Tuesday, July 8, 2014

[Completed] MG+Resin 1/100 Re-GZ Custom

This RGZ-91b Re-GZ (Refined.Gundam.Zeta) Custom - "Flanker" is finally complete!

     Well, no, not really . . . I just have to move on since I feel like I'm going to go insane working on just one kit because I've worked on this kit off/on on my spare time when I can.  So is this the absolute best I can do?  Probably not, but I definitely see improvements . . . and I feel like it's time to move on.  I've made quite a few mistakes on this kit and I'll try to point them out throughout the post, but there's always something I may overlook so feel free to provide feedback.  It's a hobby afterall, not my job.



Also, I'm really starting to understand why others are hesitant to pose/take more pictures of their kits.  Paint scratches easy and I intend on leaving my kit in as good condition as long as I can, despite how sloppy it is!  But I could take requests if someone wants a particular pose or shot of detail.  It's just for now this is all the photos I have been able to do under them hot lamps--I get sweaty real easy and don't want to get my moist hands all over this kit.  I actually broke some pieces taking photos--I hope the superglue residue doesn't show!  I've also switched over to a 35mm lens . . . so I'm still adjusting to how it takes pictures; so far they images don't appear as sharp as previously . . .

Again, please don't mind the walls of text
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RGZ-91b Re-GZ Custom - "Flanker" || A Refined Gundam Zeta

    Not to be confused with:  TMS-007x Z Gustav, or other Zeta variants

Highlights:
-First handling of Resin
-3rd kit entered in a modeling contest
-Continued scratch building + using of putty
-Attempt at doing a more 'traditional' type of camo as seen in real-world application
-Extensive use of superglue

     My particular variant I name "Flanker" since my design influence is based on the Russian Flanker-D, a carrier-based aircraft (Navy).  (Other influences: Ace Combat, Muv-Luv TE) I imagine the carrier here would be the Ra-Calium(sp?); I've modeled the MS to what I think better fits combat in Earth's atmosphere.



The original Re-GZ Custom exists as MSV and it's the basis for which the Resin Conversion kit is molded.  Yes, this kit is comprised of the MG Re-GZ + a recast of the conversion parts (originally a B-Club kit).  In this writeup I hope I can cover all the modifications I've made to the original and the resin kit to truly make it my own kit.  Let's enjoy the pics shall we?
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Impressions


ehh, close enough
     When the MG Nu ver. ka and now the Sazabi ver. Ka released I was really hoping for a Re-GZ ver. Ka or ver. 2.0 since that would really wrap up the reiterations . . . but Bandai did not deliver.  I did not know of this kit prior to seeing the Resin Conversion up for sale but was immediately consumed with the idea of updating my decade-old MG Re-GZ.  Since it's a recast it didn't blow a huge hole in my wallet . . . of course I had not worked with Resin prior to this so I didn't know what I was getting myself into.




I could definitely clean up the thruster nozzles . . . or I could just not care at this point.



It's very Macross-y with the dual cannons added for waverider mode--very inspired by the VF's Super Pack.


Detailing

     I went with a Gray base color since I could not decide if the Re-GZ is more Blue or Green.  Afterwards the coloring was simply determined by the scheme of the Su-33 in Ace Combat 6.  My techniques are fairly amateurish but feel free to leave a comment or ask anything below the post!


I switched to a 35mm prime lens since it captures detail better in low light settings.  I can't say the same for Light Box use because under 3 hot lamps it doesn't seem to capture "more detail" than the stock lens I used on previous kits.  Guess I need more practice adjusting the lens.



Really hard to make out the slight weathering I did.  It's a combination of dark/light washes with color pencil . . . that's right, I used color pencil.


My dry brushing, however, a little less successful.  You might notice some unintentional blemishes caused by my handling of the kit--even with gloves on it's very easy to damage the kit's finish.  The paint around the thighs is already scratched up.



My panel scribing is way too deep!  I tried to fill up the excess with Mr. Surfacer 1200/1000 following primer and sanding.


I also seemed to have made the neck peg too high . . . it looks really awkward at some angles.  I also wish I had a better technique for "glowing eyes" or other effects for light on my kits.  It's difficult to notice the eyes unless you point light straight at it.

