Thursday, September 04, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #1

So I've been working on the Wing Gundam Model. There are a number of differences between the likes of Gundam Models and the likes of Warhammer models. These aren't notes of one being a better model over the other, simply differences in how the model was designed and what the end result of the model was intent to be. Warhammer models for instance are smaller and are typically what I call "Solid core" Parts, meaning the parts are generally solid hunks of plastic. Gundam Models by comparison tend to use parts that are panel formed. Like if you look at the legs of a Gundam model, and then split that leg in half to get two pieces. You will not have 2 halves of a solid piece, but rather 2 sides of a shape that is largely hollow. Another big difference between the two is what the intended end-result of the model is. A warhammer model is intended to be a single, representative figure that won't move but rather be moved by being picked up. A Gundam model's end result tends to be closer to something of an action figure by giving varying degrees of movement at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and ankles. So switching from Warhammer models to Gundam models is a major shift in models. And to add to those differences I wanted to try Tamyia paints and using those paints in a fashion to achieve a special effect.

See, there are 2 broad categories of gundam model finishes. By 'finish' I mean how the final model appears. The first is known as "Special coating" and is achieved by coating the model in metallic materials, while the second is regarded as 'normal' or 'standard'.

This is an image of the standard Wing Gundam Zero Custom, molded in flat colors. The pieces are actually made out of colored plastic, so if you scratched the surface of a blue piece you will find that it's solid blue plastic through the entire part.

While this is Special Coating Wing Gundam Zero Custom model. You can see the while parts are silver metallic while the colored parts are given a metallic glossy finish to them. Unlike the standard version, the metallic finish is actually a coating over standard plastic. The special coating was actually an innovation meant to make use of scrap plastics. By taking all the scrap plastics, that were already molded in their respective colors, and using that supply they could cast additional models getting a better return on the investment in materials. The problem is they can't guarantee they'll have enough blue plastic for all the blue parts for instance. So what do they do? They do the special coating, covering the possibly mis-colored plastic in the colored coating.

Well I wanted to emulate a selective special coating using the Tamyia paints. I ran across a tutorial on line about using the tinted clear colors from Tamyia over top of a bright silver color to achieve the reflective metallics.

So the first thing I did was gather up some parts and pieces to experiment with the Tamyia paints. Tamyia paints are ethanol based, as opposed to water based Citadel paints so they work a bit differently. For starters I have to thin them using rubbing alcohol rather then water which has it's own challenges attached to it. Alcohol evaporates must faster then water does, so I have to very frequently add more to the paint to keep it thinned properly.

So, the parts. As I explained, the process I was going to use involved putting down a bright silver as a base coat and then putting down layers of the tinted paints to color the reflection.

my first effort using Tamyia paints on some extra pieces
I made many attempts before I found a method that I felt worked well enough for what I wanted as an end result. My first effort was on the long section in the middle bottom of the picture above. The one with the yellow front, blue middle and silver back section. Here I tried hand painting a layer of Chrome Silver paint and then used several layers of thinned down "Clear Blue" and "Clear Yellow". I thinned the paints to a ratio of about 4 parts of Alcohol to 1 part paint. This mixture worked alright with the yellow paint, but the darker color of the blue it just took too many coats and too much time to achieve.

The next part I tried was that weird angled part above the first. Here I tried a brighter "Titanium Silver" paint as the base while I cut the thinning of the paints to a 2:1 of alcohol to paint. The colored paints worked much better here but was still quit thin and required a lot of work to achieve what you see here.

My third attempt was on the leg to the right. This time I used straight "Titanium silver", no thinning of it. It took a mind-numbing 4 hours to get the 2 sections you see there painted. That quickly became a "No thanks" sort of result. Doing some reading I found that Tamyia produces a "Gloss aluminum" spray paint. Based on the color comparisons this seemed to be more what I was looking for. So I swung by Hobby Town and picked up a can.

I tried this Gloss Aluminum on the forth part, the second leg section you see to the left. It gives fantastic coverage and looks great. This time I used the clear paints straight, no thinning. I think the results speak for themselves as you can see with the red and blue sections on the leg. A couple coats of the clear blue and clear red produce very solid, vibrant colors that shin.

So with a good approach to the painting taken care of it is time to move onto the model itself. I selected the titular Wing Gundam mobile suit, in the 1/144 scale, as the subject of this project. The series Wing Gundam (Also known as New Mobile Report: Wing Gundam) served as my introduction the Gundam franchise back in the 1998 so there's a certain nostalgic value for me with the models from that series.

the yellow parts painted in the Tamyia gold spray paint.
 I elected to recolor the yellow parts with gold. Tamyia produces a gold spray paint that, like it's Gloss Silver, produces fantastic coverage. You can see the difference it made in the image above. The yellow space is where my gloved fingers were holding the piece so that didn't get painted.


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