HGUC Powered GM

August 13, 2018 at 22:32 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 3 Comments
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Introduction:

All the builds for my ‘Year of the GM’ project so far involved some sort of kitbashing or modifications. So for this HGUC Powered GM kit, I thought I’d just do a simple repainting job. I played around with different colour schemes, and in the end I decided on something liek this:

Materials & methods:

Even though the plan was just a repainting job, I couldn’t resist making minor modifications as I snap-fitted the kit. These included:

  • Replacing the backpack thrusters with MS Vernier 03
  • Replacing the head antenna with Wave option parts
  • Same wrist mod as the GM Kai
  • Replaced face visor with clear blue version from HGUC GM Striker head
  • Elongation of waist using 1.2mm plaplate
  • Scribed additional panel lines on the forearms and ankle guards
  • Glued some pla strips on the ankles
  • Added detail parts to the backpack

Because of the colour scheme I chose and the fact that this Powered GM is quite an old kit, quite a lot of masking was needed. And that required a bit of thought into the order I painted things. So after priming and applying preshading lines, I painted the parts in the following order:

  • Various bits on the joints, neck, skirt armour & ankle: MS white
  • Joints: Gray FS36081
  • Verniers/thrusters: Starbright duralumin
  • Backpack: German grey
  • Chest, feet: Red + orange-yellow
  • The rest of the body: Grey FS36118 + white

That was followed by panel lining and decals. I decided to go clean this time, so no weathering. Finished off with flat topcoat.

Results:

Side-by-side comparison with my HGUC GM Type C makes the Powered GM look like a dwarf. Without major extensions (except the 1.2mm at the waist), it is actually quite small. The size is more comparable to my HGUC Zaku II F2 (modified into Desert Zaku).

Discussion:

Because the HGUC Powered GM is a relatively old kit, it suffers from some limitations. Except for the elbows, articulation is pretty limited. Unlike more recent HGUC kits, this one doesn’t have a round hole near its bottom for the stand peg. These two factors limited the poses I could make with this kit.

There’s also plenty of visible seam lines. Fixing them using the standard method would involve a lot of sanding, painting and masking steps. I bypassed the need for that by disguising the seam lines using pla plate, and by scribing extra panel lines.

But despite those complaints, I think the Powered GM is a decent kit. Parts separation is good; the extra masking that I had to do was due to the color scheme I chose. And I actually think that the short, bulky look suits the design.

Overall, what was supposed to be just a simple paintjob deviated slightly from the plan; but I was pretty happy with the paintjob and the minor mods I made.

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HGUC GM Type C

March 15, 2018 at 22:04 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the standard GM colors (mint green & red). But since it’s the year of the GM, I should make at least one kit with that iconic color scheme. I thought the GM Type C (GM Kai) would be fitting; after all, the MG version did come with that color. I had some HGUC GM Kai parts leftover from the GM Wagtail build, but not enough to build a complete kit. So I used the HGUC GM Custom kit and other HGUC spare parts to compensate.

Materials & methods:

The work in progress can be found here.
After giving all parts a coat of grey surfacer, I proceeded to apply some preshading lines using German gray. The paint mix is as follows:

  • Torso & feet: 80% red + 20% orange
  • The rest of the body: 90% white + 5% green + 5% intermediate blue
  • Backpack: 60% midnight blue + 40% intermediate blue
  • Thrusters: Starbright duralumin
  • Weapons: German gray
  • Joints: Mr. Color dark gray (2)

After painting I applied an enamel wash using black enamel. I followed that up with some paint chipping effects using fine tip gundam markers. Then I placed some decals to mimic the ver. ka style, like in this pic:

Some decals were a bit too white, so I dabbed some weathering pastel on top. I finished with several layers of flat topcoat.

Results:

And some action poses. It wasn’t as fun to play around with compared to my previous GIMM build. I guess that’s expected, since the GIMM was based on the newer RX-78 Revive while the GM Kai is mostly based off the older GM Custom kit.

Discussion:
I was hoping to finish this kit by the end of February, but it’s really cold this year. My Gunpla activity tends to be slower in lower temperatures. Plus February’s a short month. OK, I’m just making excuses.

In the end, I got the look I wanted. But because I was rushing through the project, some details appear a bit rough. I was also a bit worried that I elongated the thighs too much, but I think it turned out alright.

Overall, not by best work, but I’m happy enough with the ver. Ka feel of this build. So next up is the GM head.

