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Thursday, April 27, 2017

MS 05L Zaku 1 Sniper Type


Despite being the first nuclear equipped combat capable mobile suit, the five year old Zaku 1  design was consider unfit for combat by the beginning of the One Year War. Pushed into rear defense, supply line and even construction roles the Zaku 1 seemed destined for ignominy. During the waning months of the One Year War the Republic of Zeon became desperate of mobile suits and pilots capable of operating them. The Zaku 1 suddenly became a common sight on the front lines. Some Zaku 1 mobile suits were refitted and updated with more modern technology, however many were pushed to the front lines using the same outdated technology and weapon systems that made them obsolete mere months ago.

The MS-05L Sniper type was one of the refit types available for the Zaku 1. Some design changes include: an updated head with an improved main camera, sensors, communication equipment and Vulcan cannons, new backpack capable of powering a long range beam rifle and stabilization gear mounted on the right knee to anchor and steady the mobile suit while firing. 

Kit talk:

I made a pretty comprehensive Wip post here that will show in some detail what I modified to create this design.The shorter and more basic version of this explanation is: I wanted a Zaku 1 Sniper type, but the HG model is kind of crap, so I used the new Origin version of the Zaku 1 and modded on the stuff that makes the Sniper type unique. There were a fair number of parts like the head and knee that I couldn't directly kit bash onto the kit and instead these parts were are either modified or scratch built to replicate the detail.

I chose a subdued green color palette for the design with tones based off of the canon design. The decal scheme followed the basic Origin layout with some inspiration from the RG Zaku and some of my other decal schemes.

All in I'm quite pleased with how this build turned out, most of the normal jankiness typically associated with a kitbashed build has been smoothed out. 

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime! 


Saturday, April 15, 2017

HG Origin Zaku 1 Sniper Conversion WIP

I picked up a few HG Origin kits during the HLJ holiday sale. I'm planning on modifying just about everything I ordered staring with the:

HG Zaku 1 Sniper

I really like the design of the Zaku 1 Sniper. but as far as I can tell this model uses the ancient HG Zaku 1 as its base. I'm using the new HG Origin Zaku 1 as the base for this build and incorporating parts from the HG Sniper Yoenem Kirks custom into the design. That's not to say that I'm making Kirk's unit, rather this will just be a generic MS-05L unit.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tutorial: Seam Repair for HG The Origin Zeon kits

While the new line of HG kits from the Origin have been generally well received, a lot of people have complained about the poor design of the forearms found on many Zeon models. This is tutorial will show you how to modify the forearms to remove the ugly seam lines of certain HG Origin Zeon kits.

This tutorial will work on the following Origin kits:

HG Zaku 1
HG Zaku 1 Char Custom (either version)
HG Zaku 2 Char Custom
HG Zaku 2 Black Tri-star custom (either version)
HG Bugu
HG Dom test Type (or the P-Bandai version)

This tutorial will only require basic tools and materials. At the very least you will need a sharp hobby knife and some modeling cement. I am using Tamiya thin cement in this example because it flows more easily into gaps. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Vol 1. Quickie Review

The illustration on the cover is very similar to the artwork on original release of the HG Thunderbolt Gundam

This review is spoiler free!


First things first, this is a soft cover novel. There are probably around 250 pages and about a dozen of them are in color. There are also a few beautiful splash art pages included at the beginning of the novel too. This manga reads in the correct direction (right to left) and there's an idiot's guide on how to read in this style on the very last page.

This is practically mecha porn,

This is my own subjective opinion, however, I'm not wild about the design of the characters featured in the novelization or animated versions of this story. While still expressive, and well drawn, some aspect of the design does not resonate with me, your mileage will probably vary.The mecha designs by contrast are gorgeous, and drawn with tons of mechanical detail. Overall the artwork quality throughout the novel is fantastic, practically everything is drawn with an attention to detail and there's a real feeling of dynamic motion throughout the combat scenes.


