last month's Batteries Not Included comic...)

  2. 1337- Thanks man. And don't worry about the post. You've got plenty on your plate. I am in awe of your ability to put out a comic a week with all the work that goes into each strip, not to mention Batteries Not Included, which is pure brilliance, by the way. (cue Guile's theme).