This step was all about tiny parts that assemble into the shoulder and head. This was quite a difficult step because everything was so incredibly small. To give you an idea of how small these part are, the face plate was about 2 mm boxed, its so small, you might not spot it in the parts below. Even though smaller parts suck to assemble because they can easily go missing, and require a steady hand, they add so much more detail to the overall build. Here are the parts after they were filed and sanded.
Now normally I just use spray cans when priming Gundam parts, but I’ve started to realise how much paint gets waisted due to the area of effect it has when spraying parts. I therefore tried out airbrushing on the primer. The Tamiya light grey primer is identical to the one that is in the spray can, but comes in the same bottles that Tamiya uses for its panel lining, and of course is not as thinned as the spray cans. For this reason, I also purchased a more aggressive ink thinner that is more suitable for thinning primer. Primers need this more aggressive thinner because they are usually Lacquer based which means they are thicker and dry much quicker, but they stick really well to plastic and various metals. Here are the parts primed using this method:
The black and metalic red were pretty standard but the purple-grey colour needed to be custom mixed. Getting the colour right is quite a fun and creative process:
Laying down the base coats and then the shading (look closely at the black at the after the dark grey is added)
And here are the parts once they have dried and cured after 48 hours. You can see the metallic sheen on the red and gold parts as well as the shading on the black parts. (The semi-trainsparent blue part is going to be the eyes)
There wasn’t a whole lot of panel lining to do, but even still it came out pretty good. I also tried using the airbrush to give a gloss coat first as apposed to using the spray cans, for the same reason I used the airbrush to do the primer. Its also quite awesome being able to control the stream of paint in such a controlled manner.
A lot of people stress about using the Tamiya black panel liner because they are worried that its going to cause the plastic to become brittle and crack. The golden rule when using enamel panel liners (as stated on the bottle itself) is to always apply it over a layer of acrylic, and not a layer of bare plastic/enamel top coat. Since I paint in acrylic, I apply an acrylic high gloss coat, panel line and then matte acrylic coat.
Time for assembly!
The finished product:
Unfortunately I messed up and (again) forgot about two parts which meant I couldn’t completely finish the one shoulder, but thats just a minor complication 🙂