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Thursday, December 29, 2016

RG Sinanju Ver. Ka


Introduction:

This is my 101st completed kit and also my final kit for 2016!. The Sinanju isn't my favorite mecha design, but it's definitely in the top 10.

I like some aspects of this design: the new opening panels on the hips, shoulders and back pack are a cool idea, and the new engineering used to separate the black and gold elements will make this kit much more approachable to more modelers.

There are several elements of this build I definitely do not care for: This kit is back heavy, my kit could barely stand on it's own, it has a very weak and floppy chest joint and it was extraordinarily frustrating to photograph as it constantly fell over. This model uses the inner frame from the MK Gundam with small extensions added to each limb, however I noticed that this tends to make the kit difficult and frustrating to pose. The glossy red and gold elements are mostly under gated, however there are a few pieces like the horn that have large nubs in the middle of the parts that leave really ugly marks. The fuel tanks are also poorly designed compared to more recent models like the Sazabi and Hi-Nu Ver ka; both of those kits get around the length wise seam lines.

Overall I'm pretty disappointed, I feel that a newer model like this RG Sinanju should be superior to the older HG and MG. But, I believe the changes to the design don't make up for needing to reverse wash the gold details onto the MG and HG models.

Kit Talk:

This kit is fully painted as I was dis satisfied with partial undergating. The red was achieved in a multi-step process that involved painting two thin layers of GX Red followed by two coats of clear red. I then applied the Ver. Ka decals and clear coated the kit with Alcad's Klear Koat Gloss product. Oddly even after 4 days of curing this product still felt tacky and I fear I may have left permanent finger prints in the paint. The gold color on this kit is GaiaNotes Starbright gold followed by a coat of clear yellow.

I contrasted these two bright and glossy colors with matte monochromatic colors. You can see the full painted frame here:



I used the HG Ver Ka decals for this build. They fit the kit pretty well, although a few meed to be slightly re positioned to fit the different geometry of this design. One thing to note about these decals is that unlike the MG sheet, none of the decals on the HG sheet are labeled, so you will need to carefully compare the designs to the layout found in the MG Ver. Ka Manual.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime! Because I don't recommend the RG version of this kit I strongly recommend checking out the HG or MG version instead. 




Monday, December 12, 2016

100th completed build! MG RX 78-2 3.0


Introduction:

Hitting a thousand subscribers on YouTube was good, getting a million hits on my blog was better; but completing 100 kits feels like I achieved a real milestone; and one I never thought I would actually reach. The RX 78-2 is the 'original' Gundam, but that's not the reason why I decided that this model had to be #100. I chose this kit because out of all of the models I had completed as commissions, I regretted not being able to keep the original 3.0 the most.

Kit Talk:

My goal was to build this model as cleanly as possible like the first one, while pushing the detail further. I used the first model as a reference for color applications for the internal frame. I used a combination of dark metallic and neutral grays to highlight different construction materials used in the frame. I used photos of the 1:1 Gundam in DiverCity as reference for external details. There are many small pops of color, or other details on the 1:1 Gundam that are overlooked in the RG or 3.0 models.

Unlike the first version I used hand painting throughout the build to add silver detailing in many of the recesses found throughout the kit. This is the first kit that I painted the black surround of the eyes by hand using Vallejo's line of paints instead of using a reverse wash technique. I was pleasantly surprised by how accurately I was able to paint and area and by how smoothly the paint dried.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

 

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

HG Burning/G Gundam


Introduction:

This is the 99th kit I have completed for my blog.

When Mobile Fighter G Gundam first aired in the US the names of the Devil and God Gundam were changed due to Dark and Burning Gundam respectively due to Toonami's self censorship policies. My choice of using the Build Burning and God Gundam is a play on this name confusion.

Kit Talk:

This is a kitbash of the HG Build Burning and HG God Gundam. My goal of the build was to combine many of the visual elements of the God Gundam with the improved engineering of the Build Burning Gundam. I tried several variations of parts, modification and combinations until I was satisfied. Unfortunately I quickly found out that skirt and waist on the God Gundam strictly limited the ability of the kit to perform kicks.

Modifying and attaching the backpack to the Build Burning Gundam was the most difficult part of the build. I used pla-plate to build up the connection point on the Burning Gundam to create a strong connection point.

One of the main problems I have with the HG God Gundam is that the red fins have a lot of really weird gaps that had to be filled in with pla plate and putty. 

