Year of the GM

January 16, 2018 at 23:06 | Posted in Random rants | Leave a comment
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I don’t usually make new year resolutions. But this year, I’ll build only GM model kits. There’s several reasons why I decided to do this:
i) I already have several GM kits stuck in development hell; ii) It’s a nice challenge; iii) GMs deserve more love; iv) burnout from the Zeon Remnants Project.
I’m planning to finish one 1/144 kit a month, and here’s what I’m planning for this project, in no particular order:

RGM-79 GIMM: The obvious inspiration for this build comes from this old-school Realtype GM kit. I’ll be using a RX-78 Revive body with a GM/GM head attached. Finding the decals to match the look might be a little tricky.

GM Command Space Type: Seeing images of the P-Bandai GM Command Space Type made me want to build a 1/144 scale version. There is a HGUC kit already, but it’s really outdated. So I’ll make modern version of it using the GM/GM kit and parts of the old HGUC kit.

GM Head: If you’ve watched the 08th MS Team OVA, it’s just the RX-79[G] with a GM head on it. While not technically a GM, I’ll build it anyway. I’m thinking of painting it with the Thunderbolt S-type Gundam colors.

Blue Destiny Unit 1
This one is another that’s not technically a GM, because the model number is RX-79BD-1. But it has a cool visor face, so maybe it qualifies. I already have a color scheme planned for this: a jungle camo.

GM type C Space type
Another one inspired from the MG kit. The HGUC GM type C kit has the brown/blue color scheme. So this (should) be a simple repainting job.

Thunderbolt GM
There’s some design aspects of the Thunderbolt series that I like, and some that I hate. This GM has both. So I’ll be using parts from various HGUC kits to make this Thunderbolt GM more ‘UC’.

GM Cannon
While the MG version exists as a P-Bandai kit, there’s only the old kit in 1/144 scale. I’m not so keen on the retro-looking lower legs. I might substitute them with the thicc GM Cannon II lower legs. Or maybe I’ll go for the slimmer legs of the MSV Space Assault Type.

GM Sniper II White Dingo
I actually bought the P-Bandai HGUC kit a long while back, but I used most of the parts for different projects. I’ll probably use the GM/GM kit again as the base to rebuild this kit.

GM Striker
I like many aspects of the GM Striker design, but I really don’t like the proportions of the HGUC kit. This might be a major kitbashing project, if I’m up for it. The color scheme on this manga cover looks quite nice.

GM II (Torrington base)
This one may be a bit too over ambitious, even for me. I’d like to recreate this GM II that got gangbanged by the Zee Zulu and Zogok in the Unicorn OVA. If I can finish the other kits on time, then maybe I can attempt to work on this.

GM Sniper (Shadows)
I just like the color scheme of the Shadows version. I already bought the resin kit at the C3 hobby show, so I just need to transplant some HGUC joints to make it posable.

GM Custom (High Mobility)
I bought the RG GP01 kit a long time ago, without having any idea of what to do with it. Now I’m thinking of attaching the GM Custom parts on it to make this High Mobility type, with some modifications.

GM Light Armor
I’ve been meaning to build this one for some time now. I’ll be using the RG RX-78 body as base. The problem is finding a nice looking GM head to go with it.

 

 

So there you have it. That’s my plan for the Year of the GM project. Some of those in the list could be dropped, or new kits could also be added. But I hope to finish at least 12 GM kits by years end. As always comments are welcome.

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Hasegawa 1/72 F-15 Starscream

December 17, 2017 at 13:29 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
After completing Bandai’s VF-25s model kit, I felt the need to build more Macross kits. But I don’t want to go through the agony of transforming kits, so I bought several 1/72 Macross kits from Hasegawa. But before going straight into those kits, I thought I’d practice on a cheap, 1/72 scale aircraft. So I bought a 1/72 scale F-15J Eagle kit by Hasegawa with a C7 label on it, so it may be an old kit.
After googling for possible color schemes to paint it in, I decided to go for the Starscream theme. I’m not talking about Michael Bay’s version, but the original cartoon Starscream. Since this was my first ‘proper’ aircraft kit, I did some research by looking at various build videos on Youtube.

Materials & methods:
The bulk of my plamodelling experience comes from Gunpla, so it’s inevitable that a lot of comparisons will be made with Bandai’s brand of plastic. First thing that I noticed when I opened the box and checked the parts is the presence of leftover plastic trimmings on some parts. You just don’t see this kind of thing in Gunpla kits anymore.

