HGUC Acguy

September 6, 2020 at 20:54 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
Other than recreating the one-armed Acguy from episode 9 of the 08th MS Team OVA, I wasn’t sure what to do with this kit. Eventually I decided to use the Acguy as a guinea pig for a new paint chipping method I wanted to test. Also I added some details on it along the way.

Materials & methods:
The Acguy has many smooth and empty areas on its body, so I added detail parts listed in this post. The new weathering method I wanted to try involved Mr. Silicone Barrier:

From the picture on the bottle, it’s mainly intended for recasting parts, but I read that it can also be used for applying paint chipping effects.

I primed all parts with Nazca’s Super-Heavy surfacer which has a dark gray tone. For the dark brown parts (head, body, limbs), I airbrushed them with gloss aluminium (from spray can). Next step was to apply the Silicone Barrier. It’s a transparent liquid, so I applied it using a paint brush to parts that will have paint chipping, mostly on the edges of the outer armor.

After that has dried, I airbrushed the primary colors as follows:

  • Dark brown parts: Red brown decanted from Tamiya spray can
  • Light brown parts: Gaianotes yellow brown
  • Backpack: Mr Color Dark gray 1
  • Inner frame (yes it does have one): Mr Color Burnt Iron
  • Joints: Mr Color Dark gray 2

Now comes the moment of truth: paint chipping. This step involves physically chipping off the primary paint layer. At first I tried to gently scrape off the paint using the tip of a toothpick. The primary paint coat was more robust than I expected, so a bit more force was required to chip off the paint. The toothpick removed large patches of paint, but I also wanted some finer paint chipping. So I tried using a very rough sandpaper (240 grit) and the tip of my metal tweezer. After that I added decals, panel lining and some enamel wash using sand brown paint. Then topped it off with Gaianotes Ex-Flat Clear topcoat.

Results:
The HGUC Acguy has a nice looking inner frame, except for the torso:

Some close ups with the armor on:

And some poses:

Discussion:
If it weren’t for this 08th MS project, I probably would never have bought the HGUC Acguy. I just never understood the appeal…until now. From a mechanical stand point, I was really impressed with the inner frame details. The outer armor though, is smooth and devoid of much details.
You can consider that a negative point, but alternatively you can think of it as a blank canvas. You’re free to add in extra details like panel lines or detail parts like I did. Probably the only weak points about this kit are the limited range of movement, and the visible seam lines on the neck, knee and ankle joints.
As for the paint chipping effect using Silicone Barrier, it required some additional steps, but generally I found it looks more natural compared to directly painting the scratch marks. The size of the chipping looks large for the 1/144 scale Acguy, so I need to find a better way to scratch off the paint. Overall, I think the experiment was a mild success but I still need to practice before making a How-to guide.

Supplementary figures:
Like the Topp Zakus, I wanted to recreate the scene between the Acguy & the RX-79G. It was a short scene, so I didn’t want to make a separate post for it.
Here’s the best I can do with the head-cutting scene:

Next comes the cockpit bash:

The downed RX-79G takes aim while the Acguy was distracted by a hover tank

First shot was a miss

But the second one landed right on the Acguy’s chest

Jigabachi AV

August 30, 2020 at 20:05 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
The Jigabachi AV is an attack helicopter that featured in episode 4 of Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig. This is a 1/72 scale kit made by Kotobukiya. The helicopter itself is made of up of grey plastic and includes a stand. As a bonus, it also comes with three Tachikomas on blue plastic runners. Incidentally, Jigabachi is also the Japanese name for a type of wasp, pictured below:

You can probably see where I’m going with this…

Materials & methods:
The construction is fairly simple, but I found that the pegs fit too tightly to their respective holes. I cut the pegs a little bit so the parts are easier to disassemble after snap-fitting. There’s also quite a bit of seam lines to fix. In the anime, the Jigabachi has slightly bent wings, like so:

But the kit has perfectly straight wings. So I cut the wings using my modelling saw; not all the way through, just enough to bend it like this:

I glued 0.5mm metal rod in the gap where I cut the wings for some stability. That’s the only mod I did for this build.

I primed all parts with grey surfacer, and then applied pre-shading lines using Mr Color Ueno Black. The main body was airbrushed with a mixture of Midnight Blue & orange-yellow, and the orange stripe was a mix of orange-yellow and red. The rocket pod and missiles were painted with olive drab, and the gatling with gunmetal.
After painting I added decals and panel-lining. I wanted to give it a non-uniform finish, so I sprayed the flat topcoat on certain parts, and semi-gloss topcoat on others.

