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Saturday, November 18, 2017

State of the blog 2017 and plans for 2018

2017:

With the release of the HG Bugu this month I have complete 20 kits this year! The last time I achieved this feat was in 2013! However, things are about to change. 

If you missed the live stream, or haven't seen the un-boxing or the subsequent WIP post then you won't know that I am currently working on the Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon. If you have seen the un-boxing, then you'll probably understand why the rate of content releases is going to slow down. The PG MF is a mind boggling large and detailed project, despite this I have made pretty stead progress on the build and it's almost entirely based coated!

On November 18th I am planning to be at Walt's Hobby Town in Syracuse NY at noon for the build day. I'll probably hang out and build for a few hours. If you're in the area and want to join the build day, consider stopping by.

In December I will kick off  the "colab project" with my Patrons on Patreon! Patrons will have the option to submit an entry for a collaborative project, where I'll paint a built kit they send me and mail it back! I'm going to start with one kit to begin with and create a schedule from there, it may become a recurring activity if it is well received.  If that sounds like an interesting event consider signing up as a Patron!


2018:


I'm calling 2018 the "Year of Giants". My plan is to tackle 4 large scale PG and MG kits in my backlog.  This plan almost certainly precludes completing kits in the rapid time frame you're probably used to. However if I can somehow overcome this task I'll finish the year off with another large build (PG Exia, HG Neo Zeong, MG The O, Who Knows?) and maybe a Patreon contest or giveaway...



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon WIP 1


Welcome to the first work in progress post for the Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon hereafter referred to as the PGMF.

This first post is going to focus more on goals, strategy and planning more than outright building.

If you haven't already seen the unboxing, check it out.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

HG Bugu Rambal Ral Custom


Introduction:

I started building the HG Bugu at the last build night. I didn't get far at the time but I could tell that this would be a good build with a fair bit of crossover with the Zaku and Gouf kits from the Origin series.

In the lore the MS-04 Bugu was developed from the MS-03 Waff. The Bugu was built with high performance in mind not affordability or production scale-ability. The Zaku 1 would later be developed from the Bugu, but would not perform at the same level.

Kit Talk:

I made a few basic detail mods to the kit. I added photo etched parts into the otherwise blank divots on the thighs, skirts and chest. A Kotobukiya detail piece was added to the inner visor as none of the Origin kits have a physical mono-eye part. I've used a different technique for this detail on every Origin build so far, but none of them (including this) have really felt right.



I made a Zaku 2 shoulder shield as a replacement/upgrade that might have been featured had we seen the Bugu later on into the Origin series.

 
The Bugu's stock color scheme is essentially one color, medium blue, and it's as boring as you can expect. My color variant is based off the same color scheme I used on the Production Type Gouf I made earlier in the year.

The deacls used on this kit are taken from the 1st HG Origin decal set. The Ramba Ral "R" is great as the R is actually a cut out, the decal inherits whatever the base color is.

If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Barbatos 6th Form



Introduction:

It's been a really, really, long time since I have done any sort of "build off" type event with anyone else in the community. I'm not a super competitive person by nature and I don't consider modeling or art in general to be competitive activities. However, I find a build off and a hard deadline can help me try new things and focus my attention.

Kit Talk:

The HG Barbatos is undeniably an amazing, inexpensive and modular design. However, that doesn't mean it isn't without it's pitfalls. This kit has a lot of hollow areas and it definitely requires some modification, masking and detail painting to get it looking right.

From the outset I knew that I needed to do something beyond my normal clean built style. The 6th form of the Barbatos is probably the least popular version of the HG Barbatos. The HG version of the 6th form is weirdly out of proportion; the shoulder and chest armor is too large and chunky. The blocky forearm armor looks like the mobile suit is wearing cardboard boxes, and the high heeled feet are the absolute worst incarnation of this design; blech!

In a very broad sense, my modifications were based on the design of the Hi-Resolution Barbatos 6th form. The Hi-Res version of the 6th form is absolutely gorgeous, and I have seriously been considering picking it up!

