Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gunpla Contest: HG Gusion & HG Gundam MKII [TITANS] Revive

My thoughts on Gundam Breaker for PS3

I recently got my hands on a copy of the original Gundam Breaker for the PlayStation 3 and I've had a lot of fun playing through it. If you're not aware, Gundam Breaker is a game where you build, customize, paint and fight with Gunpla. In a lot of ways this is the video game equivalent of picking up your Gunpla and slapping them together in some epic fight until they fall apart. It's repetitive, but it's also a lot of fun and I appreciate how well the customization is integrated into the game play. This isn't a clever or thoughtful game and it doesn't claim to be; it's loud, clunky and awesome.


If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

MG Nu Gundam Ver. Ka


Every Gunpla builder should be familiar with the RX-93 Nu Gundam ver. Ka by now; because partially everyone and their dog has built this kit, and there are some really good examples floating around on the web. Unfortunately, my Nu has languished in my backlog far longer than it should have. My then girlfriend (now fiancé) purchased this kit for me the month it was released as a Christmas gift. She's been teasing me ever since because I had left it on my shelf untouched for such a long time. I'll admit that I pushed this kit off, because I didn't feel like I was prepared for it; I only started to fell comfortable with the idea of tackling it once I completed the MG RX 78-2 3.0.

Monday, April 18, 2016

State of the backlog

At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to clear out the backlog of kits that I had collected over the past few years. Now is a good a time as any for a quick update on the state of my backlog. In order from oldest to newest purchase date:

MG Nu ver. ka 12/2012 Completed 
MG Sazabi ver. Ka 12/2013 New in box
MG Exia R2 2/2014 Ready for paint
Metal Gear Rex black version 9/2014 Sold
35th Anniversary Char Zaku Head 1/2015 New in box
Star Wars Y Wing 9/2015 Ready for paint
Star Wars Snow Speeder 9/2015 Completed
Star Wars X Wing 9/2015 Ready for paint

After 3 and a half months my backlog 25%  is complete,  37.5% in progress, 25% new and 12.5% sold. I will be taking a very short hiatus from my backlog to complete a replacement Liger Schneider (because the last one was lost in the mail).

The next kit I plan on completing is the MG Exia R2.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tutorial: Scratch Building Skirt Detail


A lot of older MGs and modern HGs leave large hollow or poorly detailed areas behind the kit's skirts. In this tutorial I'll show you the technique I prefer to cover up this hollow area. This technique involves layering two pieces of pla-plate together and then attaching them to the part. The advantage of the method that I use is that it's easy and versatile. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

MG Nu Gundam Ver. ka WIP

I'm getting very close to wrapping up the build on my MG Nu Gundam Ver.ka. I've been slowly working on this kit over the last 3 months. I still have a few things left to do, including waiting for more topcoat to arrive.

If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Hit the bump for the full shoot.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I Screwed Up

I screwed up recently in a very major and very dumb way. 

If you're a regular follower of my blog then you will probably remember the first kit I completed this year was the HMM Liger Schneider. 

The story is long and somewhat complicated; but, the basic point is that I sent the Liger to the wrong address. I've tried every avenue that was available to try to recover the kit, but in the end I we have had to come to terms with the fact that the kit is unrecoverable.

However, all that being said. I have offered, and the owner has accepted my offer for me to build and paint the same kit again. You can all look forward to me taking a second crack at the Liger Schneider very soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

1/48 Snow Speeder by Bandai


While the Snow speeder isn't my favorite vehicle from the Star Wars series, I did always like the faceted angular design of the hull. I built this kit several months ago and it sat partially assembled in it's box until about two weeks ago. Overall this was a very quick build that incorporated some shading and weathering techniques into the design to make it feel lived in and "real" I chose to use the Luke color scheme for the kit; but, I didn't bother to reference the  colors/weathering/etc to make it screen accurate. 

While photographing this kit I also re-shot the Bandai Tie Fighter model from last year and I felt the photos of the Tie were kinda crap. You can see those photos here. 

Kit Talk

I really liked the simplicity of construction of this model. The order of construction lends itself  well to building and painting all of the sub assemblies separately before adding them to the main model.

The detail molded into the kit is impressive: all of the control boards inside of the cockpit have raised details, and the armor panels of the exterior of the of the craft have an asymmetrical layout. The panel lines of the exterior of the craft were a little too shallow for my liking; I used a .2 chisel to deepen most of them.  

