Tag Archives: Master Grade

The grandpa sprint!

Hi everyone! Welcome back. We’ve got a lot to update on today!

The Moon Gundam is done! You can see pictures of it and my thoughts about it over on it’s page! I wound up liking this kit a lot by the end of the build and have started reading the novel for it. It’s pretty enjoyable so far! I’m excited to see what happens as I get further in the story. It’s been a pretty long time since I read a Gundam series!

Longtime readers might recall my working on an RX-78-2 3.0 kit back around 2013! The initial concept for it was “Crimson Blitz” because I was listening to a song from the FF13: Lightning Returns soundtrack and just…really really liking it! Unfortunately, aside from painting the Gundam two shades of red in addition to the white I was never able to really come up with anything that made “Crimson Blitz” more than a moniker so I scrapped the idea and let the kit languish in my backlog.

It sat there for 7 years, and then I finally got a great idea for this thing. I got to work right after I finished up the Moon Gundam- the chest and arm parts were already cut out and a lot of the parts I had original intended to color red were already painted! Thankfully the coats were nice and light and I did the clean up properly all those years ago so there wasnt much to correct on those parts. I did some general surface prep (sanding with 800 and then 2000 grit sandpaper to make sure the surfaces were smooth) and got to work!

And I mean really got to work on it.

June 8th-June 16th WIP photos:

June 8th: Main body snapped together, all parts sanded. I’m getting in to the habit of just snap fitting my kits first to find out where there might be friction once things are painted and what gate marks will be visible on the final product.

June 9th: everything got primed! I’ve stopped priming pieces on at a time and instead now spray everything down by section. The general method is take the kit apart in sections and prime them still assembled. I break it down as such: the left arm/right arm, left/right shoulder, head, chest, waist, and left/right legs and the weapons. This stops me from putting too much paint on the undersides of parts or overspray making the kit harder to get apart/put together after painting. Priming the kits like this definitely feels much more efficient than doing everything individually.

June 10th-June 12th: Paint! Paint! and more paint! I had wanted to use this colorscheme on something for so long!! I love blues and purples together- it’s got such a nice feel to it, you know? Some of the parts were still drying and I needed to paint the gold for the arms and legs still….but I was able to test fit the waist together and oh my GOD I got so excited when I saw it all together. It really motivated me to get going on the gold parts so I could see this thing together.

June 13th-June 14th: Finished up the gold accent parts for the arms and legs and got the work done on the shield! The first pictures of this kit gloss coated turned out great!!

June 17th. You can see I took a day or two off from this thing to figure out the best way to bring the theme for this kit home. I flatcoated the kit with Mr. Color’s Super Smooth Clear paint and that flat top coat (used after a suggestion by Goodguydan) looks absolutely fantastic. This is definitely my go-to flat coat now and I’m stoked to pick up some gloss from the same line.

The ‘icing’ on the shield was done by mixing some Vallejo water effect mixed with some deep sky blue paint. I mixed it together it a little sandwich bag and then cut the tinest of corners off of it and squeezed it on to the shield. It’s not perfect but I think that’s one of the best things about it- it looks like it was iced like a pop tart! Perfect!

I felt very reminded of when I built, painted and decaled a master grade Banshee over the course of three days. It felt great to go on an absolute tear and rip right through building and painting this kit. The pictures are coming soon but I gotta flat coat the shield and get a few props for the pictures too. This kit came together so fast because I’m trying out this whole ‘hobby streak’ thing and we’re up to 13 whole days! The two day gap in the construction of the RX-78-2 was because, as you might’ve noticed, I picked up the MG Barbatos! The frame for that is all done and I definitely suggest following me over on Twitter to see that kit come together because I promise you it’s going to be one for the ages. 🙂

This kit was the first time I tried using a blend of shading techniques different from the ones I used for the Miria Rex (I haven’t forgotten about it, but I want it to be truly finished when I take pictures of it and that means YOU ALL GET TO WAIT FOR THE FINAL TOUCHES! and I have no idea when I’m gonna get around to that) and oh man, I’m so beyond sold. I don’t think I can go back to painting kits the way I used to, literally ever. The mixture of using preshading, MAX, and Saint-ism‘s technique of adding white to colors turned out some truly wonderful results. The blue and white parts are far and away my favorites to look at. Nazca blue fog white as the preshade color and nazca’s steel white over that will be the combo I use for almost any whit eon a mobile suit going forward. I could see myself picking up some of the warm gray as well! I’m really excited about the next project that I do where I get to use and refine these skills even more!

