RG Zaku II – Work in progress

May 16, 2020 at 15:52 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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While building the RX-79[G], I thought it would be nice to have its adversary, the Zaku II. I just happen to have an RG Zaku II that’s in a state of limbo somewhere underneath my bed.
So I wiped the dust off the Zaku and went about with the build. The RG Zaku in question is the green, mass produced type. I wanted to recreate the 08th MS Zaku II as shown below:

In addition, I wanted to tone down the RG aesthetics, i.e excessive panels and the two-tone colors.

For this build, I used Gaianotes Color putty (black) to fill in panel lines that I felt were unneccessary. For example, the forearm part:

The black dots are actually parts filled with the black putty.

The left shoulder armor has two shades of green, differentiated as separate parts. The two tones of plastic will be covered when I paint it later, but to make it look more seamless, I glued the different colored parts together and filled uneven parts with putty.

The right shoulder shield on the 08th MS Zaku has three spikes on them. I attached some Wave option parts on the shield like so:

But I wasn’t really happy with how it looked. Luckily I have another spare shield to work with, so I tried another approach:
1) I filles some panel lines on the shield with the black putty;
2) Attached MS Spikes after cutting off the tip

On the crotch, some square panels were filled with putty:

On the front skirt armors, I cut off some parts to make it look like the reference picture.

The small, square panel on the thighs were also covered with putty.

Since this is a ground type Zaku, I wanted to cover up the extra thrusters on the lower legs. First, I glued 0.5mm plaplate over the holes [1]. This serves as a “plate” for the putty. Then, I applied the black putty over the plaplate and filed off the excess [2].

I did the same for the front thrusters. The pic below is before I added putty.

And that’s it for the mods. Since there’s only minimal changes, I might as well explain some parts of the painting process.

Unlike the RG Zaku II White Ogre, I decided to properly paint the inner frame. However, the Advanced MS Joint is mostly made of ABS material, which means any paint will get scratched off easily.
So I tried out Gaianotes Multi Primer. It’s translucent and can be airbrushed directly without dilution with thinner. Applying a layer of this stuff allows for better adhesion of subsequent paint layers.

After that has properly dried, I applied a layer of pure black, followed by Dark Iron. Additional frame parts that are not ABS material were painted with Nazca Mechanical Surfacer. I used Super Heavy and Light for some color variation.

Like MG Zaku kits, the pipes on the RG Zaku legs, torso and head are made up of separate parts. I noticed some parts were missing, before realizing that I used them for other kitbashing projects. Anyway, to facilitate painting, I inserted a plastic rod into each section, like below:

If the plastic rod is too thin, I padded it with some masking tape. This makes sure each part doesn’t move around when painting. The outcome is something liek this:

I labeled each section so I don’t mess up final assembly later.

For painting the outer armor, there’s only two colors to consider.
Green parts: Mr Color Yellow-Greeen + Mr Color IJA Green + leftover olive green from my ECOAS Jegan build.
Grey parts: Mr Color FS36118

So that’s it. All’s that left is decals and weathering.


Topp squad Zaku II – Work in progress

April 25, 2020 at 19:47 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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For the remaining two Zakus from Topp’s squad, I decided to merge the work in progress posts since I’m working on both at the same time.
Both are using the Zaku Origin kits as base, so some mods are the same for both kits. The differences between the two Zakus are illustrated below:

The major characteristic of Arth’s Zaku II is the exposed right shoulder, left knee guard, and the armaments: a GM shield and a heat hawk. Dell’s Zaku II is probably the most battle-damaged of Topp’s squad, featuring a shattered left shoulder armor, broken power pipe and the lack of left skirt armor.
For Arth’s Zaku, I’m using the Origin Char’s Zaku II kit as base. For Dell’s Zaku, it’s a kitbash of various Zaku II parts from Yellow Submarine, but it’s mostly parts from the Origin Zaku II C6 type.

For both kits, I covered up some panel lines on the top of the head using basic putty.

The monoeye was also modified as follows: drill hole -> attach round plate -> attach clear lens

There’s a seam line running through the middle of the part that holds the shoulder socket. I disguised it using both techniques mentioned here.

On the Char Zaku II backpack, there’s two bulges near the bottom thrusters. I cut them off and covered the holes with MSG parts. The top thrusters were also cut out and replaced with plaplate. For Dell’s Zaku backpack, I simply covered the top thrusters with putty.

For both Zakus, I cut off some piece from the front skirt armor.

On the back skirt armor, I covered some holes with detail parts and added some pla-plate for additional detail.

For Dell’s Zaku, the left power cable is severed. I recreated it by doing some cut and paste job on the original power cable part. In the original art, the cable goes all the way to the knees. But I decided to keep it short. At the end of the severed cable, I inserted a copper rod.

