Do-It-Yourself 1/20 Ma.K. Scratch-Build

(a.k.a. "How To Make A Heinrich Without the Kit")

Just as a one-stop guide to scratch-building a Heinrich, I’ve compiled the following and posted it over at FineScale…

Left side: Scratch-build / Right side: Nitto PKA "Heinrich"

I recently suggested that, if someone were anxious for a Maschinen Krieger "ground suit" (other than those five different A.F.S. variations), they should try their hand at building their own. It’s probably easier than you think to build something resembling the PKA H0/H1 suit, with only one kit being a true "requirement" to get started.

I’ll walk you through the steps I took to make my own, but I’ll also remind you that there are far better modelers out there than I (as if that wasn’t readily apparent), and I hope this inspires you to (1) Try your hand at scatch-building a suit, and (2) Go with the flow and let your own creativity guide you. I’ll also note that this is not a 100% scratch-build, but I will point out where I used "stock" Ma.K. parts and what could be used for substitutions. I also need to note that this isn’t a "canon" Heinrich. It’s just my own little variant.

The Torso – The first thing you’ll need is a 1/48 Hughes OH-6/500D helicopter model, like this:

At last check, there were three different versions of this heli at–all made by Academy. I’d recommend the 500D, as it also has a number of other useful parts for Ma.K. scratch-builds, but that’s just me. As of this writing, I’ve actually started three separate Heinrich-style scratch-builds, but only one is finished. So I’ll mainly be referring to that one, but will point out others as appropriate.

The first step is to glue the main section of the heli together–skipping the interior/exterior details:

From there, you’ll need to cut it down to the size of the Ma.K. torso. The easiest way is to compare it to an actual Ma.K. kit, but you can certainly just "eyeball" it, too. If you’re going for canon-accuracy, you’ll also want to remove the rotor housing (like so), but it’s not necessary as it was more-or-left as is on the Ma.K. "Gustav" suit.

On my completed build, I made it closed canopy, but you can certainly do an open canopy as well. You’ll just need to come up with mechanical details for the cockpit area. For the closed cockpit, you just seal everything up, cut the torso, apply lots of putty, and then sand till you’ve pretty-well wiped out all the seams.

For the open cockpit… In this build, I used parts from a 1/12 motorcycle, a 1/72 B-25J, and plain old Evergreen styrene. I then added a seat, using a section of the "floor" from that same helicopter kit–with some bits of styrene added on.

For the rear of the torso (the "engine"), just make something up. 1/12 motorcycle kits are a great source of parts–as are 1/72 armor builds. Here’s a tacked-together engine I put together for an open cockpit. The exhaust pipe came from an AFS, but there’s a very similar piece that can be pulled from the heli kit. And here’s what I used for the closed cockpit version. Motorcycle parts, 1/72 T34 road wheel, styrene, and Milliput (for the welds).

The shoulders were just styrene pipe, cut to shape. 

Once all that was done, I took a handy-dandy jar of "Mr. Surfacer 500" (a favorite amongst armor modelers) and just dabbed it on using an old brush for that "cast iron" appearance. Here’s a giant picture of the results. Please note that not everything needs that cast texture. I just gave it to the torso itself while leaving the engine, shoulders, windows, and chest protrusion un-textured.

For the front of the torso, I just added on a few pieces that seemed to fit. I can’t even remember where they all came from. I know there were a couple from that 1/72 B-25J and one from the heli kit. I also stuck some brass and random bits to that box/viewfinder, but I can’t remember where I pulled them from. I just "made it up as I went".

A Call to Arms (or for arms… whatever)

The arms were simple. Just styrene pipe. I used a hobby-sized pipe cutter to cut the styrene to length (and also used it to get the upper arms a "seam"). I added some pieces of styrene pipe to the upper arms, just for some additional detail. From there, I used the standard hobby knife to give it some seams, filled the arms with Milliput (later learning that using resin to fill them would have been better/easier), and drilled 1/16" holes into the center of the arms so that they could be "posed" using pieces of copper wire bent to shape. Here’s the results.