Gimmicks

     This MS was designed for the legendary Amuro Ray--a master of using all the tools available to him!



Here is the rough loadout:
-Head Vulcan x2
-2-Tube Grenade Launcher x2
-Hip Beam Cannon x2
-Shield
     -Beam Cannon x2
     -3-slot Hand Grenade Pack x1
-Beam Saber x2
-Assault Rifle x1
-Bullpup Rifle x1
-Back Weapon System (BWS)
     -Beam Cannon x1
     -Vulcan x2
     -Large Beam Cannon x2
     -Short/Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AIM-7) x6
     -Long Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AIM-54) x4

 . . . did I miss anything?  That is a lot of firepower!  Honestly, Amuro would only need vulcans . . .  I guess something I missed that was part of the original MSV design are the Hyper Beam Sabers (like the ZZ Gundam's).  I didn't want to drill into the Resin and risk breaking any more pieces . . . so they cannons are superglued, unfortunately.


this is one thing you can do with leftover runners
I just doubled the length of the handle--what kind of UC bullshit is that?!  Well, considering Unicorn can do "Kung-Fu" I think we can let this slide.  I think I'm going to lengthen a lot more beam saber handles from now on.  In this case the original saber handles are much too small for both the original and the new ver. ka hands I'm using.





careful, mate, if Kamille could destroy mobile suits with these I'm sure Amuro could also use them to great effect.  (Didn't Chan destroy the Alpha Azieru with one of these?)


that hole on the handle is for the ver. Ka hands' peg connector


Continuing with the Soviet-theme: an AK-47 inspired rifle!  Don't mind my uneven sanding . . .
Fun Fact: the AK-47's original inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov, passed away at the very end of last year--I guess this could be in-a-way homage to his legacy.  You might say an AK-47 doesn't fit very well with the Re-GZ . . . It's not that crazy, is it?









I added an extended magazine to the original Re-GZ rifle.  Looks more like a modern bullpup now right?


At first I was concerned that the rifle is too small, but bullpups are supposed to be portable firearms right?  I found no need to lengthen the gun since it already has the larger AK rifle.



notice the "face"?  CANNOT UNSEE

Kinda messed up on the sanding of the shield . . . but eh, it's a shield so doesn't have to be perfectly uniform.  The shield I sanded down quite a bit, so the plastic is very thin now.


The shield is actually quite heavy (must be all the putty) so it has trouble holding still long enough for more pictures.

I've never seen the grenades ever being used?
added the old ReGZ's beam cannons to the shield tip


Unfortunately, the large beam cannons mounted on the back cannot swivel forward (due to weight issues) so we'll have to make due with this limited gun spam for now.  If I had to go back and do it again: I would replace the shoulder-joint to stiffen the arm, and replace the shield mount with something which pivots.

Transform!

 k, well . . . unfortunately the kit has weight issues so keeping it in waverider mode is tricky.



I imagined that the Back Weapon System would detach itself and fly around as a support vehicle--like the Build Strike and Justice Gundam.




 I made the rear fuselage out of the old Re-GZ's fuel tanks (which used to hang off the wings), now they are combined into a single fuel tank.  You'll have to not mind my uneven sanding since I used a lot of putty.  And underneath . . . more missiles!




Not exactly the most aerodynamic of forms, but it will have to do. I guess in the end a space-use MS will always belong to space.



For some of the boosters I added Bandai's Builder Parts 1/100 and 1/144 to extend their length.  You know . . . because jet fighters have really huge nozzles?


I wish I had a solution to the heavy legs--since it's resin pieces with the old Re-GZ wings on top . . . yikes, it can't hold waverider mode for too long.  I think it looks just AS BAD as the Re-Zel/Methuss transformation because there's just this HUGE MASS OF BULK on the underside.  It would take more skill than I'm currently capable--but I would fix it by maybe making the backpack "slide forward" over the head.

