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. 



The frame of the arms have been complete paint and reassembled. The chrome details were repainted with duralinium.


I hand painted the silver and dark grey parts in the shoulder. I think these pieces are supposed to represent artificial musculature.


Update 2:



I've been sick as a dog for the last week and have had trouble breathing let alone wearing a respirator. I haven't been able to paint, so I've been working on more of the body parts and I've figured out how I'm going to handle the seamlines on the wings.



I've started by fusing the seamlines on the cover on the lower section of the wings as well as the grey supports from the backpack that connect into the wing. I'll paint both of these sections than assembled the two halves of the wing on top of them. I'll the. Fuse the seamlines down the wing before painting the large wing section. 

Then seamlines on the grey supports were particularly ugly. If your going to build this kit you can expect these parts to be slightly misaligned. 

I've started to feel better and many of the paints I was waiting on have arrived. 

Update 3:



I painted little Heero last night. I started with his shirt, then pants and finally hair and shoes.



Once the paint cured I applied a black enamel wash to pull out the details of the figure.




The forearms and hands are now partially assembled. 

Update 4:



I have now painted all of the red and blue parts on the kit. The blue color is a custom mix of gx blue, purple, black and neutral gray, the color is very close to the plastic color of the kit, but it is slightly more saturated than the plastic color. I chose to use a more saturated blue color because it looks better next to the bright gold than a less saturated color. 






The shoulders and both arms are now fully assembled, as are the feet and the head. I've started building the secondary wings up by painting the grey pylons and the interal feather mechanism. The next step is to full assembled and fuse the seamlines of the secondary wing afterwards I will mask and paint the remainder. 




I have lined just about every parts that has been painted. I decided to buy some new toys for this project, including Tamiya's grey and dark brown panel wash. I am using black panel wash on the grey and blue parts, grey panel wash on the white parts and dark brown panel wash on the red parts.



I didn't have and batteries to test the led so I opened by the 1/35 zaku head I built last year and used that existing circuit to test the wiring in Zero's head, everything works!




I will be working on the waist and chest next in addition to the secondary wings.

The next update is going to be a little ways off, we're currently experiencing extremely cold weather in my region. This has greatly impacted my ability to paint.

This morning when I woke up the temperature was -8F/-22C or -27F/-32C with a wind chill. Despite the cold weather I was able to get some painting done over the weekend. 

Update 5:

I fused the seamlines along the secondary wings. This was slightly more difficult than the seams I've fixed in the past due to the larger scale of the kit. Afterwards I applied a coat of white primer and filled any imperfections with Mr. Dissolved putty to get a smooth finish. several coats of white  later I achieved a nice glossy finish. I also painted the primary wings during this time. 





These wing pieces are the single largest individual gunpla parts I have ever painted.




The mechanism in the chest responsible for controlling the arm movement is held together with a series of small metal pins. Installation needs to be done with a pair of pliers. Needless to say this was a bit nerve racking, I definitely did not want to crack the plastic.



Wiring the led inside of the chest was more difficult than the head. Like the head led I tested the chest light out using the existing circuit in my 1/35 Zaku Head.

Due to the wiring coming from the head, the head needs to be attached to the chest at this point. Once the back armor is attached to the chest you can't route the wires into the backpack.

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.



Friday, January 2, 2015

HG MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom



Big thanks to Zarwiain my Reddit Secret Santa Gift exchange match. My goal this year is to finish all three of his gifts before the end of the first quarter of 2015! You can check out the first kit the Zogok here.

Suit Lore


The B-3 Gouf Custom was an upgraded variant of the standard 07B-Gouf; and was developed as a result of the 07B's field performance. The B-3 was redesigned to eliminate the fixed armament (5 barrel 75mm machine gun) and to replace the heat rod with a more versatile magnetic grappler.


Due to the changing battle field and general push back towards combat in space it's likely that the number of 07B Gouf's converted into B3's was very limited; and it's widely believed that the B3s that were converted were assigned to ace pilots such as Lou Roher from the Midnight Fenrir Corps and Norris Packard attached to the Apsalus Project.


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!


 


Kit Talk


The final battle between Norris and Shiro towards the end of the 8th MS team has always been one of my favorite scenes mostly due to how intimidating Norris is throughout the fight.


This is the second time I've built the HG Gouf Custom. The first time was in the fall of 2013, I planned on bringing the kit with me to GBWC at NYCC but a few weeks before the event a close friend passed away and I was barely able to finish the two kits I had nearly complete at the time. That Gouf (I called him lonesome Gouf) was around for a while before I ended up damaging him with a bad weather wash. But he did make several appearances in videos and photo shoots. But after I received this model in the 2014 Gunpla Exchange through Reddit I decided that it was time for Lonesome Gouf to go. In the end he gave up a few parts so that this Gouf could be a little bit different.


I did a few things on this kit to improve it from stock. It has a brand new commanders horn courtesy of the builders parts pack above. I fixed the major offending seamlines on the backs of the legs. shoulder armor and gatling gun. I also added to pla-plate latches to the legs and used BMC chisels on the backs of the legs, rear skirt and in the arm pit area.


I decided to incorporate a few painting techniques out of boredom with entirely stock schemes and a desire to indicate that this isn't Norris' B-3 Gouf. I masked the white details above the leg vents and commanders antenna, and masked all of the yellow swatches on the chest, and gatling guns. Then I went back and added a gradient fade to the shoulders, lower arms, legs and skirt buy adding white to their respective colors and then blended it back in.


I developed the decal scheme around the same time I was writing the Custom Decal Scheme article and I wanted to incorporate some of the things I discussed in the tips section.  


Hit the Bump for the photo shoot!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Micro-tutorial: Custom Decal schemes

Introduction

One of the top comments in a survey thread I made a month ago was to create small 'bite sized' tutorials. This is the second I that series of tutorials; you can see the first tutorial on custom color schemes 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 newcomers that are interested in creating their own custom decal schemes. 

Decals

I classify decals into two major groups: primary and secondary. 

Primary



Primary decals tend to be larger, more complex or colorful than secondary decals. Primary decals are typically ace pilot or unit insignia, unit or ms numbers, force designations, rank, manufactures or ship assignments. Primary decals are typically prominently placed on large flat surfaces such as shoulders, shields, skirts or other flat areas. Primary decals tend to be detailed and interesting enough to stand on their own, and typically have a canonical meaning to them within the Gundam multiverse.


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