Hasegawa 1/72 F-15 Starscream

December 17, 2017 at 13:29 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
After completing Bandai’s VF-25s model kit, I felt the need to build more Macross kits. But I don’t want to go through the agony of transforming kits, so I bought several 1/72 Macross kits from Hasegawa. But before going straight into those kits, I thought I’d practice on a cheap, 1/72 scale aircraft. So I bought a 1/72 scale F-15J Eagle kit by Hasegawa with a C7 label on it, so it may be an old kit.
After googling for possible color schemes to paint it in, I decided to go for the Starscream theme. I’m not talking about Michael Bay’s version, but the original cartoon Starscream. Since this was my first ‘proper’ aircraft kit, I did some research by looking at various build videos on Youtube.

Materials & methods:
The bulk of my plamodelling experience comes from Gunpla, so it’s inevitable that a lot of comparisons will be made with Bandai’s brand of plastic. First thing that I noticed when I opened the box and checked the parts is the presence of leftover plastic trimmings on some parts. You just don’t see this kind of thing in Gunpla kits anymore.

The second thing I noticed was that the panel lines are raised. Perhaps it’s easier to explain with kanji. Typical panel lines (Gunpla etc) are like this:  凹 (grooves within the plastic).
But this kit is like this: 凸 (raised parts). Assembly was simple enough, but the pilot seat and cuockpit interior had to be painted first. After that the two halves of the main body were glued together. Speaking of glue, it is not optional for this build, it is mandatory.

Third thing I noticed during assembly was that the parts didn’t fit so well. So I used a lot of basic putty to fill the gaps between parts. As I was sanding off the leftover putty, I realized that I sanded off quite a lot of the panel lines. Not wanting to spend too much time on this project, I shrugged it off and moved on.
The landing gears were designed to always be extended, but I wanted to have them retracted. So I filled the landing gear bays with epoxy putty and then attached the covers, like so:

The rest of the process went like this:
1. Mask the cockpit interior & pilot seat with masking tape.
2. Spray with white primer. Why white? Simply because I wanted to finish that particular can I had.
3. Attempted to do preshading. Airbrushed german gray along the panel lines. As you can see below, my hands are not particularly steady.

4. Spray first layer: Mr Color Gray FS36118.
5. Cut out camo pattern. I don’t have a masking tape huge enough to cover the large surface. So first I drew the camo patterns on a piece of paper, cut them out, then attached them to the F-15 with some blu-tac.
6. Spray second layer: Mr Color Gray FS36320.
7. After removing the camo pattern papers, I felt that the two colors were too contrasty, as you can see below:

8. To make the patterns less obvious, I sprayed the whole thing with several layers of Mr Color Gray FS36320.
9. Once I was satisfied with the base color, it’s time to paint other parts. And that means a lot of masking.
The blue color on the nose & rear stabilizers (Mr Color cobalt blue + flat white), as well as the red jet intakes (Mr Color Red + Orange yellow) were simple enough.
The white & red stripes on the wings and rear stabilizers were slightly more tricky but the patterns were relatively simple so it wasn’t too difficult.
The underside (where the jet engines are) were painted with Mr Color burnt iron, while the jet nozzles were painted with steel.
The inside of the cockpit canopy was sprayed with Mr Color clear orange.
The missiles were painted as recommended in the manual, and I decided to add some smart bombs from an add-on kit (also by Hasegawa).
10. Panel lining was limited to some parts only.
11. I used up the majority of the waterslide decals that came with the kit. To complete the Starcream theme, I needed some Decepticon logos. I hoped to find some Decepticon waterslide decals but alas, only stickers seemed to be available. I trimmed off the edge of the stickers as much as possible before attaching them on the wings and in front of the cockpit.
12. Final layer of flat topcoat was applied.

Results:
Since I made the decision to remove the landing gears, I needed a stand to hold it in place. So I bought the Macross Display Stand, which comes in a pair.

And here’s some photos with the VF-25s:

Discussion:

This project is quite a different experience from my typical Gunpla builds. The same techniques are employed, but the main bulk of the work that went into this F-15 Starscream was fixing the gaps/seamlines and painting+masking.
I’m not particularly impressed with this Hasegawa F-15J kit for reasons discussed in the methods section. But I guess you get what you pay for. For a few extra dollars, you can get a better F-15 kit by Hasegawa or other makers.
The Decepticon stickers look too shiny and stand out too much, making it look very toy-like. But for this build I’m not too bothered about it.
Overall it was a good learning experience for me. Hopefully the Hasegawa Macross kits I bought won’t give me too much trouble.

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