Tuesday, March 31, 2015

RG GN-001RE Exia Repair


Lore:

The GN-001RE is the "repaired" version of the GN-001. Following the climatic battle at the end of Gundam 00 season one Exia is left critically damaged. During the four year time skip Exia's pilot manages to perform ramshackle repairs on the unit by recovering components lost during the battle as well as salvaging and integrating components from other units including a replacement right optic from a MSJ-06IIE Tieren.

Kit Talk:

The P-Bandai kit required to transform the standard Exia into the Repair version is extremely basic. It only consists of about 15 parts, and does not include waterslides or other replacement decals. At about $30 it's a very difficult purchase to recommend to most considering the actual RG Exia costs about $25. That being said, the base RG Exia is a great model, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the design of the kit during the build.

I typically spend time on Google images looking for examples of finished models from other builders. When looking up this kit it was not able to find many examples of completed and painted RG Exia Repairs.

My goal for this model was very similar to the MG version I completed in March 2012. I wanted to push the damage on this kit further than the stock for to emphasize that it endured significant wear in battle over the course of 4 years without being properly repaired. But, at the same time I wanted the wear and tear to be more stylized and less realistic than 'traditional' scale modeling. I achieved this by using a variety of tools to scrape and notch the hard edges of ths kit. I then added and removed paint to emphasis the pot marks and gouges. I shaded the folds on the cape with greens and greys, to emphasize the dimension of the material. Once the kit was topcoated I desaturated the base colors using a heavy filter. 

Overall I'm happy with the final product. I am disappointed that some cracking has started to occur on the backs of both lower legs, however considering the theme of build, they don't really look out of place either.

If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!



Hit the bump for the complete shoot!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

HG ARX-014 Silver Bullet


Mobile suit lore:

The ARX-014 Silver Bullet is a heavily modified AMX-014 Döven Wolf  mobile suit. These units were reconfigured by Anaheim Electronics and the Earth Federation following the end of First Neo Zeon war. The intent of the modifications was to create a test bed for quasi-psycommu systems. These modifications ultimately reduced the overall firepower of the suit, but also reduced the overall weight of the mobile suit by 3 tons. Bringing the Silver Bullet down to about 33 metrics tons, putting it roughly in the same weight class of the physically smaller Marasai. Once the Earth Federation finished testing these units several found their way into the possession of the Vist Foundation.

Kit Talk 

Don't like masking or painting? Then don't buy this kit! This is the third and final kit I received from the 2014 r/gunpla gift exchange.I'm the type of builder that finds myself drawn to certain MSV designs. Something about the variations of the designs, color combinations and rarity of normal releases that really gets me pumped up.

My goal with this design was two fold. Firstly I wanted to obtain a color scheme that was very close to stock design, and secondly I want to introduce some modifications to spice up a few of the less interesting parts of the design.

Painting the kit was a bit of a chore, as previously mentioned masking is essential to achieve the color separation on the legs, hips and shoulders. I tweaked the blue-purple color to better match the color of the decals supplied by the HG Unicorn Gundam set.

I modified the kit in several ways including: fusing seam lines, additional thruster details, detail parts in the shoulder thrusters, panel line scribing on the top of the shoulders, and forearms.

If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!



Hit the bump for the full album!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2 Minute Review PG Wing Zero Custom


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

PG Wing Zero Custom


Kit Talk


After several months and many hours of painting the Perfect Grade Wing Zero Custom is complete. This kit took longer than I expected for several reasons; I drastically underestimated the amount of surface area on the wings that required painting, the size and lengths of the seams on the rifles, wings, beam sabers and the extremely cold weather we faced in my region.

Unlike more recent PGs this kit includes multiple screws, springs, diecast parts and wiring for the LEDs. The screws basically hold most of the joints together on this kit, and the stiffness of each joint can be adjusted by tightening and loosening each screw. The LED wiring on this kit was fairly basic, but a bit nerve racking nonetheless I ended up pulling the torso apart twice due to wiring loosening up while assembling the upper body.

If you're interested in the build on this kit, can you see my WIP here for more information.

If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

 

Hit the bump to see the full album

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mr. Retarder Tips and Tricks


I've received a lot of emails, PMs and comments from you guys and gals on the various social media outlets about hand painting. Unfortunately as many of you have found out, I don't know very much about it. But, I'm working on changing that. Today I'm going to talk about Mr. Retarder that I'm learning to use that's making a big difference in how I hand paint.



What is it:

Mr. Retarder Mild or Mr. Retarder is a clear chemical produced by Gunze to work with their line of Mr.Color products. For lack of a better description Mr.Retarder, retards or slows the drying time of the paint. This allows the paint to level out reducing the appearance of brush marks and other imperfections..

Mr. Retarder comes in the same style bottle as Mr. Setter or Mr. Softer, unlike those two products Mr. Retarder does not come with the small brush in the cap.

