HGUC Zaku Color

Lately I’ve been working on getting the HGUC Zaku parts ready for painting. At this point pretty much all the parts seem ready apart from the hands – there were a lot of bubbles in the castings and so I’m thinking of starting over, casting a new set of hands and using pressure-casting gear this time. In the mean time there’s another important issue that requires attention: I’m going to paint this Zaku, but what color am I going to paint it?

It’s simple to say “paint it green”, but that actually leaves a lot of room for color choice. Zakus in the “default color scheme” range from pale pea greens to deep olive greens and even into tan and yellow. And then going beyond the default scheme there’s MSV/MS-X color schemes or anything else I can think of. It takes me a while to get a project to this point, and so I want to make good decisions about how to finish it.
To try and figure out what kind of color choices to make this time I spent some time looking at various Zaku merchandise, color schemes from various kits, different pieces of Zaku art, as well as the Zakus and other kits I’ve done in similar color schemes.

The SD Zaku was actually the first Zaku I completed. I was going for something like the Zaku FZ color scheme from Gundam 0080 and chose a few Mr. Color colors to try and replicate the scheme. I think I used #70 (dark green) and #122 (RLM Light Green) – the light green came out kind of dark, so I mixed in some white and repainted it. In the end I think it was a pretty good color scheme, but not really a match for the 0080 color scheme I was aiming for. The Geara Doga build had a darker body armor color but otherwise it’s pretty similar.

The HGUC Zaku #13 was based on the old HG Zaku’s color guide. I always felt the resulting model didn’t have quite enough contrast. The two armor tones are easy enough to see, but the contrast isn’t great enough to make the difference really stand out.

With the 1:100 Zaku and the Scopedog I experimented with darker, more monotonic color schemes. I feel like this sort of scheme is a bit more realistic but maybe not what I want this time around. I want something a little more dramatic.

I looked at MSIA figures, HCM Pros, the Real Grade, various special release-versions of the HGUC Zaku, the old Real Type models, and the new Real Grade – at one point I even considered using the MS-X Skiure colors – but ultimately I decided I want to follow the color scheme of the green hi-mobility Zaku. This scheme is similar to one of the color schemes in the Real Type Zaku kit instructions: dark body armor and kind of a mustard or olive for the arms and legs. One of the things that kind of surprises me about my chosen color scheme is that it isn’t really green. The body armor is green-black, like the Hi-Zack: so dark that it’s practically colorless… And the arms, legs, and head are yellow/brown. But it still looks like the Zaku color scheme.

I used discarded cast parts and other bits and pieces to test the various paints as I thought about what color I should use. The color on the far left is my attempt to match the yellowish color of the Hi-Mobility Zaku. I mixed Khaki and Duck Egg Green but I think I could get a similar effect with Khaki and White (Duck Egg just happened to be within arm’s reach…) I’m thinking of using Field Gray for the body armor: it doesn’t precisely match the color scheme but I’ve been itching to use Field Gray on a project practically forever.

So I have a pretty good feeling about the color choices. Hopefully I can get the parts primed within the next few days and then if all goes well get some color on and start thinking about markings…

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