I used decals from the HG Unicorn Gundam to make a really basic ver.ka style decal schemes.




If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

 Hit the bump for the full photo shoot

Monday, November 28, 2016

HG Graze Custom


Introduction:


The HG Graze Custom was my first introduction to the IBO line of model kits. The basic Graze design has become a fast favorite since completing this build. It's a cheap and cheerful build that I would encourage anyone to pickup. The basic Graze comes in several flavors, I also have a Schwable and Ryusei-Go hanging out on my desk waiting for paint.

I think one of the reasons I like this design so much is because it looks like it has drawn inspiration from some of the mecha featured in the older Armored Core 2 game. I played this game and many of it's sequels a lot as a kid. The head and shoulder designs look similar to parts from the Crest Company. I'm strongly considering building an armored core style kit bash build including these parts down the line.

Kit Talk:

I actually built and painted this kit in about 6 hours over the course of a single weekend during the middle of my MG Sazabi Ver. Ka build. That project was starting to drag and I wanted a quick win to keep up my morale. Unlike most of my builds, this kit is pre-shaded, I decided to go this route as it was a quick and easy way to add detail without weathering, or decals or other time consuming processes.

One area of this kit that I firmly believe needs to be corrected is the long seams along the lower legs. I fused this seam after painting all of the frame parts, and them carefully masked and painted the area.



If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

1/35 Zaku 2 Head Char Custom


Introduction:

This is the final kit in my backlog and the end of my 2016 resolution to clear it out. This is also the third time I have built and painted one of the 1/35 Zaku 2.0 heads. I mentioned in prior builds, this is an excellent model kit. I wish that one day Bandai will start to release more large scale head model kits. 

The Char version of this kit was released as part of the 35th anniversary P-Bandai combo pack including a special version of the RG RX 78-2. This model comes with a commanders horn and a head designed to accept it. The  basic original green version included in the Ramba Ral Commando pack lacked an option for the commanders horn. 

Kit Talk:

There isn't much to say about this kit. I used the same paint application process as the two earlier models but made some small changes to reflect the Char color scheme. The Char Pink color is from Gunze's Gundam color line of paints, and can be considered the "official" Char pink.

If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!




Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

Monday, November 14, 2016

MG Sazabi Ver Ka.


Introduction:

I think I may have mentioned before that I've fallen out of love with big kits. I really like the 'idea' of large complex kits. But in practice I have a very difficult time staying motivated throughout these builds. Staying motivated throughout the build was further complicated because I ran out of both neutral gray and top coat during the build and for whatever reason I had a lot of trouble finding more to purchase. This resulted in a very minor paint mismatch and a lot of wasted time. 

Kit Talk:



Originally I had planned on adding a lot of pla-plate, greebling and scribing throughout the kit to add detail. And In many of the WIP shots on my google+ feed will show those details in an early phase. However after beginning to paint and lines these areas I decided that I did not like the outcome. I eventually reverted or replaced many of these parts on the final design. I did keep a few pieces like this detail added to the inside of the shoulder joint.



Instead of using the stock color scheme I used a more simplified version using mostly red with a secondary darker red used sparing to break up the otherwise uniform color. 




Sometime during the build I lost the mono-eye and forehead sensor. I make replacements out of pla-plate and builder parts HD components.



Like a lot of builds There are a lot of hidden paint treatments throughout that may not be visible under normal circumstances like the skirt detail. Keep your eyes peeled for a few other areas.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Godhands 5.0 The second pair


A year and a half about I got my hands on my first pair of Godhands nippers. I compared the Godhands against every pair of nippers I had used up to that point, and my recommendation was mixed and based on experience level. Last week I purchased my second pair of Godhands nippers.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tutorial: Scratched/damaged paint repair

While assembling my Sazabi ver Ka I accidentally scratched the paint and ruined a decal on one of the prominent chest pieces. This is the process that I followed to completely remediate the damage.



This image isn't the clearest, but the decal and paint have been scratched off. The paint was scratched all of the way down to the plastic around the edge where the decal used to be. 

Preparation: 

To repair this area there are a few considerations I had to take into account:

  • The damaged decal and the matching decal on the other side needed to be removed and replaced. 
  • The topcoat and paint in the effected areas needed to be leveled for a consistent finish.
  • I want to keep the two decals that are situated near the median of the part.
I also needed a few tools and materials on hand

  • Masking tape
  • High Grit (2000) sand paper
  • Color matched paint
  • Airbrush
  • Decals
  • Topcoat
Hit the bump for the full tutorial process!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Google Plus Reminder


This is just a reminder that if you want to stay current, or if you're bored from waiting for me to get new content together, then you should check out my Google Plus feed! I post frequent project updates, wips, and behind the scenes shots that aren't really blog worthy material. Google Plus is also the best way to ask me questions that you might have about your projects.

