Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My new little friend

I go through cycles of creative "stuff" that I involve myself in.  The one constant is photography, which is why this blog even exists.

Other creative stuff I find myself doing are video making, guitar playing, painting, drawing, building "useful" stuff,  programming, writing, miniature and model building.  But these other things come and go in seasons.

Right now it I've spent some time doing models.  I also learned a new word, "gunpla", and literally made a new "friend".

A friend of mine picked up a RG grade 1/144 scale MS-06F Zaku II model for me.  When I opened the box and looked at it, I had a moment of panic.  Looking at all the nifty parts in the kit I was given made me realize I really needed to use an airbrush.  They are flat, wide, and much larger than the miniatures I was bristle painting.

I have never used an airbrush on a scale model.  I have an airbrush, and I used it to paint R/C car bodies.  But the skill involved to do a basic R/C car body is minuscule in comparison to what it take to paint a model.  You don't have to worry about the "finish" on the R/C car body because you are painting the inside of a clear material.

To learn I ordered an "SD" kit of a similar 'mech.  I felt they'd be fun to show next to one another, providing my learning experience went well.  And if it didn't, the kit was cheap enough to try stripping it down to redo.

It went okay.  No disasters.  I need to be more aggressive cleaning mold and seam lines.  I also need to learn a little bit more control paint thinning.  But, I didn't end up with an orange peel finish, or other major problem.  I just had small problems!

My process was pretty basic.  Built sections up as large as I could (head, arms, two body sections, feet, weapons, shield, and shoulder pad), remove seams, prime, dark shade coat, lighter shade coat, hand paint, gloss coat, line with ink, add some weathering, and dull coat.  Because of the size and part count it only took me 10-12 hours over the course of a week. This included learning how to airbrush.  Of course, like a drawing or a painting, it could never truly be finished.

Materials and tools used (Listing because I've seen a few people make lists like this and I found it helpful):

  • Bandai's SD kit #231
  • Xacto knives, side nippers, sand paper files, and various and sundry modelling tools
  • Tamiya paint: Pink X-17, Red X-7, Dark Grey XF-24 (airbrushed bits)
  • Vallejo Game Color paint: Black, Cold Grey (hand brushed bits)
  • Citadel paint: Boltgun, Chainmail (hand brushed details, mostly weapons)
  • Winsor and Newton ink: Scarlet, Nut Brown, and Blue (lining and washes)
  • Pastruct Plastic Weld
  • Squadron putty
  • Dupli-color white automotive primer (spray-can) [I love this stuff, even though I usually use black]
  • Testors gloss cote and dull cote (spray-can)
  • The stuff I mix up my various hand painting thinners with... Liquitext Flow Aid and Slow-Dri w/ distilled water
  • Paasche VL airbrush #5 needle/nozzle set driven by a industrial compressor and tank
  • Winsor and Newton Series 7 #2 and #3 water color brushes
It was fun.  Although, I'm slightly suspicious, I think Bandai tricked me into building an action figure on my own.  

If you have never done a scale model and this makes you curious to try, I recommend these little SD Zaku kits as a first stab.  You can do a very basic build with the included stickers and the color of the plastic and some marker lining.  The only tool you'd really need is a pair of nippers.  You could also take it to a really cool extreme.

Or you can hit somewhere in between like I did.

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