The second thing I noticed was that the panel lines are raised. Perhaps it’s easier to explain with kanji. Typical panel lines (Gunpla etc) are like this:  凹 (grooves within the plastic).
But this kit is like this: 凸 (raised parts). Assembly was simple enough, but the pilot seat and cuockpit interior had to be painted first. After that the two halves of the main body were glued together. Speaking of glue, it is not optional for this build, it is mandatory.

Third thing I noticed during assembly was that the parts didn’t fit so well. So I used a lot of basic putty to fill the gaps between parts. As I was sanding off the leftover putty, I realized that I sanded off quite a lot of the panel lines. Not wanting to spend too much time on this project, I shrugged it off and moved on.
The landing gears were designed to always be extended, but I wanted to have them retracted. So I filled the landing gear bays with epoxy putty and then attached the covers, like so:

The rest of the process went like this:
1. Mask the cockpit interior & pilot seat with masking tape.
2. Spray with white primer. Why white? Simply because I wanted to finish that particular can I had.
3. Attempted to do preshading. Airbrushed german gray along the panel lines. As you can see below, my hands are not particularly steady.

4. Spray first layer: Mr Color Gray FS36118.
5. Cut out camo pattern. I don’t have a masking tape huge enough to cover the large surface. So first I drew the camo patterns on a piece of paper, cut them out, then attached them to the F-15 with some blu-tac.
6. Spray second layer: Mr Color Gray FS36320.
7. After removing the camo pattern papers, I felt that the two colors were too contrasty, as you can see below:

8. To make the patterns less obvious, I sprayed the whole thing with several layers of Mr Color Gray FS36320.
9. Once I was satisfied with the base color, it’s time to paint other parts. And that means a lot of masking.
The blue color on the nose & rear stabilizers (Mr Color cobalt blue + flat white), as well as the red jet intakes (Mr Color Red + Orange yellow) were simple enough.
The white & red stripes on the wings and rear stabilizers were slightly more tricky but the patterns were relatively simple so it wasn’t too difficult.
The underside (where the jet engines are) were painted with Mr Color burnt iron, while the jet nozzles were painted with steel.
The inside of the cockpit canopy was sprayed with Mr Color clear orange.
The missiles were painted as recommended in the manual, and I decided to add some smart bombs from an add-on kit (also by Hasegawa).
10. Panel lining was limited to some parts only.
11. I used up the majority of the waterslide decals that came with the kit. To complete the Starcream theme, I needed some Decepticon logos. I hoped to find some Decepticon waterslide decals but alas, only stickers seemed to be available. I trimmed off the edge of the stickers as much as possible before attaching them on the wings and in front of the cockpit.
12. Final layer of flat topcoat was applied.

Results:
Since I made the decision to remove the landing gears, I needed a stand to hold it in place. So I bought the Macross Display Stand, which comes in a pair.

And here’s some photos with the VF-25s:

Discussion:

This project is quite a different experience from my typical Gunpla builds. The same techniques are employed, but the main bulk of the work that went into this F-15 Starscream was fixing the gaps/seamlines and painting+masking.
I’m not particularly impressed with this Hasegawa F-15J kit for reasons discussed in the methods section. But I guess you get what you pay for. For a few extra dollars, you can get a better F-15 kit by Hasegawa or other makers.
The Decepticon stickers look too shiny and stand out too much, making it look very toy-like. But for this build I’m not too bothered about it.
Overall it was a good learning experience for me. Hopefully the Hasegawa Macross kits I bought won’t give me too much trouble.

Little Armory M24SWS

December 2, 2017 at 21:06 | Posted in Little Armory | Leave a comment
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Little Armory M24 Sniper Weapon System

The M24 SWS is only the second sniper rifle kit by Little Armory after the M82 series. The kit comes as all black plastic, which looks boring. So I decided to give it a camo paintjob.

The base layer was dark green. Then I applied some camo patterns using blu-tack. That was followed by a layer of light olive green. The final layer was just simply enamel sand brown that I painted using a paint brush.

The kit comes with a separate spotting scope, two bipods and two rifle bolts. The bolts can still be moved back and forth after assembly. The scope lenses were also unfortunately black, opaque plastic. I attached some clear lenses from Wave option parts to the spotting scope, but I ran out of lenses for the rifle scope.

And you can see the size of the M24 compared to the M82A1 below:

Here’s some closeup shots:

And action poses:

Final thoughts:
In terms of design, the M24 SWS looks as basic as you can get. That’s largely the reason why I went for a camo paintjob. With the appropriate hands, it looks nice on Mr Skeleton. But as expected, it was a bit more difficult to get a good pose on the GM. Rifle grips don’t really go well with HG kits.
Overall, it was quite fun painting the camo patterns on this M24 SWS kit. But otherwise, I felt like it’s just another mediocre release.

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