Sunday, 11 March 2012

Gundam WiP - Assembly Commences

Grainy image courtesy of high ISO setting on my camera, which isn't particularly great but it does the job. Purpose of see the glow! Yup, although the model is far from finished, I had to fit one of the LED lights into it just to see the lighting in effect. It isn't super bright, but with all the lights out there is still a pleasing glow. A lot quicker than painting on a particle effect I can tell you!

But this is getting ahead ourselves, we need to step back to some time earlier and peak past the cut.

 The process of getting the pieces done on the sprues has been somewhat labourious, partly because the compressor for my airbrush started misbehaving and until I located the fault, it lost pressure way too quickly. While the airbrushing took longer than it should have, it was still a lot faster and neater than painting by hand. After applying a dark blue basecoat , I gave all the pieces a liberal wash with Asurmen Blue, which settled nicely into the recesses and gave some shading against the already dark blue.

For the lighter tone, I experimented on the sprue frame for a bit to decide which blue would be closest to that of the original intended colour. I concluded that Ultramarine Blue, while slightly brighter than original colour of the plastic, would darken on the painted pieces to give the contrast I wanted. A bit of guesswork, but lo, it turned out as expected.

For this stage of the process, I subjected the manual to considerable scrutiny to make sure that I was spraying onto the pieces in a way that was consistent with what the light hitting the finished model would be. This approach is far from perfect, but it works as long as you're prepared to accept you'll be painting once the pieces are on the model.
The white sprues were also subjected to the same process. After spraying all the pieces light grey, I gave them a healthy wash of Blue to get shading into the recesses. You'll see that the shading isn't terribly neat, but it doesn't really matter for the next step.
Which is a highlight with Reaper Master Series Ghost White, which is a lovely off white colour. The airbrushing means the paint goes on very finely and the end result is a very light blue grey. To lighten the colour further on the pieces which would be in direct light on the finished model (more instruction manual consultation here), I went over them a few times with a brush and thinned paint.
As you can see, some of the pieces on the sprue are quite complex and do not necessarily lend themselves to being easily airbrushed into having a zenithal highlight.

And  then I moved onto construction.

We're all used to our Citadel miniatures these days and can probably put together most types of figures without needed to consult any sort of instruction book. Vehicles are a little more complex, but most of the construction is common sense.

Gundam kits are of a different order together. Take this head here.

That's 17 pieces of plastic that head is. It isn't glue in anyway, because the design is such everything locks together quite neatly. Too neatly. In fact I had to take the head apart twice when I realised I attached the wrong stickers inside of the clear plastic.

The main problem with the whole "paint on the sprue" thing, is that no matter how careful you are when you detach things from the sprue (and the Gundam bits are far far far easier to remove than Citadel pieces) there will always be a little damage. As indicated by the red circles.

Tidying this up is tricky, because you don't want to ruin the rest of the paintwork. In places, it may even be the case that you have to accept this as inevitable or.......try to use the damage as "battle damage" to the mech.

This is a fighting machine after all.
More damage viewable here, but I'm hoping you can also see the difference the shading has made. The places in shadow are correctly shaded.

The bulk of the Gudamn kit is actually the metal skeleton, onto which various bits of armour are neatly bolted. The original plastic for these parts is a dark grey, but I'd assume that it is supposed to be metal, hence the Boltgun Metal, Baddab Black Wash and Mithril Silver drybrush finish. One of the things that really strikes me about the mainframe, is how detailed it is. Yes, a lot of the detail is also functional, but it actually just looks good in its own right.

I should also add that what you're looking at here is the cockpit.

The pilot (Setsuna F Seiei) is supplied unpainted and as I'm sure you've gathered, he's tiny. Painting him was a fiddly process, but I've broadly tried to get the colours consistent with his pilots outfit in the anime.

Once you've completed a certain amount of skeleton, the manual then gets you into sticking bits onto it, such as the parts which form the cockpit housing. You can just see here that behind the white piece at the top, there is a little square of metal. That is actually a door which opens to reveal the cockpit. A hugely fidly process in and of itself, but I like knowing its there.

More work on this to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Super post!

    That sprue attachment point damage is the main downside of painting on the sprue. I do that quite a lot and usually cut and file as many points as possible before painting (especially exposed areas like blades and shoulders, hit the rest with a file and touch up the paint before moving onto assembly.

    I'm really enjoying this kit vicariously and look forward to more of it!