Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in review

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

Happy New Year's everyone. I end 2008 with this majestic shot of the two main suits for Unicorn Gundam. Perhaps Gundam 00 overshadowed this series but I'm pretty sure the most popular suit of 2008 was the Unicorn Gundam.

This year (Gundam wise) has been an exceptional one for me.

I started this blog in January, and proceeded to get deeper and deeper into the Gundam scene as time progressed. I bought all 4 HG versions of Althun Zala's Gundams which, almost one year later, are still not even built yet.

In February I assembled my GM Custom which I bought in 2007. Finished up working on my beam rifle for the RX-78-2 OYW and concentrated heavily on content about the Plutone from Gundam OOP.

March - The biggest thing for me that month was finally finishing the OYW. The first Gundam (or even model for that matter) that I was really serious about. Custom paint scheme, lined, repaired and decaled. A milestone for me.

April - Getting excited for the MG Impulse. Consider getting limited edition FG 0 Gundam but decide it's not worth it.

May - Start going to the Gundam Bar more, getting more in U.C. 0096 designs, start work on MG Impulse

June - Reflections on women making Gundams. I officially become a Miyuki Uehara fan.

July - Working really hard on the MG Impulse

August - One of the best vacations I've had in a while. No posts but not Gundam free. Re-unite with my old model kits back in Canada. Brought two back to Japan with me. Have barely touched them. Like I need more kits to work on! lol

September - 2nd half of the year starts. Big month. News of MG Infinite Justice is released, finish my Impulse and I'm introduced to the Red Warrior for the first time. Working on my G04 Gundam occasionally.

October - I get a subscription to Japan Hobby, G04 is stil in the mix, and I toss HG GNX-III in there too. MG Infinite Justice takes priority near the end of the month.

November - Just working on a bunch of projects. MGIJ gets assembled but that's as far as I go.

December - Rasiel and Sefer are on my mind a lot, but really just waiting for Sinanju to come. It does and I sink my teeth into it pretty hard. Highest post count since March and shattered records for both my highest monthly and daily hits. Awesome news is the PG Astray will be released in March... I am so happy about that one. Post count for the year: 129.

And that's the year! Time sure does fly doesn't it? 1 year doesn't really seem that long but... it is. If you're not careful time can really get away from you. There just never seems to be enough. That's why it's so important that we treasure the time we have. Enjoy yourself and enjoy your life! Don't waste your time on bull**** and haters because it's not worth it! Just keep doing the stuff you love! and in my case... in OUR case, it is GUNDAM!!!

Happy New Year's everyone. Stay safe, don't hurt yourselves and dont hurt anyone else! Much peace and love!

Sayonara 2008! Helluva year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MSN-06S Sinanju - Work Log 6 - Painting

Ok... gotta say this... I think I've outdone myself.

Or at least... this model has given me the opportunity to out-do myself. I painted the head last night and it looks SWEET. At least to me. I was really impressed with how it turned out but I think I'm going to change the scheme a bit to give Sinanju more of a pronounced 'face'. If anyone comes up with the same colour scheme that I have I will shocked. I'll take before and after pics so you can see the changes. I'm thinking now that I may just make forsake the decals in favour of hand painting. It's actually easier for me since I'm doing a lot of fine painting already. And that way I can stay consistent with the colours.

Also tried out an experiment on the Mono-eye lense. Painted with silver leaf and then clear green on top since I wanted the eye to show through... but the helmet sits down so low and it's hard to see anyways. I'm not going to mod the frame/armour at all so I'll think of what I can do. Maybe life silver leaf without the clear coat on top? That might make it catch the light more. I kinda like the green though.... Decisions! Also... cool feature about the mono-eye is that the direction changes automatically depending on which way you turn the head. Details like that make this kit really special.

Now here is another totally unrelated picture.

MSN-06S Sinanju's predecessor, MSN-04 Sazabi.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

MSN-06S Sinanju - Work Log 5 - Thrusters

Pretty hard session today. Wanted to get most of the frame work completed before I went to bed and I think I did. Not much left to do besides the weapons and the head. So I think I can safely move on to armour work now. That's going to be a very time consuming process because that's going to be where all the painting and decal work come in. I'm thinking to do it all BEFORE I put the armour on. It's a change of pace but I think that'd be the most efficient way. I'm not planning on doing so much painting, but I always say that and things get away from me.

