2014 in review

It’s been a mixed bag of good times and bad times this year for me on a personal level, but on a modelling level it’s actually been pretty good. I put out a total of 7 fully painted models this year and delved a little into modification with some third-party metallic parts, photo-etch and pla-plating. I think I am ready to take it up a notch.

My personal favourite model this year is the Sinanju Stein. I have always been a massive fan of it’s design, and to get to paint and customise my own was a pleasure. The results I was very pleased with. I was pretty pleased too with the GM Thunderbolt, bringing back that familiar joy of working with HG models again. They’ve certainly improved, detail wise over the years and have featured a lot in my work this year.

Worst model? Well.. I have not worst as such but there are always little things you spot after making a model that you wish you had done better. I think I could have concentrated a little more on detailing on all of the models but it’s something I will be bearing in mind during the projects of 2015.

2014 has been a good year for meeting new people in the community too, and forging some friendships even more. Our Gentlemanly Build of Gentlemanliness Jesta build-off between myself, Justinius Builds, Hummingbird, Darren, Effael and Derrick has not only been a build-off but an ongoing chat amongst us for several months now, and the banter is both insightful and hilarious. It was also a pleasure to do a unique ‘build swap’ experiment with my friend Augis over in Lithuania, hoping to do another one some time 🙂

The UK Gunpla Modellers Group formed this year over on facebook has been steadily increasing too, and it’s been great to find so many fellow hobbyists relatively locally. Fingers crossed the membership increases. Special thanks to all the members in the group for making it so active and interesting!

The youtube channel has vastly surpassed my expected subscriptions, now nearly reaching 1400! I will continue to stick out vids in the new year for all my ongoing projects.

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone who has shown me tremendous support, feedback and encouragement throughout 2014, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a marvellous New Year!

Laters old chaps!


Colour Schemes – a few tips

Choosing a colour scheme can be a time consuming experience. For some, it’s easy, “I want to paint it red” is pretty straightforward. For others (myself included) it’s something I give a lot of thought to. I tend to take into account the models design, it’s ‘back-story’ (if there is one), and perhaps on a superficial level if someone else had done the same colour scheme before. With this in mind, for those of us who do arguably over think colour schemes, I thought I would write a few tips to help you out.

Inspiration for colour schemes can come from a wide variety of sources. Everyday life, nature, the internet – sometimes something just catches your eye and you think “That just might work“. Take a picture of it, and save it somehow! I have a whole folder in my computer, rammed full of pictures of interesting colour combinations. It helps a lot. I also keep a Pinterest board, reserved for some of my favourite models and colour schemes to help keep the brain juices flowing. It also helps to having a good understanding of colour theory, so let’s start with a few basic principles. Feel free to skip this bit if you ‘know your shit’, or give it a go if you ‘know you’re shit’.

Colour Types:


Primary colours:

Red, Yellow, Blue

Secondary colours:

Orange, Purple, Green. Mixes of primary colours.

Tertiary colours:

Vermillion (red-orange), Amber (Orange-yellow), Chartreuse (Yellow-Green), Teal (Green-Blue), Violet (Blue-Purple), Magenta (Purple-Red). Mixes of Primary and Secondary colours.

Achromatic,  tint, tone  and shade colours:

Mixes of two teriary colours, or any colour mixed with white (tint), black (shade) or grey (tone). White, Black and Grey are ‘pure’ achromatic colours.

So, here are some basic starting categories of colour scheme you can think about:


Analogous colour scheme:

A sequence of colours on a colour wheel.

Complimentary colour scheme:

Opposite primary, secondary or tertiary colours on a colour wheel.

‘Real world’ colour scheme:

Military application camouflage or uniform colour scheme.

‘Bizarre’ colour scheme:

Non-complimentary, expressive or inconsistent. Nature, or fractal inspired.

Let’s refine it a little more in terms of Mecha Modelling.


A lot of good colour schemes rely on a simple system of strong vs. weak, with tints and shades for detail. This is a combination of a colour with a high chroma (saturation or ‘intensity’), set against a achromatic colour, in effect almost a ‘near-complimentary’ colour scheme. For example, a strong red works well with a light grey. Using tints and shades of your chosen colours on various symmetrical panels on your model will work wonders adding detail – normally done in the achromatic part of the scheme. Subtle but discernible a good rule to follow. Too strong a difference in tint or shade will make it look like an additional colour, and make it look too busy. Experimentation is the key here.

Analogous ‘inflections’

In situations where the bulk of a scheme is made up from an analogous colour scheme, a complimentary or near-complimentary colour with high chroma is added in very small sections to really ‘set it off’. This is often applied to wing tips, trims, tips of feet or head decorations. Why this is appealing to so many of us I don’t know, but it works!


Camouflage can be tricky to get right. There is a huge amount of information on schemes available on-line, and through military scale modelling communities you can ask advice from, but it takes some practice to get something looking good. Keep in mind, the scale of the model you are working on and perhaps take a look at some real world examples for help. If you are aiming for realism, think of environment and back-story to help you out.


That’s a whole new ball game. Although it is quite a big factor in the look of your overall model, it does not entirely apply to the colour scheme. For that reason, I’ll skip writing any more on this. I have quite literally no expertise here – but there is a wealth of resource available on the subject easily accessible from Google!


For general impressions, a shiny model with well done metallics or candy-coats always gives you a nice sense of satisfaction and interest from admirers, but is hard to do right. Too many modellers when first experimenting with metallics go on an all-out chrome hard-on and make a model look like some kind of trophy – and while useful as a learning experience it does not create an entirely original looking model. Mixing metallics and non-metallics can also make a model look a little ‘unfinished’. Practice makes perfect here. Most stick to a single metallic colour for an overall scheme, or analogous. A mix of metallics could look too busy, or even too ‘toy’ like – but do experiment!


Finally, the finish is a very important factor to think about. Matt finishing a model adds consistent light dispersal – giving it a more ‘clean’ and consistent look. It also helps to disguise any decal edging, and is the easiest to produce. It’s also very useful for hiding any painting flaws! Gloss finishes are less common, but no less impressive, and require a lot of hard work to get right. Some modellers use highly toxic polyurethane top coats and buff over them using ceramic compounds for a truly glossy surface. I recommend lots of research before endeavouring to get that ‘sports gloss’ look.

Inner Frames

In general, inner frame or mechanical parts of a mecha model are painted in (obviously) metallics. Bandai promo shots normally show models in a flat grey. Even though an inner frame is most commonly, the least ‘seen’ part of a model it’s still important to think about. Exposed parts showing detail, such as pipes, pistons or joints painted using different colour metallics look great regardless of colour scheme in my opinion, and add that element of realism that really makes a great looking model. As a basic rule, I paint pistons in chrome, and the housing in gold. Some modellers add a red of blue candy coat to the housing too which looks fantastic. ‘Under armour’ such as frames underneath skirting is also worth attention and will give you bonus satisfaction points.

Remember, colour is perceptually subjective, influenced by mood, culture, personality and light. What’s important for you is that you are happy with what you are doing, and experiment as often as you can and find out some awesome combinations. Hopefully, this helps you out a little!