1/144 Ball (Thunderbolt ver.)

October 1, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Volume 3 of the Gundam Thunderbolt manga came with a limited edition 1/144 scale Ball. It came in 3 shades of plastic: white, grey, and baby-blue. Also included is an extensive sticker sheet and a stand. One design feature of the Thunderbolt series is the overabundance of verneirs and thrusters. This Ball is no exception. It’s a bit  too much for me, so it was one of the things I decided to modify.
My main sticking point for this kit is that the cockpit canopy is made of opaque plastic. You’re supposed to apply the supplied sticker over it. You may know that I loathe this kind of stickers, so I had to come up with a better alternative.So those are some of the things I modified for this build. Read on for more details.

Materials & methods:
The extra verniers were either completely covered up with putty or replaced with some detail parts.
tballwip_01 tballwip_02
For the cockpit canopy, I bought an 18mm diameter clear acrylic bead from Amazon. First I had to remove the plastic surrounding the canopy. To get a nice, circular cut, I ran a sharp pin along the circumference of the canopy multiple times until the plastic surrounding the canopy was thin enough for me to punch through it. After that I simply attached the clear acrylic bead behind the hole using super glue. Unfortunately, the super glue left a white residue on the clear bead. I scraped off the white residue using a hobby blade, but that left scratches on the clear bead. To get a nice, shiny finish, I rubbed Tamiya compound over the clear bead until the scratches were no longer visible.
To add some detail to this kit, I glued a square plate near the back thrusters and some square pipes on the landing skids.

tballwip_04 tballwip_05

The final modifications I did were to the two front pistols. I glued some square vents and rectangular verneirs to add extra detail. The gun barrels were not hollow, so I drilled a hole through the plastic.

tballwip_06 tballwip_07
To provide some extra mobility to the pistols, I separated them from the front arms and attached a pivoting joint from MSG. Now the pistols can move semi-independently from the arms.


For the color scheme, I decided on an urban camo similar to my HGUC Jesta. Unlike the Jesta, I used larger, more angular shapes of masking rape for the camo patterns. Painting was done in this order:
Base coat (Mr. Color Dark Gray 2) -> masking tape -> Mr. Color Dark Gray 1 -> masking tape -> Mr. Color Off White
For other parts, I painted them as follows:

  • The part surrounding the cockpit -> Navy Blue
  • Cockpit canopy -> clear red.
  • Arms and weapons -> Gunmetal, german gray and dark gray 2
  • Verniers -> Light gunmetal

Then its panel-lining, decals and some light weathering in the form of paint chipping.


This is my first non-humanoid shaped gunpla kit, and it was kinda fun to build something different. Actually I put off building this kit until I found a solution for the cockpit canopy conundrum.
I wouldn’t recommend this kit for snap-fitters, though. Although some parts are molded in their correct colors, you still need to apply a whole bunch of stickers. Even then, it wouldn’t look as good if it was painted. The range of movement on the arms is also limited, but I wasn’t expecting too much from a ‘free’ kit anyway.
On the plus side, it comes with a stand; I like that it attaches to the backside of the Ball. The overall design is also unique and well detailed too. And if you’re wondering about the red glow from the cockpit in some photos, it was light from a laser pointer. Since this is not a regular release, it may be difficult to get one. If you manage to find one, be prepared to put in some effort to make it look presentable.

56th All Japan Model & Hobby Show

September 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Posted in Events | Leave a comment
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Rather than staying indoors all weekend due to rainy weather, I decided to have a look at this year’s All Japan Model & Hobby Show. Instead of heading straight to the Bandai section like always, I detoured towards the Junk City section to look for gunpla spare parts. Then I navigated towards the Hasegawa section to buy some aircraft spare parts and waterslide decals. Also managed to grab a 1/72 scale VF-1 Valkyrie Battroid kit. Now that shopping’s done, I could finally take a leisurely stroll with my camera.

The Kotobukiya section was dominated by Frame Arms Girls, with some Zoids kits as well.  At the Max Factory section, there’s the 1/350 scale Cherno Alpha and Gipsy Danger from Pacific Rim. It’s gonna be a plastic model kit instead of a ready-made figure so I’m looking forward to its release. The Little Armory section has the upcoming MP7A2 and M134 minigun kits on display, which will be followed by MP5 SD6 and M4A1+M203 kits. Still no release date for the KLX250 motorbike though.

And then finally I made my way to the Bandai section. I was greeted by a plethora of Iron Blooded Orphans (IBO) kits, possibly to coincide with the 2nd season of the anime. Also there were the same stuff seen during the previous C3Hobby show, namely the RG Build Strike, HG Guncannon, HG Zaku I Origin (Char), HG Bugu, HGUC GM Ground Type, RE/100 Bawoo and MG Psycho Zaku.
Then there’s the pleasant suprise which was the MG GM Sniper II. I would’ve been happy with a RE/100 version, but an MG kit is even better.
Finally there’s the Premium Bandai stuff: HG Sword Impulse, MG Nu H.W.S pack, and extra armor & weapons for the MG Fullarmor Thunderbolt Gundam.  Someone should tell Bandai they managed to misspell ‘hangar’ twice: ‘hanger’ on the background art, and ‘hunger’ on the boxart. It’d be hilarious if they kept the spelling error on the official box art.


September 14, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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This project started with the HG Gouf R35 kit. I used bits and parts from that kit for my other (still ongoing) projects, leaving me with a handful of unused parts. Instead of leaving them as junk parts, I decided to buy more parts to build a complete Gouf. Fortunately I was able to procure some HGUC Gouf Revive and HG Gouf Prototype parts from Yellow Submarine for this project. From the offset, I already decided that this Gouf won’t be blue. I went for the Sand colors of the Gouf Prototype (P-Bandai version).

Materials & methods:
You can read the works in progress page here. The color scheme I went for is pretty simple. Just 3 colors to consider:

  • Thighs & biceps: Light gull gray (spray can)
  • Body: ~90% german gray + ~10% propeller color (Mr Color 131)
  • Limbs & head: 95% khaki + 5% smoke gray

For all other parts (backpack, joints, power cables, weapons), I used the various shades of gray and gunmetal spray cans I have at my disposal. After adding decals & clear topcoat, I applied very light weathering effects in the form of enamel wash & paint chipping. Then it’s the final flat topcoat layer.



I think I will summarize this build as a Gouf with an identity crisis. With different weapon attachments, it can look like a Gouf R35, a Prototype Gouf, or just a plain ol’ Gouf. I feel that’s a good thing. Adding modular weaponry was one of the fun points in this build.
Since 80% of this build used HGUC Gouf REVIVE parts, I thought I’d comment on it a bit:

  • The leg articulation is very good; the knees can bend quite a lot. The feet could’ve used a bit more articulation, though.
  • The front skirt armor tends to pop out, especially when posing with the legs raised.
  • Torso is well articulated, but the polycap joint in the chest feels a bit flimsy; the chest tends to sag sideways or backwards.
  • The chest power cables also likes to pop out from the front socket. Not sure if it’s to do with the soft M.S.G cables I used.

To conclude, this was a fun kitbashing project that led me to realize my own gunpla building niche: adding modular weapons and painting existing color schemes on different mobile suits.

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