Anyways, let's talk about the thrusters. There are a lot of them. I'm finally startin to realize this trend in Zeon suits. The massive amount of power. Doms, Gelgoogs, Zeong, Sazabi... massive amounts of thrusters but I think this one takes the cake. Three on either leg that swivel 360 degrees, two on both sides of the waist, two on either shoulder, two on the main pack, and 4 all together on the wings. 18. Compare that to RX 78-2. 4 small ones in the feet and two on the backpack. It's almost embarrasing. Theoretically if the Sinanju can move it's thrusters like this model can with the right OS it would be INSANELY agile. I shudder to think of the possibilities... AND the energy requirements. Ouch.

Also as I was building I noticed a lot of sweet details on the underskirt and on the engines that are, unfortunately, never going to be seen. I took pictures so I could look at it later and be reminded of just how much detail was put into this kit.

Engine detail.

Underskirt detail.

Checking out the shoulder thrusters.

Checking out the waist thrusters.

Checking out the leg thrusters.

Comparing back packs. Pretty sad eh. Poor Rx-78. He must feel so obsolete :(

MSN-06S Sinanju - Work Log 4 - Hands

I made an error in my last post. Unit hands are the hands that HG and 1/100 NG models have. No finger articulation at all. Just a slot for the weapon. Modern MG grade kits generally have hybrid unit 'fingers', meaning that the fingers (middle, ring and pinky) articulate as one unit but can be seperated for individual movement. Older MG's like my G04 have unit fingers that cannot be seperated. I believe that all MG's have thumbs and index fingers that move independently.

I was under the impression that the Sinanju had all of its fingers already seperated. This is true to a point. They are... after the 2nd knuckle. But from the first knuckle there are a unit. Sinanju's fingers have TWO points of articulation! Really... this is getting close to PG grade stuff (which have 3. Like humans)

I've never seen or heard of a MG grade MS that has fingers like this. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

So, if there's one mod that I do consistently (when it's possible) it's the finger mod to get all of them moving independently and this time was no exception. As I was doing this I noticed that I hadn't done this mod yet to my own OYW RX78! To my credit, that was the first model that I even painted. I didn't know much then. Anyways I know more know so I figured while I'm at it... Might as well do both.

Now about the finger modding.

BE CAREFUL! I almost ruined my Sinanju's hands right off the bat by using the wrong tool. I thought it'd be easier if I just used my cutters, but they were too dull and wide and pushed the plastic apart in places that I didn't want it pushed apart. I almost broke the ball joints off of the fingers and that would have be DISASTEROUS. That would have been a really hard mistake to fix. As it stands I just moved the ball joints out of position by about 1mm. But it's enough to change the natural resting angle of the fingers.

Next I tried my mini saw. Better, but it takes away too much plastic. The width of the blade is about 1mm and that's good but... in the modelling mags they use a design knife. And it seems like an easy procedure.

My sawing method takes time and removes a lot of plastic. Generally I use a simple box cutter/exacto knife with a flimsy thin but sharp blade. They rust easily but they are super cheap to replace.

My impression is that the design knife is much sturdier and the blade doesn't break easily, making an operation like this easy.

Using my exacto-knife, I shortened the blade to prevent snapping and used a bit more 'elbow' grease. It worked well. And it worked even better on the OYW 78-2's hands. I used the saw on the Impulse and the MGIJ. I will not be doing that anymore. It works but the knife is better. Cleaner cut, less damage and it's faster.

There's a huge different in height between the Sinanju and the OYW 78-2 but not a huge difference in the size of hands, length of arms or the length of the torso for that matter. Like I said before... it's all about the legs with the Sinanju. That's where all the height comes from! I mean take a look for yourself. It doesn't seem that out of proportion does it?

(Yes, the peace/victory sign is a benchmark test of finger articulation. I put the spidey webshooter/rock on sign in there just for the sake of variety.)

It takes a bit more work than usual for these hands but it's worth it for me. The hands can give a model so much character sometimes I think, so it tends to be a part I'm pretty thorough about. The more articulation the better and this kit does NOT dissapoint. It excels.

