I am constantly aware that the robot will be the least appealing part of attempting to make a streamlined, Hasegawa-like YF-19 transform. Since I am giving more importance to the nice shape of the plane than the nice shape of the robot, I have become used to it. But every time I transform it, I feel like there’s something missing. Actually, many places that look hollow.
The gullet takes care of most part of those empty spaces once the robot is transformed. You can see it in the original sketches by Shoji Kawamori. He knew it had to have that gullet, which makes the plane look a bit chubby in my opinion. The plane, whenever it was a plane only, felt light, fast and thin. But in those shots where it transforms, you can clearly see the gullet has to exist there.
This apparent contradiction of shape is possible in anime because magic. But it annoys the hell outta me, since I’m trying to make this make sense in a realistic mechanical rig. So the chest looks huge, the legs, feet and head are tiny, the wings are humongous and there’s a lot of empty spaces I need to fill up someway.
For starters, the chest area goes down a lot more in the toy and the anime, making a rounded shape that looks nice. But if I had that bulk in mine, it would trespass the intakes and be very visible in plane configuration, which is not the idea.
So that forces me to make it work with that flat very wide area of the chest, too big, too long and too short. I can think of a way to introduce a panel that comes down from it, creating more volume when it goes into robot.
That’s my current level of obsession. I can’t make it look more like the anime without changing the shape of the plane. So I’m making up hidden mechanics and possible ways to achieve the shape anyway. Among the panels I need is something to cover the canopy completely with the backpack, since they don’t have a shape that would work to do that (canopy is rounded, backpack is square). So I came up with an idea of hidden plaques that come out from the backpack, creating a layer of protection so the canopy is enclosed (and the pilot safe-ish).
Some other things, like the crotch and the underside need to be covered with extra armour, and also the backpack needs to be connected somehow with the body. I go part by part, creating new surfaces and making specific bones to control them, and slowly shape the final shape of the robot.
Then, the head needs to not be floating in a huge hole, so I make extra panels that come out from underneath and make the protection. I’ll detail them later, for now they just look like simple boxes.
And a bit of the backpack connection to the underside, based on the toy.