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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MG Epyon update

I finished the last bit of paint today on the MG Epyon commission. 

I have a few replacement parts on order, but nothing that will prevent me from moving on to details and decals.




Feet-teeth, rawr.


Solid green eyes with metallic green sensors.


These wings are way bigger than I anticipated. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Painting "Sleeves" detail on Sinanju, Kshatriya and other Neo Zeon mobile suits


Painting the trim on Neo Zeon mobile suits like the Sinanju, Geara Zulu and Kshatriya is really easy, but a lot of people seem to have a tough time doing it. In this tutorial I'm going to show you a way to paint sleeve detail using an airbrush or spray can.

This technique is called a "reverse wash". Basically this process involves spraying two colors and removing one of the colors to reveal another. This process requires the use of paints that use different solvents; in other words you can't use two enamel, acrylic or lacquer colors. Although there are other combinations that probably work; I've had the most success using lacquer and enamel paints.

If these technique sounds familiar, it's because this is the same way I paint gundam eyes!

Before we begin you're going to need to gather a few items.

Hit the jump to see the rest of the tutorial!

MG Sinanju Commission Complete


It's funny that I'm still struggling to come up with a name for this kit. Limenanju, The Mean Green Killin Machine, Son of Shrek... the list goes on and on. Regardless of the name however this monster is complete! 

Like the title suggests this is a commissioned kit for one of my repeat clients, and it's been in my backlog for a little longer than I would have liked. This is the second MG Sinanju I've built, but only the first OVA version. 

Although I can't say for sure, I believe I'm in the minority in preferring the Ver. Ka kit over the OVA. I'm not referring to the decals; I'm talking about the frame! The OVA version of the kit replaces the old ABS parts of the frame with light weight polystyrene parts instead. My dislike of the frame stems from three points. The first is that some of the joints just don't seem to fit as well, for example the C shaped joints in the shins that connect to the sliding knee joints just don't inspire confidence. The second is that the kits just 'feels' fragile, like the less dense polystyrene is going to break as you push the leg into the hip joint, or adjust the arm. The third and final reason is that the kit just feels too light weight. The ver. ka feels substantial, when you hold it the weight reminds you that the MG Sinanju is one of the more expensive MG models out there, and it fits the size of the kit appropriately. The OVA on the other hand almost feels lighter than a much smaller Zaku 2.0.

Despite my misgivings I'll be the first to admit that the sculpt of the kit still looks fantastic; it's muscular, but agile and it has an intimidation factor that I can't help but compare to an aggressive automobile mixed with a beetle. 

Enough about my thoughts on the design. 

Hit the jump for the full gallery!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Milestone in blogging and my thoughts on the continued evolution of the blog

Today I get to announce two milestones for this blog. This will be by 200th post, and in interesting coincidence the blog just reached over 200,000 page views. 

When I started this blog in April of 2012, I only wanted a place to collect my work. A simple page I could organize my work, and show people the fruits of my labors. From those uninspired beginnings the blog has grown to encompass tutorials, group buys, bro builds, and circles through google+. 

Running the blog opened many doors in the gunpla hobby for me: I became a mod on r/gunpla, I started to work with Joe from ModelGrade to provide some sweet deals for my readers, and I was invited to help relaunch ChildofMecha (My first article is up; it's a rehash of a tutorial posted on the blog, but its worth a look). 

More importantly though, blogging has provided me the opportunity to converse with fellow builders from across the world, make connections and share ideas. This blog is nothing without it's readers, so I just want to say... Thanks for following along with me, I'm really looking forwards to providing you guys and gals with more original content!

Dan 



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Weekend Wip

MG Sinanju commission:

I'm beginning to think this should have been called Son of Shrek. 








MG Epyon:

Well here's an example of all the main colors (except for black)


Friday, July 19, 2013

X-acto Z series comparison

X-acto is one of the most ubiquitous tools in a modeler's tool box. It's such a common tool that the x-acto name has become genericized, similar to band-aid or kleenex.

