HGUC Jesta Cannon

February 10, 2014 at 13:59 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 3 Comments
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Introduction:

After the release of HGUC Jesta, it came to no surprise that the Jesta Cannon was made into a HGUC kit. As awesome as it looks, there were a few things about the Jesta Cannon that I didn’t like too much: the asymetrical shoulder cannons, the shield thingy on the left forearm and the new beam carbine. So I decided to modify those things and accompany it with a custom paint job.

Materials & Methods:

I’ll break down the modifications I did according to body parts:

Head: I drilled holes on the forehead bulge and replaced the antenna with a thinner one from Wave option parts. Also fixed the seam lines.

jestacan-headmod

Waist: I felt that the waist was a bit short and shallow, so I decided to elongate it by gluing a sheet of pla-plate at the bottom of the waist part and the corresponding male joint on the hip part.

jestacan-waist

Hips: I replaced the vents on the front skirt armor and added an attachment peg for the assault rifle on the back.

jestacan-waist2

Arms: I fixed the seam lines on the shoulders and attached a square piece of wire mesh on the sides. I replaced the original elbow joint with the HGUC Blue Destiny joints because it’s double-jointed. I also elongated the bicep area with a sheet of pla-plate. Both forearms were also slightly modified. On the right forearm, I replaced the spare carbine magazines with spare grenades. On the left forearm, I removed the shield thingy and replaced it with the standard Jesta forearm. But instead of housing the beam sabre hilt, I attached a peg for the modified shield. Remaining gaps were filled with epoxy & basic putty.

jestacan-arms

Hands: I modified the right hand so that the peg faces 90 degrees downwards. I cut & bent the thumb & fingers on the open palm left hand so that they looked like they were gripping something.

  jestacan-hand1 jestacan-hand2

Backpack: I ditched the original shoulder cannons altogether and replaced them with a pair of gatling cannons. They were originally from the FG Slash ZAKU Phantom kit. Some modification was needed to attach them properly to the backpack. I also attached some square plates to add some details and replaced the booster nozzles with MS Verniers.

jestacan-back1

jestacan-back2

Legs: I did the same modifications on the knee joints that I did on my HGUC Jesta to give it a bit more mobility. As a side effect, there’s an unsightly gap when the knees are bent. So I attached some leftover Zaku machine gun magazines to the underside of the joint. I filled some gaps in the joints with epoxy putty & basic putty.

jestacan-legmod-2 jestacan-legmod-1

Weapons: For the HGUC Jesta, I armed it with the MSG shotgun. Similarly, I decided to give this Jesta Cannon a M.S.G weapon. In this case it’s the revolver launcher from MSG Weapon Unit 22. But wait, there’s more; I wanted it to look more like the M32 Grenade Launcher so I attached a longer barrel scavenged from System Weapon 003 and a buttstock from the HGUC Zaku II F2 rifle. The grips and scope were scavenged from the Jesta beam carbine.

jestacan-m32mod

In addition, I also armed it with an assault rifle from Weapon Unit 17 with an attachable silencer taken from the Jesta beam carbine. The kit also came with the original Jesta shield. I modified it so instead of being attached to the backpack, it’s attached to the left forearm like the  RX-78.

jestacan-shield

Painting, decals & weathering: Considering the weapons load, I felt it was appropriate to paint it with military camo and I settled for the 3C desert camo pattern. I sprayed black primer on all parts to hide the blue plastic hue. I sprayed Zaku light green (MS Green UG06) as the base color and then I applied the camo patterns using Mr. Masking Sol liquid latex. The second layer was Wood Deck Tan (Tamiya). After everything is dry, I peeled off the liquid latex and applied the final touch to the camo, which is the squiggles of dark brown. This was done by simply hand painting with Tamiya dark brown enamel paint. Some parts on the knees, shoulder and head were sprayed with Light Gray (Mr Color) while the feet, gatling cannons and missiles were sprayed with Olive Drab (Tamiya).

For the decals, I used mostly warning & numeral water slide decals. I applied some scratches on the decals and sprayed a layer of gloss topcoat to seal & protect them. The next step was weathering, which involved light brown enamel wash, silver dry-brushing & weathering pastels. The final step was spraying flat topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:

The Jesta Cannon design is not bad in itself, but some parts felt ‘meh’. For example, the original shoulder cannons look boring, while the left arm shield thingy feels bulky & unnecessary. Even the new beam carbine looks unbalanced.

On the plus side, the extra armor parts on the shoulder & legs do add a bit of bulk that actually looks good. Another good thing about this HGUC Jesta Cannon kit is that it includes some parts of the original Jesta. The original Jesta shield & beam carbine can be fully assembled, and there’s some spare parts for the arm, leg and skirt armor.

Building the HGUC Jesta really helped me identify which parts of the Jesta Cannon to improve & modify. While some mods looked significant (gatling cannons, arms), others were not so obvious (bent hands & fingers, knee joints). During final assembly, I snapped the male peg connecting the hip to the waist. I glued it back with super glue and thankfully it held well.

As for the paint job, I think it turned out better than the snow camo I did for the standard Jesta. My only gripe is that the light green looks too ‘minty’ to my liking. So after all the modifications & customizations, the end result still retains the ‘feel’ of a Jesta Cannon but with conventional military overtones.

Side note: I entered this kit for Hobby Link Japan’s Playing With Plamo 2013 contest. Didn’t win anything but it was a nice experience regardless.

