The ideation process from today mostly dealt with the wings and shields functionality.
Please note that all images shown below are purely for my ideation/problem solving process. Meaning that actual forms, proportions and so on are not done yet in any way. These forms were used to figure out basic mechanical relationships.
Since I am sure I will not be able to describe my thought process in detail during the next days (not really much time left), I will use this post to at least explain what I tried to figure out today
As stated in my post from yesterday, my creature uses his front legs as shields. These are meant for 1) blocking the entrance to the colony (if needed) and 2) as shields whilst fighting an enemy (both alone and in formation with others). After trying out some variations, I decided to use two leg pairs as frontal shields. This means that the total number of pairs gets to 4 (2 front pairs as shields, 1 pair as striking weapons and 1 pair as hindlegs for walking/balance). I was not sure at first, but 4 makes it easier to problem-solve in such a short time and gives me more possibilities in regards to attack and defense moves.
Based on this decision and since I wanted to let this creature be somewhat insectoid (4 pairs is one pair of legs too much for insects), I adjusted the wings as well: 3 pairs of wings. (normally insects have 3 leg pairs and 2 or 1 pairs of wings).
After doing this, I started with working on the functionality of the wings:
Image 03: Ideation process of the wings/shields
As you can see, my main goal was to solve three problems (nice to have 3 wing pairs for that):
1) Shield coming from above/sides to work with the front legs
2) Warning coloration (more about that below)
3) Protection for abdomen (with all the vital organs)
For point 1) I took the first wing pair. As in beetles and some other insects hardened wings (called elytra, pl. for elytron) often are used as protecting shields for the actual flying wings underneath. So that's what my guard is going to do as well, just not for flying wings. More on that under the next image:
Image 04: Basic first wing shield functionality
The hardened wings should protect the creature from the front and the sides. Since his "sneaky" attacks are going to make it move the front-shields (legs) somewhat to the sides, I wanted a more flexible shield articulated at a higher point to assist in sitations like that. I'll work on the attack moves during the next days. I hope all of this will make more sense then
Image 05: Rising the warning coloration=diversion
I wanted to give my creature some deversion techniques to make the enemy look away when the actual attack comes. For this reason the second pair of wings is going to be used as some sort of "rising surface" with some kind of warning coloration. In a non-confrontation sitation the first wing pair covers the second one from above and protects those. (see Image 04: A - Top view). Especially since they need to be very light and have quite a bit of hair/feathers hanging on them. After the first wing pair rotates to the sides and opens up the space above the second pair, these rise up and stretch out all the hair/feathers. This way they create a much larger surface -> silhouette of creature changes much more drastically -> better diversion + intimidation effect takes place. What I figured out after creating this sheet is that the wings should probably rotate whilst rising up. Meaning: the actual underside should be shown to the enemy. This way the underside can be very colorful without being visible from above in normal posture. Also: the natural curve will aid aiming at the enemy and taking up more of his visual space. (see image 03 for more of my thought process on that).
As far as protecting the abdomen goes, it is pretty much one of the most important tasks. Because of that I'll give the creature the third wing pair just for that. They work as elytra just like the first pair, but are reserved for protecting the abdomen only. There is not much movement envolved in the last wing pair so far. (Pair 3 is not visualized in the sheets above).
Aside from all the wing functionality, I blocked out the main parts/movements from the striking arms retracted/hidden behind the front legs/shields.
Image 06: Striking arms: Basic movement
Since my creature is a "special" version of the guards/soldiers in his colony and has both kinds of striking arms, I wanted both of them to be as similar as possible in their functionality. Even though one will be for spearing/stabbing the enemy and the other one for blunt force (see Image 02 from yesterday), the first segments of the arms should be quite similar. Main muscle force is needed for thrusting the striking end to the front. (I have some ideas on how the spear could be used to actually work as a hook, but that's more a "nice-to-have" in this project since the deadline is quite tight).
As you can see above, the spear-arm has one segment more thant the hammer-arm. The tarsus (last main segment on an insect's leg, followed by the more passive metatarsi) is the actual spear. In the hammer version the tarsus is not visible. I wanted to give the creature the possibility to choose how much surface will hit the enemy, thus how much concentration of force is needed at one point (for cracking exoskeletons and so on). For this reason the tibia is going to work as the main hammer. If a smaller contact point is needed, the tarsus will retract and sit tightly on the round/hammer part of the tibia. This is not visible in the image above since - just as the hook for the spearing arm - it is a nice-to-have for this project.
Other than that, I'll have to change the joint connection between the femur and tibia, since otherwise there is not much space for the joint to open up, thus reach further to the enemy. One of the main inspirations for these weapons is the Mantis shrimp btw. (I'll add an inspiration list during the next days.)