Back to MS Mode!





trying to recreate the MG Box cover




Closing Thoughts


What I liked:
+Pretty cool that I'm able to 'revive' my decade-old kit, without breaking the bank
+Gundam MSV is awesome; It kinda fixes some of the problems I had with the original Re-GZ
+I don't have to buy the HGUC or wait for Bandai to update the Re-GZ
+Honestly, it looks better without the BWS flight-pack thingy and I'm glad I can remove it

What could be better:
-Transformation is still bulky, not aerodynamic looking, without some serious modding (above my current skill level!)
-The MG Re-GZ is a really old kit!  Very limited articulation, not even Pledge Finish was enough to stiffen the joints all the way to my liking.
-Resin makes the kit significantly heavier in the Legs and Backpack region.  Display Base/Stand highly recommended.
-The base MG Re-GZ is very sturdy, but the Resin Parts add a lot of fragility and complexity--mostly toward being fragile.  I should definitely go back and reinforce the backpack points of connection, especially.

  Overall, I the Resin Conversion has its ups/downs.  For improved looks, you sacrifice a lot of sturdiness and simplicity.  The Resin ball-joints SUCK, be prepared to use your own creativity to make everything move (or aftermarket plastic joints i.e. Kotobukiya's). 

this is very unlike Amuro's usual style

Things I wish I could have done differently/improved on:


  • replace more joints/places of articulation with quality plastic (Resin Joints = No Bueno)
  • -It has an Soviet AK-47 inspired gun, yet I couldn't find any 1/72 scale Soviet missiles--not enough RUSSIA
  • make room earlier for some Landing Gear in waverider mode
  • make waverider mode more streamlined and aerodynamic
  • I seriously need to learn a better method for painting eyes--they just don't 'sparkle' like the pros'
  • do a cleaner sanding job esp. with the putty'd parts


Responding to some feedback I received previously:

"Do you think you went overboard with this kit" (not verbatim)
     Well, not really--I really wanted to push myself, especially with each successive kit I put together.  Bandai didn't give us a Re-GZ ver. Ka or 2.0 after the MG Nu ver Ka or Sazabi ver Ka . . . . I wasn't disappointed because what it meant to me was 'screw Bandai, I'll just make my 10+ yr old Re-GZ better' and so that's what I attempted to do.  I rushed a few parts of the kit so I have myself to blame for that.

"What influenced your build?"
    Maybe it was all by chance, but during the time I was REALLY consumed with replaying all the Ace Combat games on PS2 and man did relish my time with them.  The Su-33/35 was THE AIRCRAFT OF CHOICE for me since it had the looks, the performance, and the loadout for almost every mission.  My second-choice craft is the Eurofighter Typhoon.  In Ace Combat 6, there's a Su-33 unit that shares a similar green color scheme as the Re-GZ's concept so I went with that craft as the main influence.
     I also really like Muv-Luv Total Eclipse's integration of fighter craft into humanoid mecha's designs, mad props to the design team.  You can see some of the influence in the shoulders/upper torso of my kit.
    The Re-GZ I see as a more traditional, non-futuristic, MS that Amuro pilots so it made sense to me to model it based on a Cold-War era aircraft + go with a Soviet/Russian motif.

"Hey, there's a scratch there", "You forgot to paint ____"
     Yeah, thanks for pointing that out to me.  Quite a few blemishes from just transporting and handling the kit even after completion, despite having 3-4 layers of topcoat it's still an easy thing to scratch.  I think I scratched up my Zaku I as well just playing with it after completion--the temptation is strong!

"Why don't you enter like the Gunpla World Builder Cup?"
    Nah, while competition motivates me to build I'm just not a competitive person at heart--I BUILD FOR MYSELF.  Besides, the amount of effort and stress I would go through would probably drive me nuts.  Am I just making excuses?  Maybe . . . I mean I am trying to save up for a new car right now--and c'mon guys this hobby probably, realistically, won't get me there [financially]. =P
    Even if I wanted to there's a particular rule for the GWBC that would get me disqualified--using non-Bandai parts.  That's right!  Remember this is a Resin Re-cast, non-official Bandai.  I also like to use a lot of Hobby Base and Kotobukiya stuff on my kits too (improving joints, adding weapons, etc.) because a majority of my kits are pre-2007.
    As for like local competitions . . . I try to participate, but seldom make deadlines with how slow I build!