Monday, August 1, 2016

1/72 Y-Wing


Just like with my previous Star Wars model kits I won't claim that this kit is an accurate representation of any of the filming models of Gold Leader. My Goal with this build was to create a model that fit the mental image I have cultivated for the craft over the last twenty-some-odd-years of watching Star Wars I painted the Bandai Y-Wing almost immediately after the X-Wing. I still had a lot of the light greyish white color used on the fuselage. 

For those not in the know, let me fill you in a little bit using a modernish comparison if the X-Wing is like an F-15 air superiority fighter, than the Y-Wing is like an A-10 Warthog; durable, well armed and slow. While the X-Wing will always be my favorite rebel fighter from the movies, I do prefer the Y-wing to the oddly designed B-Wing. 

Like the X-wing I used a variety of techniques including pre-shading, post shading, filters, and chipping. Overall the weathering is less dramatic than the X-Wing; but that's not surprising considering all of the "happy accidents" that occurred during that build. 



Sunday, July 24, 2016

1/72 X-Wing


Introduction:


Full disclosure, lightsaber and blaster fights are awesome, but the dog fighting and space battle scenes have always been my favorite action set pieces from the Star Wars franchise. Many of these scenes are what inspired me to get into modeling in the first place. 


Like my prior Star Wars models I definitely won't claim that this kit is accurate to the movie models, but it absolutely fits the mental image I have of the fighter. 


Overall this wasn't a bad build. there were a few issues that popped up along the way. The biggest being the upper fuselage snapped at the thinnest point by the cockpit. Despite fixing this multiple times it continues to snap and I ultimately decided to leave it. I also mentioned in an earlier post that this kit was accidentally splashed with rubbing alcohol.


If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime!

 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

MG Sazabi ver ka WIP

If you have been following along on Google + you have probably seen most of these photos before. However here is a bit of insight into the work I have done to the Sazabi ver ka.


Here's the mostly built Sazabi before I started any work. You may notice that the handle to the beam shot rifle has broken away from the rest of the rifle. I'll end up fixing this down the road.


This is an early photo of the first parts I started working on. You may notice that the crotch armor (upper left hand corner) has a vent cut into the front of the armor. I later plugged and filled this hole.


I'm very pleased with the way the feet turned out. The center thruster detail was added using two sets of Kotobukiya parts, and didn't require and glue or permanent modification to the base kit. In otherwordsmi can very easily revert this modification if I want.


Using my digital calipers for measuring and my BMC chisel for scribing I added depth to existing seams and panel lines, and carved new ones. Any mistakes that were made during this process were fixed using baby powder and superglue. I also partially drilled holes in several places for additional sunken details. I may file these with BBs or detail parts later.


I craved out chunks of the shoulder armor to reveal more of the detail hidden below. I'm currently contemplating what type of detail I should add to the top section of the armor closest to the torso.



This is a bit of detailing I built out of pla plate and rods for the crotch armor. It also covers that hole and patching previously made by the vent I cut into the top. I'm not sure if I will include this detail on the final,build, or if I will go with a lower profile piece instead.



Here's how the torso looked a few nights ago. I added some detailing to the beam cannon on the waist. I drilled out and inserted a rod into the center of the cannon to look like the barrel of the beam cannon. I also have a collar that will be inserted around this rode for extra detail.

I wasn't happy with how the notched detail on the "beak" part of the chest looked after first installing it. I eventually filed it down so that it's slightly recessed behind the upper part of the "beak".


I'm happy with how the head looks out of the box, so aside from rescribing some of the shallower panel lines, I will leave the head alone.


The strips added to the sides and back of the waist will be layered slightly more to add dimension.


Here you can see ther several sets of panel lines scribed into the shoulder armor. The more outboard "lightning bolt" looking scribe is the one I will keep. The other was filled with a mix of baby powder and superglue. Here I'm using primer to check how well the filler worked, and where I need to spend more time.


And it turns out that it isn't half bad. I will need to clear a bit of the primer out of the panel line I made, and do a bit of clean up.

