HGUC Dom Tropen

September 20, 2015 at 21:44 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 2 Comments
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Introduction:

The HGUC Dom Tropen is quite an old kit, and comes in two color variants: the purple themed and desert color themed. The one I’m building here is the latter. Despite its age, I felt it was a good addition to my Zeon Remnants project. Other than upgrading its articulation, I wanted to arm it with a gatling gun with the ammo case as the backpack, similar to the Dom Barrage.

Materials & methods:

I did quite a fair bit of modifications to the original kit, and you can read about them here. Additionally, I decided to use MSG Custom Hand B fists, with some modifications. The original head rod was a single piece of grey plastic, so I replaced it with leftover clear runner. Also added some detail parts on the shoulders and lower legs.

After priming with Dark Grey surfacer, I waited a couple of days for the rain to pass before painting. There’s only two color tones to consider so painting was relatively quick. The torso, side skirts and feet were painted with dark brown while the rest of the body was painted with sand brown mixed with smoke grey. The gatling gun was painted with various shades of grey and gunmetal.

What follows is pretty standard procedure: apply decals -> gloss topcoat -> enamel wash -> extra weathering effects -> flat topcoat.

Results:

HGUC Dom Tropen

Discussion:

Out of the box, there’s plenty of things that I found unacceptable about the HGUC Dom Tropen kit: the sticker monoeye, poor articulation at the shoulders, waist and feet, ugly hands, and the short thighs. I guess for an old kit that’s understandable. Fixing those imperfections made the project more fun anyway.

The good thing about the Dom Tropen kit is that it has plenty of weapons: a Panzerschreck rocket launcher, a 90mm machine gun, several Sturm Faust grenades, and a heat rod. Even though I didn’t use them in this project, they’ll be useful for future ones.

Some comments about the final build:

The hip sockets (made from Tallgeese parts) were a bit loose. They tend to swivel sideways very easily. It would be bad for mid-air poses, but thankfully the Dom Tropen is a ground unit.

About the MSG Belt Link, the ammo belt was not very bendable. It was too short to connect the gatling gun to the backpack so I had to buy another set of MSG Belt Link and assemble just the ammo belt parts to make it longer.

Other than that I’m quite satisfied with this build. Of the six kits I’ve built for the Zeon Remnant preject, I think this one required the most modifications. Well that might change with the next one on the line…

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HGUC GM Ground Type

August 15, 2014 at 18:29 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 7 Comments
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Introduction:

I still had an extra GM head leftover from the HGUC Ground War set. I decided to put it to good use by transplanting it to a HGUC Ground Type Gundam body. The result would’ve looked like this, but I wanted to convert it into a proper Ground Type GM.

It turns out that there’s a lot more cosmetic differences between the GM and the Gundam than just the head. And so the challenge was to convert the Ground Type Gundam into a GM that’s true to the original design.

Materials & Methods:

You can find the work-in-progress page here.

After priming all parts with dark grey surfacer, I sprayed orange-yellow on the chest & feet, and tan brown on all the other parts. The joints were sprayed with Dark Grey (2) whereas the weapons were sprayed with gunmetal & german gray.

I didn’t do any battle damage effects, but I did add some light weathering by first applying a wash using black enamel, followed by rust & paint chipping effects using red-brown enamel. I applied some weathering pastel on the feet as well. After that it’s the usual steps: applying decals & flat topcoat.

Results:

To have an appreciation of the changes that were made, here is the GM compared to my previous GM Sniper. The GM Sniper essentially uses the unmodified Ground Type Gundam body.

Discussion:

Viewed on its own, the modifications that were made appeared to be inconsequential. But I feel that the proportions were improved significantly (p<0.01), especially when I compared it to my GM Sniper.

I do have mixed feelings about using the RG hands, however. On one hand it offers flexibility & pleasing aesthetics, but on the downside it’s flimsy when holding weapons like the beam sabre and dagger. The pointing finger tends to pop out as well.

You may have noticed the green feet in some photos. That’s because I broke the ball joint at the ankle when I was posing it during photography. I glued back the parts with super glue and while waiting for the glue to dry, I borrowed the feet of my GM Sniper and continued taking photos.

