HGUC Zeta Plus

December 8, 2014 at 14:25 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

The Zeta Plus is one of my favorite designs when it comes to transforming mobile suits. It immediately went to my shopping list when the HGUC version was announced. However, it took a while before I finally got my hands on it. This was because Bandai recalled the first batch due to ‘defective molds’ which involved the crotch armor and vulcans on the side of the head.

Once it arrived, I began to ponder which color scheme to paint it. In the end I decided to mimic the blue color scheme and decal styling of the GFF Zeta Plus.

Materials & Methods:

Since this is just a repainting project, I didn’t do any major modifications to the kit. However I added some details which include ‘support beams’ on the inside of the back skirt and the back of the neck.

The kit comes with three hands: one right hand for holding the beam rifle and a pair of hands for holding the beam sabres. I added a pair of fists and a left hand from my spare GM parts.

Even though the kit already includes a beam rifle, I decided to arm it with the beam cannon from HGUC Ex-S Sentinel (parts from Yellow Submarine). I originally intended to use the beam cannon with my RG GP-01 kit, but I have new plans for it. After fixing the seam line on the forearms, head and weapons, I sprayed all parts with grey surfacer.

Here are the color schemes I used for painting (note the ratios are only a rough estimate). The parts marked with an asterisk were airbrushed. The rest were painted with spray cans.

  • Body*: Off White (~80%) + Character Flesh (from spray can, ~15%) + a few drops of orange-yellow
  • Blue parts*: 1st layer (Intermediate Blue 100%); 2nd layer (Cobalt Blue 100%)
  • Joints, hands: Germany gray
  • Feet: Dark Gray (1)
  • Weapons: stock beam rifle (MS Gray); Sentinel beam cannon (German Gray, Gunmetal)

To create the mosaic pattern for the blue parts, I first sprayed the 1st layer (intermediate blue). Then I masked the parts with masking tape to create squarish patterns and then sprayed the 2nd layer (Cobalt Blue). After that comes decals & panel lining. I didn’t add any weathering effects this time.

Results:

Here is the waverider mode:

And finally some action shots:

Discussion:

I have mostly good things to say about this HGUC Zeta Plus kit. First of all, the proportions are almost perfect; very close to the MG version. Another thing I like about this kit is the sturdiness. The transformation mechanism involves swapping parts, and as a result, the kit feels a lot more solid (compared to the RG Zeta). The parts separation is also very good, making the painting process a breeze.

The few grievances I have about this kit is the limited articulation. The waist joint can only turn a few degrees whereas the cannons on the side of the thighs can limit leg movement. I’m also a bit disappointed that it doesn’t come with landing gears for the waverider mode. As a result, you can only pose the waverider mode with a stand. In case you’re wondering, the stand I use in the photos was from my HG Gouf Ignited kit.

The most satisfying part for this build was when I peeled away the masking tape and knowing I hadn’t messed up the paint job. Getting the decals to mimic the GFF or ver.Ka style was also satisfying. I only wished I had decals for ‘Karaba Air Force’. But generally, this is a very good kit and worth getting if you’re a fan of the Zeta (or Sentinel) series.

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HGUC Hazel Custom

September 22, 2014 at 12:15 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

Yes, I know I’m late for the Hazel party. They became quite popular since their release many years ago, which was when I bought this kit (and a few others). I thought I’d start off with this one, since it looks like the most straight forward of the bunch. I did contemplate doing some modifications, but eventually I decided to do an Out of Box build.

Materials & Methods:

Although I say OOB, there was one thing that I just had to modify, and that was the shallow waist. I added a sheet of 1.2mm plaplate at the bottom. Other than that, I only had to fix some seam lines on the arms and shoulders. I also used a pair of hands and verniers from MS Builder parts.

I spent much time mulling over what kind of color scheme I should use. In the end I decided to stick to the original color scheme. Too much white looks boring, so I sprayed Light Gull Grey on some parts. To make the kit color accurate, there were many small bits that had to be either masked, or hand painted with a fine brush. Some sensor parts on the head, shins and backpack were supposed to be painted light green, but I attached reflective stickers and painted clear green over them.

After panel lining with black enamel, I added some AOZ waterslide decals from Samuel decals. Finally I added some faux post-shading effects using black weathering pastel and sealed it off with flat topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:

The kit originally comes with one booster shield, one normal shield (not shown) and one beam rifle. The extra shields and rifle that you see above are taken from my HGUC Advanced Hazel kit.

To me, main appeal of this kit is the unique design. It may look short and stumpy, but it complements the overall bulky look. Even without modifications or painting, it would still look acceptable. But to make it look even better, some effort is needed.

Parts and color separation is good, but not good enough. There are plenty of parts that needed to be painted yellow. The most challenging part has to be the forehead piece, where you have bits of yellow in between the green sensor parts.

With the booster shield attached to the backpack, the kit tends to topple back when not attached to a stand. And if you look closely, there’s a small gap between the back part of the knees and the lower leg.

It may seem like I’ve written a lot of negative comments, but in actuality I really love this kit and the Hazel designs in general. It’s just that I spent a lot of time masking than I would have liked.

 

 

 

Turn X

August 11, 2014 at 11:18 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 3 Comments
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Introduction:

This is an old 1/144 scale kit; it’s not even labeled as HG. I bought it on a whim during one of the hobby events I went to. I have several concurrent gunpla projects going on (some on indefinite hiatus), so I wanted to build something quick and uncomplicated as a side project. This kit seemed like a good candidate for that.

Materials & Methods:

The building process was uncomplicated as expected, but there were plenty of parts that required seam-line fixing. Although I was tempted to modify parts & add details, I eventually decided to stick to an Out-of-Box build. The only part that I couldn’t let slide was the left hand. It was made of polycap material so I replaced it with a resin hand from B-club.

I didn’t want to stray from the original color scheme, but I did paint it. I was lazy & didn’t apply surfacer to any of the parts. The parts were sprayed as follows:

  • outer armor – MS Green (Gundam color spray)
  • the rest of the body – Gun Metal (Tamiya)
  • weapons – MS Gray (Gundam color spray)
  • the huge backpack – Navy Blue (Mr Color spray).

Some parts required masking but it was relatively painless. I used black enamel for panel lines and then added some water slide decals. I used the manual for the MG Turn X as a reference. After that is the usual flat topcoat.

Results:

Discussion:

For a relatively old kit, it has surprisingly good proportions and level of detail. But it also suffers from limitations of old kits: plenty of seam lines, usage of polycaps for the joints and hand. The articulation was also quite poor. It’s very difficult to get good action poses with it.

But overall, I had no regrets purchasing this kit, given its unique design and size. If you prefer more details & gimmicks and superior posability, get the MG Turn X instead.

 

 

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