Without getting into spoilers here's what you need to know. Thunderbolt occurs in the Universal Century timeline during the waning hours of the One Year War. Events from the story occur in a dangerous debris laden area of space known as the "Thunderbolt Sector". Thunderbolt is a more grounded story from the Gundam franchise. It eschews many of the more fantastical tropes like new types and their space magic.

This is a story that focuses on a small scale conflict between a branch of the Earth Federation Forces called the "Moore Brotherhood", and the "Living Dead unit", a vanguard force of the Republic of Zeon. The story portrays the conflict evenly from both sides and allows the reader to view the events of the story from the eyes of very different characters.

So far, the story has very minor differences from the OVA. Most of these changes were probably made to produce a more streamlined narrative; I don't believe any of these changes seen so far will have a major impact on the overall story or character motivations.

For reference, this first novel concludes around the 30 minute mark of the OVA adaptation.


If you have already seen the OVA version of this story you can probably skip the Manga without missing out on anything. Otherwise I would strongly recommend picking up this Manga and giving it a shot. The story is tight, and the artwork is beautiful.

This first novel is currently selling for just over $8 on Amazon at the time of writing this, and volumes 2 and 3 are now also available now for purchase.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

HG RGM-79 [G] Ground GM


I've mentioned this before, but back in 2002 or 2003 I stumbled across the Master Grade series of kits while using my family's (then amazingly fast) 56 kb dial up modem. I worked hard mowing lawns, shoveling driveways and doing random odd jobs for my neighbors to scrap enough money together to order a few of these kits. I think during the first six months I was able to order three kits: MG RX 78-2 Gundam 1.5, MG Gouf Custom and MG RGM-79 [G]. I've had a love for the boxy proportions of the kit ever since. When I heard this kit was getting a HG refresh I pre-ordered the model immediately.

Kit Talk:

This kit actually took me a lot longer to build than I initially anticipated. This wasn't due to the design of the model, just the result of a couple of mistakes on my part. The head in particular required three rounds of painting and stripping the paint back off for various reasons.

This kit comes with a variety of weapons. I modified the bazooka by replacing the tip of the barrel with a vernier, and I added a bit of greebling to the scope. Like usual I lost a part; I misplace the targeting module for the net gun; hence it's exclusion from the photo shoot.

The water slide decals came from a number of sources including RG GP01, DX sheets and MG Ball 8th MS team. Unfortunately I couldn't find a set of number decals to match the iconic shield numbers. 

The weathering on this it was a last minute idea; I wanted a worn but not damaged appearance and I think I achieved that. I applied to thin coats of Vallejo's black wash and then utilized black, grey and brown for edge details and streaking. It's not the best weathering I've done, but I am still satisfied with the final product.

If you like  my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 2017 WIP

It feels like it's been months since I last update the blog even though it's only been a few weeks. I've been traveling and working on other non-gunpla projects over. Despite not completing any kits during this time I have been busy!

I'm going to list my WIPS in the order that I will be completing them.

HG RGM 79 (G)

The "ground" GM is a great design and the new HG released last month is a fantastic kit. As you can see in the photos below the kit is nearly completed. I worked on the decal scheme today, I had some difficulty locating several sets of identical "07" decals.

I modified the geometry of the head a little bit my filing down part of the "mohawk" this left the front camera section a little bit higher.

MG Gelgoog 2.0

I can't show any photos for this kit on my blog due to the rules of the Playing with Plamo contest HLJ is hosting. However, you can see photos on my HLJ profile here. I still need to make a few more WIP posts per the contest rules so check back frequently.

My plan is to make a Anavel Gato Gelgoog custom (blue and green). As far as I am aware there hasn't been an official Gelgoog 2.0 kit with this scheme yet. I will be borrowing pieces from the original Gato's Gelgoog; that kit includes a high maneuverability backpack and a prototype long beam rifle. I'm already anticipating problems with the beam rifle due to the length of the stock and the shape of the handle.

