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.

Head:
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

Body:
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.

Shoulders:
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.

Hands:
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.

Legs:
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:

Armaments:
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.

Heavyarms (Endless Waltz)

March 5, 2013 at 18:43 | Posted in Master Grade | 7 Comments
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Introduction:

There’s no doubt in my mind that I will purchase the MG Heavyarms kit ever since I saw the prototype at a hobby show. But I couldn’t really decide what to do with it afterwards. I couldn’t decide whether to paint it  in different color schemes (Heavyarms Custom color came to mind), paint camo patterns or leave the color as it is.

Ultimately I decided on the last option. Sure you could call me lazy but the red-orange-white color scheme kinda grew on me. To spruce it up a bit, I decided to give this kit a heavy dose of weathering.

Materials & methods:

I first assembled the complete inner frame, without attaching any of the armor. Then I separated them according to body parts for easier painting. For the outer armor, I applied plenty of battle damage effects using a mini router and hobby blade and focused mostly on the leg and hip parts. The gattling gun came in two halves, so I had to fix the seam lines. The least interesting part to building was cutting and sanding the individual gattling gun cartridges, or bullets.

I painted the inner frame with german gray  and later hand painted some details using gold enamel. The mini missiles were sprayed with light blue and the missile pods on the legs were painted with olive green. For the gatling gun, I sprayed black surfacer over it, followed by gloss aluminium. I masked the barrels with tape and sprayed the rest of the gun with gun metal. Some parts of the barrels were handpainted with gold. The outer armor remains unpainted, except for the shield.

Before doing any weathering, I applied some waterslide decals on the outer armor, loosely referencing the manual. Then I sprayed a layer of gloss topcoat the protect the decals. For the inner frame, I applied weathering in the form of dry brushing using silver paint. For the outer armor, I applied an enamel wash using red-brown + sand-brown paints. For the damaged parts, I applied some silver paint on them to simulate exposed metal, and then added a dab of black weathering pastel over them. For the feet, I wanted to simulate mud effects, so I mixed some light brown weathering pastel with Mr. Color thinner and applied the resulting paste around the legs using a paintbrush. Finally when all is done, I applied the final layer of flat topcoat.

Results:

Here it is without any armor on and boy does it look good:

And this is after I put on the outer armor (rather reluctantly, I should add):

Whats that you say? Not enough Gatling guns? Well here’s some photos I took with the MG Unicorn’s beam gatlings and the M.S.G Gatling gun (each sold separately). I didn’t take that many photos for the reasons described in the Discussions:

Discussion:

Aesthetically, this is one of the best looking kits that I’ve ever built. From the details in the inner frame to the overall proportions, it just looks pleasing to the eye. Building it was pretty simple and straight-forward, but the fun factor for me was in applying the weathering effects. I didn’t want to go too hardcore with it, just enough to imply that it’s survived a couple of battles.

The weapons included in the kit are the gattling gun, detachable flip blade and a beam sabre on the left arm. I didn’t bother with the beam sabre because the kit does not come with a clear part for the beam sabre itself: only the hilt is supplied.

Now while I’m pleased with 90% of this kit, there are a few things that could’ve been better. This involves the hands. Unlike previous MGs which have moveable fingers, this one comes with swappable fingers, almost like a HG kit. While it’s good for adding stability when holding its default weapons, it’s not so good for holding third-party weapons, like the Unicorn’s beam gatling and MSG Gatling gun. That’s partly why I didn’t take too many photos with those weapons. The second gripe I have is regarding the hinges on the chest. For some reason, the chest covers did not open & close smoothly. In the process of forcing it to open & close, I inadvertently broke the hinge. Now I just glue on the chest covers.

That said, I’m still very pleased with this kits appearance and how it still looks menacing despite the orange-red-white color scheme.

Dom

December 15, 2012 at 17:59 | Posted in Master Grade | 4 Comments
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Introduction:

It has been years since I last built an MG kit (4 years in fact). I bought this MG Dom a few years ago, mainly for its weapons. I actually assembled only the Dom’s weapons when I was building my last MG kit, which was the Zaku Minelayer. The main body of the Dom remained in the box until just recently, when I decided to free up some space taken up by the huge MG box. I don’t quite fancy purple colored kits, so I decided to repaint it in desert colors, like the GFF version.

Materials & Methods:

The kit was actually pretty simple to build, but the way the instruction manual was organized was quite poor. The seam lines that needed to be fixed was in the shoulders and weapons.  I also added some minor battle damage effects by using a small battery-powered router. The only modification I made was to the monoeye, where I replaced it with Bandai’s Gunpla Builders MS Sight Lens.

For painting, I sprayed black surfacer on all the purple parts and I used two types of brown paint for different parts of the body. The inner frame was painted with German gray. After painting was finished, I applied decals to mimic the GFF style, using whatever water-slide decals I had.

I applied a layer of gloss topcoat in order to protect my decals from the next step, which was weathering using the enamel wash method. I also added extra paint chipping effects & dry brushing on the inner frame. For the battle damaged parts, I filled them with silver paint, painted the edges with some black enamel paint and finally dabbed some black weathering pastel around the area. I finished with a layer of flat topcoat, as usual.

Results:

Here’s some pictures of the inner frame (what’s little of it).

And here with full armor.

And finally some photos with weapons. Although the Dom already has a wide array of weapons, I also photographed it with some 1/6 scale military weapons that I have lying around.

Discussion:

This was one of the earliest MG kits released, so understandably the detail and articulation is not on par with the latest MG kits. In terms of articulation, it’s probably comparable to the HGUC Dom kit I just finished recently. And it seems the designers only focused on the inner frame details of the leg, where it was quite well done. On the upper half of the body, the inner frame was virtually non-existent, save for the core block, backpack and head.

As I mentioned before, the arsenal of weapons was one of the plus points of this kit. It came with two types of bazookas, a sub machine-gun, two Sturm-Faust grenades, magazines & a heat rod. Unfortunately, the rather poor articulation especially at the shoulders and arms, prevents good poses with those weapons.

For an old MG kit, it actually has decent levels of details on the inner frame of the leg and it comes with plenty of weapons. Other than that, there’s nothing much to shout about. Now to find some space to put it…

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