Monday, July 11, 2016

1/72 Star Wars Red Five and Gold Leader WIP

I've been working on these two models for about two weeks now. Each has presented a few challenges and opportunities for learning. Take a look at the photos and comments below.


This is the first image that I shared, at this stage in the process I had painted the entire kit with a mixture of black, dark blue and smoke grey as a base shading layer. 


After the shading layer a mixture of white and grey was painted somewhat inconsistently over the entire model to create a base color. 


Monday, July 4, 2016

Updates on Google Plus



This is just a reminder that if you want to stay current, or if you're bored from waiting for me to get new content together, then you should check out my Google Plus feed! I post frequent project updates, wips, and behind the scenes shots that aren't really blog worthy material. Google Plus is also the best way to ask me questions that you might have about your projects.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Liger Zero Schneider (attempt 2)


Introduction:

 If you have been following along on the blog since at least the beginning of the year, you might be aware that after finishing the Liger Zero Schneider commission it got lost in the mail on the way back to it's owner. I'm not the type of person to leave someone twisting in the wind; so I offered to completed another one. This is the second part of this replacement commission; the first part for the basic Liger Zero was posted a few weeks back here.

Kit talk:

Like the prior version I was asked to apply a coat of desert weathering. I used Vallejo's acrylic black paint and a stout brush to add chipping throughout the design along the hard edges and corners of the kit. I greatly prefer how the chipping appears on this version over the last and there are plenty of photos capturing the chipping effect in the details section below. Unlike the first Schneider this version was painted with a slight darker orange color, I'd describe it as being less of a traffic cone orange and more of a hazardous orange. 

I also added Vallejo washes of dark gray and desert dust before brushing Tamiya's Desert Modeling Masters onto the kit. The modeling masters is excellent at highlighting hard edges, but the clear coat is good and tempering and blending the effect into a more realistic appearance.



If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

Hit the bump for the full photo gallery!

Otaku Empire Albany NY

Nestled in the 1st floor of Crossgates mall somewhere between the Bestbuy and the Apple store is a new store I heard about from user: u/Mega_Manatee on r/gunpla. I wasn't in Albany NY for long and I didn't have too much time to poke around the store but I did have an opportunity to speak with Adam the owner and to take a few photos.



Before you walk into the space you will notice the two display cabinets on either side of the door. All of the kits contained within were basic straight builds.


Click to enlarge for the full panoramic 

Overall the store isn't very large, by my estimate It's probably a 35 x 50 ft space. More than half of the shelf space was full of Gunpla. Most series were represented and there was a good mix of MG, HG, RG, RE 1/100, SD kits as well as stands and builder parts HD packs. I didn't see any PG kits while I was in store, but apparently the day before the store was crammed so it's entirely possible that they were simply sold out. There also was a shelf full of non-gundam kits like Evangelion and Kamen Rider.


Here are a few things that stood out to me while I was in the store:
  • They had a good variety of models. Super Deformed, High grade, Real Grades, Master Grade, Perfect Grade, No-Grade kits. RE 1/100, stands and Gundam weapon kits. It was also nice to see some Kotobukiya kits on the shelves.
  • The kits in stock are a nice mix of old, new and different series and they included very recent releases. The HG prices are competitive with other brick and mortar stores. On average the HG kits I saw were only about $1-2 more than the prices listed on Amazon. 

  • In the future I hope their staff paints, modifies, etc, models in the display cabinets. Gunpla and modeling in general is a highly creative hobby and I think it's  encouraging to show that aspect of the hobby off. 

  • There's also an online shop associated with the physical store: http://www.otakuempirestore.com/ The website still appears to be under construction and the paid membership plan might need some revision overtime.
  • I hope they consider carrying a limited selection of Tamiya or Mr.Hobby paint in the future. Now that Hobby Town USA in Colonie Central is out of business I'm not sure where or if I can buy model paints in Albany anymore.



Monday, May 30, 2016

HMM Liger Zero


Introduction:

If you have been following along on the blog since at least the beginning of the year, you might be aware that after finishing the Liger Zero Schneider commission it got lost in the mail on the way back to it's owner. I'm not the type of person to leave someone twisting in the wind; so I offered to completed another one. This is the first part of this replacement commission; the second part will include the Schneider parts.

Kit talk:

Hopefully the most striking aspect of this kit is the weathering applied throughout the kit. Like the prior version I was asked to apply a coat of desert weathering. Unlike the last kit I decided to use Vallejo's acrylic black paint to add chipping throughout the design along the hard edges and corners of the kit. I also added Vallejo washes of dark gray and desert dust  before brushing Tamiya's Desert Modeling Masters  Like the last design I used a hand brush to paint all of the silver bolt details on the legs and chest.

