HGUC Jegan (ECOAS type)

April 30, 2014 at 15:31 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

Having built and modeled two Jesta kits with military styles, I wanted to build another kit in a similar theme to make a trio. Instead of another Jesta kit, I decided to go for the HGUC Jegan ECOAS type. It already has some nice ‘tactical’ look to it, particularly the head.

However, I never warmed up to some aspects of the Jegan. The first thing to replace are those bulb-like lower legs. The arms also felt a bit too thick, so those were also replaced. So after scouring the Yellow Submarine shop for spare parts, I settled for Jesta legs and GM arms as replacement.

Materials and methods:

For a more comprehensive post about the changes I made to this kit, refer to the WIP (work in progress) page here.

To summarize, the lower legs were replaced with HGUC Jesta legs. The arms were from GM Striker & GM Kai. The waist was from GM Sniper II. The front skirt was from HGUC Loto, the back and side skirts were from GM Sniper K9. The backpack was modified to include tube tanks and smaller thruster, as well as modular components (missile launchers & radome units). Here’s what it roughly looked like after the structural modifications:

front-body back-body

Armaments include an assault rifle from Kotobukiya, a handgun modified from GM Sniper K9, a long rifle from System Weapon 002, 2 types of bazookas and a combat knife.

All parts were primed with dark grey surfacer (Evospray). For the paintjob, I kept it simple this time. The feet, front skirt and removable chest armor were sprayed with Olive Drab (Tamiya). The inner feet, waist, and some part on the crotch & head were painted grey-brown. The rest of the body was painted with Khaki brown + green. The joints were sprayed with MS Gray. Weapons were sprayed with Germany gray, Gunmetal and MS Gray while the missiles were sprayed with red. Panel-lining and light weathering was done with enamel paints. After applying decals, I sprayed the final flat topcoat.

Results:

Here’s the first modular unit: high-mobility mode. It’s essentially the default mode, with all thrusters on the backpack. Armaments include HK416-type assault rifle with grenade launcher attachment, a MK23-type pistol and combat knife.

A slight modification of this mode involved swapping the upper backpack thrusters with a small 3-grenade launcher (Kotobukiya) and a hook for holding the assault rifle. The grenade-launcher attachment peg on the left skirt was replaced with a pocket-like attachment from GM K9. I call this sleeker form ‘infiltration mode’.

CQC!

The second modular unit is reconnaissance mode. Backpack thrusters are replaced with spare tanks, radome unit and sensor unit. Armaments include a rifle for long-range engagements. It’s actually from System Weapon 002, with the suppressor from HGUC Jesta’s beam carbine and scope from M.S.G Shotgun.

And here’s the barrage mode. The thick armor was attached to the chest, and two types of missile launchers are attached to the backpack. Side skirts and right leg attachment are also replaced with missile/grenade launchers. Additional armaments include the original Jegan bazooka and a Unicorn bazooka.

And finally group photos with my previous Jesta kits

Discussion:

My initial plan was to just built a kit that would look good beside my two other Jesta kits. As I started snap-fitting and modifying things, this project evolved into something more elaborate. I decided to go all-out with the tactical & spec-ops theme, and the end result is what I feel, an upgrade to the Jegan ECOAS design.

I wanted to make the weapons resemble conventional weapons (except the bazookas). The Kotobukiya assault rifle is essentially a HK416, the pistol was modified to resemble the SOCOM Mk 23  and the long rifle slightly resembles a SR-25 rifle. Of course a giant robot with conventional weaponry makes no sense (especially with a suppressor, in space), but the point here is to make it look badass.

I also used flexible hands from Hobby Base (Yellow Submarine) for the first time. They’re poseable like MG hands, but in 1/144 scale. Assembling them can be tricky, due to the small parts. At first they felt fairly robust and extremely poseable, but after fiddling with them during photography, the fingers tend to pop out. Unfortunately I broke the ring finger on the left hand so I glued them back, but obviously that original poseability was lost. Most of the photos were taken on the H-hangar base by Wave which I painted and added a few decals. The LED lights were sold separately. That’s as close as I’ll get to an actual diorama.

The build-up to this was quite a different process compared to my other projects. Usually I decide upon a certain theme or look for the kit and stuck with it until finish. But this project involved a lot of chopping and changing along the way that I was never really sure how it would end up. In the end, I think this might be one of my most satisfying projects ever. Although not perfect (especially if looked closely), it does give me a sense of accomplishment.

HGUC Jegan ECOAS – Work In Progress

April 11, 2014 at 15:19 | Posted in 1/144 scale, Work In Progress | 1 Comment
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This is my first Work In Progress (WIP) post. Usually I include them in the methods section of each post, but the modifications I’m doing are rather extensive this time.

Back to the Jegan. Basically what I’m doing is kit-bashing: combining exisiting parts from one kit to another. It sounds simple, but actually not that straight-forward. I will describe each mod according to the body part.

