HGUC Zee Zulu

May 7, 2015 at 17:29 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

When I first saw the Zee Zulu, I wasn’t overly impressed by it. But once you take away the awkward-looking heat claws, frogman flippers and belly tank, the design doesn’t look too bad at all. So instead of paying for parts that I didn’t like, I decided to try out something new: build a complete kit by only using spare parts.

So at Yellow Submarine in Akihabara, I bought various parts to build the Zee Zulu. At first I thought about equipping it with a flamethrower-like fuel tank, but then I found parts for the Lange Bruno gun from Angelo Sauper Geara Zulu kit. This combination of parts means that my Zee Zulu would not be an amphibious combat unit, but a long range ground assault unit.

Materials & methods:

You can find the work in progress page here. I just recently bought the MSG Knife Set, so I added the machete and bayonet to the list of armaments. For painting, I initially thought of going for a stripy jungle camo scheme, but then I got lazy and just went for the dark green / olive green combo.

To make it look more interesting, I decided to add a yellow strip across the thighs, like in this picture. First I primed the thighs with grey surfacer, then sprayed orange-yellow over it. After the paint has dried, I placed a strip of tamiya masking tape over the thighs and sprayed olive green over it.

The limbs and head were also painted with the same olive green color. The body was painted with a mixture of green & german gray. The weapons required more masking, and I used a combination of gun metal, light gun metal and german gray spray cans together with hand-painted enamel gold and silver.

The Zee Zulu didn’t have too many wide surfaces to apply large decal markings. I used mostly warning decals, but I couldn’t resist using the Balkenkreuz decal. I applied enamel wash using brown-yellow paints and then some paint chipping & rust effects with silver enamel & dark brown gundam marker. Finally it’s the flat topcoat layer.

Results:

HGUC Zee Zulu

Discussion:

It’s always satisfying to take the original gunpla design and modify it to suit my own sense of aesthetics. Some people may like the original Zee Zulu design, but not me. I’m glad I replaced the legs and forearms, but the Lange Bruno gun & backpack was more trouble than it’s worth. I spent more time masking & painting it than the body itself. It was also quite a pain to pose with, given the awkward position of the handles. The ammo belt was also too stiff, and tends to pop out from the backpack.

Overall articulation is not overly impressive either. Arms can only bend 90 degrees, but the kneeling pose was acceptable. Due to the face cables and neck braces, you can’t turn the head in any direction. At least you can swivel the monoeye part. The bulky backpack might look like it can cause balance issues, but it’s actually quite light. Plus the legs are quite stable. Of the four Zeon Remnant units I’ve built so far, I like how this one looks, especially when holding the AK-12 assault rifle. Next up, it’s the Z’Gok. Stay tuned…

HGUC Marasai

January 11, 2015 at 15:23 | Posted in 1/144 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

This is the first iteration of the HGUC Marasai kit, the one with the bright orange color scheme. I bought it during the height of the AOZ boom many years ago and while it was hybernating in my storeroom, Bandai has since released an MG version and a HGUC Unicorn version.

I finally got round to building this kit after re-watching episode 4 of the Unicorn OVA. I was inspired by the Zeon remnant units that appeared during the attack on Torrington base scene. I’m planning to build a couple more Zeon units from that scene, and this Marasai is just the beginning.

It became immediately obvious that I had to change the color scheme from orange to the drab green colors from the Unicorn version. In addition, I wanted to customize it further by swapping some parts & adding a military-style Zimmerit coating effect.

Materials & Methods:

I didn’t change too many things, but you can still find the WIP page here. I included the sub-machinegun from my Zaku F2 kit as a last-minute addition.

In addition to the above modifications, I also had to fix visible seam lines on the head, shoulders, forearms, thighs and backpack.

After spraying all parts with dark grey surfacer, I airbrushed the different parts as follows:

  • Chest, backpack, feet and forearms: Olive drab (Tamiya)
  • The rest of the body: Dark yellow (Tamiya) ~80% + Olive green ~20%
  • Power pipes/cables: Orange yellow + a few drops of red
  • Weapons: Machinegun & Feyadeen rifle (German gray); bazookas (MS Gray)

Then I applied weathering using enamel wash (yellow + brown), followed by some scratch marks using silver and black enamels. And as always, I added some decals and finally a spray of flat topcoat.

Results:

HGUC Marasai Unicorn ver.

Discussion:

I guess I can safely say that I achieved what I set out to do with this kit. Modifications were minimal, but I personally feel it looks better than the original kit. I stopped short of modifying the joints and improving articulation, because I didn’t want to spend too much time on this kit. I have more than enough pending projects already.

I initially feared that I messed up on the Zimmerit coating effect, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Using basic putty was a bit tricky, so next time I’ll experiment with epoxy putty. Speaking of putty, the biceps and thighs that I beefed up with epoxy putty looked a bit rough. Apparently I didn’t apply enough basic putty around the edges to make it more smooth.

But overall, I quite like how this kit turned out. Now that I got it out of the way, I can start work on other Zeon kits waiting on the pipeline.

HGUC Marasai: Work in Progress

November 5, 2014 at 14:34 | Posted in Work In Progress | Leave a comment
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I didn’t really have grand plans for this build. During snap-fitting, I identified parts of the kit that I didn’t like and proceeded to modify them. The real aim was to try out the Zimmerit coating effect, often seen on military models. The military-ish design of the Marasai makes it a good guinea pig to test this technique. So lets start with the head:

The monoeye was just a black, solid piece of plastic where you attach a monoeye sticker. That just won’t do, so I fashioned a DIY monoeye unit by first clearing excess plastic around the monoeye. Then I glued a runner vertically to serve as an anchor for the monoeye. The monoeye itself is made up of a leg pipe piece from a RG Zaku, a round plate and a pink clear lens from M.S.G.

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I decided to replace the shoulders with spare ones from my Gouf custom kit. I had to replace the rounded peg on the left shoulder with a spare runner. No other modifications were needed for the Gouf shoulders.

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The biceps and thighs look a bit skinny, so I beefed them up by attaching some epoxy putty on the sides. I smoothed the edges by applying some basic putty and sanding them.

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I used different sets of extra hands: a pair of resin fists by B-club, a weapon-holding left hand from Builders Parts, and a sword-holding right hand from System Weapon 004.

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For the Zimmerit coating, I wasn’t sure what kind of putty would work best. As a first attempt, I decided to use basic putty. First I applied the basic putty (without thinner) to the feet and some parts around the lower leg. Then I used a Zimmerit pattern applicator to create the effect.

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For the weapons, I decided to arm it with the Feyadeen rifle from the HGUC Marasai Unicorn ver. I bought the parts from Yellow Submarine. It looked a bit plain, so I added some detail parts. For melee combat, I used the big sword from System Weapon 004.

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As if that wasn’t enough, I also have a pair of Kampfer bazookas that I got from the ‘Junk City’ section of a hobby show. I swapped the position of the sights so that they both face the eyes when dual-wielding.

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The completed kit can now be viewed here.

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