Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin, Vol. 3-Ramba Ral

This is just a reminder that the third book in the excellent Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin series is to be released in less than a week! I strongly recommend per-ordering the books now as the prices of the first two increased $5 each after the initial release!

If you're new to this series here's what you need to know. 'The Origin' is a graphic novel retelling of the original 0079 saga. Two books have currently been released with another three confirmed titles (up to book 5) in the coming months. 'The Origin' series was written by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yatate (The pseudonym for the entire Sunrise staff); and mechanical design by Kumo Okawara.

There have been some slight changes to the 0079 story, but overall it's very faithful to the original series. Each book is roughly 400-450 pages and each covers 4-5 episodes of the original series. 

The books are filled absolutely stunning artwork. 

You can still pick up the first and second books on amazon!

Gundam the Origin is a fantastic story with amazing art work, and by purchasing a copy it encourages Bandai, Sunrise and all the other companies to continue bringing, Gundam and Gunpla to the US! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mr. Leveling Thinner vs Mr. Color Thinner: What's the difference?

Mr. Color Thinner (MCT) and Mr. Leveling Thinner (MLT) are two lacquer thinners made by Gunze Sangyo. You can purchase these thinners from a number of stores like Amazon and Model Grade

 You can consider Mr. Color Thinner to be a ‘generic’ lacquer thinner. It works well with Mr. Color brand paints and Gaia Notes colors. MCT can be purchased in 110ml, 250ml and 400ml bottles. The 400ml bottles are the most common size you will find for sale in the US (in my experience).

Mr. Leveling Thinner is slightly different than MCT. The thinner in MLT is blended with a retarder; the retarder slows down the drying time of paint. This allows the paint to spread out more evenly, leaving a smoother and glossier finish. MLT is also the preferred thinner of modelers in very hot and dry climates. I like to use MLT with Mr. Color GX brand paints and with Gaia Notes ‘Starbright’ line of metallic paints. In both cases the thinner allows the paint to dry extremely smoothly leaving a brilliant gloss and fantastic looking metals. MCT can be purchased in 110ml and 400ml bottles; on average I have seen the 400ml bottle of MLT run $2-3 dollars more than an equivalent sized bottle of MCT. 

I recommend using MCT as your ‘standard’ thinner and only using MLT for high gloss and metallic paints. You can use MLT for everything, but I personally think it is unnecessary.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

And Its Name is Epyon

I grew up in the 90s, and I first got into Gundam when Toonami originally aired the Gundam Wing series in 2000. If you're like me then the Epyon probably left quite an impression on you. Not only was it the first 'big bad guy' we saw from the series (the first one that posed a serious threat), but also the first 'bad guy gundam'. 

This is a commission kit for the same fellow as the MG Blitz. Like the Blitz the Epyon features a mostly stock color scheme. The one major difference between this kit and the out of the box version is that the dark blue was replaced with black. The black color scheme definitely adds some menace to the aggressive angular design of this kit! 

Decals are an after market set from GlobalToy over on ebay. Overall the quality was decent. Only the smallest decals suffer from poor printing (Bandai please bring back first party waterslide decals!).  

Hit the bump for the full shoot!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Layering paint, panel lining, decals and topcoating

I recently received a question from a reader named Jason. He had a question about the right order for paint, panel lines, decals and topcoating.

Basic build order:

This is the order that I use when I'm working on a model. This is the order I prefer; however there are variations on this process that other modelers use and sometimes I'll alter this order for weathering or other techniques.

This diagram represents a cross section of a kit. The bottom of the diagram is the first layer. This is the basic order that I use on any of the clean 'Out of box' builds you'll find on my site. Although other builders have advocated using clear coats between the paint, panel line and decal layers I have found those steps don't offer much benefit, are wasteful and time-consuming.

If you prefer to pre and post shade your main paint layer you can add those steps directly before and after (respectively) the gloss paint layer.

Variation on the basic build order:

This is a similar build order that's used when you use flat paint instead of gloss paint. You will need to coat the flat paint in a layer of gloss before moving on to the panel lining and decaling steps. Excess panel lines are very difficult to remove from the surface of flat paints. Decals also adhere to a smooth glossy surface better than rougher flat-coated surface. 

Weathering build order

Applying a weathering wash or filter to a kit requires a few additional steps.

A flat topcoat is applied before the weather wash because it will protect the decals, and panel lining and the rougher surface of the flat topcoat tends to hold the wash better than a gloss surface. Apply an additional topcoat over the weathering wash to seal the wash/filter in.
Have any questions about a build order not featured? Leave a comment below!