Tuesday, June 25, 2013

MG RX-78-2 Group Buy is Live!

Hey guys Joe from ModelGrade  just informed me that the MG RX 78-2 3.0 groupbuy is now live. Hop on the band wagon and grab a pre-order for this kit before it's too late!

Here are the details:

Special preorder price $49.99
Flat rate $5 shipping (free shipping on orders over $100)
Plus you'll receive a free $5 coupon for your next order!

Deal ends August 31st; expected release date is September 2013.
Deal is open to US & Canadian addresses only. Free shipping is only valid for the US customers

Order yours now!

1: Add the special to your shopping cart
2: Proceed to checkout. 
3: On the 5th step you'll be able to enter the coupon code REDDITDEAL to get the discount (look at those $1000 melt away!). You may need to change the shipping option before completing checkout.
4: Done!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sidecutters a side by side comparrison

A good pair of sidecutters is a modelers best friend. And there are a lot of different brands and models out there to choose from. For a long time I've been a proponent of purchasing Xuron side cutters because they're cheap, durable, and they hold a edge for a pretty long time. However recently I decided to give Tamiya's side cutters a shot. After using Tamiya's side cutters here are my thoughts...


All three side cutters feature comfortable padded grips that reduces the strain on your hands from prolonged cutting. I realize that talking about ergonomic handles sounds like garbage, but when I was in middle school I used to cut out parts using a small scissors built into my Swiss army knife. After an hour or two of modeling the pad of my thumb would be raw and red from pressing the scissors closed. Having a soft, secure and comfortable grip will greatly reduce hand fatigue.  

All three side cutters are also spring loaded which make repeated cuts much easier than manually opening the cutters after each cut.

Xuron 170-II Micro-Shear 

At $7.25 with free shipping through Amazon Prime the 170-II side cutters are the cheapest of the three side cutters I've used. The 170-II is rated at 54 to 56C hardness on the Rockwell scale; the hardness of the blades should correspond with the durability of the edge. Overtime the sharp edge of the blades will dull.


I have used two sets of 170-II side cutters. The first pair cut well for about 8 kits before I noticed it began crushing rather than cutting the plastic; the second pair lasted about 9 kits before it began behaving the same way.

The 170-II feels good in the hand (I have larger hands), and the small cutting head is great at getting into tight spaces.

Xuron 410 Micro-Shear 

At $9.22 with free shipping through Amazon Prime the 410 is slightly more expensive than the 170-II. The 410 is very similar to the 170-II in terms of it's size and construction. The 410 uses a different metal composition (High carbon steel instead of alloy steel) and a different heat treating process which increases the hardness to 57-59C on the Rockwell hardness scale. Consequently the harder metal of the side cutter should improve the longevity of the side cutters.   

I have only used one set of 410 side cutters; in fact I'm still using first pair. So far this set of 410 side cutters has lasted be 13 kits. 

Because the 410 has the same design as the 170-II it also feels good in the hand and it features the same small cutting head.

Tamiya Modelers Side Cutter

At $17.90 with free shipping through Amazon Prime the Tamiya's offering is far and away the most expensive set of side cutters I have used. The Tamiya side cutters are very sharp, and cut through the plastic like a hot knife through butter. Although the hardness is not listed Tamiya's side cutters are made of high carbon steel similar to the 410.

One negative about this pair is that the cutting head is larger than the 170-II and 410, so it's more difficult to cut out small or awkward pieces.  

The most important question is probably "Is the Tamiya brand side cutters worth almost twice as much as a pair of 410s?" My answer (which is kind of a cop-out) is that I don't know, but I don't think so. I have only used Tamiya's side cutters for a few models, and so far they've done a good job, but no better than a new pair of 410s. The Tamiya brand side cutters may last twice as long as a pair of 410 (I doubt it, but it's possible).


In my experience Xuron's 410 side cutters are the best bang for your buck. They last considerably longer than Xuron's cheaper offerings, but they won't break the bank like Tamiya's. They're the right combination of price and performance. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Group Buy Announcement RG GP01 & GP01fb!

Hey guys Joe from ModelGrade  just informed me that the RG GP01 and GP01fb group buy is now live. Hop on the band wagon and grab a pre-order for this kit before it's too late!

You can buy these kits a couple of ways.

You can purchase the bundled GP01 and GP01fb for $49.99 using coupon code: REDDITDEAL

I strongly recommend purchasing the bundle because in addition to the cheaper combined price you will also receive a $5 gift certificate.


You can purchase either kit individually at a discounted price of $26.99 if you use coupon code: REDDITGP01DEAL



This deal ends July 31st

Expected release date August 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Model Grade has new lower prices!