MSN-06S Sinanju - Work Log 3 - Torso and Arms

Torso section has a lot of detail but... it's kind of pointless, since the armour covers it up or constricts the movement. For example, this model actually has tremendous waist articulation but later becomes contrained by the frame it itself... but the potential is there for an enterprising modeller who want's a bit more from this kit. That said the core is as study as the legs but maybe a third of the length. This frame is all about the legs, which gives it that extra height. I don't know why that's important for space combat but hey... I'm not an MS designer.

During the Zeta generation (UC 0086) the 360 panaramic style of control pod because the accepted design and it's continued up until now. Unicorn takes place 10 years have Zeta. 18 after Amuro first got into the RX-78-2 and 3 after he got into the Nu-Gundam. I haven't built a suit with this type of pod since the PG Mark 2 about 5 years ago. It's cool. Building UC suits is definitely different from Seed/Destiny. Or even 00 for that matter (speaking from my limited experience with the GNX-III)

Now the arms... Insane amount of detail here, a bit unnecessary but great to see how it comes to together. It really is built like a machine and it's trying to simulate the process of building a machine. If they wanted to cut costs on parts and just have it be a functional model with the same amount of articulation they could have done that easily. This kit is for the modellers. The serious modellers who want to show battle damage and repair process dioramas and the like. Not that regular folks like us won't enjoy it but... The hardcore modellers will LOVE it.

The arms seem thin and small to be carrying such large weapons and such a massive shield but maybe they're all made with lightweight material?

Interesing note about the hands (not pictured). They aren't unit hands. So no seperating the fingers manually with this kit. It's already done for you. How nice! Are all v.Ka kits like that? This is my first one. And boy do they let you know that Katoki designed this one in the manual. His name is everywhere! That said... it's a damn good design! A bit unnecessary in a lot of areas but... generally it's better to have more options than to have less I think when it comes to models.

This shot is taken with a borrowed digital camera. Yes a dedicated Minolta digital camera, not my cell phone cam (which isn't that bad, but I didn't like how the last shots turned out so...)

It will, without question, be a tall MS.

Friday, December 26, 2008

MSN-06S Sinanju - Work Log 2 - Feet and Legs

Well after working on the feet and legs I can see why this kit cost so much. OYW was interesting because it had a unit skeleton for the leg. Impulse and I.Justice both had a lot of detail, some sliding parts, but too thin to be realistic. This suit... is sturdy. Not that many parts and good articulation. And it's built like a war machine. Flexible but heavy. And powerful. Much better design than the OYW but then again... this suit was made almost 20 years later (UC time). It is big. See for yourself. I'm using my OYW RX-78.2 in the shots for comparison. Sinaju is built like a UC CE suit. It's almost Seed/Destiny -esque in it's design but... it's not. It's more realistic. And that's why I love it. Great engineering. Exactly one panel per leg.
There are a couple little details in there for the purists. Saw some parts that I might want to paint providing they aren't covered up with armour. I'm going to wait until I put the armour only before I consider doing any painting on the frame. There are a couple of places I'm definitely going to hit though. So far so good! I'm liking this kit so far.

Here's a pic of my loot before I started. Sinanju has been on my mind recently as you can tell.
Camparison shots:

MSN-06S Sinanju - Work Log - Cleaning, Priming, Painting


I'm not sure why people do it exactly. Maybe to make sure there's no dust on the surface before painting (even though they just came out of sealed plastic bags?!) but for some reason I felt like I should do it so I washed the panels with some soapy water and hung them up to dry. Unfortunately, I don't own a blow dryer to speed up the process. So maybe some Ace Combat to kill time?


Just finished priming. Went through a lot of it just on the red panels alone. Cold outside, wind blew the primer onto my forearms and turned the hair grey. Letting the panels dry now. Hope I have enough paint for this project... Spray cans are a waste but they're cheap conpared to the cost of getting an airbrush and compressor.


Finished all major spraying operations. Ran out of paint on the last panel! Should have picked up some more when I was out today but it can wait. Think I might go the Impulse way and assemble the frame first just to see what I'm working with. Even though I'm spraying outside I still have the smell of paint in my nose. ugh. Probably should leave the panels outside to dry instead of inside but... don't want to risk some foreign substance blowing in on the wind and ruining the paint job... What should I do? Might take the gamble. Don't want the smell of paint in a small apartment like mine.

