Entry Grade RX-78-2

August 2, 2021 at 21:18 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
I decided to take a break from building the PG Unleashed RX-78-2 by building a different RX-78-2. The Entry Grade (EG) lineup is aimed at beginners and the selling point is that it doesn’t require nippers, gluing, or painting.
After seeing some absurd prices by third-party sellers online, I decided to get mine from a local hobby shop for its actual price: 500 yen. That’s the cheapest version that came in a plastic bag instead of a box. The plan was a straight build with custom painting, and I went for the Rollout color scheme.

Materials & methods:
The bag contains only two runners; no polycaps, no sticker sheets. It’s possible to just twist parts off the runners using your hands, but it will still leave some marks. So I still ended up using nippers and sandpaper.
The only obvious seam line is on the lower legs so I used the seam-welding method to remove it. Also made some simple improvements listed below:
Removing the safety nubs on the antenna to make it look sharper
Splitting the front skirt armors so they flip independently
Replacing the hands with Bandai’s MS Hands
Plugged in unused holes on the forearms
Replaced the backpack with RX-78 Revive version. The original backpack and thrusters were fused together, which looked ugly.
No weapons were included in the kit, so I used a leftover beam rifle and shield from the RX-78 Revive.

For the Rollout color scheme, there were 3 main colors to consider:
Silver parts: Mr. Color Ueno Black -> Mr. Color Super Chrome Silver 2
Red parts: Same as above, followed by Mr. Color Cranberry Red Pearl
White parts: Grey surfacer -> Mr. Color Cool White
Joints were simply covered with Mecha Surfacer Super Heavy, and the rifle was painted with Dark Iron.
What followed was pretty standard: panel-lining, decals, topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:
Positive points:
Parts separation is very good, especially for the eyes and the V-sign on the crotch.
Proportions are better than the RX-78-2 Revive, in my opinion.
Cheap, if you can find it at its actual price.
Range of movement is on par with recent HG kits, if not better.

Negative points:
Joints use the same style as 30MM kits, so they’ll get loose pretty quickly.
Details like the hands and backpack are poor compared to the rest of the body.
Obvious gap between the elbow joints and the forearms.

Despite some nitpicks, I’m quite impressed with this EG RX-78 kit. With some minor touchups, it can look even better than the HGUC RX-78 Revive version. Even if you’re not a fan of the RX-78, I’d recommend picking it up (at the right price), and just use it as a practice kit.

HGUC Zaku II Revive

July 3, 2021 at 11:50 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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Introduction:
The first Zaku kit I built was the HGUC Zaku II Garma Zabi kit, which I custom painted to green. It was also my first attempt at custom modification and applying weathering effects. The results were not pretty, to put it mildly.

I’ve built plenty of Zaku variants since then, with various color schemes and different levels of weathering. I wanted to revisit the plain, green, mass produced type Zaku II by repainting the latest HGUC Char Zaku II Revive kit.

Materials & methods:
The only thing I changed was the shoulder spikes and hands. I used the pointier MSG spikes on the shoulders and some resin hands I bought from the C3 hobby show. Painting was relatively simple:

  • Chest: Gundam Color MS Deep Green
  • The rest of the body: Gundam Color MS Green
  • Backpack: Intermediate blue
  • Feet, knees: Nazca Mecha Surfacer Super Heavy
  • Heat hawk: Gaianotes Eva Purple; Mr Color Orange-Yellow

After painting, I applied decals and panel lines, followed by very light weathering in the form of smearing and chipping effects using enamel paints. This time I decided to finish using Semi-gloss topcoat instead of the usual flat topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:
As one would expect, this latest HGUC Zaku II Revive is superior in terms of proportions and range of movement compared to the first generation kit. For me, the most significant improvements are the rotating elbow joints and the torso movement.
The only obvious seamlines are on the forearms and weapons. This kit doesn’t use polycaps, and the wrists joints are a bit stiff because of that. The actual wrist part tends to detach from the forearms when changing hands. I had to permanently glue the left hand because I broke the peg when changing hands.
Another minor gripe is that the front skirt armors tend to come off, especially during a kneeling pose. The kit comes with a soft, rubbery part for the skirt armors as an alternative, but I decided not to use it.
Overall, this was a relatively simple Remake, but sometimes simple is best.

MG Astray Red Frame

June 22, 2021 at 21:26 | Posted in Master Grade | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
This build involves a couple of “firsts”. The HG Astray Red Frame was the first HG kit I bought and built myself, which seemed like a long time ago.

This MG Astray version will be the first in a series of Remake builds. This is also my first time applying the candy coating effect. I’ll be using the P-Bandai MG Red Frame which has a different set of weapons from the regular MG Red Frame Kai.

Materials & methods:
The only minor change I made was trimming off some parts from the shoulder armor. For the white armor parts, I sprayed Gray surfacer followed by Mr Color Cool White or Light Gull Gray.
Candy coating involves spraying a layer of clear paint over a metallic-coated part. To get a nice glossy metallic surface, I first airbrushed Mr Color Ueno Black over the red inner frame. The next layer is the metallic paint. I used Gaianotes Starbright Duralumin, and for darker parts I used Gaianotes Gunmetal.
Finally the red layer consists of Gaianotes Premium Pearl Red and Mr Color Cranberry Pearl Red for darker hues. The white parts on the fingers were hand painted with white enamel.
The feet, chest, backpack, and rifle were painted with Mr Color German Gray. The gold parts on the swords were painted with Mr Color Super Gold. The kit came with water slide decals, but I only used some of them. After panel lining, I sprayed semi-gloss topcoat only on the outer armor.

Results:
First up is the inner frame. I have to say it looks somewhat… edible.

Here’s some closeups with the full armor:

Finally some poses:

Discussion:
This P-Bandai MG Astray Red Frame kit comes with 2 swords, a shield and a rifle. The latter two items are not included in the MG Red Frame Kai kit. Also, the backpacks are quite different. I would say this MG version is closer to the first generation HG Astray kit. I much prefer this version which looks more streamlined and less bloated compared to the Red Frame Kai.
As for the paintjob, I’m rather pleased with the candy coating effect. That said, the contrast between the dark and light parts is not too obvious. Overall I really enjoyed building and painting this kit. I don’t have anything negative to say about this kit, other than I wished that it was a regular release instead of P-Bandai.

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