Tekken Bishoujo Christie Montero – 1/7 Kotobukiya

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Yet another Tekken Bishoujo! I think this is actually one of the first amongst the Kotobukiya’s line of Yamashita’s figures. Christie is a Capoeira practitioner and I think she’s trying to round kick here. 
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The dynamic pose is quite awesome and the kit has enough things flowing and flying… very Brazilian. I’ve taken a special liking to her after the Rio Olympics. Interestingly for the Tekken line the figures are smaller – even though the claim is 1/7 just like the series’ other Marvel figures and such, she is visibly dwarfed by others like my Juri. She’s quite busy for such a small kit, and I’ve ruined her countless amount of times, making her a difficult build.
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Her face is a little troublesome and the hair was casting shadows and obscuring it at different angles, making her one of this kits where the angle of the photo matters quite a bit. DSC_6169 DSC_6167 DSC_6166 DSC_6165 DSC_6164 DSC_6162 DSC_6159 DSC_6158 DSC_6156

Unicorn Gundam with MS Cage – 1:100 Bandai

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They have so many different versions of MG Unicorn Gundams and unfortunately I liked it enough to have bought a number of them. This I think is the second version with “HD” in the label after they’ve fixed a few issues with the old ver ka. kit, such as the leg with limited mobility and added more decals, plus this “MS cage” as how the Unicorn Gundam was portrayed in the first episode. The cage has reasonable amount of details and it held the Unicorn is a good enough position. It comes with figures and one day I’m going to paint them and add to this as a diorama. For now I just want to put up this as a finished kit (done almost a couple of years ago). After the shots I realized one of the skirt pieces has fallen off, so I guess we’ll do another shoot after all 🙂

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VF-25S Armored Messiah Ozma’s – 1:72 Bandai

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I like heavily armored kits and the Messiah fits the bill. There are so many missiles and hatches that made the not-awesome VF-25 battroid bearable.
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The kit looks good mainly from the front, but the huge backpack is extended way back, which looks clumsy. This kit is a bit old I guess, since the color separation isn’t perfect – the missiles are molded in one piece which requires you do paint quite a bit… the plate that holds the missile has one color, the missiles themselves have white bodies and red tips. There are a lot of decals, but you’re better off painting a lot of those details since the decals don’t conform to curvy surfaces well even with different brands of decal softeners. Perhaps the “Future” approach of doing them would work since it’s the ultimate technique, but I’m a bit scared to try something that seems quite irreversible 🙂DSC_5995DSC_6001

Ozma’s ride has one of the cooler head designs in the Macross universe and that’s the only reason why I wanted to build this kit in battroid form. The form does not offer the most extensive view of all the missiles in its arsenal because the backpack’s missiles are invisible. Also the nuclear missiles are stuck at the back which made it pointless to attach. The gerwalk is a much better mode for this and I’ll build the Alto version for that.DSC_5981DSC_6009DSC_6002DSC_5998DSC_5994DSC_5990DSC_5989DSC_5980

RVF-25 Messiah Valkyrie Luca with booster pack – 1/72 Bandai

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I wasn’t initially thrilled with the Messiah design, but it grew on me after a while even without seeing the anime (I still haven’t finished Macross Frontier…). The RVF variant is the reconnaissance type with the additional radome and remote controlled “ghosts” unmanned aircrafts. After 10 years Hasegawa finally made their version, but it was still sold without the ghosts, and this is where Bandai won out.

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The kit can transform but honestly I think the battroid form is hideous, the head of the RVF is particularly silly. And these kits don’t survive transformations, so I opted to build a fixed version for each Messiah I bought. DSC_6247

