MG Sword Impulse Complete

It’s been a while eh?

I have completed an MG Sword Impulse, this time with a little wear and tear weathering. I wanted it to be in a state of looking as if it had seen good use, but had not sustained any real damage. A bit dirty, a bit skuffed and a little bit of paint peel-age.

I tried out a new method of dirtying up / gunking on the thighs, taken from the mecha modelling book from Mig Jimminez, and it worked great. A little too much perhaps, but I think I got the method down on the first attempt.

I have also created a kind of start-to-end video on the whole Sword Impulse, which will be uploaded next week. For now, here’s the gallery:

MG Sword Impulse

 

 

 

Everyone is going Logic

Joshua Darrah it seems had inadvertently started off a bit of a phenomenon across the community over the past couple of months with this beautifully conceptualised vision of what is the perfect design for a Gundam – the Ver. Logic.

The cubical marvel was conceived between Josh and a friend of his, encompassing a simplistic solid 3d shape with 4 thrusters and a single canon, it’s staggering to think such an object could ever be conceived by human minds I think you will agree. The Ver.Logic follows these tenets:

1. A single piece of armour, without any breaks or vulnerabilities.
2. 4 x Thrusters for maximum mobility
3. One single beam cannon to get the job done.
4. Pilot is safe inside, having been built into the gundam with no chance of ever being let out. It is an honorable sacrifice. (and they don’t even have wi fi, because the armour is so thick)

 

omnes cubi grandinem – omnes cubi grandinem – omnes cubi grandinem – omnes cubi grandinem – omnes cubi grandinem – omnes cubi grandinem

(all hail the cube six times for six sides)

I added the last bits.

You can listen to the discussion we had on GunplaTalk on the Ver.Logic here too. 

What started of as concept however has become a challenge / gathering of the chosen ones in the community, with several hundred modellers world wide each providing a different take on the original, and while never attaining the same holy immortal infinite zen of the original drawing the models being created have been incredible.

Such scratch building on this scale has been pretty amazing and great fun to see, and it’s been fantastic to see modellers of all levels working on Ver.Logics – and some software 3d modellers have also had a bash with some very cool results. If you would like to see what the world has been up to, join the official facebook group right here and become a member of the holy flock of hexadron. Fancy a go? Well, you’ll never ever build the perfect logic but you can certainly have a go!

Tim came very close to attaining deity status, but only attained the rank of Cuboid Pope.

I’m also having a go, and have finished, but just need to take some suitably cheesy pictures.

 

 

October Updates

Hello, just a few updates.

Firstly, the Mecha Lounge is now back up and running and getting a healthy membership, with some good interaction and sharing of work in progress. I realised how much I miss this kind of interaction, a place where completed and works in progress are discussed by mutual appreciation and genuine query and criticism.

Secondly, I’m still working in the wonderful magic toys 1/100 hazel. Lovely lovely lovely kit. The WIP so far can be seen here and they’ll likely be another this weekend. I would love to post more WIP vids more frequently, but it’ll end up being virtually the same video over and over as I repeat process’ for other parts!

I’m giving some thought to my next project too, I am considering starting work on the PG Unicorn in tandem with Justinius Builds. Also considering working on the Bandai Macross kit I have, or the awesomely overkill-looking Kagutsuchi sniper frame arms.

My fucking LED strip light inside the spray booth died.. means I need to dust off the soldering iron and look forward to burning my fingers again 🙂 For now, I moved it next to the window to use some natural light, which is in increasingly short supply as we descend into winter.

gbwcnycc

Lastly, some congratulations in order. Tim, AKA Child Of Mecha picked up the best in show at New York Comicon and two of my Team Helios brothers Jordan AKA Ed of 00gundamreviewsV2 and Henry AKA Vegeta8259 picked up best small-scale and Bandai Judge’s choice respectively. Very well done chaps, and fingers crossed we get to see one of you in Japan come December!

G-Con 2016 – The UK’s First Gundam Convention!

When I started out in the hobby back in 2012, I genuinely thought it was so niche that an event of this kind will likely never see fruition. I am very happy to say, it’s here. The UK’s First, Gundam convention will be held at York Racecourse on September the 24th, 2016!