I used the HG Barbatos 6th form as a base and pulled components from the 4th form and Barbatos Lupus.

For paint I chose to use a off white, slightly de-saturated color scheme. The 'white' used on this kit is Gaia Color Neutral Gray #1 and each of the primary colors has this color incorporated into it to tone the color down.

This build features way more hand brushing than any previous build. The symbols on the chest and knees, details on the face, backpack, weapon, feet, side skirts, etc, etc, etc all feature some amount hand brushed vallejo details.

The decals are leftovers from the sheet included with a copy of Model Graphix. I purchased this decal set to complete the Ryusei-Go earlier in the year.

If you haven't already seen the work in progress posts you can check them out here:

Work in Progress 1

Work in Progress 2

These WIP posts will get into the meat of the modifications performed on this kit which will not be present in this post.



If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Barbatos Build Off work in progress part 2

Welcome to the second and final WIP post for the Barbatos build off project with Saint-ism. This will be the last post as I stopped documenting the work due to running out of time. While I still technically have 7 days to finish the project, I will spend 4 of those days traveling for work, with no ability to work on the model. Despite not being documented here the kit is currently fully painted, detailed, decaled and waiting to be top-coated.  

The biggest problem I face when working on modified kit, is determining when to stop modifying and move on. I'm sure that I could have pushed the build further; scribed more panel lines, added more pla-plate. But, I'm not sure that more modification would have benefited the kit.  


Early into the project I intended on using the stock feet. The heel parts are hollow for the most part. I used Tamiya's epoxy putty to fill in these areas along with the areas behind the knees on the leg armor.


I used plastic plate on the back of the skirt armor to fill in the hollow areas. In hind sight I should have spent more time on this area and layered the plate with cutouts or scribing.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Barbatos Build Off work in progress part 1

For those not in the know I'm currently participating in a Barbatos themed build off with my buddy Saitnism! He and I are each tackling a different variation of the Brabatos Gundam from Iron Blooded Orphans.

I chose to build the 6th form of the Barbatos Gundam, this is the final variant of the Barbatos from the first season, and the mobile suit features from pretty serious upgrades.

My goal for the build was to enhance the base kit by incorporating parts from other Barbatos variants, pla plating and modifying the base kit.


Work started with the chest.


I cut out the notch at the bottom of the chest and reduced the amount of material to either side.


1/72 A Wing Star Fighter


Introduction:

Unlike the classic X-Wing the A-Wing receives preciously little screen time throughout the Star Wars films. The A wing relies on mobility and speed to maintain an edge in battle; the slim fuselage and large engines reinforce this idea. 

This might be a controversial opinion, but I think weathering builds are much easier and quicker then clean built kits. There's way more room for error, and many mistakes that might ruin a clean build kit can add to the appearance of a weathered design.

Kit Talk:

I purchased this kit as a warm up for the PG Millennium Falcon. I wanted a quick project to practice weathering, pre-shading and many of the other skills needed to create the believable worn appearance that is iconic of many of the great Star Wars designs. 

The body was pre-shaded with black or navy blue depending on the main color. I also used a melamine foam sponge to very lightly buff and sand the top color. Weathering wash, dry brushing, powdered weathering media and other techniques were used to make the design appear worn. I didn't push the weathering on the design as far as on the X-wing, but it still has a seasoned appearance.

The small size of this kit only required about 12 hours from unwrapping the kit to taking the photos.



Show your support by purchasing this or other things through the Amazon affiliate ads sprinkled throughout my site. Each purchase that you make using these links helps me to purchase new kits and materials. This doesn't cost you a dime, but it helps me out immensely! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Real Grade MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam


Introduction:

There is a good chance that if you're interested in Gunpla, then you've heard about the Real Grade Zeta Gundam. I think this is the kit that inspired the 'Real Grenade' moniker often associated with some of the Real Grade kits.

I know that a lot of people consider the RG Zeta to be a 'bad kit'; but, I don't hate the RG Zeta. I think the RG Zeta's design is over engineered and too ambitious and unfortunately the kit sacrifices many of the fundamentals that make up a good kit. Despite all of this, I have wanted to build another Zeta ever since Justin gave me his half finished RG Zeta years ago.