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Leo

August 26, 2013 at 19:16 | Posted in 1/100 scale, Model kits | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

After completing my MG Tallgeese, I was thinking of what to do with the older 1/100 scale kit I have. I wasn’t really keen on building another Tallgeese so I decided to modify it into a Leo. The Leo is the grunt unit from Gundam Wing that explodes  just by the sight of a gundam. Because the old 1/100 kit uses flimsy polycaps for the joints, I decided to transplant some MG parts to make it sturdier. So I went shopping for parts at Yellow Submarine and bought MG Tallgeese arms and MG Deathscythe Hell legs. For the color scheme, I decided to try a jungle camo pattern, or specifically the tigerstripe camo.

Materials & Methods:

To transform the Tallgeese into a Leo, almost all parts required some sort of modification. So I’ll break it down into  different body parts:

Head: The kit allows you to build 3 types of Tallgeese heads, but the one that resembles a Leo head the most was Tallgeese I. I had to trim away the trojan headpiece and faceguard. As a result, there’s a deep gap in the Leo’s face so I glued a square vernier (Wave) in it. Then I attached a clear square visor (leftover from MG Tallgeese) to complete the Leo’s face.

Torso: This part required the least modification. I merely added square molds (M.S.G) on the chest and modified the shoulder joints so that the MG arms can be attached.

Waist: The front part was not modified. But the Leo’s butt is made up of two squarish booster units, which was quite different from the Tallgeese version. So I took the heels from the MG Deathscythe legs and used them as Leo’s butt. The booster nozzles were from Bandai’s Builders parts.

leo-1 leo-2

Arms: I just built the MG Tallgeese arms according to the manual. At first I thought of just leaving the big round shoulders naked, but then I decided to attach the shoulder armor from the Tallgeese kit. Not a perfect fit but the epoxy putty I used should hold them together.

Legs: I assembled the knee joints from the MG Deathscythe and attached them to the Leo’s legs with some epoxy putty. The feet were left as they were, but I modified the knees. I attached the ankle guard from MG Deathscythe to the knees and added some trapezoid tips on them. Some seam lines had to be removed from the thighs and shins.

For painting, I first sprayed dark grey surfacer on all the parts except the elbow & knee joints. For the feet and lower torso, I sprayed German Grey. For the rest of the parts, I applied some masking using liquid latex (Mr. Masking Sol). Because the applicator brush is too wide, I used a toothpick to ‘draw’ some camo patterns using the liquid latex. Then I sprayed Dark Green over the limbs, upper torso and head parts. Peeling away the dried latex revealed the camo pattern. To complete the tigerstripe camo, I drew some lines along the camo patterns using desert brown enamel paint and a hand brush.

Then came the standard decal application and panel-lining. For weathering, I applied some silver paint to simulate paint chipping and a lot of weathering pastel on the feet. The last step was applying a layer of flat topcoat.

Results:

Because the Leo doesn’t have native weapons, I photographed it with some third-party weapons.

And finally some group photos:

Discussion:

I couldn’t recall the last time I made such extensive modification on a single kit. Although the end product was a little rough, it was a fun and largely satisfying experience nonetheless.

Regarding the Leo, I have to admit that mine didn’t follow the original design 100%, but I felt it was close. I kinda liked how the camo pattern turned out. As for the rest of the body, it’s a mixed bag. The elbow & knee movements were superior because they were from MG parts. But the shoulder, feet & groin were not, hence the limited poses.

The 1/100 Tallgeese kit came with quite a few weapons such as a whip, mega beam cannon, dober gun & a shield, but I didn’t assemble any of them. I’m thinking of using the mega beam cannon for another project though…

How to paint camo patterns

June 5, 2012 at 13:55 | Posted in How-to | 2 Comments
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Lately I’ve been experimenting with painting camo patterns on my gunpla kits. Theoretically it’s quite simple, but in terms of execution, I still need to polish up on my technique. Regardless, I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences which involved using spray can paints. So here’s the steps I took:

1. Conceptualize

Before you do anything, you need ideas. For camo painting, you need to decide two things: color and camo pattern. If you need some inspiration, just browse the internet or flip over some hobby magazines. Military style camo is a good start, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to that. If you have Gimp or Photoshop, you can Google a lineart for your model and then apply the camo paintjob that you wish to try out, like what I did with my Jesta:

 

2. Paint the base layer

The base layer is basically the color that you will be masking. For example: if you want a paint scheme which is mainly white with grey camo patterns, your base layer will be the grey color. For my GM Cannon II, the base paint was German Gray. You get the gist…

3. Mask the base layer using your preferred camo pattern

You can use any of the several masking methods which I covered here, but I mostly use masking tape since you can cut it in any shape you want. For digital camo like the one on my GM Cannon II, I cut the masking tape into squares of different sizes to mask the base layer. For my Jesta which had curvy camo patterns, I drew the patterns on a masking tape and cut it out with my hobby blade:

4. Paint the second layer

After applying the masking, just spray in your second layer. One thing to be careful about is to avoid spraying a single thick layer. If you did that, there might be a chance that the paint will seep underneath the masking tape, thus ruining the camo pattern. Instead, try to paint multiple, thin layers. For most purposes, you can stop at this step. Wait until the paint is dry before peeling off the masking tape.

5. Repeat as necessary

For  a slightly more complex camo pattern that involves more than 2 colors (e.g my Jesta), you can continue to add masking (step 3) and the subsequent layer of paint (step 4). For the Jesta, I used 3 different shades of gray and the whole process went something like this:

Spray German Gray (base layer) -> masking -> spray MS Grey -> masking -> spray Light Gray -> masking -> spray Off-white (final layer).

Between each step, don’t peel off the the masking tape yet until after you applied the final layer. Here’s what it looked like halfway through:

And there you have it. I suggest trying out simple camo patterns like squares to get a hang of things. As I said earlier, it’s theoretically simple, but execution is another matter. But don’t let that dampen your spirit. After all, this hobby is about trial and error. Have fun!

Examples:

Here’s some examples of camo patterns that I painted, just to give you an idea of what you can do:

  

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