Here's a random picture that has nothing to do with what I said.

I like the Fed girl better. How about you?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MSN-06S Sinanju - Get!

Yeah! Finally now I can stop dreaming about getting it and start dreaming about what I'm going to do with it. I've pretty much decided already though. It was cheaper than I thought it would be too. I used my points anyways so it was a 'free' X-Mas present to myself.

I know in my previous post I said I was going to talk about Rasiel and Sefer which I also just picked up but... ah... we'll see. I'm intending on making this one my winter vacation project so I'm hoping to get it and the gallery all done before I have to go back to work on Jan. 5th.

Happy Holidays!

GNR-000 GN Sefer

GN Sefer
Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

Just starting with the box scans again, just like Rasiel. I bought the Dengeki Hobby yesterday and assembled the GN Sefer later that night. Way more moving parts than Rasiel. Nice design. Better value than Rasiel in my opinion. Pic of the Rasiel w/ Sefer will come shortly. I'll be focusing on this for the next couple posts.

Also, MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you out there who celebrate it. Hope you all got what you wanted on this special day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

PG Astray?! Frame Comparisons

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

News in the blogosphere travels very fast. I think it was revealed just yesterday that the PG Astray is coming out in March. I got my Hobby Japan in the mail today. It's really impressive actually. I live in Japan and have a subscription to the magazine but by the time I get it, it's already old news! haha More proof of why I should stay away from the 'main' news and just stick to 'supplementary' stuff.

Case in point. Today's blog post is about the PG Astray, but I just wanted to give people a bit more information about the frame itself. The Astray frame is an ORB design based of the research used to make the first GAT series of Mobile Suits in the CE Universe. Those GAT suits being Duel, Blitz, Buster, Aegis and of course Strike. Seed fans will remember that the Alliance had a secret base on the ORB space colony Heliopolis. Dalong has scans from the PG Strike manual but they're kind of low resolution so I've decided to scan my own manual at a higher resolution (with a bit of minor editing for the sake of comprehension) to illustrate just how similar the designs are between the original Astray series (P01 to P04, Gold, Red, Blue and Green respectively. Whether P04 Green Frame deserves to be in that category, because of its late introduction, is up for debate but there it is.)

Now... why PG Astray? The picture should answer that question succinctly enough. It will also explain why Duel is my favourite of all the initial GAT series suits. It was the most like the original design. Better design than Strike IMO. Yep. I said it. And now that I have I realize that PG versions of the other GAT series suits aren't out of the realm of possibility either. Mod a PG Strike into a Duel... Wouldn't take that much effort... hmm...

Bandai made multiple versions of all the PG suits (outside of GP01 and Zeta I believe) why should the Strike be any exception? I mean we already have Strike Rouge. Why not one more? Minor changes to the armour are all thats necessary since the frame is essentially the same. Why not milk it a bit more? Look at what they did with the Zaku v.2 frame! How many versions of that have we seen already? Now the RX78-2 v.2 frame is getting milked with the MG GM v.2. Come on though... It makes sense right? It's just good business.

Huge profits for a minimal amount of work. Also the PG Astray kit is essentially an invitation to colour it any way you want! Don't like Rowe's Red? Than changing it to Gai's Blue is easy enough to do. Or maybe you have a taste for gold (like me :)? No problem. Easily changed. They'll sell double the kits on that aspect alone.

All that said... I am totally getting it. I paid about 15000 yen for PG Mark 2, 20000 for Zeta and 10000 for Strike. I'm willing to go for 15000 for this kit seeing as it's essentially a remake of the Strike frame. Zeta, I could justify 20000 yen for since it transforms. Funny thing though... Despite all this. I've built the 1/100 Red Astray and the PG Strike and found them to be very different frames. I'm curious just how similar the PG Astray's frame is going to be to the Strike's but still maintain the unique design that the Astray's have. When I was building the 1/100 Red Frame I specifically remember thinking "This is no Gundam!".

I'm really very excited about this kit. I wouldn't say its like my prayers have been answered but its close. I was very surprised and pleased at this news. I've wanted a new PG for a while now but haven't been impressed with the selection. GP01 would but nice but the Full Burn option parts and stand display... ugh... its just a waste for the money and plastic as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't use it!

