Bandai 1/72 VF-25s Messiah

August 16, 2017 at 21:11 | Posted in 1/72 scale, Model kits | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

Remember that post about my first Macross kit? Yeah, neither did I. That was until I found some old, dusty cluster of plastic somewhere within my apartment. Carbon dating of the dust layers revealed that it was from 8 years ago. This meant that this artifact is no other than my first Macross kit, the 1/72 scale VF-25s Messiah by Bandai.

Somehow it was stuck halfway through snap-fitting; half was already assembled, while the rest were still on their runners. To further motivate myself to complete this kit, I bought this book from Amazon with some nice photos of VF-25 Messiahs. I found an image that inspired this build:

vf25_hon1

The color scheme looks challenging, but I decided to give it a go.

Materials & methods:

I cleaned off the layers of dust from the plastic and continued from where I left off. After snap fitting, I separated the parts into internal (joints & moving parts) and external parts (wings etc). I had no intention of modding or customizing this kit because I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. So for this build I just focused on painting. Prior to that, all parts were sprayed with grey surfacer. I used a combination of spray cans and airbrush for painting.

  • Internal parts: Mr Color Dark Gray (2) spray can
  • Feet: Mr Color 28 (steel) for externals; Gaianotes Starbright Duralumin for internals
  • Landing gear: Mr Color Light Gray spray can. Wheels were handpainted with black enamel
  • Pilot: Tamiya Olive drab spray can. Helmet was handpainted with white enamel
  • Canopy: Mr Color black for the canopy rim(?); clear yellow for the transparent part
  • Aircraft underbelly: Mr Color Light Gull Gray spray can
  • Aircraft surface base layer: Mr Color 307 (Gray FS36320)
  • Aircraft camo layer: Mr Color 305 (Gray FS36118)
  • Gun: Mr Color German Grey (exterior); Gunmetal spray can (interior)

The tricky part was painting the camo patterns. First I sprayed Light Gull Gray on parts that are underneath the aircraft, including wings. Next comes the base color (Mr Color 307); I carefully drew the boundaries using my airbrush and then proceeded to fill in the remaining areas. For the darker colored camo patterns (Mr Color 305) I directly drew the camo patterns using my airbrush instead of using any masking techniques.

For panel lining I used black enamel. Then comes the decals. Instead of using the supplied water slide markings, I decided to use my own catalog of aircraft decals accumulated from various hobby shows. To go with the camo pattern I painted, the decals I picked mimicked contemporary aircrafts; in this case US Navy aircrafts. To get a sense of where to position these decals, I referred again to this book.

vf25_hon2

To finish it off I sprayed a layer of flat topcoat. When I say finish, it’s not really finished yet. The final step is the actual assembly process. This was actually the most harrowing part of this build. According to the manual, you’re supposed to build it into Fighter mode first, and then later you can transform it into Gerwalk and Battroid modes.

As I was assembling, I noticed some joints were tight; maybe due to the layers of primer and paints. Inevitably I broke some of those joints because I pushed too hard. I performed a quick fix using superglue. Miraculously I managed to assemble the Fighter mode after several hours of trying to make the parts fit. After that stressful episode, I made the decision to keep it in fighter mode. Any attempts to transform it into Gerwalk or Battroid mode would risk catastrophic failure.

Results:

Discussion:

After 8 long years, I finally finished this kit. In a way, it was fortunate that I put it on hold. Because within that 8 years, I bought myself an airbrush. Without it, I wouldn’t have pulled off this paintjob. Which I think looks quite alright. The waterslide decals I used were getting kind of old, and were very prone to tearing.

The kit itself feels about as complex as a Master Grade kit, but not as sturdy. This is certainly not a toy that you’d play around with. It’s a shame that I can’t (and won’t) transform it into Batroid or Gerwalk modes, but at least it looks really sexy in fighter mode.

Overall, it was a long, rough ride but I managed to see it through. I think I’ll buy a couple more Macross kits, but probably not anymore transformable kits like this one. Hasegawa seems to have quite a selection of fighter mode Macross kits. Hopefully they won’t take 8 years to finish…

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

 

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