HG Nobel Gundam

I'm not really sure what to call this custom design; maybe RX 78-2 ver. CosPLA. This kit has been on and off my work bench for the better part of 3 months as I've thought through the design and acquired donor kits. It has been a bit of a pain, the petite dimensions of the kit make finding compatible parts difficult.

At this point the design is still very rough. I'm not entirely sure how I will finish off the torso around the vents, but I am relatively satisfied with the other areas.

I've seen plenty of Nobel customs, but not that I really wanted to mimic. The Nobel gundam take a lot of inspiration from the classic RX 78-2 ver. ka design, most notably in the shoulders and skirt design. It seemed like a natural fit to push the Nobel in that direction.

The current beam rifle is from the RX 78-2 Revive and the shield is from a GM type C. I'll probably replace the beam rifle with the RG equivalent.

The backpack is from the EX-SD Rx 78-2. I cut off both verniers and the beam sabers so that I could add on better proportioned alternatives. I had to cut away from the hair to accommodate the extra width added by the backpack.

The yellow "butt bumbs" are from the RX 78-2 Revive too, they're definitely larger than the front bumps.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

HG Qubeley Revive


Until a few months ago I really didn't care for 99% of the designs to come out of the Zeta era. But for some reason something "clicked" inside of my brain and I decided to build a Qubeley. I'm really satisfied that I gave this kit a shot. It's a wonderful, well thought-out build and it looks fantastic.

Kit Talk:

Due to the unusual mechanical design of the Qubeley with its sweeping gentle curves I decided that a glossy paint job would be best. I contrasted the gloss pearl of the white, blue and florescent pink with a matte purple and neutral grey color which play off of each other well. I kept modifications to a minimum and focused on fusing the seam lines on the legs, feet and shoulders.

I really love the pearl finish that Mr. Crystal Color Diamond left on the white and pink parts, But I think the silver flecks in the pearl may have detracted a bit from the blue. Mr. Crystal colors can be purchased in a variety of different colors but I only had the diamond on hand for this project.

Colors I used:

White: Mr Color GX White + cover with Mr. Crystal Color Diamond
Grey: Mr. Color Neutral Grey
Pink: Mr. Color Florescent Pink Mr. Crystal Color Diamond
Blue: Gundam Color Blue Mr. Crystal Color Diamond
Purple: Mr. Color Purple + Red and Pink (I don't remember the ratios)

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

HG Graze Custom II Ryusei-Go


I originally built this kit with my six year old nephew over the Thanksgiving Day break. He thought the pink color scheme and high heels looked silly for a robot, but I think he enjoyed putting it together.

For those not in the know the Ryusei-Go is an upgrade to the Graze Custom that Akihiro Altland used through the first part of the first season. Once Akihiro received his upgrade Norba Shino became the new pilot of the Graze.

The HG Ryusei-Go is one of the weaker versions of the HG Graze selection. seam lines are a more obvious and there are more large hollow spaces than other versions of this kit. Another big issue is that the kit includes a foil decal set for the iconic eye design on the head; you really need a waterslide decal set to properly finish kit.

Kit Talk:

The whole reason I decided to purchase this kit was due to the decal set included in the Novemeber 2016 issue of Model Graphix. This issue featured a 4 page spread on three different ways of modifying the model. I took bits and pieces for each example and made my own version of this kit.

This model also served as a warm up for the MG Delta Plus I posted a week ago. Many of the scribing and modifying techniques used on this model were later used on the Delta.

I used many Kotobuykia detail up parts to fill in the indents and holes found on this kit. Many of these details were carefully masked and painted after the pink. I also used pla plate to fill in the hollow tail thruster, and to make plating for the rear skirts.

