Sunday, June 25, 2017

HG Origin Guncannon First Type


After a large project like the MG FA-78 I like to unwind by building a smaller kit. It's how I keep up my momentum as a builder and stay motivated to build future projects. A few weeks ago one of my nephews helped me to build and assemble this kit. When I pulled it off of the shelf on Tuesday it only need a bit of touch up sanding and seam removal before painting it.

This is also the very last kit I purchased from Modelgrade before they closed up shop.

Mobile suit History:

The following is my own fictional history of this series of mobile suit and should not be considered cannon. If you like this section please let me know and I may include more like it in future works.

Despite the lackluster performance of the Guncannon during its inaugural battle at Von Braun, this mobile site saw widespread deployment throughout the federation shortly after. Officially the Earth Federation indicated that too many resources had been dedicated to the development of the design to simply scrape the project. Rumors abound that lobbying efforts by Anaheim Electronics had hand in the decision.

Early production models of the Guncannon were identical to the models used during the battle of Von Braun. However, as production churned on: enhancements, modification and adjustments to the design were made based on collected battle data and observations by Anaheim Electronics technicians and consultants stationed aboard Federation vessels. A substantial modification made during the production run replaced the three pronged pincer like hands with articulated humanoid type manipulators. The pincer manipulators struggled to manage the recoil from the mobile suit's rifle. The humanoid manipulators also provided a Guncannon with the ability to provide a swift punch to a enemy attempting to close for melee combat.

The early operators of the Guncannon were mainly veteran RB-78 Ball pilots, and the reassignment to the more heavily armed and armored Guncannon was generally perceived as an upgrade. Many pilots quickly adapted to the new mobile suit thanks in part to very similar cockpit layouts and control configurations.

Guncannons were mostly used to fill the role of mid-range fire support in fleet formations or used to outflank or ambush Zeon vessels. Rarely were Guncannons encouraged to engage the more maneuverable Zaku 1 in one on one combat. Variants of the Guncannon would serve throughout the Federation prior to and following the One Year War on many battle fronts. The last few Guncannons still in operation were phased out of front line service around the time the Titans started to dominate the hierarchy of the federation.

Kit Talk:

I've never really cared for the design of the original RX-77 Guncannon or any of it's derivatives very much. The designs strike me as being very simple and lacking the mechanical design that I really appreciate. Fortunately this version has some great detail.

Early on I decided to that the stock color scheme of the early type model wasn't really doing it for me. Same goes for the 'arcade claw machine' style of hands. I used a set of builders parts HD hands and used the ball joint from the stock hands to ensure that they would fit the socket. If I had the chance I would have preferred to have a matching set of shoulder cannons similar to the RX-77.

I opted to push more color separation into the kit through the grey armor panels on the legs, arms and backpack. If I were to paint the kit again I might have chosen a RG style of color separation with different shades of red.

There are a few seam lines across the kit that needed to be filled and a few seam lines that needed to be re-scribed. Despite these minor fixes, the basic kit is really nice and should not be overlooked.

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!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Mg FA-78 Thunderbolt sector Gundam


This is one of those kits that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to build (even after buying it). But after seeing completed kits by Saintism & Holocause I knew that I had to build it. The FA-78 Full Armor Gundam (Thunderbolt ver.) is a redesign of the FA-78-1. This version was designed to handle the extremely hostile environment of the Thunderbolt Sector, an area full of debris, electrical discharges and Zeon sniper.

This sizable build took me a little over a month of building on an off to complete. 

Kit Talk:

Overall this kit was a pretty decent build. I know a lot of people make a big deal about the 'trash bag' joint covers, however I had no problem applying them and I think that they look pretty decent. A nice benefit of using these covers is that you don't need to paint much of the inner frame.

I worked with a mostly stock color scheme. Unlike 99% of my Gundam based builds, I tinted the color of the white with a pinch of blue and grey to give it a slightly cooler, and darker look to complement the toned down de-saturated look of the other colors.

This kit was designed with stability in mind. The arm and shoulder joints are very tight, and the waist is locked upright. This was required due to the weight of the arm mounted weapons and backpack. This kit is also a bit of a brick. While not as bad as the Full Armor Unicorn, it's not much better either. The included stand doesn't improve the situation much either as the action base connector tends to fall out of both points of connection. I found on my model that the shoulder joint was very stiff unwilling to move. These kits have a bit of a reputation for the shoulder joint breaking, so I didn't force the arm for fear of breaking it. 