Kit Talk:

Unlike a lot of recent builds, I did not modify the design in anyway. It is essentially a painted, decaled and detailed out of box build.


The first Zeta I built was painted like Amuro's Zeta III the 'White Unicorn', I started painting mine before Bandai announced their intent to release the P-Bandai version. This version of the Zeta has the classic (and thoroughly 80s styled) color scheme. I chose to exclude the gold and silver color details and utilized yellow and grey to subdue the colors a bit. This is the first build that is painted almost entirely with Gaia Color paints. Only the silver and clear colors used on the sensors are for the Mr.Color line.

Assembling this kit is nerve wracking. It isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of how badly you're going to scratch up the paint during construction. 


I used the official set of decals for this build, but I supplemented a few from the recent Zeta and Double Zeta decal set to give the design a more 'Katoki Style' fair with the ship and allegiance designation on both shoulders.


Show your support by purchasing this or other things through the Amazon affiliate ads sprinkled throughout my site. Each purchase that you make using these links helps me to purchase new kits and materials. This doesn't cost you a dime, but it helps me out immensely! 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Gundam the Origin HG Zaku 2 High-Mobility-Type Black Tri-Stars


Introduction:


This is the second kit that I have given away as a free commission to one of my patrons on Patreon since I started it back in May. I've decided that I will randomly give away free commissions to my Patreons at completely random intervals.

I was excited to hear that the winner David chose this kit. The Ortega version of  the Zaku Origin comes with some really interesting parts and I knew that this kit would be both rewarding and challenging!

Kit Talk:


During the lead up to a new project I usually complete some 'homework' before diving into a new build. usually this involes checking out Dalong.net to review the manuals and runners and looking at completed example images on Google. I was surpised at first that there are not a lot of completed examples of this kit online. After building it however, I think I know why... This kit has really ackward seamlines running down both sides of the legs. Fusing and filling these seams was a total pain in the butt! My process for fixing this isn't ideal, but it did work.
  1. Prime and paint the inner frame
  2. Prime and paint the outer armor
  3. Assemble all parts of the lower leg
  4. Mask the inner frame
  5. Fuse the outer armor
  6. Apply putty if needed
  7. Prime and paint the outer armor
  8. Touch up the inner frame if needed
This seamline wouldn't stop me from building this kit again. But, it would definitely frustrate me just as much.

Aside from the area the only other element that needs to be modified are the forearms, machine gun and super heat hawk.

I opted to use a more subdued color scheme on this kit compared to the Black Tri-star custom completed last week. I think the colors chosen on this build make it look more realistic by comparison.




 If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Patreon Perfect Grade Reward Tier Change


Hey All,
Since I have the opportunity now, I have to changed the "Perfect Grade" reward tier. From now on this is tier will cost more But, will include a free HG commission every month in addition to the 1:1 personal Gunpla training. I don't expect to fulfill this reward tier anytime soon, but I wanted to put it out there. 
This reward tier will be limited to one individual at any given time due to the work load involved.

All Patrons will still have the opportunity to win free commission when I run giveaways. 
GGD 

HG Zaku F2 Black Tri-Star


Introduction


Despite the ridiculously high standard the Origin version of the Zaku has set; the Zaku F2 has an awesome design. It's my favorite upper torso design of any Zaku design I can think of. It looks broader, thicker and more tank like that the standard Zaku design. And, it features a better The legs on the other hand are less interesting than the original Zaku in my opinion.

Kit Talk:

My rendition of this kit is fairly basic. The standard model does not feature many panel lines or molded details. I'm perfectly fine with this as I like the simplicity of the design, however its not hard to see why some people will think it is too plain.



Towards the end of the build a large crack formed on one of the legs. This was due to lighter fluid weakening the plastic and required me to purchase a second kit for a future kit bash.

I modified the shoulder with a set of 1/144 Builder Part HD spikes to improve their size and shape. I also added detail to the mono eye and scribed a 'track' that the eye would move on. I also did the usual seam line remove on the legs, shoulders, and rifle. 