Mr. Retarder can be used with both a hand brush and an airbrush.

Why Should I use it:

If you can't use spray cans or airbrush for some reason, but you still want to paint, Mr.Retarder provides a way to achieve a smooth even finish. If you do use an airbrush Mr. Retarder can be used to improve the luster of your paint and would be great for a glossy model car finish. 


Sunday, March 8, 2015

2 Minute Review HR Marasai (Unicorn Version)


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

God Hand Ultimate Nippers


Intro:

How many nubs must a builder cut before they're considered a pro? Bob Dylan asked a similar but less interesting question about life, peace and growing up in the 1960s. Regardless of the answer you can make that path a lot easier with set of good nippers.

Right now it seems like many builders in the gunpla community consider Mineshima's GodHand Ultimate Nippers to be the best cutters on the market. And unsurprisingly they seem to be in high demand. Until recently I had been on a backlog waiting list on HLJ. I placed my backlog order in July of 2014. But, I had the opportunity to purchase a set at a fair markup from fellow redditor Rougey. In total I paid $50 including the cost of shipping for these cutters, and while yes I did pay a $5-10 mark up on these nippers (they sell for about $35-37 before shipping). I felt that it was more than an acceptable trade off considering I was still waiting for HLJ to procure more nippers.

If you are in the market for a set of Ultimate Nippers be aware some unscrupulous sellers on Amazon and eBay have marked these nippers in excess of $80!

This is going to less of an objective review and more of a personal impression post. The comments within this article are my opinion as a builder that has used a wide variety of nippers from various companies. 

Hit the bump for the full article

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2 Minute Review RG GP01fb


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Monday, February 23, 2015

2 Minute Review: MG Sinanju Stein


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Monday, February 16, 2015

2 Minute Review: MG Unicorn Gundam


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

2 Minute Review: Vic Viper


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Monday, February 2, 2015

2 Minute Review: HG Zogok


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Micro-Tutorial: Work Flow


Introduction

One of the top comments in a survey thread I made in 2014 was to create small 'bite sized' tutorials. This is the third in that series of tutorials; you can see the other tutorials here.

With the recent success of Gundam Build Fighters more and more people have become interested in custom mobile suits, paint jobs and kit bashing. In this micro tutorial I am going to offer some basic tips and tricks for maximizing your build time and keeping you motivated. 

Work Flow:

I'll start by discussing how my work flow works, and why I have decided to work this way. You can also check out some general tips towards the bottom of the post.

Preparation:

When I first sit down to build a new kit I do a few things. First, I open every bag in the kit and remove all of the runners. If decals are packed in their own bag I leave them in the bag until their needed. I'll look over the runners and try to take a mental inventory of what colors are on what runners. I'll then sort the runners by color and place them in the box until needed. Once the kit is ready I'll grab the tools I know I will need: nippers, knife and sand paper; and I'll lay them out wherever I am working.

Building:

When I build I like to streamline my process in a few ways. If a step in the manual requires me to cut out several parts I will cut them all out at once. I will also cut off the nubs of all parts in a step with my knife all at once and sand all at once, I have found that this cuts down on the time it takes swapping tools. If a step is to be repeated two or more times I will cut all of the parts out necessary to build both sets.


When assembling pieces that use several 'plug' type connectors I will modify them by removing a small portion of material before assembling them. I do this by cutting a few mms at a 45 degree angle from each plug. This makes taking the parts apart easier and reduces the chance of damaging the parts while trying to pull them apart. 

Modification:

I use the build process as a way of understanding how parts fit and work together. At this point I will begin to fuse seam lines, add panel lines by scribing and add optional parts. I will typically keep the kit as complete as I can throughout this process, as it helps me to visualize what the final product will look like.

Paint Prep:


Once the kit is ready for paint I will break it down to the individual component parts and throw them directly into my part washer. After the parts have been cleaned and thoroughly rinsed I spread them out on a towel and allow them to dry. As they dry I will separate them by the color I intend to paint them. If a part will require a few separate colors I will sort them into the lightest color pile. Once the parts have dried I will place parts on skewers. I will typically place 1 entire color on skewers at one time to minimize confusion. 

When painting I typically start with the lightest color group and move to the darkest. I paint in this order to ensure that if a piece requires multiple colors then the lightest will be the first to be painted.

Painting:

Once I have all of a given color on skewers I will start by priming every part of that color and then paint every part of that color. Painting this way saves time and paint by reducing the number of times I need to clean out my airbrush to change colors.

I use two separate airbrushed for painting, I use a higher flow brush (Badger Patriot 105) for large pieces and spray heavy work like primer and topcoat, and I use a more precise brush (Badger Krome) for finer detail work, shading and smaller parts.

