Topp Zaku I – Work in progress

April 18, 2020 at 18:15 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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This is the first of the 3 Zakus from Topp’s squad. I thought about simply using the HG Zaku I Origin kit for this build, but I decided to make things difficult for myself by doing a kitbash.

Head: Zaku I Thunderbolt.
I added the commander antenna from an older HGUC Zaku II kit:

And repositioned the fin at the back of the head. The gap will be filled with putty.

Instead of using a sticker for the monoeye, I attached a round plate from MSG which will be fitted with a clear lens.

Body: HGUC Zaku I Sniper
First I cut off some parts from the chest, shown by the red arrows:

The Zaku I Sniper’s chest looks different from the one in the 08th MS anime, so I padded the chest with 1mm plaplate. Any gaps will be filled with putty later.

I also had to modify the shoulder socket because of the arms I decided to use. To make way for the polycap ball socket, I had to trim off some excess plastic and fill some empty gaps with plaplate.

Since the Zaku Sniper body doesn’t include a normal backpack, I used one from the Origin kit. I had to drill some holes to make them compatible:

I wanted to elongate the waist, but I took a slightly different approach. Instead of using a single slab of plaplate, I arranged 1mm square pipes around the underside of the waist part:

The old Zaku I sniper waist uses ball joints to connect the legs. Since I’m using Origin legs, I had to replace the ball joint with a rod-type joint from the Origin kit. Excess plastic in and around the intended area had to be removed to fit the rod-type joint.

To attach extra drum magazines to the skirt armor, I decided to use magnets. I used superglue to stick the magnets to the undersides of the skirt armors and drum magazines, as indicated by the red arrows:

So that way the skirt armors look clean, without any pegs or holes. The extra drum magazines can just stick like a fridge magnet.

At the back skirt, I attached some detail parts made from 1mm square pipes:

I felt that the empty gap between the head and the body was too big. So I remedied it by 1) Making the polycap neck shorter by cutting off the ball joint, removing excess parts, and reattaching it. I inserted a 1mm metal rod inside for extra strength. Then, in 2) I attached a neck plate(?) from the Origin kit, after trimming off some unnecessary plastic. I attached 1mm plaplate on the shoulders to compensate for the shallower neck.

Arms: HGUC Zaku II Tristars.
On the right shoulder, I removed the peg intended for the shield. In its place I glued some pieces of 0.3mm plaplate.

For the left shoulder, I did the following modifications: 1) Remove the spikes and make holes using a drill; 2) Attach round plates from Wave into the holes; 3) Attach MSG detail parts in the round plates

I arranged 0.5mm plaplate into a square around the wrists.

Legs: HG Zaku I Origin
I covered some panel lines on the thighs, and knees using basic putty. On the lower legs, I covered the thrusters with 0.5mm plaplate.

Weapons:
The Zaku machine gun from the Origin kit is used as is.

So this is what it looked like after all those mods:

After finalizing the parts, I added some battle damage using a battery-powered router, hobby knife, and chisel. Nothing too extensive, just some dents and scratches here and there.

HGUC RX-79[G] Para – Work in progress

April 11, 2020 at 20:32 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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This is the Premium Bandai HGUC RX-79[G] Parachute Pack kit. This build mostly involved the addition of detail parts, with a pinch of kitbash.

Body:
I attached some detail parts on the front left side of the chest:

and at the sides of the chest:

Waist:
I added 1.2mm plaplate at the bottom to make it longer.

Hips:
The front skirt armor is from Gundam FSD, and I attached some leftover parts from the System Weapons kit.

At the side skirt, I attached a part from the HGUC GM Striker shoulder.

Shoulders:
I used the shoulders from Gundam FSD. Added some details using M.S.G parts and plaplate.

Hands:
I’m using RG Zeta hands. The RG wrist socket is attached to the HGUC forearms using super glue. The contact point is shown by the red arrow below:

Legs:
I glued some 0.5mm plaplate on the thighs:

And some military plamo parts on the lower legs:

Some plaplate is also attached to the feet:

Weapons:
The kit already comes with plenty of weapons shown below:

I modified the beam rifle by shortening the barrel, cutting off the front handle, and replacing the grip.