As for the Tachikomas, I thought it would be more interesting if I gave them different colors. So I decided on blue, red, and yellow. All were primed with black surfacer, then airbrushed with Tamiya gloss aluminium (from spray can).
After masking some small parts, I painted them with clear blue, Gaianotes Premium Pearl Red, and orange-yellow, respectively. The eyeballs were painted with gloss white. On the yellow Tachikoma, I added some black stripe decals on the legs.

Results:

Here’s a size comparison with the VF-31, also at 1/72 scale:

And finally, the Tachikomas:

All three can fit on my palm, with some room to spare:

Discussion:
It’s a nice to build something different once in a while. This is my first helicopter model kit, and these are my overall thoughts:
Positives:
Comes with a stand & three Tachikomas.
Parts separation is good; masking is not that needed, except maybe for the Tachikomas.
Surface details are acceptable, maybe not on the same level as military models.

Negatives:
I don’t really fancy the head/cockpit. It has a face only a mother can love.
Connections of the pegs and joints are rather stiff.
The Jigabachi is monochrome grey plastic, the Tachikomas are monochrome blue plastic. So painting is definitely needed to make it look presentable.
Seam lines galore.

Despite the many negatives, I quite enjoyed this build. It’s not recommended for snap-fitters, but it’s worth to get if you’re willing to put some effort in it. I especially like the three tiny Tachikomas.

Hasegawa VF-31 Berkut

August 17, 2020 at 18:21 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
For my first kit from the Macross Delta series, I decided on the VF-31J Siegfried, used by the main character in that anime. Like all Hasegawa Macross kits, this one is non-transforming, fighter mode only.
Since the VF-31J is a forward swept wing aircraft, my plan for this kit is simple: paint it black. More specifically, the Su-47 black color scheme. Here’s a reference photo:

Materials & methods:
Like all aircraft models, the first place to start was the cockpit. Again I opted for the single-seat configuration. After painting the cockpit and some intake vents, the two halves of the aircraft fuselage were glued together. I decided to cover up some panel lines and diamond-shaped panels on the nosecone using basic putty.
This Hasegawa kit comes in all white plastic. The Su-47 is mostly black, with a white nosecone, and some white stripes on the canards and vertical stabilizers. For those parts, I first airbrushed white paint, then applied masking tape after the paint has dried.
With the cockpit and appropriate parts masked, I sprayed the whole thing with Gaianotes black surfacer. Since this is going to be all black, I decided make it a bit more interesting by applying the black-basing or marbling technique.
This involves airbrushing random squigly lines over a black base coat, followed by light coats of the primary color. This simulates weathering effects on the aircraft surface.
So after my base coat of black surfacer has dried, I used my 0.2mm nozzle airbrush to draw random squigly lines over the model. I used Mr Color Light Gull Gray that’s been thinned more than usual, and low air pressure (~0.05 MPa). The result looks something like this:


It looks quite ugly at this stage. So the next step was the primary color, in this case Mr Color German Gray. To further emphasize the panels, I added some post shading lines using Midnight Blue.
For the rear thrusters/feet, I used different combinations of metallic paint that I have available: Gaianotes Gunmetal, Mr Color Burnt Iron, Mr Color Steel, Mr Metal Color Dark Iron. I added clear orange and clear blue to some parts to simulate heated metal. The inside of the cockpit canopy was given a light coat of clear blue.
I used actual Su-47 decals bought from the Hasegawa booth in one of the many hobby shows I attended. Finally I airbrushed everything (except metallic & clear parts) with Gaianotes Ex-Flat clear.

Results:

Closeup shots:

Discussion:
This is my first attempt at weathering using the black-basing or marbling technique, and the effects were not so obvious. It could be that the primary paint coat (German gray) was too heavy, thus concealing the underlying marbling pattern. Maybe the flat topcoat layer also made the effect less prominent.
The landing gears were a temporary fixture, put in place by some blu-tac. After taking some photos with them on, I removed them and permanently glued the landing gear bay covers.
I quite like the concept of applying real-life fighter aircraft color schemes on Macross kits, so I might repeat it for future projects. Not too sure about repeating the black-basing technique, though.

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