HGUC Dom Tropen

September 20, 2015 at 21:44 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 2 Comments
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Introduction:

The HGUC Dom Tropen is quite an old kit, and comes in two color variants: the purple themed and desert color themed. The one I’m building here is the latter. Despite its age, I felt it was a good addition to my Zeon Remnants project. Other than upgrading its articulation, I wanted to arm it with a gatling gun with the ammo case as the backpack, similar to the Dom Barrage.

Materials & methods:

I did quite a fair bit of modifications to the original kit, and you can read about them here. Additionally, I decided to use MSG Custom Hand B fists, with some modifications. The original head rod was a single piece of grey plastic, so I replaced it with leftover clear runner. Also added some detail parts on the shoulders and lower legs.

After priming with Dark Grey surfacer, I waited a couple of days for the rain to pass before painting. There’s only two color tones to consider so painting was relatively quick. The torso, side skirts and feet were painted with dark brown while the rest of the body was painted with sand brown mixed with smoke grey. The gatling gun was painted with various shades of grey and gunmetal.

What follows is pretty standard procedure: apply decals -> gloss topcoat -> enamel wash -> extra weathering effects -> flat topcoat.

Results:

HGUC Dom Tropen

Discussion:

Out of the box, there’s plenty of things that I found unacceptable about the HGUC Dom Tropen kit: the sticker monoeye, poor articulation at the shoulders, waist and feet, ugly hands, and the short thighs. I guess for an old kit that’s understandable. Fixing those imperfections made the project more fun anyway.

The good thing about the Dom Tropen kit is that it has plenty of weapons: a Panzerschreck rocket launcher, a 90mm machine gun, several Sturm Faust grenades, and a heat rod. Even though I didn’t use them in this project, they’ll be useful for future ones.

Some comments about the final build:

The hip sockets (made from Tallgeese parts) were a bit loose. They tend to swivel sideways very easily. It would be bad for mid-air poses, but thankfully the Dom Tropen is a ground unit.

About the MSG Belt Link, the ammo belt was not very bendable. It was too short to connect the gatling gun to the backpack so I had to buy another set of MSG Belt Link and assemble just the ammo belt parts to make it longer.

Other than that I’m quite satisfied with this build. Of the six kits I’ve built for the Zeon Remnant preject, I think this one required the most modifications. Well that might change with the next one on the line…

HGUC Dom Tropen: Work in progress

August 31, 2015 at 13:05 | Posted in Work In Progress | 1 Comment
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The HGUC Dom Tropen (desert colors) is quite an old kit, so I knew I’d be making quite a bit of modifications. My main aim is to improve the articulation and body proportions, as well as to incorporate some design aspects of the Dom Barrage, mainly the gatling weapon. As always, I’ll break it down part by part:

Head: The original Dom Tropen head has a flat slab of plastic where you stick a monoeye sticker. I cut off that slab of plastic, resulting in a typical Dom-shaped hole in its face. Inside the head, I fashioned a swiveling monoeye from spare Dom parts and MSG lens.

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Torso: In the original kit, the arm connects to the body via a static stub of plastic. I wanted to improve the shoulder articulation so I cut out holes on the sides of the torso and transplanted the polycap shoulder joints from HG Char’s Zaku origin kit. Gaps then were filled with epoxy putty.

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To connect the upper torso to the hips, I used a series of ball joints and sockets from Hobby Base. To accommodate the ball joints, I cut a hole at the bottom of the waist part and added 2mm plaplate underneath it. I trimmed some plastic inside the waist part and attached corrugated plaplate at the sides.

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The result of these modifications is that the torso can now bend forwards (and backwards). The empty gap between the upper torso and waist when doing so will now be hidden by the corrugated plaplate.

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On the back skirt, I filled the gaps meant for attaching the grenades with epoxy putty. The part that holds the submachine gun was replaced with a heat vent from Builders Parts vernier 03. To attach the legs to the hips, I cut off the original ball joint and glued a piece of spare runner in its place.

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Arms: To attach the shoulders to the body, I needed a ball joint. So I simply cut and pasted the part from the HG Dom R35. I also used the arms from the Dom. I made the forearms a bit longer by gluing 2 sheets of 1.2mm plaplate. The Dom R35 had 3 hook-like appendages at the back of the forearms. I kept the top two and removed the bottom one, filling the gap with epoxy putty.

