Arth Zaku II

May 31, 2020 at 18:54 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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The second Zaku in Topp’s squad. The main features of this Zaku are the unprotected right shoulder and left knee, and the use of a Federation shield and heat hawk. Unlike Topp’s Zaku I, this kit was composed mostly of Char’s Origin Zaku II kit.

Materials & methods:
The work in progress can be read here.
I painted and weathered this together with Topp’s Zaku I, so the details can found here.


I had some difficulty finding the perfect part for the exposed right shoulder. The GM shoulder joint that I chose looked a bit bigger than I would have liked, but that’s the only spare part I had to work with.
I haven’t really done bullet damage in a long time, but the effect on the shield went better than I expected.
And in case you’re wondering, the expolosion effect parts were from Robot Damashii Effect Parts Set ver. A.N.I.M.E.
So this was probably the least complex of the three Topp Zakus, but very fun nonetheless.

Topp Zaku I

May 24, 2020 at 22:20 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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The initial plan for this build was to custom paint the HG Zaku I Origin kit into Topp’s Zaku I. But I didn’t like the look of the head and forearms of the Origin kit. So I ended up kitbashing various Zaku parts until the only Origin part left intact was the leg.

Materials & methods:
The work in progress can be found here.
After priming with grey surfacer, preshading lines were added with Gaianotes Pure Black.
Since all three Zakus (Topp, Arth, Dell) have the same color scheme, I decided to paint all of them at the same time. Here are the colors that I used:
Feet, knees, chest: Gray FS36118
Backpack: Gaianotes Blue Grey
Vernier nozzle: Clear red (insides); Burnt iron (outside)
Torso: Mr Color Dark Earth (70%) + Propeller Color (30%)
Head, limbs: Light Gull Grey (80%) + Gaianotes Yellow-Brown (15%) + Orange-Yellow (5%)

After painting, I applied panel lining, decals, clear topcoat, and weathering (in that order) to all three Zakus. Weathering consisted of enamel wash (red brown enamel), paint chipping (german grey enamel), and weathering pastel on the feet.
Then I applied Gaianotes Ex-Clear Flat topcoat using my airbrush.


Some poses:

Upon closer inpection, some parts may look a bit rough, but I think I managed to recreate a version of Topp’s Zaku that’s quite close to the original concept art.
It wasn’t a simple kitbash, but the effort was worth it. I don’t think I would be satisfied if I just repainted the Origin Zaku I kit.
So after kitbashing a fair share of Zakus, I can conclude that the best looking Zaku I head is the Thunderbolt Zaku I; best Zaku I body is the HGUC Zaku Sniper; and best legs are the Origin Zakus. Still haven’t found the perfect arms yet. Maybe the upcoming HGUC Char’s Zaku II can change that…

RG Zaku II – Work in progress

May 16, 2020 at 15:52 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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While building the RX-79[G], I thought it would be nice to have its adversary, the Zaku II. I just happen to have an RG Zaku II that’s in a state of limbo somewhere underneath my bed.
So I wiped the dust off the Zaku and went about with the build. The RG Zaku in question is the green, mass produced type. I wanted to recreate the 08th MS Zaku II as shown below:

In addition, I wanted to tone down the RG aesthetics, i.e excessive panels and the two-tone colors.

For this build, I used Gaianotes Color putty (black) to fill in panel lines that I felt were unneccessary. For example, the forearm part:

The black dots are actually parts filled with the black putty.

The left shoulder armor has two shades of green, differentiated as separate parts. The two tones of plastic will be covered when I paint it later, but to make it look more seamless, I glued the different colored parts together and filled uneven parts with putty.

The right shoulder shield on the 08th MS Zaku has three spikes on them. I attached some Wave option parts on the shield like so:

But I wasn’t really happy with how it looked. Luckily I have another spare shield to work with, so I tried another approach:
1) I filles some panel lines on the shield with the black putty;
2) Attached MS Spikes after cutting off the tip

On the crotch, some square panels were filled with putty:

On the front skirt armors, I cut off some parts to make it look like the reference picture.

The small, square panel on the thighs were also covered with putty.

Since this is a ground type Zaku, I wanted to cover up the extra thrusters on the lower legs. First, I glued 0.5mm plaplate over the holes [1]. This serves as a “plate” for the putty. Then, I applied the black putty over the plaplate and filed off the excess [2].

I did the same for the front thrusters. The pic below is before I added putty.

And that’s it for the mods. Since there’s only minimal changes, I might as well explain some parts of the painting process.

Unlike the RG Zaku II White Ogre, I decided to properly paint the inner frame. However, the Advanced MS Joint is mostly made of ABS material, which means any paint will get scratched off easily.
So I tried out Gaianotes Multi Primer. It’s translucent and can be airbrushed directly without dilution with thinner. Applying a layer of this stuff allows for better adhesion of subsequent paint layers.

After that has properly dried, I applied a layer of pure black, followed by Dark Iron. Additional frame parts that are not ABS material were painted with Nazca Mechanical Surfacer. I used Super Heavy and Light for some color variation.

Like MG Zaku kits, the pipes on the RG Zaku legs, torso and head are made up of separate parts. I noticed some parts were missing, before realizing that I used them for other kitbashing projects. Anyway, to facilitate painting, I inserted a plastic rod into each section, like below:

If the plastic rod is too thin, I padded it with some masking tape. This makes sure each part doesn’t move around when painting. The outcome is something liek this:

I labeled each section so I don’t mess up final assembly later.

For painting the outer armor, there’s only two colors to consider.
Green parts: Mr Color Yellow-Greeen + Mr Color IJA Green + leftover olive green from my ECOAS Jegan build.
Grey parts: Mr Color FS36118

So that’s it. All’s that left is decals and weathering.


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