Decaling:

Certain kits mostly Ver. Ka models will feature the same secondary decals in multiple places. To save time I will cut out a chunk typically 5 or 6 of the same decal on one sheet and apply them all at once. Decaling in this manner can greatly reduce the amount of time spent decaling. 

Let's think of this mathematically:

Let's say that he have a kit with 40 of the same decal that need to applied. Every decal will require t amount of time soaking in water to activate the adhesive. If you were to cut out each individual decal and soak them separately one at a time you would spend a total of 40t waiting for the decals to activate. However, if you soak decals in chunks of 5 suddenly the total soak time is 8t. To put this in context most decals will take 30 seconds to activate; in this example that's the difference between waiting 20 minutes or 4 minutes! You will also save time swapping tools and cutting the decals off the waterslide set. 

This tip may not be ideal for novice waterslide decal users, but for those builders that decal regularly should have no problem.

Top coating:

Once I am done decaling and detailing I will reassemble parts into a few basic sub units like the head, arms legs, waist etc. working this way can reduce the number of individual parts that need to go through the top coating process. 

General tips:

Build when you want

Modeling is supposed to be a fun past time, don't force yourself to build if you don't want to. You will be more likely to rush and make mistakes.

Take breaks

Just like working when you want to, taking frequent breaks while building will help you avoid making careless mistakes. 

Dedicate a space

If you can, dedicate a space to work on and store your kits it will be easier to find missing parts if you only build in one area.

Use plenty of lighting

Most parts are pretty small, having sufficient lighting can greatly reduce eye strain  

Stay organized 


Buy small plastic storage containers like this to store your tools, decals and other materials. Staying organized will cut down the amount of time you'll spend looking for missing tools or other parts.

Break down kits by sections


If you have trouble keeping track of parts or polycaps by location on the body find a way to organize and store them by their location. I will use these small soft boxes to hold the arms, legs and other parts if I feel that I can't track of them mentally.  

Build weapons or optional items first

A lot of builders (myself included) will succumb to what some people call 'weapon fatigue'. For lack of a better name, 'weapon fatigue' refers to feeling "burnt out" around the time you get to the weapons or extra bits at the end of the build. I've found that I can get around this easily by building those parts first, because I still feel motivated to finish the MS.  



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2 Minute review: HG Gouf Custom


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2 Minute review: Turn X Gundam


If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Views Update



I just cracked 800,000 views this week!

That's pretty awesome! What's going to be more awesome is the give away I'll do at 1 million hits!

Make sure you follow the blog so you don't miss out!

PG Wing Zero Custom Commission

Progress: Construction and painting

I have built and owned many Perfect Grades over the last few years, I had 2 Strike Gundams, 2 Skygrasper and Aile packs, a Red Frame Astray and a Strike Freedom but I've never kept any of them for very long. As a rule I've always turned down perfect grade commissions due to their size and my limited space. But, considering that the wing zero is likely the smallest of the pgs (excluding the sky grasper) I decided to give it a shot.

Unlike most of my commission projects where I build the entire kit before painting I am going to build and paint this model in sections. I am doing this because of the complexity and reliance on screws and bolts to hold the model together. 

First up are the arms.

The arms already came partially assembled, I disassembled, sanded and cleaned up what was already together and then began on the remainder. 

This kit is going to feature the standard wing zero color scheme with the exception of the yellow shoulder trim and v fin pieces. I painted these parts first with a layer of star bright gold and then two coats of clear yellow to add shine and luster. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

MG Concept-X 6-1-2 Turn X


Suit Lore

The Concept-X 6-1-2 Turn X or Turn X for short is a mobile suit featured in ∀ Gundam. The Turn X is the sister suit to the ∀ Gundam, and is generally consider to surpass or at least match to the ∀ Gundam. 

Kit Talk 

This is the first commission kit of 2015 and a kit I greatly anticipated building. The client requested a slighting modified color scheme with a less saturated color scheme. This kit was built out of box without modification. I used secondary decals from the MG Qan[t] and 1/100 Zeta Gundam Series decal sets the primary decals are the included dry transfers. 

Unlike most of my previous commissions I painted the included pilot figures of Gym Ghingham and I will likely continue to paint these figures to improve my hand brushing ability.

If you're interested in picking up this or other kits consider purchasing through the Amazon links on my site. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and doesn't cost you a dime!



Monday, January 5, 2015

Metal Gear Ray Color Guide

This translated color guide is brought to you in part by the following helpful readers: Lucan & Ho Hai!

Click the image and save it to your desk top for maximum resolution!



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Commission Project Turn X 6-1-2 Concept

Introduction:

This is going to be an ongoing post following my progress on the MG Turn X Gundam.

Current Status:

Complete

Straight build no paint:

After about 8 hours the Turn X is fully cleaned up and ready for paint prep.



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