About the same time I was building Q another mecha builder, Mladen Pejic made “Mirage”. Mirage is a bipedal mecha with the usual mecha features; however Mirage had something extra. It exuded a sense of menace, intelligence, purpose. I hadn’t seen a model have “personality”, and I was blown away. Mirage has influenced me more than any other single model. I decided from that my models would also have personality.
Then I found about 50 large Insectoid legs on Bricklink. Suddenly ideas started forming. I knew I wanted a much more organic centipede looking mecha. I took the attitude of Mirage, the head of an Alien, Insectoid legs, segmented body parts, and the undercarriage of a Sentinel. What became known as the Cankerworm was born.
I started on the head, making the mouth first. I knew I’d use the mouth to gauge the rest of the model. While working on the head I decided that, like Alien I would leave out eyes. I also wanted to make the veins that are part of Alien’s neck.
This was also the first model where I assigned each color a tissue type. White is bone, light grey is skin, dark grey is exoskeleton, black is sinew, and red is soft tissue. I wasn’t sure the color scheme would work well. The colors blended well though and seemed to balance each other out.
Next I started work on the body segments. Each segment is actually a horizontal octagon made of click hinges. Then the top was made into half an octagon while the bottom was made a hexagon. Essentially this made two perpendicular interlocked circles, each circle supporting the other. What I ended up with was a very strong, hollow shape. These were then skinned and connected via Throwbot gearboxes.
I made the front legs last making them look like elephant feet. I thought the thick, stomping look of the feet fit the rest of the worm well.
Fully built the Cankerworm is six feet long from nose to tail. It can be moved by two people without taking it apart. That said the weakest part of the model is found where the tails segments connect to the torso. I had not accounted for the steep angle the tail segments would need to allow the model to stand. The tail tends to pull back on the whole worm too much though the head counterbalances this pull somewhat. I think if I was to do anything to the Cankerworm I’d build an intermediate section between the torso and the tail to solve this problem. Maybe then we’d have to call it the Cankerdog.
Here’s a funny fact. The Cankerworm was originally named the BMW. It was an inside joke which stood for Big Maggot Wagon. Then I read the word Cankerworm in the book of Job and thought it conveyed the feel of the model well. It just sounds yucky doesn’t it?
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