If you have purchased a x-acto handle and blade set chances are you will have a #1 handle, and a #11 blade. Although x-acto does sell a variety of blades, chisels, nose pickers, waffle makers, etc... for their handles the #11 is the mainstay within the western modeling world.


Today I'm going to compare the classic #11 blade with the new Z-series #11. Both #11 blades have the same dimensions and can be used interchangeably with a #1 handle. Aside from the differences in packaging you can tell the Z series apart from the classic by the gold color of the blade. X-acto says that the gold color is the result of a zirconium nitride coating that's applied after sharpening.       


Price comparison 

Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first. This is a price per blade break down of each blade series by pack sizes. All prices and pack sizes come directly from X-acto's website.  

The 15-pack of Z series blades is highlight because I couldn't find it for sale anywhere, also considering the price per blade deviates quite far from the expected value; it's listing on the x-acto website is likely accidental. 

Classic Series

Chances are that if you're a modeler this blade is loaded into your handle right now. It's a sharpened high carbon steel blade. The #11 classic is available in a number of pack sizes: 5, 15, 40, 100

Z Series


According to X-acto, the Z series is an 'atomically sharpened' blade with a special coating. The zirconium nitride mentioned earlier leaves the edge of this blade with a light golden color. According to Wikipedia zirconium nitride is a hard ceramic material, often used on materials exposed to high wear and corrosive environments. Additionally according to IonFusion Surgical, the zirconium nitride coating makes the cutting surface 5x harder than steel.

So what does this mean to us? It means the cutting surfaces should be resistant to corrosive chemicals, and that the blades should be sharper and retain their edges longer than an uncoated blade. It also means that we're paying a higher price per blade.

The #11 Z-series is available in a number of pack sizes 5, 100, 500

Comparison

Without a microscope, or some other method of measuring the sharpness of the blade after repeated cuts, it's impossible for me to give you an empirical comparison. Instead I'm going to give you my impression of Z series compared against the Classic series.

I used three Z Series blades to remove the nubs from every piece of the MG Sinanju. I swapped blades whenever the blade felt like it was losing it's edge, visibly stressing the plastic more or requiring more force to remove the same amount of material.

I noticed a few things about the Z-series during this process:

The tips of the Z series are just as delicate as the classic, the tips (maybe 2mm down from the point of the blades) snap off as easily on the classic as the Z. 

The Z series looks like it it develops a burr along the cutting edge after repeated cutting. I was able to remove the burr easily by running another Z-series blade perpendicularly against the blade. After which the cutting ability of the blade seemed to improve. 

The Z series blades seem to be at least as sharp as the Classic series. However it's difficult to say if they're any sharper. 

The Z series blades maintain their edge about as long as a Classic series blade.

Conclusion

For the best apples to apples comparisons let's compare the prices of 5, and 100 packs. In a 5 pack set, a Z series blade will cost 16 cents more per blade than a classic; and in a 100 pack a Z series will cost 11 cents more per blade than a classic blade. While 9 and 11 cents may not seem like much per blade, keep in mind that you're paying 30-33% more per blade at that price point.

So then the question is: "Are Z series blades 30-33% better than classic?". And my answer is that's they're no worse than a Classic series blade, but they also don't seem to be any better.  It's entirely possible that the Z-series blades are better at cutting paper, fabrics, woods or other materials than Classic series. But after using the entire 5 pack, I don't think I would recommend the Z series over the standard Classic for model building.   

I hope this article has been informative; please keep in mind that this review is just my opinion based on my experience with these products. If you have had a significantly different experience using these products please leave a comment below! I'm really interested to hear what other modelers have to say.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fixing a molding defect




On a rare occasion a part will separate prematurely from a runner; and on a rarer occasion it will take a chunk of the part with it. 

Unfortunately this occurred to the tip of the MG Epyon's tail. 

There are a few ways to handle this, you can:

Request a replacement from Bandai.

Or

Purchase a replacement from Gentei Kits.

Or

You can put your big boy pants on and fix it yourself.