Backpack:
The kit comes with the standard box-type backpack, and the parachute pack. To facilitate painting, I cut off some pegs on the backpack body so that the parachute container can be slotted in.

So that’s about it. I’ll stick to the original color scheme and just add a bit of light weathering effects.

GUNPLA tools part 2: Specialized tools

March 9, 2020 at 00:15 | Posted in How-to | 1 Comment
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So after introducing some basic tools in a previous post, this time I’d like to introduce some rather exotic tools that I have. These specialized tools are not essential, but if you like to modify your kits, they can make your gunpla life pretty easy.

Ultrasonic cutter:


It’s like a hobby blade on steroids. Cuts through plastic like a hot knife through butter.
Pros: Cuts through gunpla very quickly and easily. Good for someone who kitbashes a lot.
Cons: The blade vibration generates heat, leaving melted plastic around the cut area. Not recommended if a neat & clean cut is required. Also not cheap.

 

Amazing cutter:


It’s like a hobby nipper on steroids. This cutter by Godhand makes very clean cuts on fairly thick (up to 2mm) plaplate or plastic rods. It uses typical box-cutter blades, so the maximum length it can cut is 80mm. Also pretty expensive but if you need to cut a lot of plaplate for scratch building or mods, then it’s a God(sent).

 

Cordless polisher:


Sanding manually can be tedious, especially when sanding excess basic putty. That’s why I bought this battery operated polisher.

It’s like an electric toothbrush, but with a sanding sponge at the tip. The pre-cut circular sanding sponges are available at various grits:

 

Vernier caliper:


Sometimes I need some precise measurements. That’s where the caliper comes in handy.

 

Chisels:
I have a few of these, ranging in width from 1mm to 3mm. I use these to gouge out bits of plastic to make indentations and grooves on the surface of gunpla. The ones here are by Wave & Hasegawa.

 

Scriber:
The main purpose of this tool is to scribe new panel lines, and to make existing ones deeper. I have a pointy type by Hasegawa:

And a couple of BMC Tagane scribers. Unlike the pointy scriber, the tip of the BMC Tagane is square, like a chisel. It comes in various widths: the 0.15mm wide is mostly for 1/144 scale and the 0.3mm fits 1/100 scale gunpla.

 

BMC Danmo:
This specialized tool is used to carve grooves perpendicular to the edge of gunpla parts. See this guide on how to use it.

 

Spin blades:


Attached to a pin vise, these spin blades by GodHand are used to create flat-surfaced holes on gunpla surfaces. Can also be used as a chisel.

Starting from the top-left, drill a hole with a normal drill bit. The use the same diameter Spin Blade to spin around the drilled hole, and the result is a flat bottomed hole (top-right).

Hobby router:


I got this from a 100yen shop. It’s battery operated and I use it to make holes and gashes to simulate battle damage.

 

Chamfering tool:


This piece of metal is used to scrape the edge of the gunpla part, creating a chamfer. Here’s a photo of it in action:

There’s also a rounded version, called R-Boko:

It’s specifically for smoothening rounded surfaces. Sorry for the Japanese text, but the bottom-left figure shows the benefit of this tool, as opposed to using a flat file in the top-left. I use it to remove melted plastic from seam-lines on parts like a bazooka or rifle barrel.

 

Workstation:


This is a totally non-essential item, but what I like about it is the grill holes that allow small bits of plastic to be collected on the tray below. It also comes with a small cutting mat and nipper holder on the side.

An empty Gunpla box can basically do the same thing, though.

 

Summary:

So that’s what I have so far. I might add to this list if I found any new tools. Like I said in the beginning, these tools are totally non-essential and some are pretty expensive & hard to find. But they do make like easier if you like kitbashing, scratch-building and detailing.

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