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1:100 Macross Destroid "Spartan" MBR-07-Mk. I; "S7 (s/n 330 517)" a.k.a. “Martha Ann” of the U.N. Spacy Ground Forces, 2009 (Whif/Modified Imai kit)

(PID:50192986972) Source
posted by alias Dizzyfugu on Wednesday 5th of August 2020 05:56:40 PM

+++ DISCLAIMER +++ Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based on historical facts. BEWARE! Some background: The Spartan was born as a humanoid-type weapon from the United Nations Military ambulatory weapons program. The MBR-07 Spartan was the second-place participant, the winning design became the Main Battle Robot-Series 04 family of Destroids that included the Tomahawk and specialized variants like the Defender and the Phalanx. The Spartan and its unique chassis had been specifically designed for close hand-to-hand combat, and therefore produced a less prolific family of battle robots for the U.N. Spacy - even though it filled a vital, tactical niche that the 04 family simply could not fill. Unlike the MBR-04 series, the MBR-07 Spartan series was developed jointly by Centinental and the Kransmann Group. Another significant divergence from the MBR-04 series was the absence of any auxiliary generator, due to the increased power of the main engine. The rugged silhouette had a wide range of motion in addition to the swivel capability of the waist and wrists, making the 07 chassis much more agile than the rather static 04 basis, and its structure could absorb a lot of physical punishment. Development of the MBR-07 followed one year and two months after the first MBR-04 series Destroids began design in 2003. The Spartan then entered trial production in February 2005, and, by January 2008, the first serial production Mk. I units were rolled out and handed over to frontline units. The Spartan Mk. I was, true to its original design and mission philosophy, fully dedicated to hand-to-hand combat. As such, the initial Mk. I variant relied - except for a pair of Bifors missile launcher clusters with 12 self-guided short/mid-range rockets per launcher in the shoulders - on direct enemy contact with hand strikes, blocks and kicks. Only a massive combat mace was available as an optional auxiliary weapon, the Destroid’s large hands precluded the use of other hand weapons like the GU-11 gun pod from the VF-1 Valkyrie fighter. While this form of martial arts attacks delivered critical blows to Zentraedi and their mecha, this rather limited tactical configuration soon turned out to leave the initial Spartans vulnerable to air and mid-range attacks. In consequence, the armament suite was quickly augmented, leading to the Spartan Mk. II, which became the primary production and service variant. The Mk. II update included a pair of Mauler RQV-10 anti-aircraft laser guns, mounted in a remote-controlled barbette on top of the hull that covered the complete upper hemisphere, and a retractable Astra TZ-IV gun cluster featuring a laser gun, a 32 mm machine cannon, a 180 mm grenade launcher, a 12.7 mm Machine Gun and a flamethrower – the same installation that was also used in the MBR-04 Tomahawk. Since close combat was still the Spartan’s primary mission, the versatile weapon array was hidden and protected under a newly designed forward central hatch, which necessitated a reconstructed upper body section with a set-back cockpit. In this form, the Spartan Mk. II entered mass production, and all early Mk. I units produced until May 2008 were later, during normal overhauls or during repairs, upgraded to Mk. II units. However, these converted Mk. Is remained easy to recognize because they typically retained the original leg design with four horizontal ribs on the lower legs instead of just two oblique reinforcements on the Mk. II production models. However, there was no differentiating designation between the old and new Mk. II Spartans, since the Destroids were all the same “under the hood”. From the start, the Spartan was popular among its pilots and maintenance crews, and it was easy for a VF pilot to handle because the VF Battroid mode cockpit was actually based upon the MBR-07’s design concept. Although the Spartan achieved high mobility performance, problems developing the engine and power transmission system delayed production and early models were prone to fail under harsh battle conditions that called for sustained high-power output. With the introduction of the Mk. II, however, these problems had been eradicated. Considerable numbers of Spartans were built and deployed to the front lines due to high acclaim for its operation, which combined heavy armor, high mobility and a good protection level for the pilot. The Spartan was also actively used in suppression of Zentraedi insurgencies (e. g. during the Highlander City airport incident in late 2011) and served with U.N. Spacy frontline units until 2012. General characteristics: Equipment Type: main battle robot, series 07 Government: