Patlabor +++ 1:60 Schaft Enterprise Europe Type-10P "Michael I" in German Police service (Whif/Bandai kit conversion) - WiP
The kit and its assembly:
Traditions can be nice to keep up, and this build is actually a kind of serial project: in 2015, a group build under the motto "De-/Militarize it" ran at whatifmodellers.com, and I submitted a thorough conversion of a 1:60 "SEE Type-7 Brocken" Labor it from Bandai – a pure military Labor turned into a firefighting mecha.
Now, in early 2021, the “Blue Lights” group build ran, and Patlabor – an anime near-SF universe circling around robot-assisted police work – lent itself for another mecha submission. I had an AV-X0 prototype as well as two Ingram kits in store, but I wanted “something different” and also not a Japanese police Labor, since I had just built a fictional Daihatsu Move police car of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. So, the choice fell on the “Phantom” kit as basis, what called for considerable modifications. The “Phantom” is actually an unmanned robot, but I found its stature quite intimidating and more plausible for a non-Japanese police Labor than e. g. a re-badged AV-X0.
At an early stage I already settled for a German police Labor, and took inspiration in some heavier vehicles that are operated by special units of the Bundespolizei, e.g. armored cars or water throwers. This also defined the Labor’s paint scheme (see below). However, the new police Labor’s design was far from certain, it gradually evolved while building the separate OOB elements. Thankfully, this 3rd generation mecha kit allows such a gradual progress, and step by step the details that had to be changed or scratched became clearer.
This primarily included:
A completely new head section; the Phantom has a kind of fixed "hood" with a relatively small and fixed "face unit" in its front. This would be changed into a free-standing head unit, like the standard Labors. I was lucky to find a leftover head unit from a “Helldiver”, an airborne military Labor from the same model universe – its pilot helmet added a tough look to my build, and I added some sensor booms from an Ingram, too. Some PSR went into the head’s re-design, too, and, in the end, it adds to the “riot control” look of my build.
The completely new head necessitated the complete removal of the original “hood” of the “Phantom” and its fixed, small head, and this gap had to be filled/framed with a scratched collar and a new attachment point for the new head. Later, the OOB “neck” element was integrated into the opening, and scratched hydraulic pistons filled void space.
In the same wake, a cockpit fairing was added to the chest, since this would become a manned vehicle, not a robot. This, as well as the collar, were sculpted with 2C putty.
In order to change the Labor’s hull shape a little more, I added a pair of headlights to the flanks of the breast – these are 1:24 car parts, left over from my recent Daihatsu Move build. The parts were fitted into holes, received a shiny backing with chrome foil (hard to tell through the protective grates, though) and were blended into the hull via PSR.
The pack with retractable boosters in the back as well as the extentable upper body (with the visible innards and the spinning blades hidden there) were omitted. Instead, I implanted a donor piece to the back (a back pack from an 1:144 Yha-Giga mecha from Megaro Zamac), which looks very mechanical (a heat exchanger, maybe?) and natural.
Furthermore, the openings for the “Phantom”’s original optical sensors in the chest were faired over.
New hands were deemed necessary; the OOB hands are much too slender and claw-like, and I was able to use the hands from an 1:24 PA-36HD (from Dorvack).
While raiding the donor banks I also came across suitable new shoulder guards, from an 1:144 “Serpent Custom” (Gundam). They replaced the OOB parts, they are taller and more edgy, which is against the “Phantom”’s rather organic design – but they were too good to be rejected, with consoles that would later carry flashlights (scratched) and louvres that could easily hide (and protect) sirens inside.
However, in order to integrate the new shoulder parts better into an overall look, I decided to modify the knee and elbow guards into a more squarish shape – with the help of styrene sheet and some (more) PSR. This stunt worked surprisingly well.
During this modification I also added hardpoints to the lower arms for equipment. I did not want a gun but rather fancied a riot shield and a baton. The right hand was modified to carry a stun baton, sourced from an Ingram kit, and the transparent shield was scratched from a mouth wash bottle.
Lots of work, but it was necessary to move the build away from its “Phantom” basis.