B-Club is the specialty item arm of Bandai. B-Club makes PVC character figures, model detail parts, soft vinyl toys and kits, and more. They’ve released numerous reissue Bullmark kaiju vinyl toys, but have also released soft vinyl model kits over the years. At some point, B-Club released a line of 1/75 scale kits of mecha from Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. I don’t really care for the miniseries, but I like the machines in it quite a bit. When I learned about the line, I knew I needed to start tracking them down. Soft vinyl robot kits are a strange breed, but I love them. I wrote along, indulgent thoughtpiece about vinyl robot kit in a review over on CollectionDX. Go there to read lots of words, and scroll down for more and bigger pictures of the finished Zaku.
Archive for the ‘Gundam’ Tag
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE is the current Gundam franchise incarnation, and it is pretty great. The AGE-1 Normal is also a recent entry in Bandai’s Mega Size model kit line of 1/48 scale mobile suits, which are also great. I did a comprehensive review of the kit over at CollectionDX, and it is worth a read. Bandai is really pushing the limits of what you can do out of the box, including making the entire kit tool-less. The engineering is pretty incredible, and the result is a gigantic (~15″) tall action figure model kit that is chunky, posable, and rugged.
The Robot Spirits Den’an Gei review got a lot of traffic last week, so I thought it’d be fun to start posting links to my reviews over at CollectionDX as they go up in case people don’t check there too often. I usually cover Glyos vinyl releases, 3A stuff, Iron Man, and real robots. Maybe over the weekend I’ll through and put together a review links page, since I have done a lot over the last couple of years. This week I posted a pair of sponsored reviews:
So, I wrote this review for CollectionDX without realizing that we’ve already covered this figure. I didn’t want what I put together to go to waste, so I figured I’d post it here for my own edification.
Bandai’s Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam ver. 2.0 is a heck of a kit. The design is clean and ‘doughy’ in a way that manages to capture the feel of the anime very well. The sharp and clean design made the perfect subject for a Monster Kolor powered airbrushed paint job. I wanted to do something more original than a clean white Gundam, so I followed a scheme similar to the original Clover Gundam toys, which were silver instead of white. Obviously I could not leave it just clean and smooth, because that would be boring, so I proceeded to apply the entire waterslide decal sheet Bandai sells for this kit, making for some interesting contrast against the clean sculpt. Katoki would be proud.
Reorganized some shelves while waiting for new arrivals. Here’s my 1/60 scale mecha lineup, featuring Macross, Dougram, Dorvack, Patlabor, Votoms, Gundam, and Mospeada. Basically, all of my favorite things. Click the top image for a bigger panorama.
My current shelf setup… a combination of real robots in scale and the vintage super robots I’ve been accumulating lately, along with some vinyls and vintage Transformers.
In the Universal Century tradition of Mobile Suit Gundam, ace Zeon pilot Char Aznable must have a special custom version ready of each and any mobile suit there is even a slim chance of that he might pilot. They must all be red as well, or Char won’t pilot them (Hyaku-Shiki does not count, as he was in disguise).
The Z’Gok is a Zeon aquatic mobile suit with formidable claws and hand-mounted beam cannons. The production model Z’Gok is stocky but not fat, with segmented flexible arms and legs like many of the other Zeon aquatic machines. This upgraded custom Z’Gok for Char’s use is a G-System resin conversion for the Bandai MG Z’Gok kit. The conversion is really designed for the Char’s use MG Z’Gok, as there are some slight differences in the joint-work of the arms and legs, but with a little extra putty work I was able to use the parts from a regular production Z’Gok MG kit without too much hassle. The casting was flawless, and the kit was well designed.
Thanks to the design of the Z’Gok and the kit, I was able to keep the model in well-thought out sub-assemblies for the painting process. I used my new Games Workshop Spray Gun to paint all the base colors, and tried Valeijo’s Model Air line of paints, which went on smooth, and has fantastic metallics. Weathering was done with acrylics and an oil wash… I did not do any dot-filtering, as I wanted to keep the weathering light, since the aquatic Mobile Suits were only used for a span of like five episodes in the show (if that). This was a first-issue of the conversion kit, so it included photo-etched metal parts for all the propeller covers. These went on easily and really added some scale to the machine, but I accidentally broke off two of the vanes on one of the front cover, which had to be bent into position, so I added a little battle damage around that area, and now you can see the weathering job I did to the propeller blades, painting them brass-colors and adding a patina like on real naval ships.