Head: The only part that had the least modification. I replaced the antenna with a thinner one from Wave, just like my Jesta Cannon.

antenna

Chest: The kit comes with an additional chest armor that’s detachable. Underneath it, I glued a pair of square plates on the chest and filled the gaps with putty. On the sides, I glued a sheet of 0.5mm pla-plate. I also replaced the roundish bulges on the top chest with some squarish ones from Wave.

chesuto

Waist: The waist was essentially non-existent, so instead of extending it with a sheet of pla-plate, I attached the waist from HGUC GM Sniper II. To connect the waist to the upper torso and hips, I used a ball joint from Hobby Base. I added some hydraulic joints for extra details and covered gaps with epoxy putty.

waist-mod

Hips: On the right hip, I attached the pistol holster from GM Sniper K9. I cut off the part originally meant to be attached to the thighs. Then I glued a piece of spare runner on its side so it can be attached to the hip. On the left hip, I made an attachment for the grenade launcher of the Kotobukiya assault rifle using pla-plate and spare Jesta parts.

holser gl-attach

For the front skirt armor, I used the ones from the HGUC Loto set. They didn’t come with pegs, so I glued spare ones from my HGUC Jesta Cannon kit to the Loto skirts. Behind them I glued some square plates for added detail. On the back I attached the front skirt from the GM Sniper K9 using epoxy putty.

front-skirt back-skirt

Arms: I decided to discard the entire Jegan arms altogether. In its place, I wanted to use the arms from HGUC GM Striker but I didn’t really fancy the forearms. So I used the ones from HGUC GM Kai (Type C) kit. I further elongated the forearms and biceps by attaching a sheet of 1.2mm pla-plate at the middle and top parts, respectively.

arms-mod

Hands: I decided to try out 1/144 hands from Hobby Base which included a pair of clenched fists and fully articulate hands. In addition, I modified the HGUC hands to face down, just like my Jesta Cannon.

hand-mod

Legs: At first I thought of replacing the entire legs with HGUC Jesta legs. But while snap-fitting, I found out that the Jegan thighs can be attached to Jesta’s lower legs without any modification. On the left leg, I glued an attachment for the combat knife (salvaged from GM Sniper K9). On the right leg, I made a knee guard using HCM-Pro detail parts and leftover parts from Jesta Cannon. The square thrusters on the back of the leg were replaced with round nozzles from the GM Kai kit.

left-leg right-leg

Backpack: I went for a modular backpack design for this project. First of all, I replaced the huge middle booster nozzle with a flatter one from GM K9’s backpack.

backpack-thruster

Then I made booster tanks using Builders Parts HD MS Tank. To make them swappable to the backpack, I glued the top half of Builders Parts HD MS Verniers to the tanks. The tanks were too long, so I cut them in half and glued a round plate at the bottom.

tanku

The first modular unit is high-maneuverability mode, which is basically the default backpack.

Second mode is reconnaissance mode, in which I attached an MS Radome from Bandai Builders Parts (left side) and a sensor unit (right side). I used some leftover resin parts (Sadalsuud kit), various clear lenses, antenna parts (Wave), and pegs (Kotobukiya M.S.G) to attach them to the backpack.

sensor radome

Third mode is barrage mode. On the left side, I planned to attach the missile launcher from Kotobukiya M.S.G but it felt a bit shallow by itself. So I glued two missile launcher units back-to-back to make it thicker. I covered the back with a sheet of corrugated 1mm pla-plate and glued an attachment socket from the Mercury Rev parts (free with Dengeki Hobby March 2014 issue). Remaining gaps were filled with putty.

misslaunch-1 misslaunch-2 mis-launch

On the right side, I used the missile launcher from HGUC Full Armor Unicorn and attached it to the backpack using a part from Build Fighters Mercury Rev.

right-missile-launcher

Weapons: Given the tactical design of the Jegan ECOAS, the main armament is the HK416-type assault rifle from Kotobukiya. It fits the 1/144 scale nicely and the only mod I made was drilling a hole on the iron sights.

hk416ar

For its sidearm, I modified the pistol from GM Sniper K9 to resemble the Socom Mk23. I felt it looked a bit short, so I elongated the barrel using 1.2mm pla-plate. The trigger guard was from a spare GM rifle. I removed the entire lower part of the barrel and replaced it with a laser aiming module made from spare parts, pla-plate & putty.

The suppressor was salvaged from System Weapon 003. To attach it to the pistol, I glued a 9mm copper rod to the suppressor and drilled a 9mm hole in the pistol’s barrel.

mk23-pistol

For close quarters battle, I made a combat knife from the Mercury Rev parts and leftover plastic.

kombat-knife

The only weapon I assembled from the Jegan kit was the bazooka. As an extra, I armed it with the bazooka from the HGUC Full Armor Unicorn.

And that’s it for the structural modifications. After this is priming step, painting, decaling and light weathering. I haven’t decided on the color scheme yet, but most likely I’ll stick with the ECOAS colors.

To view the completed model, see the full post here

HGUC Jesta Cannon

February 10, 2014 at 13:59 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 3 Comments
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Introduction:

After the release of HGUC Jesta, it came to no surprise that the Jesta Cannon was made into a HGUC kit. As awesome as it looks, there were a few things about the Jesta Cannon that I didn’t like too much: the asymetrical shoulder cannons, the shield thingy on the left forearm and the new beam carbine. So I decided to modify those things and accompany it with a custom paint job.