There are a fair number of areas that are not molded in color that need to be masked and painted. Decals are included for many of these panels as well the normal assortment of warning indicators.   

 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!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Liger Zero Schneider


I remember watching the Zoids TV show when I was a teenager; but, it must not have left much of an impression because I had forgotten about it until recently. For those interested some Zoids episodes are available on YouTube. For those not in the know the Liger Zero is sort of like the Strike Gundam. It is able to change out its armor & equipment to change its role on the battlefield; and the armor packs feature similar roles. The Schneider armor featured on this model focuses on close range combat; while the Jäger enhances speed and mobility, and the Panzer is all about long range firepower.

Kit Talk:

I built and painted this kit for a friend in exchange for a kit; He had a few requests for the build including a stock color scheme and some weathering. I mixed all of the colors in the kit as close as I could to the ratios in the back of the manual. The Liger Schneider is mostly molded in color, however there were more than a few instances of parts needing extensive masking to break the parts into their correct colors.

I applied Tamiya Weathering Model Master and Vallejo desert dust wash in several light layers and slowly built up the grime on the kit. The weathering scheme on the kit becomes lighter as it works up from the feet; with darker and heavier layers of dirt on the feet and lighter white sand towards the top of the model.

Overall this was a good build and I'm quite happy with the way the kit and weathering turned 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!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WIP: Liger Zero Schneider

If you don't currently follow me on Google+ consider checking it out and subscribing. Google+ is where a lot of my minor and off topic content ends up. Below are a collection of posts from Google+ assembled to show the WIP for the Liger Zero!

I started this WIP off with a video. I wanted to show off some of the successes and frustrations of the kit in it's early stages.

That same night I showed off the first big bundle of primed parts. Like always I'm using Mr. Surfacer 1200. In this photo the small bundle at the bottom were the parts that came out correctly molded. The larger pile required additional sanding to clean up edges and flashing.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tutorial: Taking Better Photos

A lot of photos I see from beginner and intermediate builders look like the photo above. They are usually taken on a messy desk or a bed; and they are either too blurry, out of focus, too dark, or the colors are blown out. Here are few very simple and very cheap ways of taking better photos of your Gunpla.

Hit the bump for the full tutorial

Tutorial: Basic Posing

I see a lot of new builders posting photos of their kits in poses similar to the one above. Typically their model's feet are close together and the body is pointed in a couple of different directions. When a kit is posed like this it doesn't look as cool or dynamic as the mobile suit its supposed to represent.

In many cases a well posed unpainted or unlined model can look better than a poorly posed, but painted and finished model. In this quick guide I'm going to provide you with some easy tips to get the most out of your models.

Hit the bump for the full tutorial

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tutorial: Grades


There are many different "grades" of a Gundam models that Bandai has produced over the years. Some series like High Grade have been around for a long time and include a lot of kits, while others are small collections. In this section we'll cover the basics of each grade.

SD or Super Deformed; is characterized by exaggerated proportions and a cutesy appearance. Many models in the SD line tend to rely on stickers for color separation; this makes them a great choice when learning to mask and paint. In general these models tend to be low cost but also have a low part count.

Arguably the High Grade line of kits is the largest and most varied line of models. Although there are HG 1/100 scale kits, HG is typically used to refer to the line of 1/144 scale kits. HG kits usually have good color separation, but can rely on stickers for some colors. The HG line strikes a good balance between low cost, details and fun playable gimmicks. 

Real Grade is a line of detailed 1/144 scale kits. Many builders characterize these kits as having PG detail in a HG size. This range of models includes an inner frame called the "Advanced MS Joint". The small parts that are common in these kits can make them difficult for beginners; however, they can also look great out of the box with only basic panel lining and topcoat.

Master Grade is a line of detailed 1/100 scale models. Most MG models include at least a partial inner frame. In general the MG line tends to feature more, gimmicks, and details and parts than their HG counter parts. The variety of MG kits is less expansive than the HG line, and the price point and part count are higher. In general the MG line of kits have better color separation and limited reliance on stickers; making them a great choice for builders that can't or don't want to paint.

Perfect Grade is a line of 1/60 scale model kits. This line is a more limited line than the others with releases normally occurring a few years apart. The size and cost of these models can make them prohibitive for many modelers, but those that do decide to indulge in one of these models will be surprised by their size, detail and gimmicks.