The "gun" was actually a recast of the Raptor gun, with details sanded away and then fiddly bits added back on. In lieu of Ma.K. parts, you can just grab the TOW launcher from that 1/48 heli, seeing as it was the donor part for the Gustav’s gun-arm, anyways.

The right hand was another Ma.K. scavenged part. As a substitute, you can use a 1/144 Bandai Zeon-style hand (the B-Club parts work best). Of course, you can always just make your own, too. I made the hand pictured here from a Gundam "Master Grade" hand, styrene, and other odds & ends.

For the arm joints, I used Milliput sculpting putty, water, and a toothpick. Just wrap the putty around the wire, mold it roughly into shape with your finger, gouge out some creases with the point of the toothpick and roll others using the toothpick as a teeny-tiny rolling pin. After that, just use a paintbrush to brush water over the Milliput joints–this will smooth out any hard lines. And here’s my results for that.

Looking at the picture in the above link, a couple other miscellaneous notes… The shoulder "armor" was a pair of fake fingernails, cut down on one side. The skirt holders on the sides of the torso were L-shaped styrene (with some tiny styrene rod cut to the shape of bolt-heads). The front "skirt" was a ping pong ball. And, while I used Ma.K. pieces for the side skirts, these can also be attained via a hacked up ping pong ball. The rear skirt is straight, and was just made from a thicker piece of sheet styrene.

Giving Him A Leg To Stand On (or two!)
The legs are the part of this guy that I’m the least happy with, but they work–and they’re probably also the least noticed part of the finished build.

For the upper part of the legs, I cut two pieces of square styrene tube at an angle, as this best reflects the kit pieces. From there, I used a hobby knife to cut vertical seams into the sides, and added some thin styrene pieces to represent latches.

For the lower legs, I used styrene tube, again with the seam & latches. As with the arms, I filled both leg sections with resin, drilled out 1/16" holes, and connected them with wire. Here’s what it looked like. On the back of the lower legs, I cut out a piece of styrene pipe and attached it, to represent the rear ankle armor.

For the knees, I used styrene tube and some rounded piece I found in the shelving section of a local building supply store. The gray parts in the picture (where the cables attach) were just cut up pieces of some drop tank from a 1/72 aircraft model.

The feet on the PKA H0/H1 are simple affairs, so I just sculpted them from Milliput. I used the inside curve of a smaller fake fingernail to give the front a more uniform appearance. I also used a fair amount of putty & sanding to try to achieve a uniform appearance. The outer ankle armor was styrene attached to styrene rod. The "inner armor" on the insides of the feet was just thin styrene with two holes poked in it with a push pin. Simple, but effective.

As a nearly-last step in the construction phase, I simply added some hoses from Mechaskunk. In retrospect, I’m not happy with their gravity-defying appearance, but oh well… They’re eye-catching, at any rate.

After I got done slinging some paint and pulling decals out of the spares bin, he looked more like this:

Walkaround: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Other shots: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Everything was hand-painted in Tamiya acrylics. Washes with the same. Dry-brushing provided the weathering. Decals were from the spares bin, with a German WWI aircraft decal giving him his (Ma.K. canon) unit marking.

This build was done over nine months ago, and I learned a lot in the process. There’s just as many "what-not-to-do" examples in here as anything else. In other words, I know he has mistakes which I have no intention of repeating. He’s basically a proof-of-concept.

In Closing… I’d just like to thank everyone at for their continuous input towards my build. The guys there are much better at this than I am. I’d also like to thank FichtenFoo for his input and insprational builds. I’m open to any questions, comments, or constructive criticisms you care to make. And I hope this helps give some folks a direction to look if they feel the insane compulsion to try this on their own. Finally, here’s where he ended up–next to a 95% scratch-built S.A.F.S.

I tested the limits of my own sanity by doing that S.A.F.S. scratch-build in seven days… Never again.


2 Responses to Do-It-Yourself 1/20 Ma.K. Scratch-Build

  1. Emmanuel says:

    you can use kinder eggs the effect is very similar, see this page

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