Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MG Ground Gundam Commission is Complete!

 Here it is the RX 79-[G] in all it grimy, grungy glory! This was a great build, I haven't had the chance to weather and battle damage a kit since the Exia Repair! Speaking of weathering I used a gradient starting with the darkest color (dirt) around the feet and working up to a light sand at the top of the head. Similarly the battle damaged sections of were weather differently to reflect age. The freshest are dark, metallic and rough, older wounds have been smoothed with time, and are closer to the base color of the kit.

Effects of a light source on color

I had been frustrated for the last few months because my camera was taking lousy photos of my kits. For the longest while I thought it was an issue with the camera, or the color balancing, or something I had screwed with.

But after getting some very helpful advice from the people over on r/photo I discovered it was the light source! I had been using a 'full spectrum' CFL bulb, but apparently it's spectrum wasn't really complete. I've now switched over to a set of 100W halogen bulbs and the photos are back to looking normal. 

Here's a comparison of the new and old bulbs



Hit the bump to see more comparrison images!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ground Gundam Commission WIP

I finished painting the MS today. I'm very happy with the way the colors came out. You may see some slight tone differences in a few panels and along the edges.Once weathering is applied over those panels the background colors should enhance the overall look. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Budget building for busy people: affordable and durable tools

Welcome to part two! Affordable and Durable tools.

Even the world's best craftsman requires good tools to do a good job. In this series I'm going to share my picks for some great, affordable and long lasting tools that a beginner should have in their toolbox! My goal in this section is to provide a selection of tools that totals less than $25!

I try to avoid some of the flashy name branded products from Tamiya and Mr. Hobby that seem to be popular. In general I tend to find that you're paying more for the brand name than for quality of the product. Many of the items I'm going to list below can be found at your local hardware, office supply, fabric or hobby shop.

The List:



X-acto $6 @ Amazon, paper stores, office suppliers and hobby locations

A X-acto knife is a modeler's bread and butter. It's easy to control, and razor sharp. I will typically use one blade on a HG sized kit, two for a RG or MG and 5+ on a PG. It's a good idea to change blades often, because as the blade dulls it requires more pressure to remove a nub which stresses the plastic more and leaves ugly white stress points on your kit. It should go without saying that because these are extremely sharp you must be careful.A package of 100 replacement blades can be purchased on amazon for $22

Sliding Utility Knife $1.50 - $8 @ Amazon or hardware stores

Utility knives sometimes called box cutters come in a lot of different shapes an sizes. They offer a great alternative to a X-acto knife. The blades tend to be more durable, but they also tend to be larger and more difficult to maneuver. Replacement blades can be purchase in a 50 pack for $17 on Amazon.





Side Cutters:

Xuron flush cutters 'nippers' $ 9 @ Amazon or hardware stores

In the past I recommended a set of blue handled Xuron side cutters. However I recently found this new set uses a harder high carbon steel for the cutting edges instead of the cheaper and softer alloy steel used in the old model. This newer design should be able to hold a sharp edge much longer. I will typically purchase a new side cutter after 5-7 MGs however I haven't had a chance to truly test the longevity of this new model!. 




Spudger ( the unsung hero):

Spudger $1.5-2.5 @ Amazon or your local cell phone kiosk 

Okay now repeat the spudgerman's creed:
This is my spudger. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My spudger is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My supdger, without me, is useless. Without my spudger, I am useless.

Joking aside... the spudger is one of the greatest tools in your toolbox. It's a multipurpose tool that you can use to separate parts, clean panel lines, pinning down those annoying power pipes on Zeon kits during sanding, adjustings decals and movable parts. I'm still finding new ways to use the tool.

Spudgers come in a variety of shapes. I prefer the pen shaped models like the 3M version I linked to. They're usually made out of a soft plastic, so they should not damage your models when you use them. I have even used them (delicately) on painted surfaces without doing any harm. 

Sanding Material:

3M Automotive grade sanding paper $5.50 @ Amazon or automotive stores

While I'm still a big fan of the 3M Extra Fine Sanding sponges, I realize that out of the box they take a few kits before they break in enough for all purpose sanding. This sanding pack on the other hand gives you 4, 3 inch by 9 inch wet/dry sand paper sheets ranging from 1000 to 2500 grit. These are the perfect levels for lightly polishing the nub marks away. If you also have some popsicle sticks laying around you can wrap or glue the sand paper around/to them to create a rigid sanding surface! I will typically cut and use a 2 inch by 2 inch square of paper at a time I can typically get through at least one MG sized kit using just one square. 



Brushes: Assorted Brushes

I strongly recommend purchasing your brushes locally, at a hobby or craft store. I purchased a set of 5-7 brushes from my local craft store for around $5. For most detail work and for panel lining a prefer a nice round #0 brush. A round #0 will run around $3 at a hobby store, I usually keep a few around for different colors. For larger surfaces I prefer a larger chisel type brush, either a #2, #4 or #6. Although I haven't tried them yet the 0, 00 and 000 brushes used by nail artists, appear to be the right size for detailed hobby work. I also prefer synthetic fiber brushes, in general just make sure that whatever brush type you buy is okay to use with your paint!




Your Total up to this point:

If you're following along, at this point your total should be about $25 = $6 (knife) + $9 (nippers) + $1.5 (spudger) + $5.5(sand paper) + $3 (brush). With these tools on hand you'll be ready to build at least a half dozen kits before requiring any replacements (like knife blades). However if your budget is a bit bigger...

Other Purchases to Consider:

Cutting mat $17 on Amazon

This will protect the surface you're cutting on, and should prolong the life of your blades. 

Top coat $ 17.50 on Amazon

Spray your completed model with a coat a topcoat to remove the plastic shine and to protect your panel lines and decals. A can this large will last you several models.  