Here's what you'll need to affect a repair:

Extra thin cement


X-acto knife

Sand paper

Tweezers

Optional:

Putty white or grey

The process




It's important for you to save the piece that has broken off from the part. Because the piece is a perfect plug for the missing part.

First start by applying the extra thin cement to the female end of the break. Ensure that you cove the entire surface area inside of the break. Allow the glue 10-15 seconds to start affecting the plastic and then insert the male end into the female. 


Inserting the broken section can be tricky; ideally you want to perfectly align the part in all three dimensions. Because of the size of the broken piece you may need to use a pair of tweezers like I did. 

Allow the glue to fully set; this usually takes a few hours, but I typically wait until the next day. 




Once the glue has fully dried use your X-acto knife to trim the nub off of the part. And follow that up with various grits of sand paper. 


Optional:

For particularly bad breaks, or if the fitment of your repair is off you may need to fill in your parts with putty and sand them down. Fortunately this part didn't require this extra step!




All done! After a coat of primer and paint this will be completely hidden.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Commission updates

Here's a little update for the two commissioned kits I'm currently working on.

MG Sinanju

I'm waiting for my client to approve the Sinanju's main lime green armor color. So while I was waiting I painted all of the trim! 

Like before I used the reverse wash technique. For those of you not in the know check out Major William's tutorial.



This kit is the first time I have used Alcad products on a build. The silver is Alcad's duralinium color.The parts received a 'klear koat' for added shine. Once the 'klear' cured the parts were sprayed with black enamel and then removed with enamel thinner. 


MG Epyon

The Epyon is receiving a pretty standard OOB paint scheme with a new tweaks.

The client asked for solid green eyes with clear green sensors.



The clear green looks a bit desaturated in the image, but it's quite bright in person.



The thighs are a light grey with a hint of purple. The claws and detail parts are a golden yellow with a hint of orange. I'm about half way through cleaning up the red armor sections; they should be fully paint prepped by tomorrow night! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

1/48 Banshee OVA Head


I have a lot of commission work going on right now, but between drying and building sessions I had some time to work on this kit. Unlike the Final Battle Banshee head, this model has been painted in the OVA style, and excludes the Katoki markings of the 'Final Battle' version.

Colors:

Banshee Blue (armor)
50% Mr. Hobby Blue
30% Mr. Hobby GX Black
20% Mr. Hobby Purple

Starbright Brass (Horns, face, collar & trim)

Clear Red over Starbright Duralinium (Eyes & sensors)

Medium Grey (neck & collar) 

Hit the bump for the full gallery!

Summer Sales

It's that time of year again. Time to clean out all the neat stuff I've accumulated.

Combined shipping is available send me an email if you would like anything.

Hobby Magazines 

$7 each + shipping



  






Brand new kits

MG DOM with 30th anniversary clear pieces $50 + shipping




MG Strike Noir with 30th anniversary clear pieces & water slide decals $50+ shipping (Sale pending)



HG AGE FX $20 + shipping



Parts

1/35 figures, weapons, motor cycle and other assorted parts from the Ramba Ral Commando Set $10 + shipping



MG 1/100 Zaku Leg Missle launcher $5 + shipping



MG 1/100 Base Jabber from the MG Full Armor Unicorn $10+shipping



1/48 Unicorn Display head (with Banshee Base) $10+shipping



Red Action base 2 $5+shipping



BTF 1/100 Full Saber for the MG Qan[t] $10 + shipping (Sold)



Manuals 

$1 + shipping























Stickers/Decals/Dry Transfers 

$1 each per set + shipping (Sale Pending)


 MG FA Unicorn
 MG Delta Plus
 MG Ground Gundam
 MG Kampfer
 MG Aegis
 MG GP01
 MG Char Zaku 1.0
 MG Heavyarms
 HG Age 2 Normal
 MG Zaku 2.0 White Ogre
 MG Strike Freedom
  MG Wing Gundam


 MG GNX
 MG Exia & Qanta
 MG Sinanju


 HG Byarlant