HGUC Jesta

February 26, 2012 at 18:58 | Posted in 1/144 scale, Model kits | 4 Comments
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Introduction

Ever since I saw the concept art for the Jesta, I knew I had to get one once the model kit comes out. Since this is a grunt unit with a special-ops kinda look to it, I decided to give it a snow-camo paint job. I made some mock-ups of possible camo schemes, but I couldn’t decide whether to go for sharp or curvy camo patterns. Here’s what I was contemplating:

In the end I went for the curvy type.

Materials & Methods

The good thing about this kit is that there’s few seam lines to worry about; only the shoulders, forearms, head and rifle require fixing. I made some structural changes which included carving out the back of the knee for better kneeling posture, removing the missile from the shield, and drilling holes on the forehead bump. On top of that I added some detail parts mostly on the plain-looking backpack and some plaplate on the chest and ankle armors. I also filled some gaps on the knee & ankle joints as well as the backpack-to-shield connectors with epoxy putty, shown below:

To paint the camo pattern, I first primed the whole kit and then sprayed the first layer of German Gray. Then I applied the camo patterns I cut out from masking tape before applying the second layer using Gundam Color Spray (Zeon MS Gray). I repeated the process of applying camo patterns and spraying two more layers using Mr. Color Light Gray (1) and finally Mr. Color  Off-White.

For the weapons, I assigned the MSG Shotgun to the Jesta, because it would suit the special-ops feel. I decided to go easy on the decals this time, because it would have trouble standing out amidst the camo paintjob. And finally, to complete the snow warrior theme, I added some snow weathering effects on the feet using Tamiya weathering pastels.

Results

Discussion

First of all, I must say I love this kit. From the design, to the proportions and the bad-ass beam carbine. Shoulder articulation is very good, but I can’t say the same for the waist movement or knees (before modification, see here). As for my camo paintjob, it didn’t end up as cleanly as I wanted. Some of the paint (especially the final layer of Off-white) seeped between the masking tape and caused some unwanted smears on the patterns. I think this happened partly because the masking tape lost its adhesiveness and mostly because I applied too heavy a layer when spraying the white color, due to my impatience. Perhaps I was too ambitious in applying 4-shades of color for this camo scheme, but it served as a good lesson. But viewed from afar, I think it still looks good.

So in conclusion, I love this kit, even though I may have botched the painting a bit. With the exception of the RX-78 and Zaku, I seldom buy the same kits at different scales. But this Jesta will join that list if the MG ever comes out. I might even buy three of them…

HGUC ReZel (Commander Type)

October 15, 2010 at 00:36 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction

Bought together with the Geara Zulu, this is the continuation of my Unicorn frenzy. As I mentioned before, I planned to build this with no modifications but with GFF-style decals. I found some decals at Yodobashi camera (of all places) which are not exactly GFF style decals, but close enough. I also bought a can of metallic blue spray and some detail parts for the shoulders. This also marks my first time using High Detail Manipulator (HDM) parts from B-club. They’re not that cheap, costing about the same price as a HGUC kit. It comes with six different types of hands, ranging from open palm, closed fist and holding shapes, as shown below:

Materials & Methods

Pretty much a straight-forward build; the only seam lines to fix are at the shoulders and the massive beam cannon. The challenge comes in the painting. Although the majority of the kit is blue, there’s plenty of small areas that I wanted to be in grey or other colors. Speaking of painting, as I sprayed metallic blue on this kit, I found that it was more sparkly than metallic. It’s like the model is now covered in fine disco dust. But I went ahead with it, hoping that layers of flat topcoat will minimize the sparkly effect.

Then comes the decals. Using pictures of the GFF ReZel as reference, I applied decals which resemble the GFF version. Not perfect, but close enough. I think I nailed it pretty closely, except for the leg part. I ran out of decals for the alphabets ‘NA’ and numbers ‘008’. Did I mention that I had to apply the numbers/alphabets one by one? For example for the design ‘NA008’ I first applied the decal for alphabet N, then A and so on. It was tedious and I spent about one whole day just for the decals. Also the uneven surfaces proved to be a challenge, but Mr Mark Setter helps alot. And finally I finished it off with panel lining and a generous layer of flat topcoat.