The main feature of this build is the Black Tri-Star color scheme. The black white and grey colors are straight out of the bottle. The bright purple color on the chest is Mr. Gundam Color Purple. The navy blue was custom mixed using a basic navy blue as a base and incorporating other mixed blue colors. I was fortunate to have enough of this color to repaint the leg.

If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime! 

 


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MG Providence Gundam


Introduction:

Full disclosure guys... the only reason I originally purchased this kit was for the 8.5 x 11 sheet of water slide decals for the other SEED MGs. It's not that I hated the design, rather I simply forgot that this design even existed. Despite this, I'm rather pleased that I decided to complete the build and if anything I'm feeling more excited to tackle the Freedom 2.0 in a later build.

Kit talk:


This is the special initial launch version of the MG Providence. That means the kit comes with a different base shaped like the Zaft logo as well as a huge sheet of water slide decals from several of the other MG Seed designs. I have no idea how long this particular kit will be in production, but the decals alone made this purchase worthwhile for me.

Like the recent MG Freedom 2.0 this kit has had an awesome redesign which has really enhanced the design of the mobile suit. It looks aggressive and it's absolutely covered in molded detail. My version of this build takes advantage of all of this molded detail through masking and color separation.

The main body color of this model is molded in a bluish grey color, I ended up painting this color with a very light neutral grey color mixed with a few drops of mr. color intermediate blue. The other colors of the kit are darker or more desaturated than the standard 'hero' colors of the 'hero' gundams that we're used to seeing. Most of these colors were taken verbatim from the manual with very minor tweaks.

I used the alternative decal scheme from the P-Bandai Effects parts kit for my build. The decals used are from a third party provider and the guide for this decal scheme is available here. I was absolutely shocked by the quality of the third party decals I used on this build. Not only were the decals pre-cut, but they are also high resolution and spelled correctly. If I need third party decals again I have no reservations about using this supplier again.



If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

HG Zaku II High Mobility Type Reuse P Device


Introduction:

This kit was completed as a free commission to the winner of my Patreon launch contest! The Winner Gabriel Z. requested a HG Psycho Zaku painted with Char custom color scheme. This was a great kit to build as a commission, because it's a model that I would have never purchased for myself. And, despite some misgivings I had about the design of the model and the inclusion of five dozen vernier nozzles; it turned out to be a pretty fun kit with cool final design. This isn't a model I would recommend to a novice builder, but I'm positive a intermediate or advanced modeler would be up to the challenge.

Lore wise I can think of this design existing in an alternate Gundam timeline. Maybe Char's initial conflict with the Gundam resulted in him being severely injured. After recovery he might find himself being willingly (or otherwise) inducted into the Living Dead Unit. I wouldn't be surprised to find him surpassing the other pilots of the unit and finding himself as the test pilot for the Psycho Zaku.

Kit Talk:


First things first; this kit had a lot of seam lines that needed to be fixed. Each, bazooka, rifle, fuel tank and panzerfaust has a big ugly seamline running the length of the part. The seamlines on each fuel tank were poorly matched and required a bit of sanding an puttying to even everything out.

The vernier nozzles were also worrisome, as the smallest nozzles barley measured 2 mm in each dimension. If you drop one of these pieces I guarantee that it will vanish! I painted each nozzle in two colors. I used a silver interior color and a neutral gray exterior. I will likely do something similar using gold on my MG when I get around to it.



I modified one set of Nozzles on the backside of the legs. I did this by drilling out the low detail molds on each side. I applied Tamiya thin cement to the drilled area to smooth out the drill marks and later inserted a Kotobukiya nozzle into the gap to fill out the space.



Unfortunately during final construction one of the chest pipes snapped. This wasn't entirely unexpected due to the design of the part. However this at least allows me to show a solution to properly fix this break.



The chest pipes are made of the same hard plastic as the frame, but feature a series of slices to allow the part to gradually curve. There isn't enough surface area to properly glue this joint back in place and expect it to hold.