Color I used:

Custom pink (50% white, 40% red, 8% yellow and 2% purple)
Gundam Color 
Gundam Color Zeon Frame Gray for the internal frame
Gundam Color Zeon Frame Gray and black for the darker frame components and weapons colors
Clear Yellow over Superfine Silver for the Ahab Drive
White for the white details

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

MG Delta Plus


This is the third MG Delta Plus I have completed. For those of you that have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I have some very strong opinions about the Delta Plus. I love the look of the Delta plus, but I absolutely hate the design of the MG model. Until recently it was my least favorite model (the HG G-Self Perfect Pack holds that dubious honor now). This is due mostly to how stability and detail the model is sacrificed for the transformation gimmick. In many ways it's only redeeming values are it's looks and it's relatively low cost for a bigger UC era kit. 

I decided to tackle this kit again because I wasn't satisfied with either of my first two attempts. I knew that I could do a better job if I were given another chance and this time I had a plan of attack and a list of goals before I started.

Kit Talk:

My strategy with this kit was to add to introduce detail using a variety of different techniques.

Scribing was a obvious choice for adding detail to the model. I started by carving lines into the large wings. The design I chose follows a similar patters on the HG Over Flag. I also scribed details on the: head, torso, forearms and calves. I primarily used .a 15 and .5 BMC chisel to carve out the plastic.

I also added some greebling to the Delta Plus in a few key areas like the: eyes, shoulders, forearms, side skirts, codpiece and ankles.

The decals on this kit were taken from a number of sources. The P-Bandai DX-06 decal set included a few of the large decals from the MG Delta Plus like the R008, and Delta symbol. Many of the smaller decals came from various MG ver. Ka decal sets such as the Unicorn, Sinanju and Nu Gundam.

This is the last time I ever intend on building this kit, I've decided that I would rather keep the paint intact than transform the kit into it's waverider mode. If you would like to see the kit transformed you can check out my second attempt here.

 If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

RG Sinanju Ver. Ka


This is my 101st completed kit and also my final kit for 2016!. The Sinanju isn't my favorite mecha design, but it's definitely in the top 10.

I like some aspects of this design: the new opening panels on the hips, shoulders and back pack are a cool idea, and the new engineering used to separate the black and gold elements will make this kit much more approachable to more modelers.

There are several elements of this build I definitely do not care for: This kit is back heavy, my kit could barely stand on it's own, it has a very weak and floppy chest joint and it was extraordinarily frustrating to photograph as it constantly fell over. This model uses the inner frame from the MK Gundam with small extensions added to each limb, however I noticed that this tends to make the kit difficult and frustrating to pose. The glossy red and gold elements are mostly under gated, however there are a few pieces like the horn that have large nubs in the middle of the parts that leave really ugly marks. The fuel tanks are also poorly designed compared to more recent models like the Sazabi and Hi-Nu Ver ka; both of those kits get around the length wise seam lines.

Overall I'm pretty disappointed, I feel that a newer model like this RG Sinanju should be superior to the older HG and MG. But, I believe the changes to the design don't make up for needing to reverse wash the gold details onto the MG and HG models.

Kit Talk:

This kit is fully painted as I was dis satisfied with partial undergating. The red was achieved in a multi-step process that involved painting two thin layers of GX Red followed by two coats of clear red. I then applied the Ver. Ka decals and clear coated the kit with Alcad's Klear Koat Gloss product. Oddly even after 4 days of curing this product still felt tacky and I fear I may have left permanent finger prints in the paint. The gold color on this kit is GaiaNotes Starbright gold followed by a coat of clear yellow.

I contrasted these two bright and glossy colors with matte monochromatic colors. You can see the full painted frame here:

I used the HG Ver Ka decals for this build. They fit the kit pretty well, although a few meed to be slightly re positioned to fit the different geometry of this design. One thing to note about these decals is that unlike the MG sheet, none of the decals on the HG sheet are labeled, so you will need to carefully compare the designs to the layout found in the MG Ver. Ka Manual.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime! Because I don't recommend the RG version of this kit I strongly recommend checking out the HG or MG version instead. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

100th completed build! MG RX 78-2 3.0


Hitting a thousand subscribers on YouTube was good, getting a million hits on my blog was better; but completing 100 kits feels like I achieved a real milestone; and one I never thought I would actually reach. The RX 78-2 is the 'original' Gundam, but that's not the reason why I decided that this model had to be #100. I chose this kit because out of all of the models I had completed as commissions, I regretted not being able to keep the original 3.0 the most.