Hosted by the good folks at Japan:cool the event will feature a GBWC style model compo, live music, a Gunpla Museum, a mech modelling panel (with top blokes Black Crab Studio and Stuart Lathe) live Gunpla Club podcast and a whole heap more.

If you are interested in going / participating than head on over to the G-Con website to purchase your tickets. 

A bitter pill to swallow for me, work and life commitments mean I am unable to attend, but I am totes attending the next one! I have had the pleasure of making up a few graphics and things for this event though so happy to have contributed in some way!

Modding Guns

I have found on a vast majority of kits, especially HG kits that weapons are often understated, usually made by slapping together just two bits and a barrel with very little colour separation. There are a few exceptions to the rule of course, but if you do find your death cannon is more like a pea shooter, here’s a couple of ways to beef it up without having to invest in additional weapon sets.

Get masking! Yes, it’s pain staking, and especially fiddly on weapons but masking off and creating colour separation, picking out details and adding tiny variations of colour will really make it pop, especially on any exposed ‘inner mechanisms’. If you are finding some areas are just too tricky to mask, I highly recommend experimenting with liquid mask, which allows you to ‘flood’ recessed areas with a rubberising fluid. Here’s what I did with a little bit of common masking, liquid masking and hand painting details on my Duel Gundam Assault shroud rifle:

detailed-weapn
MG Duel – Colour-separated gun

Modify it! Combining the weapon with scratch building and kit bashing is great fun and can make your weapon more unique – it does however take a little thought. Be sure the model can hold your newly modified weapon. When I saw how pitifully under-powered the MG Nemo’s pistol looked, I had to overcompensate and turn it into a total overkill blaster. I chopped the barrel off, made a box-section in pla-plate and added on some after-market detailing to.  Yes, it looks a little insane.. but I liked it.  I also modified the standard weapon on the Sinanju Stein, adding a huge scope to the front section to add to it’s ‘medium range’ theme. A little more subtle, but adds a lot.

moddesSinStein
Modified Sinanju Stein Weapon
modifiedMGNemo
MG Nemo – Modified weapon

Modifying weapons – some tips!

  • If you want to entirely rebuild the gun, and want to make sure the kit can hold it – separate the handle from the gun, and start working from the handle.
  • Use parts from other guns you have in spare stock.
  • When gluing, always ensure surfaces are flat. Uneven surfaces may need putty work, and sanding surfaces that will be bonded by putty will help keep it together.
  • Take a look at other people’s work – think of form and functionality, and how it will look in context with the model.
  • If there is going to be additional weight and you are unsure the model will grip it ok, consider adding a peg to the handle to slot into the hand.

Do you have any tips or tricks to help with modifying weapons? Anything I missed, or you would like more detail on? Let me know in the comments!

Are you a modelling realist, or a stylist?

Are you a rivet-counter, or a boy-racer? A very interesting suggestion for something for me to thump my keyboard keys about from Zach, I thought I would tackle the question and ask the community at large – which is more pleasing to do, and to look at?

Let’s start with a couple of definitions if I may,

A stylised model is one of conformity to a paradigm, or commonly showcased style. They’re generally ‘clean’and free to weathering, pretty realistically impractical, with oversized elements to give it that element of action or expression. Details are multi-coloured, tiny and metallic. Paint works come in a blinding array and combination of palettes, hues and finishes, but are commonly pre-shaded from the outside in to provide depth, and visual interest.

A realistic model involves more aspects of weathering, damage and physics. It has a more logical approach, with more theoretical elements. Creativity is found in method and execution. The kit looks more real, and requires arguably a great deal more practical skill to fool the eye into believing that what you are looking at is much closer to it’s proposed existence, and/or situation. It also invites more defined criticism, would it really look like that if it was hit with a .50 calibre rifle at 300m? Are their enough rivets, to hold that panel in place as it’s being smashed to the floor on a planet at 6g’s? I have seen some spectacular disagreements in this style descend into brass infantile insult I might add. Grab some popcorn when you see it!