It's no secret that I buy the vast majority of my kits from Model Grade. The owner Joe is: fast, friendly more than happy to answer my questions about kits, paints and decals.

I'm happy to announce today that Model Grade has just restructured their pricing on the website. The prices of nearly every item have been lowered!

If you haven't already, check them out today!

And as always stay tuned for more upcoming group buys on some exciting new RG and MG kits brought to you by Model Grade & GGD!


Zaku 2 2.,0 Ramba Ral's Custom

This is a Zaku boy, Zaku!

The Zaku 2 Rambal Ral custom is a kit I built for Gundam Beginner's first weathering contest.

I don't have much experience weathering kits, so I was excited to try out some new weathering and battle damage techniques on this kit. Early on I decided to go with a Rambal Ral scheme, I picked Ral because I like the color blue, and Ral is my favorite 0079 Zeon character. Early on I also decided to weather the kit, but not to beat the Zaku up to much. Rather than cut an arm or leg off I went with a design that showed the Zaku had seen combat and had been exposed to the elements.  

You can check out the WIP series here:
1 Assembly and damage
2 Painting
3 Painting pt 2
4 Painting pt 3
5 Partial assembly
6 Partial decal
7 Weathering
8 Weathering pt 2


Armor Blue:
50% white
50% sky blue

Chest and waist:
50% royal blue
50% midnight blue

Feet, knees, elbows etc:
100% black

100% medium grey

Joints & weapons:
100% black iron

Ammo details:
90% yellow
10% bright orange

100% clear red 
100% silver

Weather filter:
rust, wood, white

Weathering pastel:
light sand, sand, dirt

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MG Zaku 2.0 Final WIP

This is going to be the final WIP for Ramba Ral's Zaku. Since the last update the kit has received a coat of semi gloss, a filter wash with enamel paints, and several coats of Tamiya's weathering pastels.

Weathering filter:

The filter was made with three colors from Testor's enamel line. The colors I used from darkest to lightest are rust, wood and white. I applied the filter in a gradient, parts closer to the ground received more blotches of rust and wood, and parts further away received more white.

The colors were applied in a polka-dot pattern, and then brushed with a stiff bristled brush.

Monday, June 10, 2013

MG Zaku 2.0 WIP pt 7

The parts I ordered from Gentei kits a few weeks ago came in today. I didn't waste any time putting them to work either!

I started the work before the parts arrived by stripping some of the peg and support material from the backside of the shield. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

MG Delta Plus Complete

Although I can't say I really enjoyed building the last MG Delta Plus, I decided to build another. I made this decision mostly out of a desire to experiment with panel scribing and color separation. The panel lines on this kit were scribed by eye, I didn't mark out a pattern ahead of time, and I only used a small ruler and some tape to determine where my lines would fall.  I plan on purchasing a digital caliper to create more complex and accurate lines on the next scribed kit.

Overall I'm happy with about 90% of the panel lines I created, however there are still a few rough spots, and some accidental lines that I didn't fill.

I decided to slightly modify the Delta's color scheme, I incorporated the blue into the outside edge of the wings. I experimented by mixing clear and metallic paints together instead of applying the clear over the metallic. Overall I'm pretty happy with the tinted metallic effect.

The decal set used on this kit is from Globaltoy over on ebay. The print quality of the decals is pretty good. But they did screw up the large Londo Bell decals (notice how it says Lond Bell). 

The first time I clear coated this kit, the coat came out foggy. I quickly dunked the kit a windex/water mixture to strip the acrylic topcoat off. However I then had to repaint all of the clear details on the kit, additionally the large Delta decal on the rear skirt came off (bummer).  


Main armor:
50% silver 
30% clear blue
20% clear green  

Chest, feet, etc:
60% purple
30% light grey
10% royal blue

Vent details:
100% white

100% medium grey


50% light grey 
40% black 
10% medium grey

100% star bright duralinium



Hit the bump for the full gallery!

Gunpla Builders Parts 1/100 Spike and MS Sight Lens

The Builders Parts series is a relatively new line of optional detail parts Bandai released in 2012. Since the initial release the kit series has exploded to include, weapons, figures, hands, effects, verniers and much more. And unlike some of the older B-club optional kits made of resin, the new Builder Parts kits are made of polystyrene.

Despite being on the market for a while, I was surprised to not see many reviews or images of parts being used. I decided that Ramba Ral's Zaku 2 could use some special custom parts, so I purchased the MS Sight Lens and MS Spike 01 sets from ModelGrade.net for about $7, $8 respectively. The MS Spike 01 set is specifically designed for 1/100 applications (Bandai also sells a 1/144 size too), and the sight lenses will work on both 1/144 and 1/100 applications.