HG Thunderbolt GM

July 5, 2018 at 22:07 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

I was reluctant to buy the HGTB Thunderbolt GM kit even though the design looks quite interesting. Some aspects like the head, wrinkly joints, excessive thrusters and astronaut backpack didn’t sit well with me.
As I accumulated more and more spare parts from the Year of the GM project, I decided to build a Thunderbolt GM, but with a Universal Century feel to it.

Materials & methods:

Work in progress is here. As usual, all parts were primed with grey surfacer. Then pre-shading lines were added using german grey.

Paint used was predominantly MS White. The exceptions were the chest, shoulders and feet.
For those parts, I used the recommended color as written on the manual, which was a mix of grey:blue:green. The shoulders and chest required a darker hue, so a bit of midnight blue was added to the above mixture. The yellow bits around the waist, neck and shields were painted with orange-yellow + white. Joints were painted with Dark gray (2) and the weapons with german gray.

Moderate weathering effects were applied using enamel wash. The black enamel paint was thinned more than usual and was only applied to certain parts of the model. Paint scratch effects were also applied using enamel german gray and a paint brush. Some large decals (e.g. on the shield) were lightly scratched using a hobby blade. Finally a flat topcoat layer was applied.

Results:

Discussion:
A lot of trial and error was involved in this build. Even after finalizing the parts, I wasn’t sure how it’ll turn out. The round shoulder joint might look out of place with the squarish shape of other parts, and the arms may be a bit too long.
But overall, I feel that this build captures the essence of the Thunderbolt GM, even without the distinctive parts like the wrinkly joints et cetera. Getting the color scheme spot on and making fully articulate manipulator arms on the backpack was probably the most satisfying part of this build for me.

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HGUC GM Head

April 24, 2018 at 20:46 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

Usually when I kitbash, I tend to add newer parts to older kits. But in this case, it’s the other way round. I added parts from the older HGUC RX-79[G] kit onto the newer HGUC GM Ground Type kit because I prefer some design aspects of the older kit.
The other motivation for this build is to pose it with my Little Armory kits, which is why I wanted to fit it with RG hands.
For the color scheme, I played around with various ideas, but eventually I went for the simpler white/navy-blue color scheme of the S-type Gundam from Thunderbolt.

Materials & methods:

The work in progress can be read here.
After spraying grey surfacer and applying pre-shading lines, I proceeded to paint it as follows:
White parts: MS White 100% (Gundam Colors)
Blue parts: Midnight blue + Intermediate blue. I forgot the actual ratios.
Yellow bits: Orange yellow + a bit of MS white.
Joints were the standard Dark Grey 2.

Then I applied some weathering in the form of enamel wash, paint chipping & smears using enamel and markers, and weathering pastels at the feet. After that it’s decals and a flat topcoat finish.

Results:

Here’s the assortment of weapons and accessories. I went ahead and painted the RX-79[G] head as well, just because.

Some action poses, including with some of my Little Armory weapons:

Finally some group photos. In terms of height, it’s: GM Sniper (OOB) < GM Head < Ground Type GM (mod).

Discussion:

This is my third kit to feature the GM Ground Type head, and the reason for it is simple: it’s the best looking GM head so far. The GM III head comes a close second. The new HGUC Ground Type GM head however, doesn’t have the same appeal.
In case you’re wondering, you can get these nicer looking heads from the HGUC Ground War set or the P-Bandai HGUC GM Sniper II White Dingo kit.
My favourite parts of the new HGUC GM Ground Type are the legs and forearms. Everything else, the older RX-79[G] is superior, especially the short front skirt armors.
To combine these different parts into a single kit is what’s most satisfying in this build. So next up is another ground-based unit.

How to use fine tip marker for weathering

April 1, 2018 at 14:18 | Posted in How-to | Leave a comment
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When first starting out with this hobby, the Fine Tip Gundam Marker was a nice and easy way to fill panel lines. Nowadays, I don’t use them for that purpose anymore. Instead, I found a new use for them: weathering.

i) Paint scratch effects
This is a type of light weathering that simulates scratches on the mecha, revealing the darker colored surface underneath. Let’s say you start off with a nice, fresh GM leg like so:

All you have to do is to draw the scratch marks using the Fine Tip Gundam Marker. You can draw light strokes to simulate scratches, or you can dab the marker on the same area to simulate a larger peeled surface. When drawing the light strokes, try to keep a straight line, because scratch marks tend to be straight in real life.


More importantly than HOW you do it, it’s WHERE you do it. Think about the moving parts of the mecha and imagine where physical contact would most likely occur. I like to put them on the edges, or corner parts. You should end up with something like this:

ii) Smearing effects
This simulates grease or grime that has leaked from some parts of the mecha. First, you dab the marker tip on a particular spot; making sure there’s enough paint transferred.

Starting from the spot with the marker paint, use your finger to rub in a downwards motion.

The outcome should be something like this:

Like the scratch effect, the placement of the smear is important. I tend to apply it near vents, openings or damaged parts on the mecha.

Some recommendations and caveats:
I feel that this effect works best coupled with other weathering effects, like an enamel wash. It would just break the illusion if a clean mecha suddenly has some scratch marks or grease smears.

Like any other weathering effect, moderation is the key. Not every surface or part should have scratch marks or smears.

These two effects are mostly for lightly weathered mecha. For more heavier weathering, there’s other methods more suitable for that.

The Fine Tip Gundam Marker comes in black, grey and brown colors. I find the brown marker sometimes results in a reddish color, so take note. Feel free to experiment with other fine tip markers and other colors.

Conclusion
If you’ve stepped up from the Gundam Markers for panel lining, don’t throw them away just yet. They may yet leave their marks on your gunpla.

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