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.

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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…

How to GUNPLA

November 29, 2010 at 17:27 | Posted in How-to | 2 Comments
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After building plenty of model kits down the years, I decided to come up with a basic gunpla-building workflow, summarized in this flowchart:

how-to-gunplaIt’s not necessarily something that you have to follow, it’s just my own Standard Operating Procedure. You can read the TLDR version below:

1. Snapfit your model
Sounds simple enough, just follow the instruction manual. This is where you get acquainted with your model kit. As you build, you should take note of which parts need to have the seam-line fixed, which parts need coloring, masking or modification. Since I usually disassemble the kit again after snap-fitting, its better not to snap-fit the parts too tightly.

2. Disassemble and apply modification/fixes
After snap-fitting and identifying which parts need fixing or modification, I disassemble the kit and sort according to body part (head, torso, arms, legs). Then I do some of the following to the individual parts:

i) Clean up the nip marks
ii) Fix seam lines
iii) Apply structural modifications (battle damage, mobility improvement etc.)
iv) Paint/mask parts that require different color
v) Add detail parts (Wave, M.S.G, etc): *optional*

3. Priming and painting
Priming entails spraying your kit with surfacers or primers, which usually come in neutral colors (white, grey, black). This essentially makes your kit a blank canvas prior to painting. For example: if the original plastic is molded in red, and the intended color is white. It’s better to cover up the red with a layer of primer & then paint it white, rather than painting many layers of white color to cover up the red (in which case it can end up pink).

Other reasons to prime your whole kit are: It makes the paint stick easier to the kit surface & also allows you to identify scratches or imperfections on your kit. I use a spray can (Mr. White Surfacer, Gaianotes Evospray etc.) for priming.

For painting, I used to rely on spray cans (Mr. Color, Tamiya) and hand painting using Tamiya enamels. Now I use an airbrush with lacquer paints (Mr. Color, Gaiainotes). Before spraying, the separate parts are attached to a bamboo stick and then arranged on to a polystyrene block (the white packaging stuff inside boxes) or whatever surface where the sticks can be upright. After painting, I tend to leave it for a few days for the paint to cure.

4. Choose your path
From here on, there’s two options to take, depending on the final look I’m after: clean or weathered. Admittedly, I tend to favor the weathered look; but sometimes just for the sake of doing something different (or when I’m lazy), I go for the clean look.

The clean path

If you’ve chosen the clean look, there’s only two things to do: add panel lines and apply decals. You can add panel lines first and then decals, or vice versa, it doesn’t really matter.

The weathered path

It takes a bit more effort and time to reproduce a weathered and damaged look to your model kit. The first thing to do is apply decals. To enhance the sense of realism, you’d want the decals to also look weathered, especially the huge markings. Imagine a clean, white, numeral marking on top of a dirty, weathered, shoulder part for example. That would look a bit unrealistic, no?

It should be noted that I exclusively use waterslide decals. Stickers are just ダメ。Now would also be a good time to apply some scratch marks on the decals to further add the illusion of battle damage. Just very carefully scratch the decals with a hobby blade.

Next, you’d want to protect those carefully applied decals with a layer of gloss topcoat.

Now it’s time to add weathering effects. I usually apply the wash method using enamel paints. This step also fills the seam lines so it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Other weathering effects you can do include:
i) Dry brushing
ii) Add paint chipping effects
iii) Apply touch up using weathering pastels

5. Final topcoat and assembly
After I’m done with all the previous steps, its time to apply a final layer of topcoat. You can choose gloss, semi-gloss or flat topcoats depending on how you want your kit to look like. For me, 99% of the time I use flat topcoat. I usually apply the topcoat on the assembled arms, legs & torso separately and then make the final assembly. And that’s it for the building part.

6. Photography
What you want to do with your kit after you’re done with it is up to you. But I’m sure after all the effort put into the kit, you’d want other people to appreciate it as well. You can read about how I photograph my kits in this post.

After photography, I keep the ones I like on my shelf. The rest I keep in a box to conserve shelf space. Maybe I should consider selling them. Any takers?

So if you’ve made it all the way here, thank you for reading and I hope this post was useful. If not, let me know your opinions in the comment section.

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