Tweezer Set $10 on Amazon

Tweezers are used mostly for decal work, but they can also be very useful for holding small parts while sanding.

Hopefully after reading this post you have realized that you can afford a variety of great modeling tools on a budget! In the next segment we're going to start putting these tools to good use as I show you how to build a basic HG kit! Stay tuned for a lot of great new content!

Go back to the last part 

Go forward to the next part

Budget building for busy people: Introduction

Welcome to a new series of posts!

I received a lot of great comments about the types of things they would like to start seeing on my blog from the people over on Reddit! One of the comments that really resonated with me was that some people don't have a lot of time to build Gunpla, but they still want to make their kits look great. So in this series I'm going to show you exactly how to do that! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ground Gundam Commission WIP update

I'm at the halfway point now on this build. The entire frame has been given a coat of medium grey. I used gaia notes star bright duralinium on the pistons at the ankles.   

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kit Review: MG 00 Qan[t]



I had a bit of down time between painting sessions on the Ground Gundam commission, so I decided that now might be a good time to start working on a kit in my backlog! I incorporated some subtle mods to enhance the form and function of this kit. My goal with the Qant is to eventually give it the same clean paint & decal scheme that I used on the MG Exia submitted to GBWC. I'm also planning on using the BTF GN Sword IV 'Full Saber' kit to mod the kit a bit further




The Qan[t] is the final suit built for Setsuna F Seiei by Celestial Being in the movie A Wakening of the Trailblazer. Similar to the Exia and 00 in role, the Qan[t] is a melee bruiser. It's equipped with the new GN Sword V, GN Sword bits and GN Shield. Also similar to the 00 Raiser the Qan[t] is capable of feats of quantum teleportation and has tremendous amounts of energy output. 

The MG Qan[t] was released in November 2010.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MG RX-79[G] Commission WIP

I reached the battle damage stage for this kit.

I normally avoid battle damaging and weathering my kits, because I prefer the pristine look of a fresh mobile suit. However I believe that these grunt type mobile suites can really be enhanced by some scarring!

Here's how I'm damaging this kit!

Monday, October 15, 2012

MG Exia is Complete

This is one of 3 kits I entered into the GWBC contest that was held at New York Comic Con.  The Exia was selected as the best out of box build for the show. And I received a HG Hambrabi from Bluefin for a prize.

This is the second MG Exia I have built, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. 

Here are the colors I used:

Plamo UK:
For Armor and frames 
Royal Blue
Pure White
Medium Grey
Lemon Yellow
Custom Bright Red with hints of grey and white

For eyes and sensors
Clear Green
Clear Blue

Gaia Notes:
For blades
Star Bright Silver

Body Shots

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NYCC Pictures & Summary

NYCC was crazy and awesome this year!

Now that I'm back home I've had a chance to organize the photos I took by category, take a look and enjoy!

GWBC Entries

Monday, October 8, 2012

EX Commission is complete!

 Commission Complete!

To date this has been my longest and most involved commission.

I received the package from my client on 8/18/2012, nearly two months later on 10/7/2012 I applied the final topcoat to the last kit.

From the onset I was both excited at the prospect of building a different type of kit, yet apprehensive due to amount of masking, small scale and the ages of the kits (the earliest kit was released in July 2003). Although this commission was for 4 ‘kits’ there were actually 5 individual models. The Skygrasper and Moebius Zero were a two pack.

Here's my impression of the EX line after building 4 kits:

Cons: EX kits aren't for beginners, they tend to be expensive for the what you're getting they're typically molded in 1-2 colors at most, seam lines on major joints, some parts were warped out of the bag, the instruction manuals are thin and unimpressive, the 1/1700 mobile suits and craft don’t really look to scale, the only color guides you'll have are the pictures on the box and these kits practically require painting to look good.  

Pros: There is a lot of detail molded into the plastic, most panel lines are deep and easy to work with, and you’re usually given extra parts for the opened and closed hatches.

Despite the massive list of cons I came up with I would still conditionally recommend an EX kit. They’re not for everyone to be sure, but they can still be a fun challenge to novice or intermediate painter. For comparison I have included built out of box photos courtesy of Dalong.

Builder Show Case MAF0127's Blog

One of my favorite things about this hobby is that there are so many talented builders out there! In an effort to recognize their ability and to strengthen the community as a whole I'm going to run a new series where I feature other Gunpla builders!

Today's builder is:



If you're not familiar with Maf's name, you might be familiar with some of his work. He's an excellent painter, and he has a real knack for applying alternative and inventive color schemes across series.

This is Maf's take on the Full Armor XN Raiser. Looks like the mobility might suffer a bit, but the FA Unicorn can't hold a flame to this guy in terms of firepower!

Ground Gundam Comission update

Micro Update:

After a bit of fiddling around in Adobe Illustrator I developed a color scheme my client liked.
Depending on the program I used to view this image the colors seemed to change drastically, so depending on what you’re using to view this image my description may or may not agree with what you’re seeing.


Body: Very Light Grey
Chest: Desaturated Navy Blue
Waist & Backpack: Dark Grey
Feet & Highlights: Aquamarine
Frame: Medium Gray
Ammo Packs: Gray (slightly darker than the body color)
Weapons: Medium Gray (lighter than frame)
Eyes & Sensors: Green.


As I described in a previous post I will be weathering this kit.

I'm going to post shade this kit as well.
I ordered two Tamiya weathering kits for this build.
Set A (Sand, Light Sand & Dirt)
Set F (Titanium, Light Gunmetal & Copper)
You can look forward to some updates and maybe some tutorials on battle damage and weathering. So check back often!