Overall, the end result looks like a proper Ground Type GM; but at the same time it slightly deviates from the original design. It has been a fun build, and especially satisfying when I make a side-by-side comparison with the GM Sniper. Finding inadequacies in the original kit and improving upon them is one of the reasons why I’m still hooked to gunpla.

HGUC GM Ground Type (Work in Progress)

July 31, 2014 at 17:15 | Posted in 1/144 scale, Work In Progress | 2 Comments
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My initial plan was to simply attach a spare GM head onto a HGUC Ground Type Gundam body and paint it accordingly. However as I began snap-fitting, I felt the uncontrollable urge to do more modifications. Instead of doing a half-assed conversion like my previous HGUC GM Sniper, I decided to follow the original design more closely, but with my own twist.

Head: I still have one spare GM head from the HGUC Ground Battle set, so no mods needed here. I merely added a reflective sheet on the eye sensor and painted the visor with clear green.

gmg_wip-6

Backpack: The HGUC Ground Type Gundam only had the huge box-like backpack. So I used the RG Gundam backpack leftover from my RG Full Armor Gundam project. I attached a leftover sprue to the RG backpack to attach it to the body.

gmg_wip-1

On either side of the RG backpack were some gaps where the beam sabre hilt was supposed to be attached. Since the GM Ground Type doesn’t have beam sabres on the backpack, I filled those gaps with some pla-plate and attached the yellow square thing from the RG’s front skirt on the sides.

Chest: Based on the GM Ground type design, the chest was modified so that both left and right sides are chest vents. First I plugged in the gaps with polyester putty, and then attached a square vent (Wave) on them. Inside the square vents, I added sheets of styrene for added detail.

gmg_wip-12  gmg_wip-5

To improve the torso posability and proportions, I attached a double ball joint to connect the upper and lower abdomen. The lower abdomen was also extended by attaching a sheet of 1.2mm pla-plate at the bottom.

gmg_wip-14 gmg_wip-7

Hips: I added another ball joint to connect the lower abdomen to the hips. The crotch for the GM is flatter than the Gundam’s, so I trimmed it, and covered it with a sheet of styrene.

gmg_wip-9

On the back skirt, I added a slot for the knife from GM Sniper K9. I replaced the side skirt with the right forearm from a Jesta kit that holds magazines for the Sten Gun (see weapons section below). The other side was replaced with a pocket-like attachment from GM Sniper K9.

gmg_wip-11 gmg_wip-13

Arms: Like my previous two projects, I decided to elongate the arms by adding 1.2mm pla-plate to the biceps. I wanted to do the same to the forearm, but the position of the hole for the shield attachment was problematic. So instead I attached square vents at the wrists. I used a pair of RG RX-78 hands with flexible fingers and a pair of closed fists from B-club (resin).

gmg_wip-2

Legs: I’ve always felt the legs of my HGUC GM Sniper were a bit short, so this time I elongated the legs by attaching 1.2mm pla-plate in the middle of the thighs. I further elongated the ankles by attaching 1.2mm pla-plate near the pegs that connect to the lower leg. I added some details to the feet using pla-plate.

gmg_wip-3 gmg_wip-4

Weapons: I decided to use the machine gun from the HGUC GM Cold District type that I bought from Yellow Submarine. I further modified it so that it looks like the Sten Gun used by British forces in WWII. The stock was from the Gelgoog rifle in System Weapon 002, while the barrel was from the sub machinegun included in the kit.

gmg_wip-8

For more firepower, I decided to modify the artillery cannon included in the kit into another weapon used by the WWII British: the Bren Gun. The stock was taken from the huge rifle from the GM Sniper K9 kit. It was oversized, so it had to be cut it and the gaps were filled with epoxy putty. I glued an attachment for a bipod scavenged from System Weapon 001. I shortened the barrel and replaced the muzzle with a cone-like part. I also attached a handle made from spare parts to the barrel.

gmg_wip-10

That’s about it for the major structural modifications. I also glued some detail parts & styrene strips here and there to add more features. For painting, I’ll stick to the original color scheme: tan brown + orange.

The completed kit can be viewed here.

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