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.

How to remove seam-lines

May 29, 2008 at 20:05 | Posted in How-to | 3 Comments
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A seam line is the visible line left after you combine two symmetrical halves to form a specific part of your kit, for example the forearms. If left alone, it will give your kit an ‘unfinished’ feel to it. Fortunately recent MG kits have been designed in such a way that seam lines are well hidden so you don’t need to bother with them. But for most HGUC kits, seams lines are very visible.

So, I know of only 2 ways to remove seam lines. If you know of other methods, please share.

1) Use basic putty (the grey type) to cover the lines. Wait for it to harden then sand away the excess putty. The putty (if dissolved properly with thinner) will fill in the gaps between the seam lines. But the down side to this method is that you have to paint that part afterwards, if not you’ll be left with an unsightly grey line of putty over your seam lines.

2) Using modeling cement to bind the two parts. The advantage of using this method is that there’s no need to paint. The disadvantage is that it’s permanent. You can’t unglue the bound parts, not unless you hack it with a saw. I’m gonna show only the 2nd method, because that’s what I always do for my kits:

I’ll be using a part from my MG Gelgoog as an example. So the seam line would be visible if I join the two parts here:

Before that, you’ll notice that one half of the parts has protruding parts (herein referred to as ‘male’ parts) and the other half has holes (herein referred to as ‘female’ parts) with which the male parts will fit in. What I usually do is I cut a bit off the male parts and widen the female parts with a small drill. The reason for that is to allow more space between the parts to be melted by the glue. I hope that makes sense. Here’s what I was referring to about the male parts:

So then you apply glue, also referred to as plastic cement (like this one by Tamiya) around the edges of both parts, like so:

Then you combine those two parts together and squeeze them tightly. You’ll notice the parts with the cement will ‘melt’ the plastic, thus fusing the two parts together. You’ll be left with excess melted plastic in place of the seam line:

Now comes the fun part. After the glue has sufficiently hardened, you should proceed to remove the excess melted plastic. A file is recommended. Then you need to use fine sandpaper to smoothen the surface and eventually you’ll end up with something like this:

A word of caution, though. Some brands of plastic cement might leave yellow stains, particularly on white parts. If that’s the case, then you will have to paint that particular part. It happened with my Heavyarms custom.

So, removing seam lines is one of the basic steps in modelling. But if you’re observant enough, you will notice that some parts don’t need seam line removal like hidden places (e.g bottom of foot) or parts that will be covered up eventually.

HGUC Zaku II

February 20, 2008 at 17:39 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 2 Comments
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This was originally a Garma Zabi custom Zaku II kit, but I decided to paint it with the standard grunt unit colors: green. I also decided to modify a couple of things to improve its overall looks. This kit also marks my first use of various putties and pla-plate.

Starting with the head, I replaced the monoeye sticker with a leftover runner from a beam sabre. First I drilled a hole on the black part where the monoeye should be. Then I inserted a leftover runner off a beam sabre part into the hole, glued it and then trimmed off the excess with a hobby knife. I also decided to make the monoeye slit a bit narrower. Here’s what it originally looked like:IMG_0525

And below shows the results after modification. I basically just shaved away some plastic near the eye slit and tilted the top half of the head forward. The resulting gaps as the back were filled with epoxy putty.

IMG_0532 IMG_0533 IMG_0531

I decided to widen the chest a little by adding a sheet of pla-plate to the left and right sides of the chest. Gaps were then filled with basic putty. The middle part of the chest was also dabbed with some epoxy putty to raise its profile a bit. I also split the front skirt armor so that they can move independently and added a small piece of pla-plate on the crotch area.

IMG_0534 IMG_0536

On the Zaku shield on the right arm, I added another piece of pla-plate. And finally, I did some modification to the legs to improve the the posability. I just simply carved off some plastic at the back of the knees.

IMG_0537 IMG_0538

In the spirit of the grunt unit theme, I decided to apply some weathering, namely bullet holes, some small dents on the armor edges and some paint chipping. Also applied some Zeon water-slide decals to complement the theme. I used brown-yellow acrylic wash to fill the panel lines.

This was by far the most amount of modifications I’ve ever done to one single kit. It may sound like a lot, but it didn’t alter the overall design of the Zaku by much. Sadly, I broke the peg which connects the thigh to the hip. Tried to glue it back but it broke again when I tried to move the leg. Fortunately I managed to take some pics before it happened. Overall, I’m not too satisfied with the final outcome, but it did serve quite well as a test bed for future projects.

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