How to use putty

March 26, 2014 at 12:49 | Posted in How-to | 2 Comments
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Putty is one of the most useful things you can have, especially if you’re modifying or customizing your Gunpla. Basically there’s three types of commonly used putty: basic, polyester and epoxy putty. Each has different properties and applications.

Basic putty

Basic putty like this one by Tamiya comes in a toothpaste-like tube and is grey in color. This is the softest and most malleable of the three types of putty.

basic-putty

How to use: Squeeze out a little bit on a mixing tray. Add a few drops of thinner (for laquer-based paints) and mix. Use a toothpick or equivalent tool to apply the putty to the desired spot. Because it tends to sink in as it dries, I usually apply a lot more putty than what appears necessary. After it dries, file/sand/scrape away the excess putty.

Good for: Filling up small and shallow gaps and imperfections e.g seam lines or scratch marks. Can also be used to create a rough surface.

Not good for: Filling large gaps

Polyester putty

Polyester putty comes in two tubes. The bigger one is the actual putty, the smaller tube contains the hardening agent. In terms of consistency, it’s intermediate between basic and epoxy putty.

poly-putty

How to use: Squeeze out the putty (bigger tube) onto a mixing tray. Squeeze out a similar LENGTH of the hardening agent (smaller tube). Mix both of them together with a toothpick until the color starts to even out (same color with the putty tube cap). While it’s still in a paste-like consistency, apply to your Gunpla. A word of caution: you only have 5-10 minutes of working time, before it starts to harden.

After applying the putty, leave it at least 1 hour (I like to leave it overnight). Shape to desired form using hobby blade.

Good for: Filling up big gaps and forming shapes. They’re quite easy to cut and shape using a hobby blade

Not good for: Binding parts together. Also the hardening agent stinks a bit

Epoxy putty

To me, epoxy putty is like the duct-tape of Gunpla. It comes in two separate strips of brown and white, plasticine-like material.

epoxy-putty

How to use: Take equal amounts of the brown and white parts and mix them together with your hands, just like plasticine. They can be a bit sticky, so maybe using gloves is a good idea. When the two parts are homogenous, apply it to your Gunpla. I usually push them into gaps using a toothpick. After it hardens, trim or shape using a hobby blade. It’s a lot harder than polyester putty, but still manageable.

Good for: Filling large gaps, forming shapes, and binding pieces together. Also odorless

Not good for: Filling fine or shallow gaps. Even after filling large gaps, there may be very small air pockets in the putty. In this case you need to cover those with basic putty.

And there you have it. Needless to say, if you use any of these putties, priming and painting is necessary.

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How to photograph GUNPLA

November 18, 2013 at 12:04 | Posted in How-to | 2 Comments
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*First off, I’d like to state that the following is based on my own limited experience in photography, so any further advice or comments would be most welcome. *

So after spending hours completing your model kit, it’s only natural that you would want to take a picture and show it to random people on the internet. While snapping a photo with your camera phone sounds simple enough, quite often the results don’t do justice to your model kit. The following steps require a bit more time & effort, but you’ll get a blur-free, less noisy and overall nicer photo of your model kit.

Here’s what I use for my setup:

  • Light source (1): I use a normal table lamp with a piece of semi-transparent paper surrounding the bulb. This is to dampen the light so that it’s less harsh.
  • Camera (2): I use a digital camera with wide angle and macro lens. Any DSLR or compact camera with manual controls will do.
  • Sturdy tripod: To stabilize the camera and prevent blurry photos.
  • Large sheet of paper: Used for the background of the model kit. Nothing’s more distracting than a gunpla pic with a view of someone’s bedroom.
  • Mirror: A normal mirror to reflect light from the light source to shadowy areas on the model kit
  • Action base (optional): It gives more options to pose the model kit
  • And don’t forget the completed model kit (3)

The setup:

studiolol

That’s what my makeshift studio looks like; it’s also my computer table. I experimented with a DIY lightbox made from a cardboard box but I ditched it because I couldn’t find space to store it in my cramped apartment. If you have a permanent space for a photoshoot, that’s obviously better. So the first thing I do is drape the large sheet of paper over my monitor. I tried various colors: white, light blue, brown but now I mostly use black paper. Then I position the table lamp so that it’s directly above the model kit. You can try with different directions, but I prefer from above. The position of the mirror depends on which parts of the model is heavily shadowed. I tend to move it around during shooting. Finally I position the camera attached to a tripod in front of the kit.

Camera settings:

It would be good if you’re familiar with your camera and its various settings. Here’s mine: *Some photography jargon ahead*

  • Aperture mode (A), set to small aperture settings (f8-f11) for maximum depth of field.
  • Lowest ISO speed available to your camera (e.g. ISO100). This reduces noise & loss of detail of high ISO speeds.
  • Set the shutter to 2 second timer. This is to minimize blurring when the shutter is pressed. If your camera has an anti-shock feature, then use it.
  • Set white balance according to the light source (flourescent, tungsten, custom white balance etc). But I tend to edit white balance using software later anyway.
  • Turn off image stabilization (lens or in-body). Since the camera is stabilized on a tripod already, I just turn off this feature.
  • Set to single autofocus with manual override (SAF-M or something similar). But sometimes it’s more convenient to just completely manual focus, especially for close-up shots.

During shooting, I like to move the position of the camera (attached to tripod) to get interesting angles. Regarding the lens, I use the wide angle lens for full-body and action shots and the macro lens for close-up, detailed shots. When using the wide-angle lens I like to get close to the model & shoot from a low angle to emphasize & exaggerate the perspectives. You may notice I don’t use a flash (in-body or external flash). That’s because I feel there’s enough illumination and I don’t need fast shutter speeds (plus I’m still not familiar with using a flash).

Posing your model

Another important aspect to photographing your model kit is the pose. This is particularly true for the humanoid-form of Gunpla kits. I think this rather old picture best summarizes how to pose your Gunpla kit:

gpose

Another way to put it is, try and imagine that YOU are the Gunpla being photographed. You wouldn’t want to appear limp and toy-like in front of the camera, do you? Other than that, it’s up to your creativity. You can always browse some hobby magazines or internet forums to imitate some nice poses. Or you can fall back to the standard Strike Gundam pose :p

strike-pose

 uni_37 jesta-29 banshee-24

And there you have it. It may not be a definitive guide on Gunpla photography, but I find that it works for me. Generally I tend to spend an hour or so for photography because I like to try out different poses and viewing angles. As I mentioned earlier, it takes a bit more time & effort but the end product is definitely worth it. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your needs.

Shizuoka Hobby Show 2012 (Part 2)

May 27, 2012 at 23:30 | Posted in Events | 1 Comment
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As promised, here’s the second part of my coverage for this years hobby show, featuring works by various modelling circles in Japan. I was gonna cram all the photos I took into this one post, but I realized I took quite a few photos. So this time I’ll post only the gunpla-related photos in this post and post the remaining pics in part 3.

There was plenty of very interesting works by these modellers, and their creativity was really put on show. Apart from your standard, serious, war-themed gunpla, I noticed quite a few gunpla were modded into Mickey Mouse, mahou-shoujo and other wacky stuff. A lot of cool dioramas as well. So without further ado, enjoy the pics:

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