How to use fine tip marker for weathering

April 1, 2018 at 14:18 | Posted in How-to | Leave a comment
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When first starting out with this hobby, the Fine Tip Gundam Marker was a nice and easy way to fill panel lines. Nowadays, I don’t use them for that purpose anymore. Instead, I found a new use for them: weathering.

i) Paint scratch effects
This is a type of light weathering that simulates scratches on the mecha, revealing the darker colored surface underneath. Let’s say you start off with a nice, fresh GM leg like so:

All you have to do is to draw the scratch marks using the Fine Tip Gundam Marker. You can draw light strokes to simulate scratches, or you can dab the marker on the same area to simulate a larger peeled surface. When drawing the light strokes, try to keep a straight line, because scratch marks tend to be straight in real life.


More importantly than HOW you do it, it’s WHERE you do it. Think about the moving parts of the mecha and imagine where physical contact would most likely occur. I like to put them on the edges, or corner parts. You should end up with something like this:

ii) Smearing effects
This simulates grease or grime that has leaked from some parts of the mecha. First, you dab the marker tip on a particular spot; making sure there’s enough paint transferred.

Starting from the spot with the marker paint, use your finger to rub in a downwards motion.

The outcome should be something like this:

Like the scratch effect, the placement of the smear is important. I tend to apply it near vents, openings or damaged parts on the mecha.

Some recommendations and caveats:
I feel that this effect works best coupled with other weathering effects, like an enamel wash. It would just break the illusion if a clean mecha suddenly has some scratch marks or grease smears.

Like any other weathering effect, moderation is the key. Not every surface or part should have scratch marks or smears.

These two effects are mostly for lightly weathered mecha. For more heavier weathering, there’s other methods more suitable for that.

The Fine Tip Gundam Marker comes in black, grey and brown colors. I find the brown marker sometimes results in a reddish color, so take note. Feel free to experiment with other fine tip markers and other colors.

Conclusion
If you’ve stepped up from the Gundam Markers for panel lining, don’t throw them away just yet. They may yet leave their marks on your gunpla.

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How to lengthen parts

August 26, 2014 at 16:56 | Posted in How-to | 4 Comments
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Ever noticed that some parts of your body gunpla feel a bit short? Well worry no more. With a few tools & materials, you can extend any part of your gunpla to your heart’s desire. Most of what I describe below applies to 1/144 HG kits. While it’s theoretically applicable to MG or RG kits, the presence of the inner frame will most likely complicate matters.

First, you need the following tools & materials:

The premise is pretty simple: attach the plaplate sheet to the part you want to lengthen. I tend do it for the limbs (arms & legs) and the lower abdomen, but there’s no limit to what you can do. There’s two ways to approach this, depending on the part to be elongated.

1) Terminal extension

This method applies if the part to be lengthened has a flat, even surface at either end. For example the waist or bicep parts. In this case one can simply glue the plaplate at one end. The plaplate doesn’t have to be the exact same size with the original part.

Once the glue has dried, trim the excess plastic using a hobby cutter or blade. If the plaplate covers a hole that is needed for a ball joint or peg, simply make a new hole on the plaplate using a drill or blade. Keep in mind that you might also need to extend the peg where the part will be attached to.

elong-4

2) Cut and paste

For situations where it is not possible to attach the plaplate to the end of the part, it may be necessary to cut the said part in half and glue the plaplate in the middle.

This method requires a little planning beforehand. First, identify the position to cut; it’s going to be where the plaplate will be attached. Then draw some lines that go across the cutting line using a marker. This alignment line will be used to align the two parts after the plaplate is attached. Refer to the figure below:

elong-1

Use the modelling saw to cut the part in half, following the cutting line. Then glue the plaplate at one end of the cut part, like so:

elong-2

Next, glue the other half to it, making sure to align the parts along the alignment line. If everything went well, it should look like this:

elomg-3

The next course of action would be to trim the excess plaplate using the tool of your choice. If there are visible gaps between the parts, just fill them up with polyester or basic putty.

It may sound like a daunting task, but if done right, it can make a significant difference on how your pla model will look. Practice makes perfect, so try it on some experimental unit to get the hang of it. Good luck…

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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