The Zaku II from Mobile Suit Gundam and just about every Gundam production thereafter is one of my favorite mecha designs of all time. Fortunately Bandai’s Master Grade 2.0 is one of the most amazing pieces of gunpla I’ve ever worked with. The 2.0 MG combines Perfect Grade detail levels, including a full mechanical skeleton, with an insane focus on articulation, allowing the Zaku to achieve some truly natural looking poses. This rendition of the big one-eye has received some flak for its retro vibe, but I consider it a pretty definitive representation, combining the bulkiness of the original animation with a little extra sleekness and mean-ness and emphasis on functionality.
From the get-go I knew this was going to be a fairly heavily weathered model, as I really wanted to focus on the walking-tank aspect of this ground combat machine. However, after watching the first episode of MSG MSIgloo 2, I think my weathering is pretty take! I built the kit Out Of the Box with a few exceptions… the shoulder spikes were replaced with Adler’s Nest turned metal parts, as was the camera mono-eye fixture and the machine gun barrel. Form there I went to painting… the internals were all over brushed with a dark dark-grey, and then from there I only really focused on parts that would be visible once all the armor was attached… one of the biggest ‘problems’ I have with gunpla kits with full interiors is that I always go overboard working on the interior, which is never visible, and often messes up the fit of some of the parts when attaching the armor and whatnot. On all the visible areas (mostly around the joints) I added dry brushing, oil work, and fully painted piston parts. I also fully painted the cockpit and pilot, but I don’t have enough of a light setup to effectively photograph in there…
The external parts were base coated with acrylics shot through my GW spray gun… the light green was a custom mix, and the darker khaki color was a stock P3 paint (the Privateer Press Paints line features FANTASTIC drab army-type colors). The black bits were hand painted, and the two sets of green parts received something new for me… I used the spray gun on its finest nozzle setting to over spray some highlights to the parts. There’s not alot of highlight showing up once the kit is fully weathered, but it definitely added to the affect, and really, a single technique like that shouldn’t be readily picked out from a finished model. All of the parts then received a coat of Future through my spray gun, and I assembled the bulk of the armor on the skeleton. Next step was decals… lots of decals. I bought the Bandai water slide decal sheet for this kit (kind of a racket selling real decals separately, but they’re only four or five dollars a sheet, and phenomenal quality). I aimed for a marking set similar to the ‘Real Type’ Zaku design used by Bandai, including the striping, which all had to be done from individual line decals and trimmed to shape. All of the decals received a tough of decal softening solution to snuggle them all the way down to the gloss surface, and a coat of future brush painted on to smooth out the edges of the carrier film. I added the graffiti, which I had been planning to do from the start… I figure this guy’s been on Earth for a while now, and the Federation has probably started to rally its forces, so the Sieg Zeon would be like a rallying call for the Zekes. Once all the decals were set, the whole model recieved a matte varnish coat so I could start weathering. I did some initial dry brushing to weather the decals a bit and pick out the edges of some details. I added some surface discoloration filters using oil colors blended into the surface, and added rust streaking and panel lining in a similar manned (obviously less blended in). A bit of battle damage was carved into the model using an X-Acto blade, and I painted in this damage with dark grey and metal colors, and then added rust streaking to some of the wounds to make them look like older battle scars. Form there the model received some more matte varnish, and the dust and dirt on the legs and feet, done with some weathering pigments for the mud and tan Valeijo acrylics for the dust, done in a number of very thin washes. The accessories were finished (the Zaku also has a Heat Hawk close combat weapon, and a big bazooka which I did not bother to photograph, and optional leg-mounted missile launchers which I didn’t assemble.) I’m really satisfied with how this guy came out, and am thinking about adding some similar weathering to my big 1/35 Jumbo Grade Zaku to help it fit in with my 35th scale tank kits.
The Gundam MkII is one of the two lead machines in Zeta Gundam. This is the version 2 Master Grade kit, which has a full interior skeleton/frame and is incredibly articulated. I finished this kit a few years ago, when it came out. I added a slightly modified paint scheme with some extra color trim, and used Bandai’s waterslide decal sheet to spruce up the machine. This was an early attempt at a more subtle amount of battle damage and weathering on my larger scale mecha models. I think the effect here works much better than the harsher techniques used on my GP-01FB. The MkII is a jack of all trades mobile suit, able to function as a ground combat machine as well as in space. Most of Z Gundam takes place in space, so I did not do any dirty and rust on this mecha.