Results

Discussion

I should also mention something about the HDM hands. Some parts need to be glued together and I found that modeling cement won’t do the job. I had to use superglue to properly bind the parts. Also I found that the HDM ball joints are smaller than the original hands. When I stuck the hands to the arms, they were very loose, resulting in a limp-wristed ReZel. I guess I could apply some putty to make the ball joints thicker, but I decided to just live with it.

As for the kit itself, articulation is rather poor. Arms only bend 90 degrees, and the torso can only be turned only a few degrees left or right. Transformation to waverider mode is not true transformation because it involves swapping parts. Other than that the design is aesthetically pleasing and  I’m quite satisfied with how I managed to replicate the GFF look on this HGUC kit. Now I can’t wait for the HGUC Sinanju and volume 2 of Unicorn.

HGUC Geara Zulu

May 30, 2010 at 23:34 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 3 Comments
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Introduction

My first ‘real’ kit after a long while. Unlike most of my previous gunpla purchases which went straight to storage after purchase, I started with this kit a few weeks right after I got it. After shopping around for some Kotobukiya & Wave option parts and some spray cans, I went straight to building. The Geara Zulu already had plenty of WWII Germany designs & references, so I decided to give it the final touch by adding the proper decals and color scheme of a WWII German war machine.

Materials & Methods

Building was pretty uncomplicated, and the only seam lines that need fixing are at the shoulders and back part of the lower legs. I also added some detail parts and other modifications which are summarised in the following image:

For coloring, I decided to replace the light green with Dark Gray (Mr. Color 32) and the dark green parts with German Gray (Mr. Color 40). A layer of primer was sprayed on the parts before the layers of paint were sprayed on. For the joints, thrusters and yellow parts, I sprayed them with gun metal (Tamiya). The only tedious task was painting the black and white parts at the chest and wrists. If you don’t have a very sharp blade, masking these parts using Tamiya tape or any other tape would be verrry frustrating.

With painting completed, it was time to apply decals. I finally get to use some Nazi Germany decals I bought from various hobby shows. I actually spent 2 days for decalling, mainly because I was being indecisive when picking and choosing the decals. When I was finally satisfied, I went ahead and applied scratches to the decals. Why, do you ask? It’s to provide some sort of realism to the weathered look I was going for. To do that, I used my hobby blade to scratch parts of the decals. The key here is not to overdo it, and also having Mr Mark Setter definitely helps a lot. Then I sprayed a layer of gloss clear coat to protect the decals.

The last part is the weathering. For this I applied the wash method, using yellow+brown enamel paints. To simulate paint chipping, I applied bits of silver paint on the torso and hip areas. For the same effect on the limbs, I used some grey paint. All these paint chipping effect were applied using a very fine brush and a toothpick. And finally the kit was given a final spray of flat topcoat. This has to be one of my fastest builds.

Results

These last few pics were taken with the SHCM-Pro Unicorn. Yes I realize in the anime the Zulu couldn’t even stand up to a ReZEL, let alone a Unicorn. But still I decided to make the poses of the Zulu pwning the Unicorn. This post is about the Zulu, after all.

Discussion

Regarding the kit, the elbow and knee joints can only bend 90 degrees; disappointing but not unexpected. Design-wise it is very appealing (to me at least), the only gripe was the jagged eyeline (which I removed) and the relatively slim torso. I would have preferred a wider chest, but modifying that from scratch would be too troublesome. But anyway, I’m quite pleased with my results, except for the springs near the knees. That didn’t work out too well.

As for photography, my cheap tripod died out on me, so I had to resort to using flash to compensate for the lighting. I still haven’t got the hang of flash photography yet, so there’ s plenty of obvious shadows or shaded areas.

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