HG Graze Kai

November 13, 2016 at 00:25 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 5 Comments
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Introduction:

I built this HG Graze Kai kit in parallel with the standard Graze. They’re not that different, but the most obvious difference is the head. I bought a standard Graze head at Yellow Submarine because I initially wanted to use the Graze Kai head for another project. But I changed my mind and so I retained the Kai head.

Materials & methods:

I did the same modifications as the HG Graze. In addition, I modified the backpack so that a wing binder from MS Wing is attached.

For the weapons, I modified the original rifle by attaching the magazine to the middle of the rifle. I also decided to attach a bipod from one of my Little Armory M240 kits.

The Graze Kai was supplemented with the sniper rifle leftover from my HG Dynames kit. I attached the magazine from a GM machinegun and a clear lens inside the scope. Also drilled some holes on the muzzle and replaced the grip.

HG Dynames sniper rifle mod

I chose the color scheme of another mecha from Aldnoah Zero: the mass produced, olive-drab Kataphrakt. I used the leftover paint I mixed for my HGUC Jegan ECOAS build.

Results:

HG Graze Kai

Action poses and group photos:

Discussion:

I have to say I’m quite impressed with both the standard Graze and Graze Kai kits. The design looks quite unique and I like that some bits of the inner frame can still be seen even with the armor on. The head can be opened to reveal some extra details, too. Another plus point is the range of movement that surpasses most HGUC kits. It can do a pretty decent kneeling pose and the chest can swivel upwards and downwards.

The only minus points are that the included weapons are quite boring and the hands have only the gripping pose. I modified the existing weapons, added new ones as well as better hands.

I’m pretty happy with the build, except maybe the paintjob. The Graze was more brown than orange, and the Graze Kai was more green than olive drab. Overall, both these kits have left a pretty good impression and I might consider getting more kits from this series.

 

HG Graze

November 11, 2016 at 21:28 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

Even though I haven’t watched the Iron Blooded Orphans series yet, the Graze model kit looked somewhat appealing. The design is a breath of fresh air in a franchise filled with Gundams & Zakus; yet it feels oddly familiar…  I ended up buying two of them: a standard Graze and the Graze kai, both 1/144 scale. Since they’re very similar, I decided to build both at the same time. First up is the HG standard Graze:

Materials & methods:
Hands: The kits only come with a pair of hands: the ones for holding the weapons. The 1/144 MS hands felt a bit too big, so I bought HGBC Build Knuckles. The Build Knuckles come in 3 sizes and with 3 fixed poses each. I used the small sized fists and open palms for this build.

Waist: The whole torso proportion looked too shallow for me, so I decided to elongate it at the waist part. First I cut off the original peg, attached 1.2mm plaplate, and then reattached the peg on top of it.

HG Graze waist mod

Thighs: I did the same thing with the thigh joints:

HG Graze thigh mod

Weapons: I modified the original rifle by attaching the drum magazine from a Zaku machinegun. Also attached an additional grip at the barrel.

HG Graze rifle mod

I decided to arm it with a grenade launcher from HG Orphans MS options set 2. I shortened the barrel and trimmed some unwanted plastic. Also attached some random pieces of plastic I had lying around to give it some detail. Also used the shield that came in that weapon set.

HG Orphans 1/144 MS Option Set 2 grenade launcher

For CQB, I replaced the original axes with a combat knife and something that looks like a meat cleaver from MSG Knife set. Also used the shield from the HG Orphans MS option set 1.

The color scheme I went for was the orange Kataphrakt from Aldnoah Zero. I tried my best to mimic that design with some white stripe decals. Finally I finished it off with some light weathering  and flat topcoat.

Results:

HG Graze orange color

And some action poses:

Discussion:

I’ll summarize my final thoughts about both the standard Graze and Graze Kai in the followup post.

But I’ll just say that the paintjob didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted; it looked more brown than orange. I didn’t really pay close attention to the paint ratios as I was mixing them for airbrushing. Oh well… I can always try again on another orange themed gunpla kit.

The completed HG Graze Kai can be found here.

HGグレイズ改はこちら

 

1/144 Ball (Thunderbolt ver.)

October 1, 2016 at 17:38 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
Volume 3 of the Gundam Thunderbolt manga came with a limited edition 1/144 scale Ball. It came in 3 shades of plastic: white, grey, and baby-blue. Also included is an extensive sticker sheet and a stand. One design feature of the Thunderbolt series is the overabundance of verneirs and thrusters. This Ball is no exception. It’s a bit  too much for me, so it was one of the things I decided to modify.
My main sticking point for this kit is that the cockpit canopy is made of opaque plastic. You’re supposed to apply the supplied sticker over it. You may know that I loathe this kind of stickers, so I had to come up with a better alternative.So those are some of the things I modified for this build. Read on for more details.

Materials & methods:
The extra verniers were either completely covered up with putty or replaced with some detail parts.
tballwip_01 tballwip_02
For the cockpit canopy, I bought an 18mm diameter clear acrylic bead from Amazon. First I had to remove the plastic surrounding the canopy. To get a nice, circular cut, I ran a sharp pin along the circumference of the canopy multiple times until the plastic surrounding the canopy was thin enough for me to punch through it. After that I simply attached the clear acrylic bead behind the hole using super glue. Unfortunately, the super glue left a white residue on the clear bead. I scraped off the white residue using a hobby blade, but that left scratches on the clear bead. To get a nice, shiny finish, I rubbed Tamiya compound over the clear bead until the scratches were no longer visible.
tballwip_03
To add some detail to this kit, I glued a square plate near the back thrusters and some square pipes on the landing skids.

tballwip_04 tballwip_05

The final modifications I did were to the two front pistols. I glued some square vents and rectangular verneirs to add extra detail. The gun barrels were not hollow, so I drilled a hole through the plastic.

tballwip_06 tballwip_07
To provide some extra mobility to the pistols, I separated them from the front arms and attached a pivoting joint from MSG. Now the pistols can move semi-independently from the arms.

tballwip_08

For the color scheme, I decided on an urban camo similar to my HGUC Jesta. Unlike the Jesta, I used larger, more angular shapes of masking rape for the camo patterns. Painting was done in this order:
Base coat (Mr. Color Dark Gray 2) -> masking tape -> Mr. Color Dark Gray 1 -> masking tape -> Mr. Color Off White
For other parts, I painted them as follows:

  • The part surrounding the cockpit -> Navy Blue
  • Cockpit canopy -> clear red.
  • Arms and weapons -> Gunmetal, german gray and dark gray 2
  • Verniers -> Light gunmetal

Then its panel-lining, decals and some light weathering in the form of paint chipping.

Results:
tball_05

Discussion:
This is my first non-humanoid shaped gunpla kit, and it was kinda fun to build something different. Actually I put off building this kit until I found a solution for the cockpit canopy conundrum.
I wouldn’t recommend this kit for snap-fitters, though. Although some parts are molded in their correct colors, you still need to apply a whole bunch of stickers. Even then, it wouldn’t look as good if it was painted. The range of movement on the arms is also limited, but I wasn’t expecting too much from a ‘free’ kit anyway.
On the plus side, it comes with a stand; I like that it attaches to the backside of the Ball. The overall design is also unique and well detailed too. And if you’re wondering about the red glow from the cockpit in some photos, it was light from a laser pointer. Since this is not a regular release, it may be difficult to get one. If you manage to find one, be prepared to put in some effort to make it look presentable.

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