I used a thin steel rod (get these from the hardware store) and a pin vice to drill a hole.



The rod is bent into shape and inserted into both ends of the pipe.



Colors used in the build are Gundam Color Char Pink & Red, Mr. Color Navy Blue and Gaia Colors Neutral gray 2 and 4. Other colors like silver, clear red, white, yellow and orange were also used minimally for small details. The only thing I regret is that this kit does not include a second 'deactivated' heat hawk like the recent HG Origin kits; I opted to paint the heat hawk in it's activated state (because it looks cooler that way), despite still being holstered.

A fair bit of masking was required to add the white stripe to the shoulder, and the light gray bands across the fuel tanks and bazookas. I also took the time to mask and paint the small vernier details on the lower legs. The silver lips on these areas were applied by hand using Vallejo silver and a toothpick.

Decals for this kit were taken from the RG Char Zaku II and the HG Gundam The Origin decal sheets. The decals scheme I chose to apply was fairly reserved due to the complexity of the design of the mobile suit.



If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MG Providence Gundam alternative gundam scheme


For those not in the know, there's a second set of decals available for the MG Providence Gundam. I recently purchased a set of 3rd party decals including these decals but I had no scheme to apply them to! Thankfully Saintism had my back and shared a scanned copy of this p-bandai manual including this scheme!

If you need this scheme for your build click the image and right click to save it to your machine!

Check out Saint's website here: http://www.saint-ism.com/

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MG Victory 2 Gundam Ver. Ka


Introduction:

I'll admit that sometimes I buy kits just because they're on sale. At times that has become a bad habit, and has been responsible for the bloat of my backlog. This is something that I have gotten better about, but the MG Victory 2 Ver Ka is a good example. Building and painting kits that I have no connection to often results in some interesting outcomes as I do not feel compelled to capture the stock design.

The MG Victory Gundam is another example of Bandai building a design around a gimmick. In this case the Victory is able to separate itself to large upper and lower body core fighter components. And, like other transforming master grade designs this mobile suit sacrifices: detail, stability, and articulation to pull off this transformation. It's not quite as bad as the MG Delta Plus, but it certainly leaves something to be desired.

In general I don't care of transforming gimmicks, I don't transform my kits because I don't want to scratch up my painted job.

Kit Talk:

The first thing you might notice about my rendition of this kit is the customized color scheme. What you may not noticed are the panel lines I re-scribed throughout the build. I chose to apply the custom color scheme because I thought the base design was too bland. Adding a gentle gradient to the core fighter was a simple way to spice things up. It was also good practice for the design of the fin funnels on the upcoming (in my back log() MG Hi-Nu Gundam.

Unlike most of my kits (99% of them) I opted to use a semi gloss top coat instead of a completely matte version. I think that the semi gloss works well on a clean built and streamlined design like the MG Victory 2. I may continue to use this type of topcoat on upcoming kits like the RG Quanta or MG Freedom 2.0 in my backlog.

The most frustrating element of this entire kit were the red round details on the elbows. In my opinion these parts should have been molded in color and separate from the armor. Because they were not they were an absolutely nightmare to mask and paint. I also attempted reverse washing and hand brushing these elements with very limited success.

If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Gundam Origin HG YMS-07-1 Gouf Production Type


Introduction:

Regardless of whatever fun little history I make up for this kit below. This project was my attempt to kit bash my own YMS 07A Mobile Demonstration Unit kit using parts I already had on hand. It was a short and sweet project that took maybe 6-8 hours and I completed the kit over the course of 1 week.

Mobile Suit History:

The following is my own fictional history of this series of mobile suit and should not be considered cannon. If you like this section please let me know and I may include more like it in future works.

When the YMS-07B-0 Protoype Gouf Tactical Demonstrator was tested, it was heralded as the true successor to the venerable Zaku 2 for earth based operations. The Gouf would be deployed as a command mobile suit as the head of a 3-4 man team, where it's superior mobility and armor would allow it to advance under covering fire to engage enemy forces in close range combat.

