Spirit is finished.
The last part I had to do was making the small arm up front with the RAT tool head. It contains a abrasive tool to scrape the surface off of rocks with a drill-like apparatus. In real life, it is as big as an average soda can. Here, it is a little bit smaller. I made it from pieces of brass tube and cardboard. I painted it in an aluminium colour first but after that I weathered it with a watered down mix of red and black acrylics, like I did with other parts of the rover's surfaces.
I have also cast the diorama. More on the RAT arm and the casting after the jump.
Here's one for size reference:
The Rock Abrasion Tool under construction:
And here painted and with a still too long part of the arm added.
Spirit's underside: weathered. And lots of it won't even be visible any more whet she is finally put into place in her diorama setting. This is why the bottom part of the wheels were allowed to be a bit more crude. sand paper is not easy to glue, you know. The wheels will be immersed in the sand for a big part.
So, here's the diorama setting itself. I made about 500ml of gypsum and poured, or rather scooped it into the mould I made. I put in a clay stone on the side because I thought that might look good but in the end I decided against it. But in these pictures it still is there. The dark matter you see is dark fine grainy sand. I just experimented a bit, I wanted to see what it would do. If it would speed up the drying process (it did not) and whether it would stick to the gypsum (it did). After drying it kind of looked like the dirty ice of a glacier. Kind of good, even for an (Ant)arctic scene. But it would get a reddish colouring all the same here, because Mars.
However, the gypsum did not reach all of the mould's nooks and crannies and I was left with some nasty looking crevices. The cast (including the cardboard structure it was moulded in) easily came loose from its hardboard base so I could inspect it better - and also repair the crevices easier.
Oh yeah: This blog now has had 15.000 views! Amazing! Thanks so much, all of you, for watching and showing interest in what I do. I really do appreciate it.