"Do you have any advice for fellow builders?"
    Sure, I mean, feel free to ask below in the comments or send me an email and I'll try to respond when I can.
 Pertaining to this just this kit, though--what I've learned is that once you get over the "stigma of using superglue" on your kits a whole world of possibility opens up (esp. for making custom kits).  I used a lot of glue for this kit, mostly because I couldn't figure a better way of making the resin adhere to the plastic, and vice-versa.

"What are you going to do after this?"
    What you mean like model kits in general?  I dunno, man, building this kit beat the crap out of me so I might take it easy and do something simple for once--I'm thinking of attempting my first aircraft kit!  You can look at the bottom-right of my page to see all the kits I have in backlog.
     But I do have a lot of crazy ideas for customizing future kits; time will tell if I'll ever get to them.  I can definitely see myself in the future as one of those crazy old guys who mostly build military kits . . . . not sure how I feel about that!

"Hey, you should buy ___ it's an awesome kit!"
    I'm very tempted . . . I also have a ridiculously huge backlog, mostly because I want to rebuild a lot of the ones I collected as a kid (but simply straight-built them).  I'm NOT THAT OLD, but I would advise anyone who has time now for the hobby to build as much as they can before other things in life take precedence!  

    On top of that, I BUILD VERY SLOW . . . I've been working on/off this kit SINCE last September!

    Though, if I were to buy any kit this year [from Bandai], it would probably have to be the new HG 1/144 Airmaster--I'm a huge sucker for transformable MS!  The upcoming MG Hi-Nu ver. ka is also tempting, but that would depend largely on what I do with my old MG Nu ver.1
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Worth Buying?  You'd have to be Crazy . . .


     ...Crazy in love with the Re-GZ/Custom design.  There seems to be a hate/love divide when it comes to the Re-GZ since it's sorta in the middle of being a Grunt unit and a Gundam.

I purchased the MG Re-GZ around 2003 at Anime Expo ($30ish) and then the conversion parts (e2046.com $45) last year.  Since the base frame is still the decade-old Bandai kit it can be a pain to work with in terms of articulation; on top of that, resin [recast] is very fragile so prepare for sweat and tears.  Mostly sanding, lots of sanding.


For many reasons, I recommend the RGZ-95 ReZEL over the MG Re-GZ . . . it's the literal successor MS to the Re-GZ and follows the same model number scheme(RGZ-91 . . .  RGZ-95).  In particular the ReZEL Defenser type has a similar weapon setup to the Re-GZ custom (i.e. dual laser cannons, ugly waverider mode, etc.) AND is a much more current kit with better articulation/mold/etc. Though I gotta say it does look like a hot, ugly, mess with everything equipped.  Maybe the ReZEL Commander Type?





If you like the Re-GZ as it is I wholeheartedly recommend the HG 1/144 Re-GZ.  The proportions are better, the scale solves a lot of weight issues, and it's a much more recent kit than the MG . . . it also requires a lot less work to make look good!  There's also a huge selection from the HGUC line to kitbash if you wanted to make your own Re-GZ custom in 1/144 scale!

Thanks to Dalong.net for letting me use

Construction and Costs:

     It's difficult to account for every little thing, but here's rough idea of materials I used.

Construction: Styrene Sheets, Putty, Mr. Surfacer (500,1000,1200), Brass Rods, Ca+ Glue, spare plastic from leftover runners/kits, Kotobukiya Poly Joint Unit
Paint: Vallejo Primer, Tamiya Acrylics (various mixed), Model Master Enamels (various mixed)
Finish: Color Pencil, Future Floor Finish, Tamiya Flat Base, Vallejo Weathering Pigments, Mr. Top Coat, Krylon Gloss/Matte

Expenditures:
-Base kit $35
-Conversion Kit $50
-Kotobukiya Poly Unit $5-10
-Styrene Sheets $5
-Brass Rod $2
-Blu-tack for painting camo $5
-Waterslide Decals $5
 -Time (outrageous amounts of it)

BONUS PIC:


So when are you going to buy a Sazabi ver. Ka for me to fight, huh?

Thank You for looking at my work, Until Next Time!