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PosingPosing
Assembling and AirbrushingAssembling and Airbrushing
Washing the PiecesWashing the Pieces
  • Posing
  • Assembling and Airbrushing
  • Washing the Pieces

The number 1 reason I went to this con was because they were one of the hosting sites for the 2012 Gunpla World Cups. This is a worldwide competition where people from around the globe who enjoy building Gundams (i.e. plastic Robot model kits made by Bandai) can show off their favorite works while hoping to win a variety of awards with “Best In Show” giving you the opportunity to face off with the winners from around your country to see who will go on to represent your country with the best of the globe.

Even before I entered the competition I knew I wasn’t going to win best in show, but I wanted to try for some of the other categories like Best SD (stands for Super-Deformed which means tiny body, big feet and huge head), Best 1/144 or Best Out of Box. Best 1/100 seemed like a category where the super talented professionals would show of their craft. The entry form allowed 3 entries and after contacting the judges I was told that it would be ok to enter 3 that Amanda and I worked on. During this process I had bought the 1/144 scale Gundam Age-1 Normal and was wildly impressed with it’s pose-ability. I had also recently acquired a airbrush and was experimenting with shadowing my robots. It was probably 2 weeks before the Con that I decided to enter my Age Gundam.

My personal entries included: Gundam Age-1 Norma 1/144 Scale, Hakugin Ryuseiba SD (Horse Gundam) and Musha Gundam Bakunetsumaru (Looks like a warrior SD Gundam).

My Group Entry with Amanda included: 2 BearGGuys 1/144 Scale and 1 MG Turn A Gundam 1/100. The bears were custom painted to look like a Panda and a Polar bear and were riding in a shopping cart that was being pushed by the Turn A. My secret addition was hiding a tiny BMO figure from Adventure Time in the shopping cart.

Preparing for the Con

Unfortunately I waited too long to register online for the con so I had to plan on getting there SUPER early on the first day to buy my 3 day pass. The other part of preparing for the con was continuing to build and work on my Gundam Age Gundam and the Horse Gundam that I was making for Amanda. I literally worked on both of those until the night before the Con! It was crazy. One thing that really slowed down my completion of the AGE Gundam was that I shadowed in a crazy way. Typically what you will do is take your kit, prime it all one color, pre-shadow with black then paint with colors (either by hand or airbrush), clear coat, panel line then clear again. With this Kit i didn’t want to prime because if you bump your toy while posing etc. it very quickly shows the damage. I wanted to shadow the Gundam directly so that if I bumped it, the damage would look like actual battle damage.

First I assembled the pieces, then mixed 1 drop or so of Vallejo color that was close to the color I was shadowing (blue, red, or yellow) and added 1 drop of black to darken it. Then I would very lightly spray a thin line on the edges of all the pieces. Frequently I would make mistakes and would dip a brush in rubbing alcohol and would scrub the piece until it was clean. This wasn’t too difficult. Shadowing the white was nearly a nightmare. I used Tamiya Smoke with Tamiya Thinner or 70% Alcohol. Some websites recommended 10 drops of alcohol to 1 drop of Smoke but I found it to be far too weak. Let me introduce you to my problem. Smoke direct is too dark for the gundam and needs to be thinned with something transparent to help it go on lighter. So you add something to thin it to make it lighter. Too much thinner and you have no idea what is happening until after 20+ passes or you lose track of what you are doing and the whole thing looks gray (that happened a lot…), too little thinner and it’s too dark. Another problem is that if you air pressure from the compressor is too strong it will cause the paint to bead and spread the way a hair dryer will blow water drops on your counter. If your pressure is too light the pigment will not come out smooth. The more thinner the use, the lower your air pressure can be, the less thinner you use the higher your air pressure has to be (remember this can cause your paint to bead up and turn out terribly). Now take all those variables, add them together and you will find a very frustrated Jon who has tried all kinds of mixtures.

Some nights I found success using 5 drops of 70% Rubbing Alcohol and 2 drops of Smoke mixed in my airbrush at 10 PSI (constant pressure when holding down the trigger), other nights I preferred 5 drops of Tamiya Thinner and 2 drops of Smoke at 8 PSI. Towards the end of this project I was using 1 drop of Alcohol and 1 drop of Smoke at 9 PSI (could have been 8 PSI…). Normally when you are shading you can go back and forth between black and color to get the transition you want. My technique was not so forgiving. It was free hand and you either got it right, or your started completely over. It was very time consuming, but it will be much easier to touch up in the future then the other option. Over time I think this technique will be more durable then priming. I’ll be sure to post about it.

The Horse was a totally different technique. I primed the pieces, painted black in the edges, and then painted the pieces their proper color while keeping the edges that were shadowed softer. It was pretty straight forward and looked great! The reason I did this was because I was totally changing the colors from it’s original silver. The Age could be done it’s way because I didn’t change the colors at all.

Washing the Pieces

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  1. […] THIS ONE) will show you some of the winners from last year. You can learn more by checking out THIS blog post about me building 3 gundams for the […]

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