Hasegawa 1/72 VF-25G Messiah

October 2, 2019 at 21:48 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
This is only my third aircraft model kit and my second Macross kit. This time it’s the VF-25G Messiah by Hasegawa. Unlike my previous Bandai VF-25s, this Hasegawa kit is an aircraft model, meaning it doesn’t transform into Batroid or Gerwalk modes.

The VF-25G is the blue colored Messiah in the Macross Frontier anime, but the whole point of this build is to custom paint it. I wanted to recreate the Ripsnorters color scheme from the VF-25 Variable Fighter Master File book:

Materials & methods:
Like most military plamo, all plastic parts are in the same color; in this case a purplish-blue hue. Unlike most Gunpla kits, some sort of planning is required to sort out the order in which to paint the various parts.
First thing to do was assemble and paint the inner part of the cockpit, including the seats and pilot. There’s an option to make it a two-seater, with Ranka Lee at the back. I opted for the single seater version.
I also decided against attaching the landing gears and instead opted to cover the landing gear bay. The kit comes with some accessories for the wings: 2 pairs of speakers, or 3×3 pairs of missiles. I chose neither and left the wing empty.
Metallic parts (thrusters, intake vents) were painted in gunmetal or burnt iron, and then masked (if necessary).
Then everything was assembled according to the manual. There’s a lot of panel lines on the model, so I made them slightly deeper by scraping them with the tip of a pin. This is to make the panel line washes more visible.
After masking the cockpit, the whole thing was primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000 sprayed from an airbrush. Then I painted some preshading lines using black paint.
The order of painting went like this:
1. Paint the nose cone in white. Mask.
2. Paint the underside with Light Gull Grey. Mask.
3. Paint the top surface with Gaianotes Blue Grey.
4. For the black & white stripes, I first airbrushed white paint over the intended surfaces. Then I laid out 2mm strips of masking tape, followed by a spray of black paint.
Other parts were painted as follows:

  • Weapon: German gray
  • Tail rudder: Black
  • Feet: Gray FS36118
  • Cockpit canopy: Smoke gray
  • Wing strobe lights: Silver, then clear red/blue enamel
  • Clear parts near the cockpit: Clear red

After painting is complete, the next steps went like this: gloss topcoat -> decals -> gloss topcoat -> panel lining -> final flat topcoat.

Results:

Some closeup shots:

And finally some photos with the Bandai VF-25s:

And a rare scene of Messiahs docking in the wild

Discussion:
It’s a nice change of pace to build an aircraft model once in a while. Most of the effort spent on this kit involved painting and masking, but it was worth it.
The overall experience was less harrowing than my previous VF-25s Bandai kit, since there’s no transformation gimmick to worry about. There still some room for improvement in my detailing skills, but overall I’m pretty happy with the final output.

GM Cannon (Space Assault Type)

March 4, 2019 at 21:08 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

For my first build of 2019, it’s another GM. I would have liked to include this GM Cannon in the Year of the GM lineup, but it arrived too late for me to finish it by the year’s end.
This is a P-Bandai release, and I actually bought 2 of them. For the first kit, I’m doing a straight Out-of-Box build, kinda. I decided to replicate the color scheme and decals from this illustration:

Materials & methods:

I made some very minor changes:
i) Replaced the blue visor with a red one from the GM Intercept kit.
ii) Removed safety nubs on the head antenna
iii) Added some plaplate to the right chest vent. But I kinda messed that one up.
iv) Drilled hole inside the shoulder cannon barrel
v) Added an extra bazooka from Kotobukiya M.S.G

For painting, I used the following colors:
Blue parts: Cobalt blue + a bit of intermediate blue
Grey parts: German gray
White parts: MS White
Verniers: Starbright duralumin; clear red for the insides

The bulk of the work involved masking and painting, and then finding the right decals. No weathering this time, just finished it with flat topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:

The GM Cannon Space Assault Type shares a lot in common with the GM Guard, GM Sniper Custom and GM Intercept kits. That means very good range of movement, good parts separation for easy painting, and very nice detailing.
However, there’s not a lot of extras in this kit. You get the shoulder cannon, a beam spray gun, and 3 hands. It would be nice to have a spare magazine for the shoulder cannon, or even a couple of extra hands with different poses.
Another minor gripe is about the shoulder cannon. It can’t tilt up or down too much and gets in the way when turning the head right. Thankfully the cannon can be easily removed.
Overall a solid kit, and a fun build. But the lack of extras is somewhat disappointing.

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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