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Building the

My initial 3-view drawing, base for the model

When designing the pig, I wrote that it's questionable, whether I will be able to create a rat model, as my life had been changed at the time. And when the time did come it turned out it was again a time of tumultuous change, because in August of 2019, my wife and I had decided to move back to China.
Toward the end of the year, I was alone in my parents house giving away, selling off and trashing my household for the house to be sold. When I moved to Germany I had sworn if I ever go out into the world again, not to leave an entire household behind.
Being alone for such a long time was an advantage to paper modelling. Not only could I finally release the Tweet, but also made progress on other yet unreleased models. And I had time to create a rat model as well.

I thought I could get this over with quickly, remembering how I like to believe to have created the chicken on three weekends. But one easily underestimates the amount of work going into even such simple models. After making an initial 3-view, a first draft in Sketchup was quickly done. But wanting to do it too quickly actually led to the problems that in the end required a second test build.


The first version of the rat, note how the hip touches the ground.


I had considered an even more reduced version without actual legs, but then went for the version as it then turned out, with a leg and hip structure similar to my earlier dog model.

Full view of the first version in Sketchup.

I unfolded the parts and brought them together in Freehand for the test build version. I gave this version a test build, see the photos below. But I was not quite satisfied with it: The ears were too close to the eyes. I checked back with the photos of rats I had based my 3-view on and decided to move the ears more backward. This meant I had to unfold the neck part and the ear a second time.
Another thing I was not satisfied with was the paw of the foreleg. It was curved outward, which seemed very strange, so I modified the foreleg and unfolded it a second time.
The second version. Ears have been moved more to the back...   ...and the hip no longer touches the ground

But the first test build had another, much bigger problem: In the first version, I had dragged the hip all the way down to the base (the ground so to speak) and this section did not just not fit very well, it was a minor disaster. So I modified the hip. This necessitated a lot of additional unfolding, which wouldn't have been such a pain if at least Sketchup (or was it the unfold plugin) wouldn't constantly create bugs and even crash.
I actually built both test builds on two consecutive days, which was very sportive as I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible. But it's kind of tiring to do it in such a way, modelling should be joy.

Both test builds pose together. Note how they are 1:1 scale   Head of the second test build, note the original and modified position of the ear. Note also how the paw of the first build (left) is curved outward.

Bottom view of both test builds, note the hole in the hip at the joint, where it touched the ground.

The second test build went together well enough and I could then go ahead with creating a versions master, including the eyes and paw details.
From there on it was easy to create various colour versions and the Chinese New Year version, which I could finish before the western New year, publishing a preview shot of the model page on New Year's day.
Having also built the final version I was hoping for some sun to take nice photos, but no time was left. On a not so dark German winter day I took the shots which are now in the gallery and I am not pleased with them, but they will have to do.
On January 6th I left my parents house forever to fly to yet another new life in China.
But creating a model is not all, not only a rat model has a rat's tail (pun intended): Create instructions, create previews, create webpages, create a nice review of the design process. This was done in the weeks after arriving in China and I was able to release before the Chinese New Year, which came early in 2020.
Looking forward to the Ox model for 2021, this is one I am eager to do, but I will have to see, because I do not have a strong desire to do another one in buggy Sketchup. Also, now that I have returned to China, I may have a better audience for Chinese New Year/ Chinese Zodiac models, so it will certainly be worth to try.
The entire mischief.
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