The Hardgraph line of kits is a mix of 1/44 and 1/35 kits. This is a tough line to pin down. The early kits in this line included Mobile suits, small vehicles and extra weapons; but all of the later kits are 1/35 vehicles and mobile suit parts. These models are often highly detailed, include water slide decals, and sometimes require glue to assemble.  

The EX series is a line of mostly ships, add-ons or ground crafts ranging in scale from 1/100 to 1/1700. There haven't been any additions to this line in a long while and reprints of these kits seem to be fairly infrequent. The large carrier type ships like the Whitebase, Albion, Arch Angel, Etc are produced in the 1/1700 scale making a finished ship about 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. Unlike most other lines many of these models require glue to assemble. The small scale, low availability and higher prices for these kits make them a poor choice for beginners.

The Megasize models are a line of gigantic 1/48 models. The quality of these models is roughly in line with High Grade models. Unlike most HG models, the Mega Size are huge, and tower over PG kits. Each model includes a set of water slide decals and a mini Hobby Japan magazine featuring basic tips on how to improve the appearance of the kit. These models are typically around $100, making them an attractive option if you want a centerpiece or conversation starter for your collection.  

The Reborn-One Hundred is a newer line of  1/100 scale model kits. The detail and quality of these kits puts them somewhere between HG and MG. These models lack an inner frame, but tend to have a lot of surface detail like panel lines. Unofficially the models in this line fall into the category of popular, but not popular or practical enough to be a MG release.   

Advanced Grade / First Grade / Speed Grade / 1/220 / Miscellaneous 

Often forgotten about these grades exhibit varying quality; in most cases the cost of these models is very low, but so is the over quality and value. In general these models are skippable and should probably only be considered for younger modelers, or modelers looking for some obscure design.

"No Grade"

No Grade is a grade in the same way that "off" is a TV channel. No Grade is a fan name used to describe kits that don't fit into the normal grading system. These kits may still follow a scale like 1/220, 1/144, 1/100 or 1/60; but are otherwise their own line. This "line" is very much a mixed bag and the quality of the line varies considerably. 

Tutorial: Glossary

Modeling has it's own lingo, abbreviations and sayings. If you're new to the hobby you may not understand some things more experienced modelers are saying. This glossary should help you decode a bit of our language. 

Acrylic: Typically used to describe water based paint (please note that acrylic can also be solvent based).

AB/Airbrush: A painting tool used by some modelers, consisting of a compressor, hose and airbrush. Airbrushes provide a high degree of control, smooth finish and artistic flexibility. 

Bandai: The producer of Gunpla.

Bluefin: The US distributor for Gunpla.

Bootleg: An unofficial Gundam kit produced by a 3rd party company.

Builder Parts: A series of parts created and sold by Bandai to add onto Gunpla models. These parts can include weapons, figures, thrusters or other items.

Dalong/ A helpful website full of model and manual photographs. This website is a valuable tool when choosing or studying model designs.

Decals: Markings included with some kits or purchasable separately. Decals can refer to a variety of items including stickers, foil decals or water slide decals all of which can be included with a Gundam Model.

Dengeki Hobby: A hobby magazine from Japan.

Commander's Horn: A singular horn frequently appearing on some mobile suit designs to designate a commander's unit. Sometimes the horn is also refereed to as a Commander's Antenna.

Diorama: A three dimensional model typically depicting a scene, background or environment.

Enamel: A type of oil based paint.

Earth Federation/Feddies: The global earth government first appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam.

Filter: A technique used as a part of the weathering process. Typically involving a very thin color applied over the entire model to reduce the contrast between colors. 

Garage Kit: This is an older term that was used to describe amateur produced models (typically produced in small batches in somebody's garage). Sometimes this term is used to refer to 3rd party resin kits. See also Resin.

GBWC/Gundam Builders World Cup: An annual competition hosted by Bandai that occurs in certain countries to identify the best gunpla builders in the world.

GFT/Gundam Front Tokyo: A Museum, theater and shop in Diver City Japan where the life size RX 78-2 Gundam currently resides.

Gunpla: The word "Gunpla" is a portmanteau of the words "Gundam" and "Plastic Model".

Grades: Refers to the different series of models.

Greeblies: Fine details on the surfaces of models, typical simple geometric shapes.

Gundam: The titular mecha featured in most the Gundam series. In some but not all appearances, the Gundam suit tends to be highly advanced and features revolutionary technology in comparison to other mobile suits.

Hobby Japan: A hobby magazine from Japan.