After building the Schneider version of the Liger, the basic Liger Zero is pretty threadbare. If I were to purchase a Liger of my own I think I would need one of the armor sets (panzer) to hold my interest. fortunately you can purchase each of the armor sets individually instead of having to purchase 4 Liger Zeros to complete the collection. I wish Bandai would do this with some of there normal releases (I'm looking at you P-Bandai HG Barbatos complete set).





If you like my work and you want to help support me, then consider purchasing from the Amazon links on my blog or by clicking this link. Every purchase you make helps me out tremendously and it doesn't cost you a dime!

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MG Exia R2


Intro:

The Master Grade Repair 2 or R2 version of the Exia is a P-Bandai release from mid 2014. That being said this model has been out of production for a while. Despite this, the model is still fairly easy to find, but keep in mind you're likely going to pay about twice as much as the basic The MG Exia is one of my favorite Master Grade kits due to it's simple design, interesting internal frame and assorted melee weapons. The R2 version of this kit is much more subdued as it lacks most of the weapons, and most of the purple holographic GN cables. 




If you like my work and would like to help me out, consider purchasing this and other kits from Amazon using this link or others featured on my site. Every purchase helps me out considerably and it doesn't cost you a dime! 

Hit the bump for the full photo shoot


Details:


With this version of the Exia I opted to mask and paint a few gray swatches like white semi circles around the central core, and the rectangular portions on the fore arms. 





The left knee and shoulder feature the only two unique decals on this kit. Both are fairly plain. Both feature the new model number: GN001RII.



Hit the bump for the full photo shoot.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dan's Crafts and Things Rochester NY


While visiting family up in Rochester NY I had a few minutes to slip away and check out a popular local Hobby store Dan's Crafts and Things (no relation!). The shop is located just off 590 in the eastern part of Rochester NY. 



Late Friday night I checked out their website. I was pleasantly surprised that they have started to carry Gunpla. So, I decided to make a point of stopping Saturday to check it out. When I arrived I had a quick conversation with one of the owners named John to ensure I had permission to photographed inside of the store.  




A few things stood out to me when I started looking over the Gunpla inside of the store:


  • The Gunpla was really easy to find. It's almost the first display you see as you enter the building.
  • They had a good variety of models. Super Deformed, High grade, Real Grades, Master Grade, Perfect Grade, No-Grade kits. RE 1/100, stands and Gundam weapon kits. Most of the kits are out on the floor, there were a few of the larger MGs and PGs behind the main checkout.

  • The kits in stock are a nice mix of old, new and different series and they included very recent releases. They had plenty of models from IBO, and the two of the new HG's released from April 2016 the HG Waff, & HG Gouf Revive. 

  • The HG prices are competitive with other brick and mortar stores. On average the HG kits I saw were only about $1-2 more than the prices listed on Amazon. Dan's also currently has a PG Astray for sale for $179.99; I'm fairly sure this is the cheapest I've seen this kit.

  • Some of the prices of the MGs and RGs could use a bit of work. Based on what I saw most of the RGs are $3-5 more and MGs are priced $7-10 more than some of the brick and mortar shops I'm aware of (Hobby Town & Gundam Planet).  
  • There weren't any completed Gunpla models on display that I saw. In the future I hope their staff completes a few display models. The colorful and outlandish designs can really attract people and get them interested. 
I really appreciate being able to walk into a store look at a large selection of kits and just browse.It's also a wonderful way to meet other Gunpla builders, or encourage newbies to dive in. I regret that I don't have a brick and mortar shop like this near where I live!

Dan's Crafts and Things is easily the largest independently operated hobby shop I've ever been in. The store employs a large staff and everyone I spoke with was polite and knowledgeable. 

Due to some of the things recommended above I recommend researching prices before committing to a purchase.

If you live in Rochester you are probably already aware of Dan's Crafts and Things . But, if you're new to the area or live outside of Rochester you should take the time to check the store out. They carry a wide variety of models and hobbies outside of Gunpla and all of the tools and paint that you might need. You can find this store's website, address and contact information here.

Just like; Garbage plates and Bill Gray's I'll probably make Dan's part of normal routine when visiting Rochester in the future. 

Additional Photos:




They passed the most important test. Ball is love. Ball is life.