Little Armory M249 PARA

August 22, 2019 at 22:29 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Little Armory M249 Para

This is the third M249 I’ve built after the vanilla version and the Winter Soldier version. This one is the M249 Para, a compact version for Paratroopers. This kit is a Limited edition, meaning it’s only sold at certain hobby events in Japan.
The differences with the standard M249 include: shorter barrel, buttstock, sights, ammo pouch, and barrel rails. Extra parts include a bipod and an extended buttstock.

Except for the ammo pouch, I painted everything in a combination of burnt iron, german grey and black. For the ammo pouch, I gave it a camo pattern using IDF Gray 3, Russian Green, and enamel brown. The ammo was painted in gold and the ammo clips were black. Size-wise, it’s about the same length as my M249 Winter Soldier version.

Closeups and poses:

Final word:
This Little Armory M249 Para shares the same gimmicks with the standard M249, but the different parts give this version a unique feel to it. I actually prefer the short barrel and buttstock of the M249 Para, and it was fun painting camo patterns on that tiny ammo pouch.
In general, I’m pretty happy with all three M249 kits I’ve built so far, but I don’t think I’ll build another one after this.

HG Astray Blue Frame

August 6, 2019 at 23:35 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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The first HG 1/144 kit I bought was the Astray Red Frame. That was a long time ago, and now there’s many more variations of the Astray, including new versions of the HG 1/144 kit.
I wanted to build the Astray Blue Frame, but I’m not too keen on the Second L version. So I decided to build the vanilla Astray Blue Frame using parts from the latest Astray kits.

Materials & methods:
This is another build which doesn’t have a box. I procured all parts separately from Hobby Base in Akihabara. The list is as follows:

The result is a mix of red and blue plastic parts, so priming was definitely necessary. The colors were pretty straight forward:

  • Blue: Cobalt blue + intermediate blue + white
  • White: Off white
  • Torso: Neutral gray
  • Weapons: German gray / Gray FS36118 / gunmetal

The tedious part is the masking. To be color-accurate, plenty of parts needed masking. And some parts like the biceps and calves have complex shapes, requiring all my patience and concentration to apply the masking tape properly.
The white parts on the fingers were paint brushed using white enamel paint. After that comes panel lining, decals, and flat topcoat.


Weapons and poses:

There have been some improvements in the 1/144 Astray kits since their first iterations. Part separation has improved quite a bit, and the only obvious seam lines were at the biceps. Proportions have changed too, and the range of movement is impressive.
I think the only downside is that some parts are still not color-accurate. Frankly, the masking step was a pain in the ass but it felt so good when I finally got to peel off the masking tape at the end.
Overall, these new HG Astray kits are an upgrade over the earlier versions. But if you want to avoid the hassle of masking and painting to make it 100% color-accurate, go for the RG, MG, or PG versions instead.


June 14, 2019 at 23:12 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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This is the plain HGAC Leo kit, with no backpacks or add-ons. I initially wanted to attach Overflag wings on the back, but later I switched to the tilt rotor backpack. Since the tilt rotor resembles the V-22 Osprey, I decided to call this Leo kitbash the Leosprey.

Materials & methods:
I made minor modifications to the Leo and the tilt rotor, which you can find here.
I decided to go all out with the Osprey theme, so I went for the two tone color scheme like this photo:

The first layer is Light Gull Gray, and the second layer is Mr Color Grey FS36320. I drew the wavy patterns directly using my fine nozzle airbrush. All other parts were painted with a combination of german gray, gunmetal, gray FS36081, and dark gray (2).
It has been a while since I applied weathering effects, so I decided to use every weathering trick that I know of. But the aim is not a battle damaged, dirty Leo. I’m opting for a light weathering look, as if it’s been out for a few sorties. So after applying decals & panel lines, I sprayed a layer of gloss topcoat from the spray can and proceeded to apply the following weathering effects:

  • Enamel wash using very thinned black enamel
  • Oil smears using dark brown enamel
  • Paint scratches using black enamel applied with fine brush and toothpick
  • Dry brusing using silver enamel, mostly on the feet and weapons
  • Weathering pastel on the tilt rotor vents

To finish, I applied flat topcoat. But this time instead of using the spray can, I used the bottled type diluted 1:1 with lacquer thinner, and sprayed using my airbrush.



Some close ups of the Tilt rotor and weapons:

And some action poses:

Admittedly, attaching the Tilt Rotor Pack to the Leo is not a novel idea; you can already find several builds from google image search. To make this build unique, I decided to go full Osprey. That included painting the two tone color scheme, and using decals from Hasegawa’s 1/72 Osprey kit.
As for the HGAC Leo, it has a very simple construction. For example, it uses only 6 ball type polycaps. But range of movement on the limbs is on par with the latest HG kits, making it quite fun to play around with. But be warned, as with any kit, playing with it too much will result in loose joints. Overall, there’s not much to complain about the HGAC Leo.

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