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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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HGUC Zaku #84 “Completed” (mostly)

In the last few days before Otakon I made an effort to finish up the HGUC Zaku so I could display it in the Otakon model contest. I was basically successful; the model was in a state that I could reasonably call “finished” and the Zaku won “Best in Show” in the Gunpla Builders World Cup event held there. However, I don’t consider this model to be quite “finished”: I had wanted to do more weathering, probably some filters or something, and I wasn’t able to get to that prior to the con. Still, the model is in a good state now and so I wanted to share some photos of it.

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Hasegawa VF-11 images (from Hobby Search)

Hobby Search provides us a valuable service on their shop: item listings include not only basic images and descriptions, but box and instruction manual scans. Since I’ve been involved in this hobby I have taken advantage of this many times. Now that Hasegawa’s VF-11 kit is out (but not yet in my hands) I have anxiously downloaded their scans to present them here. (the images they provide are very useful, but the web interface they provide for viewing them is very slow and kind of annoying)
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HGUC Zaku Color part 2

I guess this is a bit more substantial of an update than the last one, since now I’ve actually painted some parts. This is the first real look at this Zaku (approximately) as it will look when finished.

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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?
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