Kamille: A girl's name.

Kit Bash: The combination of parts from two or more kits to create a new design.

Lacquer: A type of solvent based paint.

Masking: a process of covering something with tape or other material. Typically used when painting to create designs.
Mecha: Is a Sci-Fi genre centering around robots piloted by people. The Gundam series of Anime and Manga is part of the mecha genre.

Mobile Suit: A humanoid combat weapon. 

Monoeye: Typically used to refer to Zeon Mobile suits from Mobile Suit Gundam.

Mr.Color: A line of paints popular among modelers.

Mr.Hobby: A popular manufacturer of tools and paints for modelers.

MS: The abbreviation for Mobile Suit

Nippers/Side Cutters: A common tool for most modelers. There are many manufacturers that produce quality nippers, including but not limited to: Tamiya, Xuron and GodHand.

Nubs: The remnants of where the sprue connected to the model parts.

Out of Box/OOB: Refers to a kit assembled out of the box without paint or to a kit built out of box using the stock color scheme. See also Straight Build.

P-Bandai: Refers to a line of limited products produced by Bandai. These models tend to be more expensive and harder to acquire than normally released kits. Most models in this line are produced for a short period of time; however, re-releases are not unheard of.

Panel Line: Thin recesses molded into many kits. Typically panel lines are used to add detail and are supposed to signify where armor panels meet.  

Plamo: Like Gunpla "Plamo" is a portmanteau of the words "Plastic" and "Model". Plamo is a more general term for plastic modeling, gunpla is a subsection of plamo.

Pla-Plate: This refers to plastic plate, a modeling material that can be used to scratch build or modify Gunpla.

Primer: A preparatory material applied to a model before paint is applied. Typically primer is used to protect the plastic of the kit from more volatile solvents, improve paint adherence, hide scratches and fill in low spots

Putty: A soft material that cures hard, typically used to fill gaps and for modification.There are many varsities of putties ranging from putties with a paint like consistency, gels, and kneedable dough like materials. 

Resin: Polyurethane resin. Sometimes used to describe 3rd party kits. See also Garage Kit.

Respirator: A safety component of the painting process worn over the nose and mouth to prevent the inhalation of potentially harmful vapors or materials. 

RX 78-2/"Grand Daddy Gundam": The Gundam that appeared in original Mobile Suit Gundam 

Scale: Refers to the size of a model. typically written as "1/144, 1/100, etc". This means that 1 inch, centimeter, etc in model scale correlates to 100/144/etc inches, centimeters, etc. A Master Grade (1/100) model of the RX 78-2 stands about 18 centimeters tall because the RX 78-2 Gundam stands about 18 meters in height.

Scratch Building: Refers to building models or components from scratch. This is typically accomplished using pla-plate and putty.

Scribing: The process of carving panel lines into the plastic of a kit. Typically accomplished using a scribing tool or chisel. 

Spray booth: A safety component of the painting process that pulls vapors and particulates into a series of filters using a fan. 

Sprue: The plastic "tree" that all the model parts come attached to.

Spudger: A nylon tool used to pry pieces apart or to push decals around.

Straight Build: Refers to a kit assembled out of the box without paint or to a kit built out of box using the stock color scheme. See also Out of Box Build.

Tamiya: A popular manufacturer of tools and paints.

Thinner: A solvent used to thin certain types of paint. Typically increasing drying time and leaving a smoother surface.

Thruster:  Typically in the shape of a bell, these are used for adjustments in attitude or velocity of space craft or mobile suits. See also Vernier.

Topcoat: Refers to the top most layer of paint, this layer is almost always clear and can have several finishes such as: matte, satin or gloss. Topcoat is used to seal the lower layers and add protection.

UC: The abbreviation for Universal Century the setting of Mobile Suit Gundam.

V Fin: The V shaped horn prevalent on many Gundam type mobile suits.

Ver. Ka/ Katoki: Refers to designs created by Katoki Hajime a mecha designer. His designs have been featured in many series both inside and outside of the Gundam franchise and frequently feature many markings/decals.

Vernier:  Typically in the shape of a bell, these are used for adjustments in attitude or velocity of space craft or mobile suits. See also Thrusters.

Weathering: A series of techniques used to simulate the deterioration of materials due to the impact of environmental effects over time. 

Wash: A very thin layer of paint used to enhance the appearance of surface details and add depth. 

WIP: The abbreviation for work in progress aka. an incomplete kit. 