Materials & Methods:

I’ll break down the modifications I did according to body parts:

Head: I drilled holes on the forehead bulge and replaced the antenna with a thinner one from Wave option parts. Also fixed the seam lines.

jestacan-headmod

Waist: I felt that the waist was a bit short and shallow, so I decided to elongate it by gluing a sheet of pla-plate at the bottom of the waist part and the corresponding male joint on the hip part.

jestacan-waist

Hips: I replaced the vents on the front skirt armor and added an attachment peg for the assault rifle on the back.

jestacan-waist2

Arms: I fixed the seam lines on the shoulders and attached a square piece of wire mesh on the sides. I replaced the original elbow joint with the HGUC Blue Destiny joints because it’s double-jointed. I also elongated the bicep area with a sheet of pla-plate. Both forearms were also slightly modified. On the right forearm, I replaced the spare carbine magazines with spare grenades. On the left forearm, I removed the shield thingy and replaced it with the standard Jesta forearm. But instead of housing the beam sabre hilt, I attached a peg for the modified shield. Remaining gaps were filled with epoxy & basic putty.

jestacan-arms

Hands: I modified the right hand so that the peg faces 90 degrees downwards. I cut & bent the thumb & fingers on the open palm left hand so that they looked like they were gripping something.

  jestacan-hand1 jestacan-hand2

Backpack: I ditched the original shoulder cannons altogether and replaced them with a pair of gatling cannons. They were originally from the FG Slash ZAKU Phantom kit. Some modification was needed to attach them properly to the backpack. I also attached some square plates to add some details and replaced the booster nozzles with MS Verniers.

jestacan-back1

jestacan-back2

Legs: I did the same modifications on the knee joints that I did on my HGUC Jesta to give it a bit more mobility. As a side effect, there’s an unsightly gap when the knees are bent. So I attached some leftover Zaku machine gun magazines to the underside of the joint. I filled some gaps in the joints with epoxy putty & basic putty.

jestacan-legmod-2 jestacan-legmod-1

Weapons: For the HGUC Jesta, I armed it with the MSG shotgun. Similarly, I decided to give this Jesta Cannon a M.S.G weapon. In this case it’s the revolver launcher from MSG Weapon Unit 22. But wait, there’s more; I wanted it to look more like the M32 Grenade Launcher so I attached a longer barrel scavenged from System Weapon 003 and a buttstock from the HGUC Zaku II F2 rifle. The grips and scope were scavenged from the Jesta beam carbine.

jestacan-m32mod

In addition, I also armed it with an assault rifle from Weapon Unit 17 with an attachable silencer taken from the Jesta beam carbine. The kit also came with the original Jesta shield. I modified it so instead of being attached to the backpack, it’s attached to the left forearm like the  RX-78.

jestacan-shield

Painting, decals & weathering: Considering the weapons load, I felt it was appropriate to paint it with military camo and I settled for the 3C desert camo pattern. I sprayed black primer on all parts to hide the blue plastic hue. I sprayed Zaku light green (MS Green UG06) as the base color and then I applied the camo patterns using Mr. Masking Sol liquid latex. The second layer was Wood Deck Tan (Tamiya). After everything is dry, I peeled off the liquid latex and applied the final touch to the camo, which is the squiggles of dark brown. This was done by simply hand painting with Tamiya dark brown enamel paint. Some parts on the knees, shoulder and head were sprayed with Light Gray (Mr Color) while the feet, gatling cannons and missiles were sprayed with Olive Drab (Tamiya).

For the decals, I used mostly warning & numeral water slide decals. I applied some scratches on the decals and sprayed a layer of gloss topcoat to seal & protect them. The next step was weathering, which involved light brown enamel wash, silver dry-brushing & weathering pastels. The final step was spraying flat topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:

The Jesta Cannon design is not bad in itself, but some parts felt ‘meh’. For example, the original shoulder cannons look boring, while the left arm shield thingy feels bulky & unnecessary. Even the new beam carbine looks unbalanced.

On the plus side, the extra armor parts on the shoulder & legs do add a bit of bulk that actually looks good. Another good thing about this HGUC Jesta Cannon kit is that it includes some parts of the original Jesta. The original Jesta shield & beam carbine can be fully assembled, and there’s some spare parts for the arm, leg and skirt armor.

Building the HGUC Jesta really helped me identify which parts of the Jesta Cannon to improve & modify. While some mods looked significant (gatling cannons, arms), others were not so obvious (bent hands & fingers, knee joints). During final assembly, I snapped the male peg connecting the hip to the waist. I glued it back with super glue and thankfully it held well.

As for the paint job, I think it turned out better than the snow camo I did for the standard Jesta. My only gripe is that the light green looks too ‘minty’ to my liking. So after all the modifications & customizations, the end result still retains the ‘feel’ of a Jesta Cannon but with conventional military overtones.

Side note: I entered this kit for Hobby Link Japan’s Playing With Plamo 2013 contest. Didn’t win anything but it was a nice experience regardless.

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