There are still a good number of things coming to the blog soon and I’m excited to tell everyone about them! Please be patient while I get all the ducks in a row but it’s gonna be pretty cool, especially if you’re a fan of my work!

‘Til next time!

MG Wing ver. EW ver. Ka?!

Doubt there are many of us who saw this coming, but..

I’m actually really excited about it! I think I’ve interacted with just about every major kit of the Wing Zero Bandai has released save for some special coating versions or a p-bandai release here and there.

Why not recap all of those kits and how I feel about them?

MG Wing ver. Ka/Wing Zero Custom/ver. EW: Released in 2004 (2011 for the EW, but it’s the same as the ver. Ka), this kit doesn’t even have tabbed hands that debuted in 2005. The surface of the is fairly bland and the wings while better than other versions both still fall short for me. Neither of these kits are able to hold their iconic weapons very well at all either. While the Custom comes with a stand, the Ver. Ka doesn’t and that kit is so backheavy you have to rely on the wings touching the ground for the kit to stand up properly. Not bad for it’s time period but compared to a real grade, I feel like these kits are just too old to keep up with what modern builders would want out of a kit.

MG Wing Zero Proto: 2013 saw a new pseudo-TV version of wing zero come out. The hips and legs got a fair redesign that gives it mobility on par with modern MG kits, but it still feels a little lacking in the detail department. I still really like this kit and definitely have some ideas for it as I’ve got two of them in the backlog. Definitely one of the better Wing Zero kits to come out but also doesn’t have the shelf presence of the Wing Zero Custom. The frame is rock solid and it comes with a stand so there really isn’t much here to not like, aside from the fact that it’s not the “true” TV version of Wing Zero. Still nice of Bandai to toss fans of that version a bone with this design, I’ll take it.

HGAC Wing Zero Custom/HGBF Wing Zero Honoo: A beautiful little 2014 update to the kit from the 90s. I think this might actually be the best version of the Wing Zero that a lot of us grew up with right now. It feels very animation accurate and is a simple and enjoyable build. The parts/color separation here is definitely notable when compared to what you got back in the day. Nothing fancy and no real bells and whistles here, just a rock solid 17$ high grade. This is the most recent Wing Zero I’ve built! The HGBF Honoo kit is basically the same, but with a little more style since it has all those cool clear parts and is generally pointy and red. Plus it’s got big stupid swords. Who doesn’t love that?

PG Wing Zero: Picture your most disappointing christmas and birthday. Feed them the enimga of combination, smash them together and you’ll end up with this pile sitting in front of you. Holy cow, I hate this fucking thing. The PG Wing Zero came out in 2000 and feels every bit of 20 years old and then some. Even as my first perfect grade kit back in 2010 this kit managed to horribly underwhelm and disappoint me. First off, considering the era it released in: where are the open hatches? The UC suits both before and after this had them, what the hell? The inner frame for this kit is weirdly skinny in comparison to other kits but it’s explained in one of the manuals that this is the “Zero Frame”, which allows the gundam to operate even without it’s armaments or equipment. So…I ask again, where the hell are the open hatches? The frame detail on display with this kit really isn’t bad- in fact it might be the most detailed thing about this kit! Why have this be the one kit at the time without a silly hatch open gimmick?!