Zeon/The Principality of Zeon: A nation of Spacenoids first appearing in Mobile Suit Gundam

Sunday, December 27, 2015

1/35 Black Tri-Stars Zaku II Head


Welcome to my final completed kit for 2015! I somehow completed 18 kits this year, and I pulled it off despite having some really large commissions like the PG Wing Zero and personal projects like the Metal Gear Ray.

This is one of the last p-Bandai kits still had hanging out on my shelf. This kit doesn't suffer too badly from the p-Bandai tax us westerners get stuck with. The standard kit this model its based on the 1/35 Ramba Ral Commando set, and it typically runs around $40. I've seen a few examples of this version selling for $45-50. The p-Bandai version does omit the 1/35 figures and motorcycle, but it's not much of a loss in my opinion. If you can find this kit I'd recommend picking it up; it's the only version that will allow you to create almost any ace's Zaku II. 

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!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Years Resolution: 2016 is the year I end my backlog

"The things you own end up owning you." -Chuck Palahniuk

When I got back into Gunpla in late 2011 I was in a very different place in my life. I had a full time job, and I was working on my masters degree. Most of the money I did make was used to pay for my education or just my cost of living. At the time I found it unbelievable that some builders had closets full of backlogged kits. While I was barely able to scrape the money together to purchase one MG kit or some paint every month or so.

Fast forward almost 5 years and I'm much better off; but, I've found myself falling into the backlog trap. This is the year I've decided to break that habit. 

Beginning January 1st, until my backlog is gone I won't be doing any of the following:

Purchasing kits
Accepting commission work
Purchasing decals for kits I don't already own (decals are my gateway drug)
Pre-ordering P-Bandai releases

Here's my current backlog

In order from oldest to newest purchase date: 

MG Nu ver. ka 12/2012 (built)
MG Sazabi ver. Ka 12/2013
MG Exia R2 2/2014 (built)
Metal Gear Rex black version 9/2014
35th Anniversary Char Zaku Head 1/2015
Star Wars Y Wing 9/2015 (built)
Star Wars Snow Speeder 9/2015 (built)
Star Wars X Wing 9/2015 (built)

Optional: (I haven't decided if I'm keeping or selling these kits yet)

PG Astray Red Frame 10/2015
PG 00 Raiser 6/2014 and again on 12/2015 (long story)

I'm not limiting myself to building this kits in a certain order.

Once I've cleared out my backlog my hope is that I can be a little more spontaneous and current with the kits I'm purchasing and building. There were a lot of new releases in 2015 that I really wanted to build, but just couldn't justify picking up because of the kits already sitting on my shelf.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

HG G-Self Perfect Pack


This is the first kit in a long, long time that I really haven't enjoyed building or painting. Overall the design, part separation and reliance on foil stickers comes off as being extremely lazy. Despite its small stature this kit has over 53 foil stickers. Even the much larger HG Silver Bullet (another kit I criticized for its reliance on stickers) only had 41 foil stickers. If you're a fan of the Perfect Pack's design but hate masking then all you can do is hope that Bandai releases a MG version eventually. 

I'm not familiar with the G-Self Gundam, I haven't watched more than two episodes of Reconguista. I did a bit of research on Gundam wiki, and I was surprised to find out that this MS actually changes colors while using different abilities of the Perfect Pack. I can see builders that are super fans of the design building and painting multiple versions of this kit to cover all of the variations.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

1/12 Darth Vader

Kit Talk:

The 1/12 Darth Vader was a quick build to fill the gap between my last commission the MG Ex-S and the next commission the HG G-Self Perfect pack that arrived a few days ago. I snap built this kit about a month ago, I was able to complete the paint in a few nights.

Build & Paint info:

This kit had a few seam lines on the feet and gloves that needed to be fused. Many of the seam lines on the legs and arms align with the crevasse of the ribbed body suit; I left these as is.

I used the following paints:

Helmet, leg armor and anything else glossy: Alcad II Base Black
Bodysuit: Black with a pinch of blue
Cape. tunic and mantel: Black with a pinch of mohogany
Chest protector: Alcad 2 Steel
Buttons and chest controls: Star Bright Silver & clear red, blue or green over silver

My focus on this paint scheme was to create contrast between the matte leather and the gloss armor. I won't say that this paint scheme is film accurate, but it definitely fits the mental image that I have for Darth Vader.

If you like my work and would like to help me out consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

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