So which is more popular? A quick gander around the social sphere and on blogging platforms reveals high contrast, bold colour palettes and fine detail win popularity contests. Realistic models however appear to garner a lot more interest from practising modellers, and model fans as opposed to anime fans and kit collectors. Either way, popularity does not indicate which is objectively the best.

Which method, is more enjoyable? Making a realistic kit from concept to execution is like riding a unicycle on a telephone wire. It’s either going to be very impressive, or people will think you are very stupid for attempting it in the first place. You could also topple off, making an awful mess on the pavement.  Both methods have their painful moments, but realism will at the most basic level for each method, have more steps and take longer to produce. Stylistic models are perhaps a little more expressive in execution, so perhaps modelling without being tied to Earth’s gravity is more liberating? (had to get a Gundam reference in somewhere, I hope you get the point). Perhaps too, realistic models have a very high degree of satisfaction in completion due to the sheer amount of work and research invested in it. I see equal merits and pitfalls to both.

If you are new to mecha modelling, which path should you take? Of course, start at your own tastes, with one caveat – get the basics down first. If you are considering adding battle damage, make sure you can first for example remove a seam line. If you want to make an intricately masked motif in an absurdly erotic pink on a shield or piece of armour – make sure you know how to paint first. Whichever method you choose in the long run, try out both, or even mix it up. Either way, develop your own style!

So what’s your preferred style? Where you one, then switched to the other? mix it up now and again? A complete purist? Did I get something wrong? Let me know, I love to get the conversation going as always, and thank you for your contribution 🙂

Re/100 GP04G Gerbera – Complete

What a smashing kit. Being my first re/100 I was very impressed with the quality of detail and engineering. It’s definitely a leap forward from the old 1/100 ‘no-grade’ kits of old. Assembly was quick and painless, the leg assembly causing a little bit of trouble is disassembly but upon realising the tiny orange circular vent below the knee was the key to holding it all together it was figured out. Mods wise, only really drilled out some holes in the thrusters, added in a pinhead on the shoulders.

Painting went ok, primed everything as usual in Alclad primer and microfiller, and black enamel for the metallic parts (joints, weapons mostly). Used Alclad stainless steel for the thruster bells as it has a nice dark shiny quality. Used gunmetal as a base for the guns, and duralanium for the joint parts, detailing some parts out with a little brass, gold and silver. Blue parts I used vallejo model air, was not overly pleased with the finish being a little on the matt side, but persisted using french blue as a base, highlighting in RAF azure blue. Again, some details picked out hand painting in gold and silver model air. White parts, pretty standard – Tamiya blue for a base, Tamiya white for the highlight. Everything sealed in Alclad Aquagloss. Panel lined in Humbrol black enamel and sealed with 2 coats of Aquagloss again.

Decals sucked balls. This is the third set from Samuel decal now that has sucked, and I think it’s because it’s ‘mass produced’ I don’t know. The protective layer was non existent meaning I had to be super-careful with application, some just crumbled away so had to source a few from other sheets. You can see a little silvering on the shield decals where I was too paranoid to add softer! Not all of Sammy D’s decals are shit I should say, it’s just pretty hit-and-miss. Oh well.

For the head, cut a small square of iridescent paper for the head camera. Reverse-washed the eye’s using Alclad brass and enamel. Finally, top-coated in Tamiya Flat Clear. Done in just over 6 weekends (2-3 hours here and there!).

Overall, an enjoyable project! Will definitely have another go at a RE/100. I felt I could have done the panel lining a little cleaner and perhaps masked off a few more areas of off-white on some more of the armour parts, and perhaps even a different shade of blue on the blue parts.  Highlighting over Tamiya blue is a bit time consuming since it’s so dark, so I think next time I’ll go for a grey?

You can catch the WIP series here on YouTube, or see the gallery below:

Here’s some pics!

Are you angry at Bandai?

You know when you see the latest releases coming out from Bandai, and the inevitable stream of Gunpla fans start on their lists of ‘what I think Bandai should be doing / making’? We all love a bit of speculation (myself included), and we love to talk about the kits we want and in what form, but what is becoming an increasingly tiresome trope for me is the consistent complacency at Bandai’s marketing, manufacture and distribution, outside of Japan. It’s not a conspiracy/racism against western Gundam fans. 