U.N. Spacy Manufacturer: Centinental/Kransmann Introduction: June 2008 Accommodation: 1 pilot only Dimensions: Height: 11.31 meters (to shoulder), 11.27 meters (overall) Length: 6.1 meters Width: 8.3 meters Mass: 28.2 metric tons Power Plant: Gigenheimer Roy DT2004 thermonuclear reactor, developing 3.200 shp Propulsion: 1x quadruple rocket nozzle installed beneath the engine cover in the rear chassis, for increased mobility, plus several vernier nozzles around the hull for Zero-G manoeuvers Armament: 2x Norman Banks CH2-TYPED claw hand with 5-finger manipulators 2x Bifors close-in self-guided rocket launcher with 12 rockets per launcher 1x optional metallic club (for hand-to-hand combat) The kit and its assembly: This modified 1:100 Destroid Spartan was inspired by a line art drawing found in the source book “Macross Perfect Memory”, showing an early Mk. I variant of this unique and somewhat odd-looking mecha. I had this build on my agenda for a while (read: at least 10 years…) and already stashed away a vintage Arii kit from the 15th Macross anniversary edition released in the late Nineties. Apparently, the Spartan Mk. I primarily differs from its better-known later sibling through a simplified central body section, giving it an even more hunchbacked silhouette, and upon closer inspection of the benchmark drawing I also found detail differences on the lower legs. Otherwise, the Mk. II kit could be used OOB, just with some general detail upgrades, since the vintage Arii kit is not without (a lot of) weaknesses. For the different legs, the original oblique ribs in the calves were sanded away, the surfaces evened-out, and four more or less horizontal ribs per calf were added, made from styrene profile material. The same stuff was also used to add vertical ribs on front and back of the calves – a general Spartan detail that the 1:100 kit lacks. Creating the new central body section was more demanding. In order to retain the original attachment points, I just cut away the central body’s front half, retaining the rounded, lower “floor” plate as a connection to the hips, which remained OOB. The new front end was fully scratched; at its core it consists of a (clear) protective cover for a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush head, with a slit cut out. A round insert, a piece from an aircraft model display, was glued into the opening from behind. In order to blend this core donor part into the rest of the body and to mimic the Mk. I’s outlines from the drawing, I added side fairings that were cut from 1.5mm styrene sheet, plus a chin fairing made of 0.5mm sheet. The rest was filled with putty and sculpted as good as possible after the only benchmark sketch of the Spartan Mk. I had at hand. While the result looks a little tweedy (the visor slit appears to be a little too large and the chin became quite wide and edgy), I think that the overall look is not too bad for such a scratch attempt? The Spartan Mk. II’s laser barbette disappeared and more ribs, again made from styrene profiles, were added to the lower “cheeks”. The cockpit hatch came from the Mk. II kit and was blended into the upper hull through PSR – the benchmark drawing does not show it, but the perspective might hide it and I’d assume that the Mk. I Spartan would certainly have a similar cockpit to the Mk. II. The small sensor “head unit” behind the cockpit was fully scratched, too, from styrene profile material and some leftover bits. So far, so good, but some general words of warning concerning the Arii Spartan kit: while the small model already features “modern” details like vinyl caps for many of its joints, this is neither an easy nor a pretty build. Fit is mediocre at best and you will have to PSR practically every seam. Furthermore, the model generally lacks some important surface details which apparently fell victim to an easy production – even the bigger 1:72 kit is missing them! Furthermore, the green styrene of my specimen turned out to be quite brittle – this might the a sign of age, though, since my model was more than 20 years old. For instance, the bolts that hold the arms in their vinyl-capped joints immediately sheared off upon first dry-fitting! Critical damage… The same happened to the pen that holds the upper body to the hip section with a ball joint (actually not providing much mobility, though). Oh, and, by the way, the legs do notoriously not hold well (if at all) to their hip joints – they simply tend to fall off. Together with a rather concave/toed-in leg position from the hips downwards, this is another general flaw of the 1:100 kit – except for major modifications I have no other idea how to improve this. On this build I did not do anything about this problem, though. In order to save the arms and keep the mobile I rigorously drilled up the original joints with the hidden vinyl caps and replaced them fully with 6mm styrene tubes. The bolts on the inner arms were also fully