There are no small parts (18 days to SCGMC)

Every year when SCGMC approaches I have all kinds of grand plans. This year, with the contest theme being of particular interest to me, I had all kinds of ideas, giant resin-printed monstrosities, quirky, comedic builds, and of course my scratchbuilt Zaku FZ. And every year so far I’ve had to drastically scale back those plans, to the point that I might not get anything ready in time for the show at all. Last year, at least, I had a model on the table. This time around, I crunched the numbers and about a month ago came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to get my scratch build ready in time for the show. That’s tough, but that’s just how it goes sometime. After that point I switched to working on another project. I’d been aiming to have something really outstanding, something worth entering into the “experts” category, but at this point, this kit is probably all I’ll have to show. Still, while it’s not what I’d hoped for, I’m going to do my best to make it a worthy entry.

This is a resin kit I found for sale online. It’s only about 8cm tall, and it was a bit pricy… But I thought it was a great sculpt, and so I went for it. And I have to say, it’s not perfect but I’m really happy with it. The Zaku FZ is, of course, one of my favorite designs, and I love when I see a take on it that really fits how I see the machine. I feel like the sculptor of this kit really gets it. In some respects I think it’s even better than what I came up with. So it’s not going to be the kind of “show-stopper” build I’d wanted to do, but it’ll be good.

I was pretty excited when the kit arrived, so I started off building the legs. Because this is a resin kit, the construction is a lot different from the typical injection-molded kit. Parts tend to be mostly solid, and have to be connected together with cyanoacrylate or epoxy reinforced with metal pins. I was eager to see how it looked, so I started with the legs. Since this is a fairly small kit, most of the parts are just a single piece of resin, but the upper legs were a bit unusual in that they were in two halves, so I started there.

The shoulder pauldron is one of my favorite parts of this design, it’s got good detail to it, and it’s absolutely massive. This kit delivered on that for sure. Though I was a bit surprised as I built the pauldron to find that the sculpt of the spikes was a bit irregular, none of the three spikes match each other and the pauldron itself is asymmetrical. In a way I found this kind of comforting, like a reminder that work doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. I lost one of the original kit spikes almost immediately, and so had to scratch-build a replacement.

After a few tasks like this, along with drilling and pinning various parts, I was able to get a feel for how the kit would look when complete. I experimented a bit with the pose. Although the kit comes with an option to build it with poseable elbows and knees, I think it looks bad so I didn’t want to build it that way. The kit includes a polycap sheet and even when it’s built for looks it has some mobility at the hips and shoulders. Still with the skirts being a bit tight around the legs it’s a challenge to get it looking dynamic.

Next up I needed to deal with the head. It had a pretty significant defect: When the kit was produced, the halves of the mold for the head weren’t properly aligned, so when the resin was poured in, it created a shear effect along the mold parting line. I cut the head in half along the parting line and realigned and rejoined it.

Resin kits by their nature present a few challenges that don’t normally come up with injection kits: the liquid resin must flow through the mold as a liquid and so parts need to include channels to allow this flow. Additionally air that’s in the mold before the resin is poured can become trapped in the resin after it’s poured, usually at the top end of the mold due to buoyancy. Dealing with these kinds of issues was a significant concern as I worked on the torso and backpack parts.

One thing I found while working on the legs was that the thruster shrouds on the back were asymmetrical. I noted earlier that I found some of the kit’s asymmetry kind of enjoyable but in this case I felt I should fix it…

Mold parting lines on this kit have tended to be a bit stubborn as I try to remove them. While working on the knees I also wanted to think about how to adjust the pose to make the figure look more natural.

Turning my attention to the “power cables” I found a few problems: as with the head, the cables were molded a bit out of alignment, which makes proper cleanup rather difficult. A few of the cables were also too short. In some cases this might be because of the changes to the leg pose, but regardless it needed to be fixed. Seam cleanup of the cables was complicated, more than once I tried filling in the seam area, sanding it down, and I had to rescribe the circumferential lines a few times, and after all that I’m still not sure if they’re really as they should be.

Changing the arm pose is absolutely vital to making this machine look more natural. By default the non-poseable elbows are just straight, which looks OK for a standing pose but that’s about it. I decided the elbow for the right arm, holding the rifle, should be bent, so I altered the joint parts accordingly.

As time has gradually been running out for this project I was anxious to get to the point of applying my first coat of primer. However, for a resin kit it’s usually important to start by thoroughly washing the parts to remove release agents used in the molding process. I gave the parts a soak in automotive degreaser and then a rinse.

Finally, a monoeye suit just isn’t right without a lit eye. Since it’s a smaller kit I’m just doing the LED and no added detail under the visor. The battery will be stored in the display base.

With two weeks left before departure, time is running short, but I think I’ll have this ready to show. It’s a great kit and it’ll be nice to have it on display.

Post a Comment