To these serial complainers I say this.

Bandai is far, far bigger than the Gundam franchise. Their core business is spread across not only many toy franchises, but also computer games. They’re big, because they have the ability to make money, and if you don’t make money, you don’t get to be in business for very long. Comments such as ‘only pandering to the Japanese fandom‘, ‘not caring about western consumers‘, ‘why don’t they make a XX version of XX kit, they’re missing out on a ton of sales‘ are so comically presumptuous and self-serving, it beggars belief to think they have insight beyond that of a highly experienced, international marketing team. If they we’re as terrible as these bobolyne dew-beaters claim they are, they would have identified this as a problem long before Gundam fans made it up.

If Bandai really did not care about western markets, they would not be making a fair coin from the many Disney toy licenses they currently own, and have toys stocked in every major retailer across western markets. They would not even bother localising any computer games too.

If Bandai only really cared about the Japanese fandom, the Gundam franchise would be far less prolific by now through stagnation. It’s constant reinvention is continually working to sell to new audiences. Look at the early 90’s – notice how similar G-Gundam is to Dragonball Z? Notice how Build Fighters is so similar to the likes of Pokemon? This is not speculation, it’s actual marketing at work.

It’s fine to complain about what they do, and even talk about how it could work better, but making bold claims like you are somehow ‘in the know’ about things because you once read some guy saying it on some forum who once worked in a shop that sold a few kits and glanced a spreadsheet a while back is an insult to healthy discussion, and only ever results in the same, tired old nonsense self-service debates circling around like flies around shit.

I no longer pretend to know anything at all about how Bandai operates, and I used to say the very same things without ever really understanding what I was saying (more often than not, to actually seek out real information which is largely speculative). Some time ago in a somewhat naive attempt to ‘find out shit for the community’ I met with the same walls that others have tried before me – contacting Bandai UK to ask them if there were any plans to stock Gunpla in the UK. In the months following emails flying around, I was very lucky to make contact with Bandai’s European marketing manager in Japan who set me straight. He said, ‘the hobby is just not popular enough in the UK’. That’s it, in a nutshell, and he’s right. He probably knew that, Ben 10 toys sell great. Disney licensed toys, sell great. Tamagotchi, sell great. Ask a handful of random people if they know what Gunpla is, then ask them if they have heard of Tamogotchi. This is the reality.

I have genuinely no idea too how Gunpla sales are going here in the UK, I know of a handful of companies now that are selling imported goods from their own channels of distribution in Asia, and a few private sellers living over in Japan offering rare kit hunting services at markup, so there’s most certainly a market. With that in mind, it’s probably more healthy to instead of spending time and energy complaining that you’re not getting what you want and complaining at Bandai for being a big meanie corporation of despicable greed that laughs at your obsessions and tiny willy, to go seek out a local supplier and buy a kit from the thousands of kits Bandai have made and show it off to get more people interested in this very niche hobby.

On a side note, it’s not all gloomy for us here in the UK! It is worth noting that SpruKits are at the very least available –  step in the ‘kit toys’ direction, and this should be seen as something positive at least. I see people posting that our friends across the pond in the USA are seeing kit’s appearing in chains of Barnes & Noble, and do at least have a branch of distribution through BlueFin, so please, stop making any bold claims about things you are completely unqualified to state and look at the reality – you can still get Gunpla at a reasonable price. 

We’ll be disappointed, and amazed. Annoyed and elated, but count yourself damn lucky that Bandai is still around, and still making amazing toys that we love to snap fit, paint and modify. Put a lid on that speculation until you’ve looked at the logical, bigger picture – and let’s be happy with just speculating about what they will do next.

So, what do you think? As always I love hearing from you folks in the community. If you think I am wrong about any of my facts, then tell me! Debate and discussion is good, and everyone should let their opinions be changed with new facts and information. It goes without saying too, that all my blogs are my thoughts and opinions. I am not a saggy old grumpbox (sometimes). I genuinely love this community, and I think if you love anything you should always be honest about what you don’t like about it, as well as what is great about it 🙂