I picked up a few HG Origin kits during the HLJ holiday sale. I'm planning on modifying just about everything I ordered staring with the:
HG Zaku 1 Sniper
I really like the design of the Zaku 1 Sniper. but as far as I can tell this model uses the ancient HG Zaku 1 as its base. I'm using the new HG Origin Zaku 1 as the base for this build and incorporating parts from the HG Sniper Yoenem Kirks custom into the design. That's not to say that I'm making Kirk's unit, rather this will just be a generic MS-05L unit.
The head of the Zaku sniper is radically different from the basic design and the head included with the HG Kirk's custom is substantially larger and can't be convincingly kit based. Instead I'm modifying the Origin version. I used a razor file to cut into the head in a few areas and then slowly filed away away the excess to center this gap.
I added the head vulcans by carefully drilling into the head with a pin vise. I started with a small bit at 90 degree angle to make a divot, then I entered from the front to drill the hole out. after I applied a bit of Tamiya thin cement to the drilled area to melt and level the plastic out. After that cured, a pla rod was inserted into the hole and glued into place. I drilled the pla rod out with a smaller drill bit to create the barrel for the vulcan cannons.
I have the antenna for the left backside of the head, but I want to mask and paint it before installing it on the head.
Versions of the Zaku 1 that survived until the later parts of the One Year War were refitted to have a differently chest armor. For this build that translated into including these polygon shapes and affixing them to the upper chest. This design also required cutting into the sides of the chest. I made the cuts slightly larger than needed to allow for some shoulder movement from the back chest joint. Despite the decreased range of motion the kit can still pull of a decent sniper pose.
The right knee cap of this model has been replace with bracing material to help stabilize the mobile suite while firing. I attached this piece after some trial and error. The knee joint needs to be filed down to accommodate the base of the brace that will be sitting over it.
I originally just tried to drill a hole straight through the front of the joint, and while it did work, it was also super janky.
The brace sits higher on the leg than I would like, but it is entirely functional.
The back pack is the easiest part of this conversion as the female holes on the backpack and torso line up. I used a chunk of sprue material to hold the piece together. It's super loose right now, but a dab of glue after painting will secure it permanently. I am using the Kirk's version of the back pack but I will modify it to exclude the additional barrel compartments. I'll probably add some greebles for good measure too.
At this point the physical modifications to this kit have been completed and only painting remains.