After what has been easily the longest WIP of my entire time building gunpla, I can finally say that the PG Wing Zero Custom is finally finished. This was actually the first PG kit I ever bought as preparation for the PG Astray Red Frame when that model was getting ready to come out (guess what I’m going to try to finish next) and I stormed through straightbuilding it, though I didn’t even put up solid WIP/frame detail pictures until a little over a year later. Hell, there weren’t even very many pictures of the stock kit save for a few random pictures:
You can read the WIP posts here (though they’re very old):
The kit sat on the shelf with Red Frame and while I had always meant to do a page for it it’s one of those things that just never materialized for it. I knew this kit had potential to be something really special but I had to find the right way to unlock it. The kit had it’s quirks like the wings being a bit too unstable and some issues that could easily be fixed with some new parts but I was still missing that critical flash of inspiration.
It hit me dead in the middle of working on Strike Freedom last year just before the Gauntlet of the Apocalypse group build started. LEDs were going to be this thing’s claim to fame. I had been playing around with them for lighting up Strike Freedom’s head with something other than the stock yellow LED and I just wound up picking up some green and yellow LEDs to see what else I could do with them. When they fit in to Wing Zero’s Buster Rifle I started to formulate a plan of attack.
Unfortunately when I was working on the modifications to accommodate the LEDs I was very often in the zone and neglected to take pictures of what I did. Still, adding LEDs to the arms was fairly easy since I just had to carve away some space on one of the frame parts and then run the wires through the frame. I bought some more LEDs from modeltrainsoftware and set to work on figuring out how to handle the rest of the kit. I was also pleased with how the green was a different shade than the stock lights as that gave my Wing Zero yet another thing that set it apart from other kits. For the rifle I had originally set it up using LEDs from radioshack and wire that was entirely too thick for working on the inside of a model kit- the damage I did to the first set of rifle halves was catastrophic and I actually had to get new parts to try it again with the LEDs from modeltrain which is what is pictured above and definitely much cleaner than my initial attempt.
Not satisfied with just making the rifle and arms light up, I wanted to give this kit something special. The wings were entirely uninteresting on their own, just big hunks of plastic with rubber feathers coming off of them and so I decided to make an effort to recreate the exhaust coming off of the wings when Wing Zero activates for the first time in the OVA. I had to cut away some space on the edge of the wings but thankfully the spine that the feathers attached to was perfect for running the wires up through. After getting them up to the tip of the wing I cut out some more plastic so I could take the wires and move them through the pegs that the wings attached to and get them in to the backpack while keeping the amount of exposed wire to a minimum.
The wing LEDs are cool white @ 3mm, while the LEDs in the head and chest are green 3mm LEDs. I had originally used 3mm LEDs for the arms but switched to 1.8mm LEDs since they fit in under the green part much easier. The rifles are 1.8mm green LEDs for the scopes and 3mm yellow LEDs for the barrels and if you look you can see that the scope and barrel parts had to be glued on due to the fact that what those parts attach to had to be cut away and opened up to allow for the light to shine. While I had originally planned on making it so the rifles each had their own source of power for each half I wound up scrapping that idea and opting to just wire them up to the arm LEDs and keep it simple.
The kit was originally powered by two CR1220 batteries but as you can see here the glow is really dim with them powering all 18 lights. It was nice not to have any extra wires coming off of the kit but there was also no way that batteries were going to last very long. So I pulled up Danny Choo’s guide to making PG kits USB powered and confirmed that it was as easy as I had suspected. After stripping the ends off of a USB cable I pulled the red and black wires from that (If you do this you can just clip the green and white wires so they aren’t visible- they’re completely unneeded) and attached them to the red and black leads of the LED lights and…
Yeah. Now that’s more like it! The kit can be powered by anything with a USB plug, be it a wall outlet, PS3, Xbox, laptop..ect. These LEDs also already come with resistors in them, as well as the voltage from USB power only being 5V. As for the kit’s paintjob, I decided to go with a very simple black and white scheme to keep the focus on the LEDs and the light cast off by them.
I wish I had take more pictures of it in different poses but you know how it is with these extremely involved builds, protecting the wiring of the kit and general integrity comes before anything else (plus, I don’t have a stand for it yet so that cuts what you can do it it drastically). Regardless, the pictures turned out plenty nice! I learned a lot from this build and it’s very likely you see at least one more kit with heavy LED usage though it’s a little further down on my list of kits to get to. Still, it should look even more impressive than Wing Zero does once it’s done. More on that as it develops though…