The original kit came without the booster pack but I quite like it with them, so I added it. Hasegawa actually got a kit with the booster pack.
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The ghosts came with a lot of decals… might just as well since painting 3 of these guys isn’t fun. Oh wait you could say the same for decaling 🙂 I wish however their support could be more pivotable so that the ghosts can be posed with more variety, rather than all flying at the same altitude. Also here you can see the tail stabilizer that the RVF has; this feature plus the radome are what distinguishes this variant with the others.DSC_6181 The decals included in these kits are really thick and I don’t like working with them. No matter how strong the decal solvent is the film simply couldn’t adhere to irregular surfaces. This becomes an issue for some of the booster packs’ decals. Due to their suckiness I painted a lot of the details especially for the radome, rather than relying on the decals.
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Compared with the latest incarnation Macross Delta, I think Macross Frontier has better designs in the aircraft/gerwalk mode, but heir battroid forms are not so great. I’ve also finished an armored VF-25s in battroid that I’ve posted and will finish the Alto version in gerwalk. Now that I’ve built so many of these they aren’t too bad if you decide to build fixed-pose versions of them. Moving them are going to be a challenge.DSC_6182DSC_6197 DSC_6206 DSC_6213 DSC_6214 DSC_6225 DSC_6239 DSC_6243 DSC_6246

1:48 Strike Valkyrie VF-1S with Weapons

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I had waited for this Hasegawa 1:48 Strike Valkyrie ever since they rolled out their 1:72 kits. Reading the history of Hasegawa, their specialty is in 1:72 and less on the larger kits, which explained their very late foray into the line. Given the accuracy and the detail of the final product though, it was worth the wait.

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I have previously done a short update when I finished the kit and a more detailed WIP post, and this time the belated studio shoot is ready in the way I meant to do it. The wide-angle frontal shot of the plane displayed in full glory of its arsenal as displayed in the weapon kit’s art. The kit was done with the Valkyrie photoetch option kit, and the cockpit ladder was a Eduard 1:48 F-105 ladder. It was difficult to find a compatible ladder that looks like the box art! The hanger base was the Kotobukiya chain base – which at the time of writing is being reissued (yay!) in Oct 2016. The missles were supported with modified carts from the chain base kits, and the nuclear missiles were supported with 1/48 USAF Missile Maintenance Stand which also took me a while to find. A more seasoned modeler would just scratch build that :-/

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It was a bit of a perilous build since the decals were getting old and started to crumble. Hasegawa decals are of good quality but they don’t last very long, unlike the thicker Bandai and Wave offerings. Had I be patient and used Micro Liquid Decal film I might now have so much trouble… I enjoyed finishing this kit nonetheless.

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Fairy 1:1

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This is an ancient garage kit – one of the first that caught my eye!  This was sculpted by Cheri (a guy) who has been associated with Max Factory for a while. He is one of my top GK sculptors and he is still doing great work – like the only Lynn Minmay that I’d every buy. There had been quite a few Minmay over the years but almost all of them fail one way or another, mostly because o the face. But Cheri got it spot on!

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Anyway back to this kit. It was one of the first GKs that I liked and bought but it had been sitting in the box for something like 20 years! But I have been having fun photographing transparent parts from GKs so I was finally motivated to get her finished. It’s a very small kit – think 1:12 scale for a figure – with the idea that she’s like a creature that is out of a butterfly cocoon. The resin yellowed after so many years, fortunately the wins were green/yellow/blue in color so that didn’t hurt. Soaked them in Future to give a brillient reflect/refraction off of the flash and gave some very beautiful shots for me. Lovely kit.DSC_6061DSC_6059 DSC_6056DSC_6052DSC_6047DSC_6071

1:7 Bishoujo Street Fighter Juri

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This is the resin kit version of the Kotobukiya PVC bishoujo. You can tell I really like Yamashita’s series of figures after I’ve done the other bishoujos! Juri is quite unusual in her pose, costume and has quite an attitude, which drew me to her. I opted to use florescence color in her pink pieces for a bit more stand out effects, and I had her thigh parts uncovered instead of black as in the original art. There’s a bit of hassle in painting her spider themed chest armor, but nothing some enamel handbrush wouldn’t achieve. I’d put this kit under the “cool” category!