During initial trial runs the test pilot Ramba Ral showed superlative skill operating the tactical demonstrator model. However, as the engineers, scientists and other pilots soon discovered; the revolutionary integrated arm weapon systems represented a fatal flaw.

The right arm mounted heat-rod was prone to malfunction. Damage incurred during usage or other environmental factors could cause the rod to seize during retraction; burning out motors or otherwise damaging the winding mechanism within the arm. There is at least one recorded incident of a pilot damaging their own mobile suit with the heat-rod when they misjudged the trajectory of the weapon on a return swing.

The machine gun integrated into the left arm provided it's own problems as well. The short barrel length and compact design of the tri-machine gun limited the effective range of the weapon to less than half of that of the Zaku 2's standard 120mm machine gun. If a 07B-0 pilot found themselves pinned and out-ranged by an opposing force their options for engagement or retreat would be severely limited.

Ultimately the factor that doomed the deployment of this variation of the Gouf was that by not providing this mobile suit with a standard set of humanoid manipulators the Gouf lost access the various weapon systems of the Zaku 2. By utilizing a unique weapon system field technicians would likely find themselves without the parts or ammunition need to keep ahead of battlefield wear and tear. These factors would ultimately limit the Gouf tactically and logistically making it unfit for deployment. Zeon engineers attempted to remedy this fault by providing a 'replacement' arm with a manipulator that could be connected at the forearm. However the extra bulk required by this arm caused clearance issues with the stocks and barrels of many of the machine gun and bazooka models respectively.

That is not the end of the story for the Gouf type mobile suit. Zeon engineers fell back onto the earlier 07A-0 "mobility prototype" Gouf concept. These engineers would integrate a set of Zaku 2 lower arms and manipulators into the design of the Gouf to create The YMS-07-1 Gouf Production type mobile suit. This mobile suit was essentially a high performance successor to the Zaku 2. It featured a more powerful power plant, high ground speeds, greater jumping potential and heavier frontal armor.Ultimately the Gouf saw limited production as the Zeon began to favor the higher mobility and firepower of the upcoming YMS-09 Dom. 


Kit Talk:

This is a kit bash of the HG Gouf Tactical Demonstrator and the HG Char Zaku 2. The kits share many parts which made the kitbashing process very simple. The arms of the Zaku were simply attached to the shoulders the same way they would on the Zaku. I fixed the seamlines present on the forearms using the the process shown in this tutorial. 



The commander horn is a replacement part from one of the Builders Parts HG sets; the stock commander horn was blunt short and uninteresting. The horn was glued into place, but there was a considerable gap left between the two parts that I filled with Mr. Surfacer 500.



I had to scratch build the attachment peg for the Gouf's shield to attach it to the arm. The P-Bandai HG Gouf includes a custom part to attach the shield to the arm. I built this part from a piece of the HG Gouf and pla-plate. I then ground down the Zaku arm to attach the part onto the arm. I painted this component the same navy blue color as the feet, knees and chest. 


The color scheme for this kit was based on the Ms-07B-3 Gouf Custom with the white details taken form the YMS 07A Mobility Type. Similar to the Zaku 2 Ramba Ral custom I made years ago I created a hot glowing gradient along the blade of the heat hawk using orange, yellow, white and a coating of clear orange. I love the contrast that this creates with the blue colors of the mobile suit.

If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!


HG Origin Dom Test Type


Introduction:

The MSD line of Gundam the Origin kits continues to deliver on really cool, really unusual designs. If this mobile suit looks somewhat familiar that's because it's likely the precursor to MS-06RD-4 Zaku HighMobiltiy Test Type that Aina Sahalin uses at the beginning of the 8th MS Team series.

I really like the design of this model. It's clear from the design that this mobile suit is a prototype due to use of the Zaku type torso and modified Zaku head.

Kit Talk:

This is the third HG Origin kit that I've had a chance to build. So far, each kit from the Origin series has been an excellent build if you can get past the lazy seam line design of the forearms. If you haven't already you can see my tutorial on fixing these seam lines here. 