To recreate the exposed right shoulder on Arth’s Zaku, I used the shoulder joint from the HGUC GM Striker. To it I attached some round plates from a tank model, and a detail part from the HCM-Pro Ez-8. At the bottom, I cut and pasted the peg from the Origin Zaku shoulder.

On the left shoulder, I filled the small holes and panel lines on the spikes using some putty.

The shoulders on Dell’s Zaku are more damaged. On the right arm shield, I carved out some bits of plastic using my Ultrasonic cutter. It melted the plastic a bit, but in this case I think it adds to the damaged effect.

On the left shoulder, I carved out a hole using the Ultrasonic cutter. The melted plastic left smooth edges, so I made it more ‘edgy’ using my hobby blade.

I decided to use RG Zaku II hands for both builds. Instead of attaching the RG wrist socket to the HG forearm, I just transplanted HG hand ball joints to the RG hands.

On both Zakus, I filled some panel lines on the thighs with basic putty:

On Arth’s Zaku, the left knee is a slightly exposed. I cut off some parts from the left knee:

The left knee armor was cut into shape, and some holes were drilled in, according to reference photo.

The thrusters on the lower legs of both Zakus were filled with putty:

The same with the foot. I also scribed a simple panel line on the sides:

Arth’s Zaku is armed with a heat hawk and a generic GM shield. I’m using the shield from a GM resin kit from C3 hobby. I cut off the Federation star/cross(?) and carved out some holes to recreate bullet damage. The handle at the back is made up of some MSG detail parts and plaplate.

Dell’s Zaku is armed with a Magella cannon from the old HGUC Garma Zabi Zaku II kit. In the anime, the cannon has a magazine on top, but the HGUC version doesn’t. So I cut off the magazine from Char’s Zaku anti-ship rifle and attached it to the Magella cannon.

Here’s Arth’s Zaku after test fitting:

and this is Dell’s Zaku:

It doesn’t look too pretty at the moment, but I’m planning to paint, weather and finish all three Topp Zakus at the same time.

Topp Zaku I – Work in progress

April 18, 2020 at 18:15 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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This is the first of the 3 Zakus from Topp’s squad. I thought about simply using the HG Zaku I Origin kit for this build, but I decided to make things difficult for myself by doing a kitbash.

Head: Zaku I Thunderbolt.
I added the commander antenna from an older HGUC Zaku II kit:

And repositioned the fin at the back of the head. The gap will be filled with putty.

Instead of using a sticker for the monoeye, I attached a round plate from MSG which will be fitted with a clear lens.

Body: HGUC Zaku I Sniper
First I cut off some parts from the chest, shown by the red arrows:

The Zaku I Sniper’s chest looks different from the one in the 08th MS anime, so I padded the chest with 1mm plaplate. Any gaps will be filled with putty later.

I also had to modify the shoulder socket because of the arms I decided to use. To make way for the polycap ball socket, I had to trim off some excess plastic and fill some empty gaps with plaplate.

Since the Zaku Sniper body doesn’t include a normal backpack, I used one from the Origin kit. I had to drill some holes to make them compatible:

I wanted to elongate the waist, but I took a slightly different approach. Instead of using a single slab of plaplate, I arranged 1mm square pipes around the underside of the waist part:

The old Zaku I sniper waist uses ball joints to connect the legs. Since I’m using Origin legs, I had to replace the ball joint with a rod-type joint from the Origin kit. Excess plastic in and around the intended area had to be removed to fit the rod-type joint.

To attach extra drum magazines to the skirt armor, I decided to use magnets. I used superglue to stick the magnets to the undersides of the skirt armors and drum magazines, as indicated by the red arrows:

So that way the skirt armors look clean, without any pegs or holes. The extra drum magazines can just stick like a fridge magnet.

At the back skirt, I attached some detail parts made from 1mm square pipes:

I felt that the empty gap between the head and the body was too big. So I remedied it by 1) Making the polycap neck shorter by cutting off the ball joint, removing excess parts, and reattaching it. I inserted a 1mm metal rod inside for extra strength. Then, in 2) I attached a neck plate(?) from the Origin kit, after trimming off some unnecessary plastic. I attached 1mm plaplate on the shoulders to compensate for the shallower neck.

Arms: HGUC Zaku II Tristars.
On the right shoulder, I removed the peg intended for the shield. In its place I glued some pieces of 0.3mm plaplate.

For the left shoulder, I did the following modifications: 1) Remove the spikes and make holes using a drill; 2) Attach round plates from Wave into the holes; 3) Attach MSG detail parts in the round plates

I arranged 0.5mm plaplate into a square around the wrists.

Legs: HG Zaku I Origin
I covered some panel lines on the thighs, and knees using basic putty. On the lower legs, I covered the thrusters with 0.5mm plaplate.

The Zaku machine gun from the Origin kit is used as is.

So this is what it looked like after all those mods:

After finalizing the parts, I added some battle damage using a battery-powered router, hobby knife, and chisel. Nothing too extensive, just some dents and scratches here and there.

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