Since there’s no open hatch gimmick to create separation between sections or panel lines and the Wing Zero was already a very simply designed mobile suit this kit is also boring as all get out to look at. There’s very little panel lines to fill in and the parts are all very large. It’s like Bandai found a way to compress a yawn in to a plastic bead and then used that to create the runners for this kit. The main wings are composed of a grand total of 18 parts with ZERO separation or movement on anything other than the rubber feathers. The rear wings are around 20 pieces total and are just as lacking in terms of posing ability and detail. At least they have a small extension gimmick but good lord this kit has what I’d consider the worst wings on a Wing Zero bar none. Don’t worry though, the buster rifle (the only weapon Wing Zero had at this time aside from beam sabers) is boring as all get out too! Again: This is a perfect grade kit and this is the only weapon it has! The twin buster rifle is a pretty notable weapon in the gundam universe if you ask me and it’s a bummer that the PG representation of it is just as boring as the rest of the kit. As if anyone who bought this kit (yes, I’m talking about myself here) needed one more extra flaming “fuck you”, this thing doesn’t even have a stand. All of Wing Zero’s memorable poses and moments from the OVA are all in the air, why would you not give the damn thing a stand? This is still something I think Bandai is blowing it big on- PG kits like the Aile/Perfect/Rouge Strike, Strike Freedom, Unicorn and some versions of the 00 all came with a stand for them but Bandai has yet to make any sort of 1/60 action base. It just adds insult to injury with this kit, unfortunately.

Seriously, this is one of the worst most underwhelming lackluster gimmick free gunpla kits. Avoid it at all costs unless you’ve got some ambitious plans for it.

Hi-Resolution Model Wing Zero Custom: First off, I went in to this kit fully prepared to be like “no way, everyone is nuts, this kit isn’t that bad”. I was wrong, it is in fact that bad. At first test fit I wasn’t having too many problems. Then I made the worst mistake of all: putting it together. I think the very first day I’d had it fully assembled one of the hip joints cracked. To put that in to perspective, that was after I’d taken the pre-assembled frame apart, primed and painted it and then put it back together making so very sure to not over-tighten the screw in said hip joint. I didn’t have quite so many issues with pieces falling off of the kit but I did find the whole thing to be pretty fiddley and once again, the kit is entirely incapable of replicating the climactic moment when Heero blasts the MF bunker. This kit did give us a neo-bird mode and shield for the WZC, which I appreciate- finally, something to help this gundam feel like it could actually fight in a battle instead of just showing up for the last 30-40 minutes of an OVA. I adore the aesthetics of this kit though think this is the best looking official version of Wing Zero out there. The HiRM Wing ver. EW (with the original ‘ver ka.’ design) appears to have a better reputation than the Custom and I’d imagine there are a couple reasons for that. First, no fiddly angel wings. The front wings here have 2 or 3 sliding parts, feathers that move, and all of that is on a hinge with two points of articulation that links it up to the topmost part of the wing and the wing joint that connects to the backpack. It’s great for posing but it means things are going to do a lot of shaking and wiggling and thanks to the hinge for the wing, sagging. Even with paint on the joint and hinge the wings would stay in raised up poses. The back wings did what they needed to do well but usually popped out of their sockets and weren’t very tight either though. The ver. EW version has more traditional mechanical wings, eliminating all of these terrible pain points. The weapons are similarly improved- the Custom has to tab the TBR in to it’s hands and rely on the wrist and elbow joints to support the weight. They cannot. The ver. EW on the other hand has a tab for the hand and a section on the rifle that attaches to the wrist, enabling the kit to actually extend and point the weapon. Honestly the ver. EW just being more mechanical and less form over function in nature works greatly to it’s benefit. Even after my sour experience with this kit, I still want to build and paint the EW version.

That brings us to the newly announced Wing Zero ver Ka. I understand the disappointment for fans of the Zeta, G-self, or any other kit that wasn’t a Katoki design getting the treatment. I hope in time we get those, like how we eventually got the V2 or The O. I’m still really excited for this new version of Wing Zero- maybe this will finally be the kit I’ve been looking for to represent one of my favorite mobile suits! I’m very hopeful that we’ll see entirely new molds and gimmicks (neo-bird mode and the rifle being stored in the wing binders have already been confirmed) and some of the Wing Zero’s new equipment: the Drei Zwerg, Neue Zwerg and the Seraphim Binder. None of that is confirmed at all but honestly I think it feels inevitable that we see a p-bandai expansion set or a few variants that will eventually encompass all of the new armaments.

I’m already cooking up ideas for what I’m going to do with this kit. It’s going to be fun as more information is revealed to us in the coming months!

What do you think? Do you already have plans for this, or is this a big pass for you?

Let there be light! WIP 3

The legs hands down required the most work to get everything working right. In fact, it’s also likely that I’ll have to do a little work to properly integrate the wires in to the frame so they aren’t showing and don’t get caught in the moving parts of the legs but that’s going to be some very minimal work. Let’s get to business.

Starting with the thigh, there had to be a pretty decent amount of space cut out here from what I had originally planned on. This area uses a 1.8mm LED versus the chip-sized LEDs I used for the majority of the kit with a second one back one the other side of the thigh. There’s a small issue where the 1.8mm LED’s wires interfere with the way the leg connects to the waist so that’s something I’ll have to work out before I put it together for the last time, likely by hacking off more plastic at the top of the thigh part.

The knee needed some trimming out to make room for the wires, as well as shaving down the top of the K22 part so the wires definitely had room to clear the part when it moved around when the leg was put in to destroy mode. I also cut down the back of the B2/B4 parts to make sure that when they slide back in Unicorn mode the wires weren’t pinched by them.

To fit the LEDs under this part I had to carve out some space on the front and back of the B6/B7 parts for the wire to go through but thankfully there’s a little natural spot on both areas that the led fits with no problem or further modification at all.

Modifying the foot was also really easy to do, just cut off the supporting slat on the L9 part and the corrosponding parts on B18 as well and the LED will fit in there without any hassle.

As a bonus I’m going to cover the backpack because it was literally two holes in to the back of it and that’s it. Now, back to the legs we end up with our end result:

The wiring still needs to be properly contained and run through the inside of the leg instead of just going where ever the hell it wants on the outside but as you can see everything works as it should! As a kicker I managed to get all of the armor parts gloss coated yesterday so I can start the decaling process AND eventual flat coat over the parts before final assembly. Due to the way this whole thing is going together I’ll have to have the parts finished before I put everything together hence the change in process. Additionally, I bought myself the RG Strike Freedom while I was drunk and the Proto Zero and Sazabi ver. Ka will both be on the way in December. There’s also the RG GP-01 FB, the OVA Banshee, the OVA Unicorn, the Full Armor Unicorn, four Jestas, the 3.0 RX-78-2 and two Valkyries sitting in a very large intimidating tower near my bed. Maybe while I pony up the 105$ for the LEDs on this thing I can work on one of those since I just dropped 450$ on a plane ticket to Texas this December.

Next update will probably be about decals and maybe starting the GP-01 FB since I need custom decals made up for my Valkyries.

Let there be light! WIP 2

Time to get back on the path! The waist didn’t take too long to figure out and as such there really isn’t a whole lot to say about it.

It’s a bit tough to see the light while the skirt is closed in this picture but luckily it lends itself a bit better in person.

The light on the front part was pretty easy to get in there and glows nice and bright between the cracks.

I am still mulling over the side skirts. Keeping the lights mounted to the gold parts is probably the most secure way to go about attaching them but I feel like the light is a touch too low. If I attach them a little higher up to the actual green part that will light the area I’d like it to illuminate when it’s opened up with the tradeoff being I don’t know how it will look closed up like that. If I do decide to give that method a shot I’ve already figured out how I’m going to change the way I cut the H6 parts to make it so the lights can be stationary and the rest of the part will have an opening to fit them. Next post will be over the most involved part so far, the legs. I’ll also have the back skirts done up by then too so you’ll see that with it. I just did the math and checked how much it’ll cost to buy all the lights for this build and it came out to 40 chip LEDs and 15 1.8mm ones (because extra is always a good thing, just in case)…totalling just shy of a 105$.

And I want to do this build five more times? There must be something wrong with me.

Let there be light! The transforming Unicorn/Banshee Gundam project WIP 1

To those of you who have been following this blog for a time may recall the LED Full Armor Unicorn project I had been working on, which hit some snags and then fizzled out as I lost interest in working on it since I had to do a lot of rework when it came to the whites and light bleeding through the armor. I also stalled on a few other areas of the model and all in all the build stopped being fun so I shelved it.

Enter a re-release of one of the limited kits that I missed out on last year alongside hobbylink.tv’s playing with plamo contest. While the rules state that WIPs must be posted to the hobbylink website between time constraints and other things I’ve decided to forego entering the contest so I can share the WIP here. While I feel like this build did have to potential to at least place I just can’t justify rushing it to beat the deadline and my life is currently just too busy for me to focus entirely on this both time-wise and monetarily. I also worked on the Full Armor Unicorn alongside the Banshee since there were both areas that needed to be reworked and as the Banshee was for a contest, I wanted to use the Full Armor as a testbed for everything before I did it to the Banshee. Luckily I have fairly good intuition and while I only bumped in to something that didn’t work a few times I managed to come up with a solution pretty easily. The extra nice thing is that since all the Unicorn Gundam kits share the same frame doing this project multiple times for a truly impressive display piece won’t be too complicated now that the majority of the groundwork is handily solved.

Modifying the chest definitely required some of the most bold cutting since it’s the core of the kit and also has a lot of parts that move around on it and in general the way everything comes together means teh LED fit is going to be tight…but I managed to solve everything which was a big step over the Full Armor’s progress as I previously couldn’t find a way to get the lights under the A25 parts that fold up in Destroy mode. Unfortunately I have yet to take test pictures of the Banshee’s torso all lit up because I don’t have enough small chip LEDs anymore. I’ve been using the same few that I could find from the Unicorn build over and over while testing everything and because the wires on those particular LEDs are very thin I’ve had the majority of them break on me because they’ve been worked around so much. This does make me slightly concerned for when I have the entire kit together but it comes with the territory and most of the lights won’t be moving near the points where the wires connect to the light or will have some extra room to wiggle to hopefully prevent this. The one big mod to the chest area that isn’t done yet (because I need to order the part still) is the installation of a micro USB terminal (for power purposes) in the upper/lower area on the back of the chest near the M2/M3 part. I’ll have to cut out plastic on one of those parts as well as do a pair amount of destructive work to the psychoframe part underneath as well as make sure the terminal is properly sealed to prevent light from bleeding out of the space that I cut out for it.

Work here was fairly cut and dry and I opted to go with 4 LEDs to hopefully make the light across the part more even, which I think I managed to pull off. One thing that I really like about working on the Banshee versus the Full Armor is that the color of the Banshee makes LED work very easy since light bleedthrough is almost totally nonexistent. I will probably need to cut out some space where the shoulder connects to the main body for the wires to travel though but the goal is to join the LEDs from the arm and shoulders in to one set of wires and then run the two to the main nest in the chest to make sure there isn’t a lot of clutter caused by redundant wires running from the same area to the same place. In general the lights are a bit on the bright side right now but I find that primarily to be due to how it’s running 2-4 LEDs off of 3V whereas the final kit will be running somewhere in the range of 50-65 off of 5V (the max power USB will allow by default). This worked fairly well for my PG Wing Zero Custom (another project I intend to revisit…again) with it’s 25-30 LEDs so there shouldn’t be much problem here. I’ll be putting a little putty over where the lights sit to both hold them in place and so I can paint over them to properly hide them when someone is looking at the kit.

The arms posed a unique problem due to the way that everything comes together. All the parts here stack on top of each other and originally I had only done the first modification picture but realized before long that the LED was just a little too big to put the psychoframe part over without finding a way to make more room for it. Cutting the notch out of the J19 part was damn nerve-wrecking due to how little the margin for error is there but with a lot of patience everything turned out fine. When this area goes together for the final time the wires for the LEDs here (one in the front and one in the back) will go up through the J13/J15 area and up to the shoulder wires, where they’ll all run together and then go out to the chest.

The entirety of the frame is cut out, put together and ready for LED and all of the armor parts are painted except for the gold sections on the head and chest because I need to get some of teh Gaiacolor Star Bright Gold to use for them as Alclad II’s titanium gold just isn’t panning out. This is a good stopping point for now as it covers the majority of the work that had to be done to the upper body though. There are three areas on the legs left to figure out (the lowest section of the leg, the thruster area on the back of the leg and the foot) and there’s also the matter of the back of the waist but so far I haven’t even glanced at how I’m going to do that despite figuring out the rest of the waist. Another update with the rest of the work done so far will be coming soon and with any luck I’ll be plugging away on this more and more even if it’s just getting the Katoki decal hell stage out of the way which I’ll have to do before assembly as I want to flat coat the armor parts. I usually wait until the model is all together to flat coat things but due to the way this kit is being built I’ll have to have everything coated and sealed up before I go to put the armor over everything at the end.