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Gundam Fun

Bandai 1/144 RX-93 Nu-Gundam Fin Fannel

n by Joseph Lee



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.


Materials

Here is the tlist of materials I have used to build and improve the kit.

  1. Tamiya paints and oil paint
  2. Decals and spare parts from 1/72 F-14 Tomcat and an extra 1/144 Nu Gundam Fin Fannel Kit
  3. Aluminium pipes/tubes
  4. Rubber tube
  5. Copper wires
  6. White cement
  7. Beach sand
  8. White glue
  9. 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 kit

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 the surfaces.

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

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

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 walls.

Conclusion

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.

Build Gundam.

 

Additonal images, click to enlarge

n


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