Kit Talk:

My goal was to build this model as cleanly as possible like the first one, while pushing the detail further. I used the first model as a reference for color applications for the internal frame. I used a combination of dark metallic and neutral grays to highlight different construction materials used in the frame. I used photos of the 1:1 Gundam in DiverCity as reference for external details. There are many small pops of color, or other details on the 1:1 Gundam that are overlooked in the RG or 3.0 models.

Unlike the first version I used hand painting throughout the build to add silver detailing in many of the recesses found throughout the kit. This is the first kit that I painted the black surround of the eyes by hand using Vallejo's line of paints instead of using a reverse wash technique. I was pleasantly surprised by how accurately I was able to paint and area and by how smoothly the paint dried.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!


Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

HG Burning/G Gundam


This is the 99th kit I have completed for my blog.

When Mobile Fighter G Gundam first aired in the US the names of the Devil and God Gundam were changed due to Dark and Burning Gundam respectively due to Toonami's self censorship policies. My choice of using the Build Burning and God Gundam is a play on this name confusion.

Kit Talk:

This is a kitbash of the HG Build Burning and HG God Gundam. My goal of the build was to combine many of the visual elements of the God Gundam with the improved engineering of the Build Burning Gundam. I tried several variations of parts, modification and combinations until I was satisfied. Unfortunately I quickly found out that skirt and waist on the God Gundam strictly limited the ability of the kit to perform kicks.

Modifying and attaching the backpack to the Build Burning Gundam was the most difficult part of the build. I used pla-plate to build up the connection point on the Burning Gundam to create a strong connection point.

One of the main problems I have with the HG God Gundam is that the red fins have a lot of really weird gaps that had to be filled in with pla plate and putty. 

I used decals from the HG Unicorn Gundam to make a really basic ver.ka style decal schemes.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

 Hit the bump for the full photo shoot

Monday, November 28, 2016

HG Graze Custom


The HG Graze Custom was my first introduction to the IBO line of model kits. The basic Graze design has become a fast favorite since completing this build. It's a cheap and cheerful build that I would encourage anyone to pickup. The basic Graze comes in several flavors, I also have a Schwable and Ryusei-Go hanging out on my desk waiting for paint.

I think one of the reasons I like this design so much is because it looks like it has drawn inspiration from some of the mecha featured in the older Armored Core 2 game. I played this game and many of it's sequels a lot as a kid. The head and shoulder designs look similar to parts from the Crest Company. I'm strongly considering building an armored core style kit bash build including these parts down the line.

Kit Talk:

I actually built and painted this kit in about 6 hours over the course of a single weekend during the middle of my MG Sazabi Ver. Ka build. That project was starting to drag and I wanted a quick win to keep up my morale. Unlike most of my builds, this kit is pre-shaded, I decided to go this route as it was a quick and easy way to add detail without weathering, or decals or other time consuming processes.

One area of this kit that I firmly believe needs to be corrected is the long seams along the lower legs. I fused this seam after painting all of the frame parts, and them carefully masked and painted the area.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

1/35 Zaku 2 Head Char Custom


This is the final kit in my backlog and the end of my 2016 resolution to clear it out. This is also the third time I have built and painted one of the 1/35 Zaku 2.0 heads. I mentioned in prior builds, this is an excellent model kit. I wish that one day Bandai will start to release more large scale head model kits. 

The Char version of this kit was released as part of the 35th anniversary P-Bandai combo pack including a special version of the RG RX 78-2. This model comes with a commanders horn and a head designed to accept it. The  basic original green version included in the Ramba Ral Commando pack lacked an option for the commanders horn. 

