1/72 scale model airplanes are what I have been working on for the
past 13 years or so, and I had become quite accustomed with Humbrol
paints and brushes. Since year 2000, I keep discovering Gundam model
kits - most of them beautifully designed with their individual
characteristics - and I can't resist buying more and more of them!!!
I have also moved on from brush-painting to airbrush, and then from
compressed air canisters to a proper compressor.
This model is Bandai's 1/144 Nu Gundam RX-93 Fin Fannel. The kit
was given to me by my brother's friend back in the 1990s. Since I
have modified the kit quite extensively, let's start with the
suggested factory finish for comparison.
Here is the tlist of materials I have used to build and improve
- Tamiya paints and oil paint
- Decals and spare parts from 1/72 F-14 Tomcat and an extra
1/144 Nu Gundam Fin Fannel Kit
- Aluminium pipes/tubes
- Rubber tube
- Copper wires
- White cement
- Beach sand
- White glue
- Wooden base
Accuracy and modifications
Given that this kit was manufactured in 1988, the moulding,
accuracy and fit of the kit is not really that fantastic; there were
gaps here and there during basic assembly that had to be dealt with.
A lot of filling and sanding was done in the process.
Now came the modifications. Basically, with regards to the
original kit the fin fannel, the short little nozzle of the beam
rifle, the V fin on the forehead and the bazooka were done away
with. The following parts were then modified:
- V -fins on the forehead cut off
- Addition of an antennae on the right side of the head
- Modified nozzle of the rifle using aluminium tubes (one
smaller in diameter within the larger one) with rubber tube at
the end of the nozzle
- Aiming sight and magazine added onto the rifle
- Addition of a sword
- Addition of missile pad on the shoulder
- Refueling pod (with sensor and underside fins of the plane)
from F-14 Tomcat in place of bazooka
- Knees and ankles were modified to improve poseability of the
Color codes and decals
As can be seen on the photo of Bandai's prototype model, the
original colours for the Nu Gundam were basically white and midnight
blue. Since this was a spare kit on my shelf, I decided to try a
completely different colour code for this model. My internet
research revealed a camouflage pattern known as CADPAT i.e. digital
camouflage, which I decided to simulate on the model.
For a base coat, Tamiya paints were mixed to a dirty green-grey
shade. After spraying this base coat, masking tape was cut up into
tiny squares, which were pasted onto the surface of the kit. Then
the light grey coat was sprayed over it, resulting (after removing
the masks) in a CADPAT effect.
And as a final overcoat to lighten up the camouflage (after the
removal of the masking tapes), diluted medium grey was sprayed over
As for the backpack and rifle, a mixture of Tamiya paints was
used consisting of Gunmetal, flat black and a generous blob of gold.
The 'blue' color is Tamiya Metallic Blue .
As for the decals, spares from the model planes I have done in
the past were put to good use - can anyone recognize VF-165 and
Saratoga markings?. This is when I opted to call my creation
Saratoga Ranger Unit.
The base, although simplistic in form, provides the setting: a
war torn region where the Saratoga Ranger Unit was sent on mission.
For the base I used white glue, beach sand (thoroughly washed)
and a pre-cut wooden base. I decided to use real sand rather than
sawdust as I could not obtain any of the latter! But the effect of
using beach sand turned out pretty well too.
To create the uneven contour of the diorama, foam blocks were cut
to size to represent concrete debris and glued on the wooden
base. Pieces of copper wire were stuck into the "blocks" to depict
reinforced concrete. The sand-and-white-glue mixture was applied
onto it. An extra head and right hand of the 1/144 Nu Gundam were
also placed on the diorama as part of the debris. After which, the
base was airbrushed in shades of grey, reddish brown and earth.
Weathering was carried out on the kit through the use of a
Chinese calligraphy brush (with a very sharp tip) to fill the panel
lines of the kit with a diluted brown-grey mixture of Tamiya paints.
After which, drybrushing using Tamiya Chrome Silver was done on the
edges to make them a bit more outstanding.
Lastly, pastel chalk (dark grey) was used on the kit. I realised
that using a fingertip to apply 'dirt effects' seems much more
effective than using paint brushes. As for the diorama, weathering
was also carried out, with dark brown oil paint being used to create
that 'rust' effect of the copper wires protruding out of the cement
The fun part: The modifications done to the kit and the CADPAT
scheme, a bit cumbersome to execute but most effective. For my next
project, am likely to use a spare 1/48 Tomcat and make it into a
flight unit for a Gundam - similar to the METEOR system as
seen on Gundam Seed but of my own design. Lots of fun!
The kit: Not really an up-to-date moulding and poseability.
Master grade Gundam kits will definitely be better in all respects,
resulting in less filler and sanding to be applied.
Things to note: Patience is a virtue during filling and sanding
part, and also for the CADPAD airbrushing where the small little
squares of masking tape had to be painstakingly removed one by one.
Additonal images, click to enlarge