But this is a good thing. I have over 3 months between Sinaju and this so it should be enough time to work through my back log without having something else come in. That is unless Gundam Cherudim Saga suddenly gets released in which case I will buy it IMMEDIATELY but that's not very likely. One can always hope though right?!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

GNX-704T/AC Mr. Bushido's Ahead

I'm not impressed with this thing. It's ugly. Personally I think it's a very effective suit but I think the two custom Ahead's that they made are eyesores. Ouch. I don't think this suit is going to be around long though. I'm pretty sure Mr. Bushido is going to get a MUCH cooler suit very soon. And since we're on the topc... I LOVE Mr. Bushido. A lot of people don't like him but I think he's friggin' awesome. I love how extreme he is and how he only cares about fighting honourably, even if it means walking away until your opponent can fight properly. He needs a suit worthy of him (flag *cough cough*). This is not it.

While not exactly cutting edge news, that's my two cents on this piece of junk.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Best Unicorn Gundam ever

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

As far as I'm concerned this one takes the cake. Best mods, best concept, best execution. It is perfect.

And apparently a lot of you are taken with it as well. It's one of the more popular items on my flickr so I've put a couple more pics up.

But don't settle for what I have. Go straight to the source. Erix93 has done an awesome job. Check it out. I've been following his WIP for some time and I was VERY pleased with the end result. Truly a masterpiece.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

I know that I usually post about Gundam related stuff but I figured I'd deviate from that today to show you all something that I thought was pretty special.

I am actually a fan of Dangaioh. The original OVA one. Not the remade G Dangaioh. I have some good memories of the OVA and remember thinking how cool it was when I first saw it. Actually some of the ideas that I saw in that OVA went on to affect me greatly. Similar to the first time I saw Akira . There were just a lot of radical ideas that can really startle a young and impressionable mind. Some of the ideas in Dangaioh were created well before they appeared in the Matrix. You know... human batteries and all that.

Anyways... I was really impressed with the mechanical design of this... figure? And I use the term loosely. I was amazed at how they managed to maintain the likeness of all four ships but still maintain the transformation process into a pretty decent Dangaioh! But at 79800 yen it's pretty much for collectors and fans only. That's a lot of money to pay for an overgrown Transformer.

It's still pretty frickin cool though.

If you don't know what Dangaioh is take a look here. This video shows the transformation sequence and the mecha in action. Spoilers are present though. But seriously, it's an 80's mecha animation. You can imagine how it ends already I'm sure.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gundam Pictures

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam
Time for my ritual cathartic Gundam picture file dump. Just a sample of SOME of the pics I've collected over the past couple weeks from various sources. I really should do this regularly. More at my flickr.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

SVMS-010 Over Flag High Maneuver Package - Details

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

Here are the supplementary images to my SVMS-010 Over Flag High Maneuver Package post in October. These scans show and explain how the modeller created this piece of art. Extra image can be seen here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

GN-0000 00 Gundam

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

Title suit spread from this months Dengeki Hobby. I kind of like this shot because all of the weapons have been taken off. Just the base suit. This model has been modded a bit but only minor ones. The legs have been extended a touch but outside of that nothing too intense has been done.

GN-XXX Gundam Rasiel + GN Sefer - Poster

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

The poster from this month's Dengeki Hobby. Really beautiful. Rasiel Gundam and GN Sefer are prototypes for 00 Gundam and 0 Raiser respectively. Kinda makes you wonder what it'd be like if 00 Gundam went into battle with an army of 0-Raisers behind it. This one is going up on the wall too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MS-06R-1A Zaku II High Mobility Type

Originally uploaded by Busterbeam

This the custom Black Tri-Star R-1A that won this years ORA-ZAKU modelling contest. It is a piece of work. I noticed that this modeller replaced a lot of parts with metal ones and added A LOT of metal bolts. The end result is something that really looks like a machine. Extremely well done and the attention to detail is superb. While not my favourite of the entries (I found that it lacked the creativity of the other entries), technically, the modeller surpassed all of the others with his skills. An excellent job and worthy of the 300 000 yen prize.

Monday, December 1, 2008

GN-XXX Gundam Rasiel - Box art

Just a couple of scans of the box art. I really liked the design. Simple. I actually like the model quite a bit. I'm definitely going to mod it. Bought some accesories for it today actually.