Like the MG Gelgoog 2.0 I posted a few weeks ago, I really hated having to cover the kit up with the external armor. I really like the design of the basic Gundam. Unfortunately the process of applying the armor causes irreparable damage to the decals and paint below.

A nice feature of this kit is that Bandai provides decals for both the Manga and Anime versions of the model. My version utilizes the Anime version decals which use a large blocky militaristic font. The Mange version is a more classical serif style font.

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!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hobby Knives

A good hobby knife is an essential part of just about any modelers tool box. We use them for: nub clean up, masking, decals, weathering panel line scribing and more. In my opinion it's important to understand what options are available and which knife should be used with each task.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated, sponsored by or have any connections to any hobby tool manufacturer or reseller. The statements made below are strictly my opinions based on my experience as a modeler.

The classic Xacto #11 light duty hobby knife with X-life blades

In the US I can't think of a more widely used or iconic hobby knife than the classic #11. Until December of 2016 this style of knife was my primary knife choice for most hobby applications. Handles come in a variety of different shapes sizes and colors, and the blue oxidized carbon steel blades are extremely sharp and have decent edge retention.

The good:
  • A good general purpose knife. If I could only own one hobby knife this would be it.
  • A sharp blade is usually good for one full HG kit
  • The long fine point of this blade makes masking in tight places a breeze
  • Large packs of replacement blades are widely available an inexpensive
The bad:
  • The blade is not "locked" into the handle and I have somewhat frequent experience with the blade becoming loose to the point where it could fall out from the handle.
  • The thin point of the knife is prone to snapping.
Things to consider:
  • Handles come in many different shapes and sizes pick one that feels good in your hand. The standard silver metal handle is slightly too narrow for my large hands for example.
  • The #11 handle can be used with other styles of blades.

Precision Hobby Knife by Olfa

This is the style of knife that replaced my #11 xacto for just about all nub removal duties. The shape of the blade provides a better cutting angle and requires less force to cut through the plastic than the traditional #11 blade. Another benefit of the shorter blade length is that I have significantly reduce the incidents of accidentally cutting myself.

The good:
  • The best choice for removing nubs of all sizes.
  • Good edge retention, equal to the #11
  • Despite having blades that are .05 mm thinner on average that the #11, they feel much sturdier under compression. 
The bad:
  • The shorter cutting surface makes it a poorer choice when cutting masking tape or decals. 
Things to consider:
  • Like the X-acto #11 above the handles come in many different shapes and sizes pick one that feels good in your hand. Olfa manufactures some of the Tamiya branded hobby knives too. Due to the parallelogram shape of the blades, this style of knife tends to have a wider handle than the Xacto knives do.  

Snap off blade aka: Asuka's progressive knife

As a young teenager back in the bygone era of 2000 I used a knife like this to cut nubs off of kits. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, nor did I have access to the internet resources that we have today. It's unsurprising that many of the models I built were junk, considering I was using a tool like this.

The good:
  • Great for opening boxes, breaking down boxes or cutting tape.

The bad:  
  • Generally the blades on these knife are inferior both in sharpness and edge retention to the hobby knives listed above. 
  • The ergonomics of these types of knives are generally poor for long modeling sessions.
Things to Consider:
  • We use tools to make problems easier to solve. For a given problem there usually exists an "ideal tool". Learning to use a certain tool in a certain situation is a skill we spend most of our lives learning and scale modeling is no exception.
What are your preferences for hobby knives? Did I miss a blade type that you swear is the best solution? If so, please leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Patron Commission Contest!

At the start of this month I launched my Patreon page. To celebrate this new beginning I am going to host a commission contest for my Patrons.

Support me on Patreon by clicking this link!

How it works:

Anyone who has pledged, or will pledge before July 1st 2017 is entered to for a chance to win.

Every dollar pledged equates to one "ticket" and each ticket is one chance to win.

High Grade Patrons earn 1 ticket
Real Grade Patrons earn 5 tickets
Master Grade Patrons earn 15 tickets
Perfect Grade Patrons earn 50 tickets

For this contest to succeed at least 50 tickets submitted by the contest date.

A winner will be randomly be selected on July 2nd

This is a special limited time reward for one early contributor.


You get to select any 1/144 scale HG kit that costs up to 2500 yen, I'll build, paint, decal and detail it however you like!

Support me on Patreon by clicking this link!

Disclaimer: This is not a raffle, no tickets are being sold. Patrons that pledge are gaining access to the rewards listed on the Patreon website.