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Legs: The original Dom Tropen thighs did not seem to provide a good range of movement. So I replaced the hip joints with the round shoulder joints from my 1/100 Tallgeese. I glued a piece of runner at the bottom to link it to the thighs.

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The thighs and knees were from the HGUC Dom kit. Since there’s no elegant way to attach them to the Dom Tropen legs, I just made rough cuts on the knees & lower legs, attached them with super glue, and covered the gaps with putty. Lots of it.

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I wasn’t happy with the feet articulation, so I decided to replace the original polycap socket with a swiveling socket from Hobby Base. As a result, I had to enlarge the opening on the foot that covers the socket. I also elongated the ‘toe’ using 1.2mm and 2mm plaplate.

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Weapons: My aim was to arm it with a handheld gatling gun. I played around with some parts from MSG weapons, HGBC Giant Gatling and System Weapon 005 before deciding the final design: the barrels were from System Weapon 005, the grips were from HGBC Giant Gatling while the main body and ammo belt were from MSG Hand Gatling gun. I added some additional plaplate and detail parts to the main body.

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The gatling gun belt feed tank (MSG Belt Link) is attached to the back using parts of the original kit and spare runner. I attached some backpack parts that were left over from my HGUC Ground Type Gundam kit.

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So this is what it looks like after assembly (minus weapons). I will most likely retain the desert colors for painting.

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HGUC Zee Zulu: Work in progress

April 10, 2015 at 14:19 | Posted in Work In Progress | 1 Comment
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For this project, I will build a complete kit using only spare parts that I bought from the Yellow Submarine shop in Akihabara. After choosing specific parts that happen to be on sale the days I went there, I went for a ground type Zee Zulu with long range weaponry. So lets go through each section:

Head: I bought the Zee Zulu head and merely replaced the sticker monoeye with a pink clear lens.

Body: The Zee Zulu body came with a belly tank and hydrojet thruster backpack. I recycled the backpack for my Zaku Mariner project, whereas the belly tank was removed for use in a future project. I attached some detail parts here and there. The front skirt armor was cut in half. The back of the neck was padded with epoxy putty to make it fit the backpack.

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I decided to lengthen the abdomen by cutting the connecting peg at the waist and attaching a 1.2mm pla-sheet at the bottom. Then I reattached the peg to the plaplate with some super glue.

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On the left skirt armor, I drilled a hole for the sub-weapon attachment part. The attachment part itself was made from leftover GM machine gun parts.

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Backpack: I bought the Lange Bruno gun parts originally from the Geara Zulu (Angelo Sauper) kit. I reduced the number of backpack thrusters from four to just two, taking into consideration that this will be a ground unit. The gaps were patched with some square plates.

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The backpack didn’t fit too snugly with the Zee Zulu body, even though the pegs are in the correct shape and position. To fix that, I’ll eventually glue it permanently to the body using super glue (after painting & detailing).

Arms: I replaced the sleeved forearms of the Zee Zulu with Zaku II F2 forearms. I had to remove excess plastic from the inside of the Zaku forearms to accommodate the elbow joints. The forearms were then attached to the elbow joints using epoxy putty.

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The Zee Zulu didn’t come with any fists, so I decided to use a pair of leftover open hands (B-club resin). Also modified a pair of MS Hands (Zeon type) hands to change the position of the fingers and wrist peg.

Legs: Instead of using Zee Zulu legs, I used Geara Zulu legs instead.  The thrusters on the side of the thighs added some bulk that looks way better than the original, slim Zee Zulu thighs. Instead of attaching nozzles at the end, I decided to replace it with some pla-plate sheets to resemble a heat vent.

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I added some detail parts at the ankles and knees. I also applied Zimmerit coating effect at the feet. Instead of using basic putty like the Marasai, I experimented with epoxy putty this time.

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Weapons: I attached some detail parts on the Lange Bruno gun, and trimmed some excess plastic.

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In addition, I decided to use the AK-12 assault rife from Kotobukiya M.S.G. Weapon Unit 31. I did modify it a little by removing the grenade launcher attachment and drilling a hole in the sights.

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The parts that required seam-line fixing were the shoulders, lower leg, backpack and weapons. Just fusing the parts with cement sometimes wasn’t enough, so I had to use basic putty. So here’s what it looks like pre-painting:

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All that’s left is to wait for a clear weather to do the spraying and painting. Speaking of painting, I still haven’t decided what kind of color scheme to go for. Any suggestions?

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