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HG Zaku Complete

Every year I attend the local IPMS model show, Granitecon. When possible I like to have something new to show there, so I’ve been working to finish up the HG Zaku in time for the show. Since the model was painted and the decals were on, it was mostly a matter of finishing steps – but there were some complications along the way as well. As usual, the work came right down to the wire, but in the end I think it turned out pretty well. Due to the hectic pace of the finishing work, I didn’t document much of it along the way.

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Bandai’s Decals Have Herpes

In reality, this post is just another WIP post for my HG Zaku, showing the work I’ve done applying decals to it. I have a whole collection of decal sheets from which I pick out markings that I want to use on a particular project. Often the decal sheet I’m using isn’t specific to the kit I’m building, so it’s just a matter of finding a sheet that has a marking I want.
However, when dealing with these decals there is an issue I can’t avoid: some of these Bandai decals have really terrible half-toning on them which makes the markings look terrible up-close, or even at a moderate distance. These images should give you an idea of what’s going on here:

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Paint it a slightly different green

Last time I was finishing the cleanup of this kit and getting the first coats of primer on – more recently I’ve gotten the initial color coats on and made some progress on a few other details that I either couldn’t or simply didn’t address previously.

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The Greatest Challenge in All of Modeling

Since the last update, I’ve been focusing on parts cleanup and so on in preparation for the first coat of primer, which finally went on tonight.

Along the way, however, I had to deal with the dreaded curse that has plagued everyone who has built a Zaku in the last 17 years… By all accounts the most hideously deranged challenge ever incorporated into a model kit: the power cable beads.

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OOB is bullshit

While working on the HY2M Rick Dom Zwei I found myself needing a little break. For me there’s a kind of performance anxiety associated with scratch building. When I build parts I can do it pretty well, but it’s hard to dive in to a project like that and start working on parts. For that reason I decided to do a quick project involving an old favorite of mine: the HG Zaku from the 08th MS Team line. The kit has its flaws but it’s still the best-looking Zaku kit in 1:144. For this project I am trying to address the kit’s flaws quickly and without too much complication.

As with the Rick Dom II, this kit is an entry for the contest that’s now hosted on mechalounge. One trend with this contest that’s kind of disturbed me is that people will be working on some project, doing some fine work… But because they’re entering in the contest’s “Out-of-box” category they’re avoiding even the simplest fixes to their kits, to avoid getting pushed into the presumably stiffer competition of the “modified plastic” category. I hate to see that happen, so I’m calling you all out on this one: OOB is bullshit. If there’s something wrong with the kit you’re working on, and you can see it, and you can fix it, you should. With all the effort that goes into other aspects of the kit it’s silly not to fix a few simple things along the way.
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If at first you don’t succeed, zwei, zwei again.

When I first got the Glorious Series Rick Dom and set to work assembling it, I was amazed by the size and bulk of the thing. It was a truly imposing model. I gave some thought to converting it to a Rick Dom II, also known as the “Rick Dom Zwei” in keeping with the then-recent trend of giving German names to Zeon equipment (like Kampfer, Jager, Dreissen, Sturm Dias, etc.) Of course I came up with all my usual reasons not to do something like this…

  • It’s a nice kit, so I should enjoy it for what it is.
  • Conversions are inherently bad because the modeler tends to do what is convenient to do with the base kit, rather than what is correct.
  • So little of the base kit will actually be used in the conversion that I may as well just scratch-build the whole thing and forget the conversion.
  • I was going to do this thing as a quick, fun project, and a conversion will make it a long, complicated project.
  • It will distract me from working on other projects, like the Zaku Kai.

…And so on. All good reasons. But not good enough.

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BUFF with a Panzerfaust

A while back I won a set of Perfect Grade kits in the Gundam.info kit giveaway… That was very cool. But the prizes really weren’t my style. In descending order of desirability they were PG Astray Red Frame, PG 00 Raiser, PG Wing Zero Custom, and PG Strike Freedom… Ah, yes, Strike Freedom. You know, it’s quite an accomplishment, making Freedom Gundam look tasteful by comparison…
Anyway, since the prizes weren’t my cup of tea I decided to trade ’em off. Fortunately I found someone with a pretty good collection of stuff to offer who was willing to make a trade. Even though I was getting rid of the Perfect Grades, I felt like I still wanted to honor the spirit of the original prize by getting some unreasonably large, terribly overpriced, but fun Gundam kits. So I got this beastie: The HY2M “Glorious Series” Rick Dom.

I probably would never have bought this kit – It struck me as really expensive for what you get. In terms of construction, it’s kind of like a big High Grade with a lighting gimmick, but it’s priced like a Perfect Grade. Most likely I never would have given this kit a shot if I hadn’t gotten it in trade. But having built it up, I’ve developed an appreciation for it. It’s not my first 1:60 Gundam kit (I have a PG Zaku assembled) – but the large scale combined with the bulk of the Dom makes it a really impressive piece. So I’m really looking forward to building this guy up and I’ve even given some thought to buying another HY2M “Glorious Series” kit (either another Dom or the Gouf) in the future.
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The First Zaku

A while back I saw a video on Youtube that really inspired me: it was a slideshow (set to The Village People’s “Macho Man”) of a build-up of the original 1:144 Zaku kit from 1980. The end result was a pretty funky-looking Zaku, and an interesting direction taken with a kit that can be hard to love.
Zaku Plamo PV by avudabi
The build inspired me, and so I decided to do one of my own. I’m not following avudabi’s build exactly, but I’m taking a lot of cues from it.

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The only BIAB with the means…

I’ve been wanting to learn music for a while now – I want to be able to create music for other projects (games or animations, things like that) and also I think it’s just a good skill to have, I want music to be part of my household in general. As I’m learning more about music and how to play it, I’m also building a little collection of gear to use in musical projects. My first acquisition along these lines is the Yamaha QY-70 synthesizer. It’s a portable MIDI workstation released back in 1997. I plan to give it a new paint job, but first I wanted to give it a functional upgrade – a backlight for its LCD.

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Leo and Tallgeese Scaling Issue

Not a WIP sort of post but it’s an issue that interests me. In Gundam Wing there was a mass-produced mobile suit called “Leo”, as well as its larger, more powerful predecessor, known as the Tallgeese. The original Gundam Wing kit lines did include a Tallgeese, but the Leo was only available as a “Limited Model” kit – meaning both the availability and quality of the kit were limited. However, the two designs are very similar, and so for Leo fans, converting a Tallgeese model to a Leo is a tempting path. With the resurgence of Gundam Wing in MG form, there may even be a MG Tallgeese we can use. But since the Tallgeese is taller, that makes the resulting model out-of-scale… Or does it?

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