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Scopedog turbo custom: last red shoulder ver. 1:20 premium bandai kit review

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I usually don’t do kit reviews, but since no one is going to do an English review for this awesome kit I’ll do one😀

When bandai announced the premium scopedog turbo custom, I was so disappointed that it was just the regular scopedog with new legs, without any weapons! That’s so stupid, but I couldn’t resist getting one. my guess is they’re testing waters with the cheap tooling for the legs before adding the weapons. But for us overseas customers the shipping for separate kits blows.

But I have yet to mention that I bought the resin weapon sets from “rampage” a while back. I got my grail kit burglary dog conversion from them… Oh boy was I ecstatic! But my real goal was to get the Sunsa turbo custom equipment set that they advertised on hobby Japan, which I did at a pretty ridiculous cost of 9000 yen. Turns out the resin set had options for the last red shoulder as well. Anyhow, had I known this new set was coming I probably wouldn’t have gotten it. No matter.

Anyway despite the rant I’m still grateful that bandai would keep cranking these out. The proportion of the 1:20 line of scopedog is one of the best IMHO, so I welcome the new additions.

What a huge box! The shipping really kills since shipping from Japan is often volume rather than weight bound. 

There are lots of spares. Bandai included almost a runner from every scopedog kit in existence, including the berkorff squad, round mover, red shoulder custom, turbo custom… And in addition the new weapon packs, so you now know why it’s so huge.

Here’s the runner for the hand held solid shooters. Unlike the nicer releases, the new weapons are mostly in halves and would require dealing with seam lines. Like all of them…

Even the smoke grenades! Geez. They’re aren’t much details on these but that’s always how the design is.

The instruction booklet is prefaced with the additional weapons you get.

The previously released turbo custom parts.

The solid shooter runner from the round mover set.

So there you have it. For a scopedog fanatic it was totally worth it, but YMMV. 

Using tattoo decals for models

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Temporary tattoo makes for great tattoos and prints on figures and models. They have beautiful graphics and subject matters (e.g. dragons) that are hard to find. Last time I used the tattoo decal on a kit was 8 years ago with Mizuki. At that time I didn’t think of the critical step in making the transfer work, so I ended up having a lot of grief. The problem with tattoo decals is that they have a very weak film to carry the print, so unlike regular decal where you can move it around after application, you’ll end up ruining it if you mess with it after transferring.

However I feel silly for not thinking of transferring the tattoo to a decal sheet first. Basically you imprint the decal as instructed, face the tattoo  down and apply water, wait 30 seconds and lift… Very slowly. If the peeling wasn’t careful you may smudge the tattoo. Then just cut and apply. I’m doing this on a cheongsam I’m working on for Wang bailong from shining and it worked well. I applied it to the tangopapa decal sheets I bought like 15 years ago… Good that the sheet still works! I was a little worried that solvaset would melt the art, but it didn’t. While the tango papa decal still works, it seems to require me to soak the decal a lot longer… I’m not sure whether that’s due to the age of the paper or something to do with the tattoo.

Choosing tattoo is another matter. It takes a while to find the right ones because most tattoos are too big for models… For the obvious reason that they’re meant for real people. But I managed to find a pretty good deal from some Chinese reseller on Amazon, so I’m probably set for life based on those 6 books of dragon tattoos.

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Using this technique I finished the Won Pairon from the game Blade Arcus from Shining (that’s a lot of froms). I’m very happy with her finish as the decal went on almost perfectly, and the paint scheme suits her very well. Inspired by some of the cheongsam designs, I gave her a gradient color scheme instead of the plain one of the original, and the decal really hide the unsightly jutting chest that almost ruined the figure. Watch out for the studio shot of her soon.

 

Kirin armor with Kirin bolts – monster hunter 1/6 kit

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This is one of those kits that I dread to finish… Mostly because of the amount of masking required. Monster hunter costumes are very ornate and has the stone-age fantasy design that I really like. However they have more details than your usual fantasy kit which means a lot of

Lmasking. Finally gathered up enough will to work on her.

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She’s 80% complete at this point with some detailing and the base to be completed. Once again I used my trusty plaster cast rock mold and one of them has a good foothold for this highly dynamic… Unbalanced kit. Ganbatte!