The basic color scheme of this kit is really uninteresting. To improve the scheme I referenced an earlier build I completed for the HG Gouf Custom. I added a red slash on the check and added a fade to the legs, skirt and shoulders. In hindsight I probably should have added more small red details throughout the design.




If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

HG Origin Guncannon First Type


Introduction:

After a large project like the MG FA-78 I like to unwind by building a smaller kit. It's how I keep up my momentum as a builder and stay motivated to build future projects. A few weeks ago one of my nephews helped me to build and assemble this kit. When I pulled it off of the shelf on Tuesday it only need a bit of touch up sanding and seam removal before painting it.

This is also the very last kit I purchased from Modelgrade before they closed up shop.

Mobile suit History:

The following is my own fictional history of this series of mobile suit and should not be considered cannon. If you like this section please let me know and I may include more like it in future works.

Despite the lackluster performance of the Guncannon during its inaugural battle at Von Braun, this mobile site saw widespread deployment throughout the federation shortly after. Officially the Earth Federation indicated that too many resources had been dedicated to the development of the design to simply scrape the project. Rumors abound that lobbying efforts by Anaheim Electronics had hand in the decision.

Early production models of the Guncannon were identical to the models used during the battle of Von Braun. However, as production churned on: enhancements, modification and adjustments to the design were made based on collected battle data and observations by Anaheim Electronics technicians and consultants stationed aboard Federation vessels. A substantial modification made during the production run replaced the three pronged pincer like hands with articulated humanoid type manipulators. The pincer manipulators struggled to manage the recoil from the mobile suit's rifle. The humanoid manipulators also provided a Guncannon with the ability to provide a swift punch to a enemy attempting to close for melee combat.

The early operators of the Guncannon were mainly veteran RB-78 Ball pilots, and the reassignment to the more heavily armed and armored Guncannon was generally perceived as an upgrade. Many pilots quickly adapted to the new mobile suit thanks in part to very similar cockpit layouts and control configurations.

Guncannons were mostly used to fill the role of mid-range fire support in fleet formations or used to outflank or ambush Zeon vessels. Rarely were Guncannons encouraged to engage the more maneuverable Zaku 1 in one on one combat. Variants of the Guncannon would serve throughout the Federation prior to and following the One Year War on many battle fronts. The last few Guncannons still in operation were phased out of front line service around the time the Titans started to dominate the hierarchy of the federation.

Kit Talk:

I've never really cared for the design of the original RX-77 Guncannon or any of it's derivatives very much. The designs strike me as being very simple and lacking the mechanical design that I really appreciate. Fortunately this version has some great detail.

Early on I decided to that the stock color scheme of the early type model wasn't really doing it for me. Same goes for the 'arcade claw machine' style of hands. I used a set of builders parts HD hands and used the ball joint from the stock hands to ensure that they would fit the socket. If I had the chance I would have preferred to have a matching set of shoulder cannons similar to the RX-77.

I opted to push more color separation into the kit through the grey armor panels on the legs, arms and backpack. If I were to paint the kit again I might have chosen a RG style of color separation with different shades of red.

There are a few seam lines across the kit that needed to be filled and a few seam lines that needed to be re-scribed. Despite these minor fixes, the basic kit is really nice and should not be overlooked.



If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mg FA-78 Thunderbolt sector Gundam


Introduction:

This is one of those kits that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to build (even after buying it). But after seeing completed kits by Saintism & Holocause I knew that I had to build it. The FA-78 Full Armor Gundam (Thunderbolt ver.) is a redesign of the FA-78-1. This version was designed to handle the extremely hostile environment of the Thunderbolt Sector, an area full of debris, electrical discharges and Zeon sniper.

This sizable build took me a little over a month of building on an off to complete. 

Kit Talk:

Overall this kit was a pretty decent build. I know a lot of people make a big deal about the 'trash bag' joint covers, however I had no problem applying them and I think that they look pretty decent. A nice benefit of using these covers is that you don't need to paint much of the inner frame.

I worked with a mostly stock color scheme. Unlike 99% of my Gundam based builds, I tinted the color of the white with a pinch of blue and grey to give it a slightly cooler, and darker look to complement the toned down de-saturated look of the other colors.

