Topp Zaku I

May 24, 2020 at 22:20 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
The initial plan for this build was to custom paint the HG Zaku I Origin kit into Topp’s Zaku I. But I didn’t like the look of the head and forearms of the Origin kit. So I ended up kitbashing various Zaku parts until the only Origin part left intact was the leg.

Materials & methods:
The work in progress can be found here.
After priming with grey surfacer, preshading lines were added with Gaianotes Pure Black.
Since all three Zakus (Topp, Arth, Dell) have the same color scheme, I decided to paint all of them at the same time. Here are the colors that I used:
Feet, knees, chest: Gray FS36118
Backpack: Gaianotes Blue Grey
Vernier nozzle: Clear red (insides); Burnt iron (outside)
Torso: Mr Color Dark Earth (70%) + Propeller Color (30%)
Head, limbs: Light Gull Grey (80%) + Gaianotes Yellow-Brown (15%) + Orange-Yellow (5%)

After painting, I applied panel lining, decals, clear topcoat, and weathering (in that order) to all three Zakus. Weathering consisted of enamel wash (red brown enamel), paint chipping (german grey enamel), and weathering pastel on the feet.
Then I applied Gaianotes Ex-Clear Flat topcoat using my airbrush.

Results:

Some poses:

Discusssion:
Upon closer inpection, some parts may look a bit rough, but I think I managed to recreate a version of Topp’s Zaku that’s quite close to the original concept art.
It wasn’t a simple kitbash, but the effort was worth it. I don’t think I would be satisfied if I just repainted the Origin Zaku I kit.
So after kitbashing a fair share of Zakus, I can conclude that the best looking Zaku I head is the Thunderbolt Zaku I; best Zaku I body is the HGUC Zaku Sniper; and best legs are the Origin Zakus. Still haven’t found the perfect arms yet. Maybe the upcoming HGUC Char’s Zaku II can change that…

HGUC Ground Type Gundam Parachute Pack

May 11, 2020 at 19:27 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
There have been several RX-79[G] Ground Type Gundam kits released since the 08th MS Team aired, but I’ve never built a ‘proper’ one yet. So to correct that anomaly, I bought the P-Bandai RX-79[G] Parachute Pack which came with plenty of accessories. The plan was to add additional details and some light weathering effects, while keeping the original colors intact (more or less).

Materials & methods:
The work in progress can be found here.
After priming & pre-shading, the parts were painted as follows:
White parts: Gaianotes semi-gloss white + a bit of neutral grey
Chest: Leftover dark blue from the Zaku Mariner
Red parts: Red madder
Verniers: Gaianotes gunmetal
Parachute pack: Olive drab + Russian green; Gray FS36118
Weapons: Gray FS36118

Panel-lining was done using black enamel, followed by decals. Then clear topcoat was sprayed to protect the decals.
For weathering, enamel wash using dark brown + yellow was applied first. Then additional scratch marks & oil streaks were added using enamel paints & a fine brush. On the weapons & torso, dry brushing was applied using enamel silver. Also added a liberal dab of weathering pastel on the feet & shield.
Final step was the flat topcoat layer.

Results:

Although the kit comes with several extra bazookas, I didn’t build them. Pictured here are the ones I made for the GM Head build.

The kit also comes with a spare GM head, but I’m saving that for the GM Sniper build. Instead I used the head from the HGUC GM Ground Type kit.

Discussion:
Compared to the old HGUC kit, this new RX-79[G] has much better proportions. The range of movement is more or less similar to the old kit, but the new one has better torso movement.
In general, seam lines are well hidden, except for the forearms and parachute pack. Speaking of which, the size of the parachute pack can cause some balance problems when attached. But it does look cool, though.
While I much prefer GM heads than Gundam heads, I think in this case the Gundam head looks better than the new GM Ground type head. But the old HGUC GM head head looks better than both of those.
Overall, this is a solid kit with plenty of extras. It’s a shame it’s Premium Bandai only…

HGAC Leo

June 14, 2019 at 23:12 | Posted in 1/144 scale | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

This is the plain HGAC Leo kit, with no backpacks or add-ons. I initially wanted to attach Overflag wings on the back, but later I switched to the tilt rotor backpack. Since the tilt rotor resembles the V-22 Osprey, I decided to call this Leo kitbash the Leosprey.

Materials & methods:
I made minor modifications to the Leo and the tilt rotor, which you can find here.
I decided to go all out with the Osprey theme, so I went for the two tone color scheme like this photo:

The first layer is Light Gull Gray, and the second layer is Mr Color Grey FS36320. I drew the wavy patterns directly using my fine nozzle airbrush. All other parts were painted with a combination of german gray, gunmetal, gray FS36081, and dark gray (2).
It has been a while since I applied weathering effects, so I decided to use every weathering trick that I know of. But the aim is not a battle damaged, dirty Leo. I’m opting for a light weathering look, as if it’s been out for a few sorties. So after applying decals & panel lines, I sprayed a layer of gloss topcoat from the spray can and proceeded to apply the following weathering effects:

  • Enamel wash using very thinned black enamel
  • Oil smears using dark brown enamel
  • Paint scratches using black enamel applied with fine brush and toothpick
  • Dry brusing using silver enamel, mostly on the feet and weapons
  • Weathering pastel on the tilt rotor vents

To finish, I applied flat topcoat. But this time instead of using the spray can, I used the bottled type diluted 1:1 with lacquer thinner, and sprayed using my airbrush.

Results:

 

Some close ups of the Tilt rotor and weapons:

And some action poses:

Discussion:
Admittedly, attaching the Tilt Rotor Pack to the Leo is not a novel idea; you can already find several builds from google image search. To make this build unique, I decided to go full Osprey. That included painting the two tone color scheme, and using decals from Hasegawa’s 1/72 Osprey kit.
As for the HGAC Leo, it has a very simple construction. For example, it uses only 6 ball type polycaps. But range of movement on the limbs is on par with the latest HG kits, making it quite fun to play around with. But be warned, as with any kit, playing with it too much will result in loose joints. Overall, there’s not much to complain about the HGAC Leo.

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