This kit isn’t very flashy, but I love the dead-on likeness and very unique and in-character pose of Azumanga Dai-oh’s Kagura. Kagura-san is a very likable character in the series, she looks very tough, athletic and quite mischievous, but deep down she’s actually quite innocent and kind. Not the brightest student in class, her strength is on sports, and swimming is her strongest event.
For this kit I decided to place her in a mini school pool side diorama. Having just come out of the water after a few practice rounds, Kagura is taking a little break and stretching out. To give the diorama some details, I added her tossed-aside goggles and a few training boards used by other schoolmates. A drainage made out of pla-plates and one of a pair of hand-rails are included. The goggles were made from heat-forming clear acryl sheets. It was quite messy since I had no experience working with the stove 🙂 But without burning myself too badly I managed to get a pair of clear knobs. The training boards were such atrocity to create, despite their simplicity! I didn’t want to waste too much pla-plate on this so I went with balsa wood. I should’ve gone with my initial instinct and slap a couple of pla-plate on the surface to avoid putty-work, but for some inexplicable reasons I started puttying. Before that though I applied a few thick coats of wood varnish. Why did I do that? This thing got eaten by the primer I applied later and mess followed. I knew this was going to happen (varnish = enamel, primer=lacquer), but I had gotten away in the past with thin lacquer layer on enamel so I thought I could this time as well. No such luck 🙁 I still could not believe what a big waste of time that was.
The pool water turned out much nicer than I thought it would, courtesy of the clear resin I first used in the Cammy kit. In fact they were applied at the same time 🙂 I tried to create some waves by stirring the resin in the beginning, but it was largely a futile attempt since the resin self-levels like crazy. However applying a second uneven resin layer did a very good job of making undulating water surfaces , and it seems to do some magic to the lights to make the water reflection look more realistic than I thought it would.
The pool tiles were made from Evergreen polystyrene tile sheets. After painting the tiles and applied a bit of shading, I carved out the grooves with files and p-cutter. This creates uneven white grooves that resembles caulk used to hold the tiles together.
For her wet droplet effect I tried heavy gel this time (was using medium gel before). I think it definite is easier to shape so I may keep using it in the future. Capturing the droplets however was a head-banging experience as usual; I think it’s because while environmental lights are omni-directional and thus would let more droplets catch highlights, the studio-lighting was more directional. With the experience this time though, I think I might have a less stressful time in the future.
I had one WIP post for this kit. It it weren’t for the time wasted on the training boards and photography, this process would have been a breeze…