This kit was designed with stability in mind. The arm and shoulder joints are very tight, and the waist is locked upright. This was required due to the weight of the arm mounted weapons and backpack. This kit is also a bit of a brick. While not as bad as the Full Armor Unicorn, it's not much better either. The included stand doesn't improve the situation much either as the action base connector tends to fall out of both points of connection. I found on my model that the shoulder joint was very stiff unwilling to move. These kits have a bit of a reputation for the shoulder joint breaking, so I didn't force the arm for fear of breaking it. 

Like the MG Gelgoog 2.0 I posted a few weeks ago, I really hated having to cover the kit up with the external armor. I really like the design of the basic Gundam. Unfortunately the process of applying the armor causes irreparable damage to the decals and paint below.

A nice feature of this kit is that Bandai provides decals for both the Manga and Anime versions of the model. My version utilizes the Anime version decals which use a large blocky militaristic font. The Mange version is a more classical serif style font.

If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

 



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hobby Knives


A good hobby knife is an essential part of just about any modelers tool box. We use them for: nub clean up, masking, decals, weathering panel line scribing and more. In my opinion it's important to understand what options are available and which knife should be used with each task.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated, sponsored by or have any connections to any hobby tool manufacturer or reseller. The statements made below are strictly my opinions based on my experience as a modeler.



The classic Xacto #11 light duty hobby knife with X-life blades

In the US I can't think of a more widely used or iconic hobby knife than the classic #11. Until December of 2016 this style of knife was my primary knife choice for most hobby applications. Handles come in a variety of different shapes sizes and colors, and the blue oxidized carbon steel blades are extremely sharp and have decent edge retention.

The good:
  • A good general purpose knife. If I could only own one hobby knife this would be it.
  • A sharp blade is usually good for one full HG kit
  • The long fine point of this blade makes masking in tight places a breeze
  • Large packs of replacement blades are widely available an inexpensive
The bad:
  • The blade is not "locked" into the handle and I have somewhat frequent experience with the blade becoming loose to the point where it could fall out from the handle.
  • The thin point of the knife is prone to snapping.
Things to consider:
  • Handles come in many different shapes and sizes pick one that feels good in your hand. The standard silver metal handle is slightly too narrow for my large hands for example.
  • The #11 handle can be used with other styles of blades.


Precision Hobby Knife by Olfa

This is the style of knife that replaced my #11 xacto for just about all nub removal duties. The shape of the blade provides a better cutting angle and requires less force to cut through the plastic than the traditional #11 blade. Another benefit of the shorter blade length is that I have significantly reduce the incidents of accidentally cutting myself.

The good:
  • The best choice for removing nubs of all sizes.
  • Good edge retention, equal to the #11
  • Despite having blades that are .05 mm thinner on average that the #11, they feel much sturdier under compression. 
The bad:
  • The shorter cutting surface makes it a poorer choice when cutting masking tape or decals. 
Things to consider:
  • Like the X-acto #11 above the handles come in many different shapes and sizes pick one that feels good in your hand. Olfa manufactures some of the Tamiya branded hobby knives too. Due to the parallelogram shape of the blades, this style of knife tends to have a wider handle than the Xacto knives do.  


Snap off blade aka: Asuka's progressive knife

As a young teenager back in the bygone era of 2000 I used a knife like this to cut nubs off of kits. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, nor did I have access to the internet resources that we have today. It's unsurprising that many of the models I built were junk, considering I was using a tool like this.

The good:
  • Great for opening boxes, breaking down boxes or cutting tape.

The bad:  
  • Generally the blades on these knife are inferior both in sharpness and edge retention to the hobby knives listed above. 
  • The ergonomics of these types of knives are generally poor for long modeling sessions.
Things to Consider:
  • We use tools to make problems easier to solve. For a given problem there usually exists an "ideal tool". Learning to use a certain tool in a certain situation is a skill we spend most of our lives learning and scale modeling is no exception.
What are your preferences for hobby knives? Did I miss a blade type that you swear is the best solution? If so, please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts!