Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1/144 Gundam Portent Improvement Plans

I've been waiting to post something about this kit for a long time, so maybe I can spare a few minutes to share it here.

This kit was actually a Father's Day gift from my wife and kids. It was given to me accompanied by the Portent Flyer expansion kit.

I have finished building it in one day because it's only an HG and I wanted to improve on the kit a bit more since I am inspired by Gundam Build Fighters Series (I watch it with my kids who also got to love the show. They don't want the war-oriented Gundam series that much.)

Here's what I did:
Kotobukiya rivets, hatches and cylinders! I plan to put some in the kit.

Covering the stuff I don't want sprayed with topcoat. Used sticky tack and molded in with a toothpick.

"I can't see!"

The back of the ankle is just too plain. I should add something...

Rivets for my idea!

The left one is bare, the right one has the extra rivet piece. It was glued in with plastic cement.

Drilled some small holes on some places (left side leg) to add some interesting details in there. Shia (the pilot) will kill me for drilling holes on her beautiful mobile suit.

Originally wanted a small hole on the sides of the feet, but I changed my mind - rivet all the way!

More drilling on the arms!

More drilling on the bottom of the feet! I feel like a mole!

Next: Flat coat spray and color detailing!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Looking back at my MG RX-78-2 Ver. 3.0 build

Several years ago, when I was younger and didn't care much for the world, I always thought that the 1/100 Gundam X-Divider I made was already Master Grade. I thought the size was the gauge of this "grading system". I wasn't very much impressed by it, but I loved the build. It was the excitement of putting together very small pieces and slowly turning it into a poseable figure that really got me into plastic kits.

So every time I saw a MG kit, I always thought it was a simple build in a larger scale. But after research, I found out I was wrong. MG is more detailed than the No-Grade X-Divider I made before. In fact, it was more than twice the complexity of anything I had built before when it comes to Gundam. Kotobukiya's HMM not included.

So I decided to take the challenge of building an MG. What was all the fuss about with this grade of kit? I knew it was challenging, but will it be exciting to build?

I tried it out... My first MG build - The grandaddy of Gundams, the RX-78-2 Ver. 3.0!!!

That's the box, those are the first runners you'll be dealing with.

The first part is building the Core Fighter. Of course if you're planning to use the core block instead, feel free to skip the first part of the instructions. I didn't.

The built core fighter. I kinda mishandled the left wing, I think. It's become a floppy mess. :(

Tiny yellow vents! You don't need yellow paint to finish this kit!

So in MG, you rarely need to paint anything unless you want it to look super detailed, or if you want a customized design.
These foil stickers could be a pain in the a-- to place on those tiny elbow joint pieces!

Patience and holding your breathe helps!

Honestly, these foil stickers tarnished even before I finished the kit. So much for hard work!

Upper body done.

The amount of pieces for these legs alone may rival the parts count of  the simplest HG kit out there. But the color separation created after you finish it is reward enough.

The color separation I mentioned. Awesome!

Now going to the waist and crotch piece...

That yellow "V" piece is probably the smallest piece I've encountered with this kit. Don't sneeze and lose it, okay?

I need a clip for this one...

And a magnifying glass on a stand...

Moving on to test fit the parts...

Looks great!

Detaching parts again for panel lining. I used the GUNDAM MARKER Slushing Sumi-ire Pen (grey). 

This is what it looks like before clean up. I use either an alcohol-dipped cotton bud or an  eraser to clean up the excess.

Almost finished with the decals here...

Test shot of final kit. Just before I top coat it with matte...

From a side angle...

The back...

The shield...

Detached everything again for top coating. Funny how many times I assembled and disassembled this fella...

Stuck to the bottom of its own box via sticky tack and ready to be sprayed...

After spraying, it dulled the color a bit and removed the plastic luster. Just like I want it!

After finishing the kit, drink a cup of coffee! Good job! I've pat myself on the back and admired my creation.

So what do I think of Master Grades after this? It is awesome! If you find the HG kits boring, you can step up a few notches of complexity and jump in on the MG scale. You won't be bored. Hehe! Plus, it's great to see a very old design re-imagined into this ver 3.0. The amount of detail and attention given to this kit is mind-boggling. I wish Bandai will maintain this level of quality and detail on their MG kits. 

Coming up next...

The kit I've been eyeing for a very long time!

But I've already posted the finished Astray a few posts back. Hahaha! Weird.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I tried making a V-Fin from scratch one night...

I started off by cutting an "L" shape out of a runner. Now, V-fins aren't exactly 90 degrees in angle, but for the purpose of my experiment, I made that decision.

I started shaving bits of it with my knife... 

Then shaved of some more...

Then finished it off with a hobby file and a bit of sanding... 

And... it works! Eureka!!! Maybe I can add the missing V-Fin on my reconstructed HG Aegis Gundam after all. :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quick nipper comparison

Okay, so since I mentioned my newly acquired 3 Peaks Pro Plastic Nipper last post, I need to compare it to my old Mineshima nipper. Is the purchase worth it?

Looks nice! Feels a tad bit heftier than my old one. But does it cut like it looks?

First, let's compare the two visually:

The 3 Peaks on the left has a plastic "spring" in between the handles. The old Mineshima has a small conventional spring near the pivot point.

The old Mineshima on the left has a thicker blade, while the 3 Peaks has a thinner blade. All the better to get into tight spots on the runner. Both nippers make flat cuts, by the way.

Of course the newer 3 Peaks is shinier! The old one has seen better days...

But how does it actually cut (3 Peaks Pro Nipper)?

The picture above probably won't show it, but the nipper cuts through plastic like butter and has a clean flat cut on the plastic. 

Here's a small piece from my Red Frame Astray with a bit of the gate part.

After cutting flush against the plastic piece, it leaves very little clean up for my knife.

So to conclude, the new 3-Peaks is very much worth the price. It's not as pricey as the praised "God Hand" models, and it's probably not as clean cutting, too. But I think this will work well for my needs. Only question is: how long will it take before the blade dulls? My old Mineshima may have lost its edge, but it can still cut well without getting the blade nicked or damaged. My concern with the new one is the thinner blade is more susceptible to damage and bend (if it accidentally falls off a good distance to the ground).

But that is where the following serves it purpose...

This morning I cut some matching pieces of thin foam board (matched to size of my nippers, of course). Glued the matching pieces with rubber cement, trimmed the edges, and voila! Nipper protectors! 

Yay!!! Can't be too careful, yes?