Kit Talk:

There isn't much to say about this kit. I used the same paint application process as the two earlier models but made some small changes to reflect the Char color scheme. The Char Pink color is from Gunze's Gundam color line of paints, and can be considered the "official" Char pink.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

Monday, November 14, 2016

MG Sazabi Ver Ka.


I think I may have mentioned before that I've fallen out of love with big kits. I really like the 'idea' of large complex kits. But in practice I have a very difficult time staying motivated throughout these builds. Staying motivated throughout the build was further complicated because I ran out of both neutral gray and top coat during the build and for whatever reason I had a lot of trouble finding more to purchase. This resulted in a very minor paint mismatch and a lot of wasted time. 

Kit Talk:

Originally I had planned on adding a lot of pla-plate, greebling and scribing throughout the kit to add detail. And In many of the WIP shots on my google+ feed will show those details in an early phase. However after beginning to paint and lines these areas I decided that I did not like the outcome. I eventually reverted or replaced many of these parts on the final design. I did keep a few pieces like this detail added to the inside of the shoulder joint.

Instead of using the stock color scheme I used a more simplified version using mostly red with a secondary darker red used sparing to break up the otherwise uniform color. 

Sometime during the build I lost the mono-eye and forehead sensor. I make replacements out of pla-plate and builder parts HD components.

Like a lot of builds There are a lot of hidden paint treatments throughout that may not be visible under normal circumstances like the skirt detail. Keep your eyes peeled for a few other areas.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Godhands 5.0 The second pair

A year and a half about I got my hands on my first pair of Godhands nippers. I compared the Godhands against every pair of nippers I had used up to that point, and my recommendation was mixed and based on experience level. Last week I purchased my second pair of Godhands nippers.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tutorial: Scratched/damaged paint repair

While assembling my Sazabi ver Ka I accidentally scratched the paint and ruined a decal on one of the prominent chest pieces. This is the process that I followed to completely remediate the damage.

This image isn't the clearest, but the decal and paint have been scratched off. The paint was scratched all of the way down to the plastic around the edge where the decal used to be. 


To repair this area there are a few considerations I had to take into account:

  • The damaged decal and the matching decal on the other side needed to be removed and replaced. 
  • The topcoat and paint in the effected areas needed to be leveled for a consistent finish.
  • I want to keep the two decals that are situated near the median of the part.
I also needed a few tools and materials on hand

  • Masking tape
  • High Grit (2000) sand paper
  • Color matched paint
  • Airbrush
  • Decals
  • Topcoat
Hit the bump for the full tutorial process!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Google Plus Reminder

This is just a reminder that if you want to stay current, or if you're bored from waiting for me to get new content together, then you should check out my Google Plus feed! I post frequent project updates, wips, and behind the scenes shots that aren't really blog worthy material. Google Plus is also the best way to ask me questions that you might have about your projects.

Monday, August 1, 2016

1/72 Y-Wing

Just like with my previous Star Wars model kits I won't claim that this kit is an accurate representation of any of the filming models of Gold Leader. My Goal with this build was to create a model that fit the mental image I have cultivated for the craft over the last twenty-some-odd-years of watching Star Wars I painted the Bandai Y-Wing almost immediately after the X-Wing. I still had a lot of the light greyish white color used on the fuselage. 

For those not in the know, let me fill you in a little bit using a modernish comparison if the X-Wing is like an F-15 air superiority fighter, than the Y-Wing is like an A-10 Warthog; durable, well armed and slow. While the X-Wing will always be my favorite rebel fighter from the movies, I do prefer the Y-wing to the oddly designed B-Wing. 

Like the X-wing I used a variety of techniques including pre-shading, post shading, filters, and chipping. Overall the weathering is less dramatic than the X-Wing; but that's not surprising considering all of the "happy accidents" that occurred during that build.