replaced with 4mm styrene tubes that fit snuggly into the new 6mm fairings. The broken hip ball joint was replaced by a prosthetic carved from more durable sprue material, glued to the central pen. Nerve-wrecking, but fortunately invisible problems. While opening the shoulder rocket launchers is a general option for any Spartan kit (the interior would have to be fully scratched, though), I did not invest the work into this Mk. I conversion – primarily because I already did this stunt on an authentic/improved Mk. II model. Concerning armament, builders should be warned that the 1:100 kit (also) completely lacks the retractable weapon cluster that is hidden under the openable “nose hood”. This has to be scratched if the builder wants to display the Spartan Mk. II with blazing internal guns. The 1:72 kit is better in this respect, the gun cluster is even retractable, but even this model has lots of space for improvement. A further weak point is the interior of the missile launchers’ exhaust ports: a vertical seam runs through them, and there’s hardly a chance to avoid that visible flaw unless you replace the interior or, as I did, hide the weak spots under some plastic mesh. Furthermore, all Imai/Arii Spartan kits lack the Destroid’s optional but very characteristic battle mace – and since the Mk. I only carries limited internal weaponry, I decided to scratch one for my model. It was created from styrene tubes and profiles, plus parts from a syringe needle protective cover. It was built in two parts, so that it can be put into the Spartan’s hands on demand. Painting and markings: The Destroid Spartan comes almost invariably in an overall dark green livery, with (very) light grey hands and missile launcher covers and a red “nose hood” for the hidden weapon cluster. However, in episode 15 of the Macross TV series, a blue Spartan Mk. II makes an appearance, and I used this alternative livery as an inspiration for my Mk. I conversion. The paint scheme remained simple, though, and I went for an overall dark petrol blue (Humbrol 77 Navy Blue) as basic color. The light grey highlights were painted with RAL 7035 (Humbrol 196). Since the Mk.I lacks the Mk II’s characteristic red “nose hood”, I also painted the missile launcher exhausts in light grey for more overall contrast. The visor and the optic in the sensor turret were laid out with silver and painted with translucent green paint. Visible joint covers on the legs (hips and knees) were covered with paper tissue, drenched with thinned white glue, in order to add some volume and fill the wide gaps esp. in the knee openings, and painted black (Revell 06, RAL 7021 Tar Black) for good contrast to the dark blue hull. The hull was thoroughly weathered with a heavier black ink wash and a total of three dry brushing turns: the first, generous treatment with Revell 79 (RAL 7031, a rather bluish blue-grey), followed by the second turn around the edges with Humbrol 79 (Blue Grey, quite similar to RAL 7031 but more greyish). Decals followed next, mostly taken from the OOB sheet, just with a few extra stencils, the red tactical code from a Destroid Tomahawk on the “nose”, and the "Martha Ann” nose art on the left calf (which belongs to a WWII A-26 Invader, taken from a PrintScale sheet). On top of that, a final dry-brushing turn, this time with Humbrol 157 (RAF Azure Blue), was added, before the model was sealed with acrylic matt varnish. At this late stage I eventually added some fine red lines to the calves, cut from 1mm decal stripes. I found after dry-fitting the major components, that the model lacked some color contrast to the all-over blue (the lack of the red nose hood changes the Spartan’s look considerably), and I think these small red highlights help somewhat? These markings appear on the Spartan Mk. II (too), but they are not included in the OOB sheet, so that I had to improvise again. Before final assembly, I additionally dry-brushed the lower leg and arm edges with aluminum and light grey, simulating wear from close combat. Dust on the lower hull areas was finally simulated with grey-brown mineral pigments, carefully dabbed onto the model with a dry, soft brush. The result of this model conversion turned out to be a little ambiguous: creating a Mk. I Spartan is not too easy, and my built is certainly not perfect – but I think that the model conveys the general outlines well. After all, I only had limited reference material at hand, and the donor parts define to a certain degree what can be achieved. The blue livery suits the Spartan well, even though – due to the lack of the characteristic red nose hood – it looks a little dull and uniform? Nevertheless, a nice addition to my Macross mecha collection, also as a sister ship to my (authentic) Spartan Mk. II model. The Destroid family keeps growing. :D

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  • Published 01.29.23
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