This kit is the 3D representation of a watercolor painting by Sakamoto, the character designer of Evangelion. It appears in Volume 3 (?) of the Eva manga.
Apparently the kit didn’t sell very well as HLJ used to sell this at a discount (not anymore). I think it’s probably due to its high price and the lack of cuteness or skin or whatever drives people to spend their life savings on kits. But the picture has a special appeal to me somehow; the tranquility of the scene combined with both character in their atypical expressions – Asuka slightly sad, and Shinji enjoying his DAT tapes.
I haven’t built anything that satisfies like this kit for a very long time. It takes more than 100 hours to build and it’s really a “painter’s kit”, if you like to paint this kit is wonderful. From the patterns on Shinji’s shorts and Asuka’s hat, to the dry-brush-heaven pillar and deck, this kit has a lot of details to be filled in. You can see the original picture on HLJ’s page, the expressions of both characters differ a little bit from the original painting. Shinji is still enjoying himself but doesn’t have the grin, and Asuka looks a bit more neutral. Regardless, the sculpt is very well done. I must say this Shinji is one of the the best renditions of him, and so is Asuka.
Kit Review Seam lines: 4/5 Pinholes: 3/5 Casting: 5/5 Fit: 3/5 Part Break: 5/5 Help
The kit wasn’t too bad in terms of surface preparation. It has more pinholes than I’d like, but it wasn’t too bad; the tricky parts are the seam lines on the relief in the pillar and some very hard to reach places on Asuka’s body – which is cast in one piece. The life buoy is quite difficult to assemble since you need to put the 4 pieces of the “strings” into the appropriate slots and the instruction was wrong! Fortunately I found tiny numbers sculpted on the buoy itself, after widening the slots a bit everything falls into place. The chair is also quite a bit of work and requires a lot of test fitting. The 4 legs of the chair didn’t balance out so some sanding is needed. Finally the crate Shinji is sitting on doesn’t completely fit into place, resulting in Shinji’s feet floating in mid air. Some dremeling on the bottom of the crate was in order. Otherwise all the parts are almost snap-fit. I was very impressed with the hose – it didn’t require much reshaping to get it in shape.
BuildingThe kit requires a lot of masking, especially Shinji’s and Asuka’s bodies because they have quite a few colors all on the same piece. Some in-progress shots:
Picture of these pieces getting primed.
Picture of little green Asuka with liquid mask on.
Picture of Asuka with liquid mask removed, and chair assembled and painted.
Picture of Shinji with clothes and crate painted.Shinji’s shirt was shaded with clear purple and pants with a mixture of clear blue, white and smoke. These shades requires several passes to look right; I wanted the purple to tint the shirt but not enough to make it totally purple, as with the pants. I wish they cast Shinji’s body in 3 separate pieces! Liquid mask has the disadvantage of giving jagged edges. You usually need to do touch up work after peeling off the mask on the edges, but that gives you either a patch of color that’s not coherent with the surrounding or a raised area of paint where you hand paint. To elimiate this effect, I instead painted the edges in first, trying my best of feather off the paint away from the edge. Then I apply the liquid mask and airbrush. This way when I peel the mask I get a perfect finish, and the airbrush kind of blend in your hand painted area so you won’t notice any difference.
Details: Originally I wanted to make my own decals for all the different stuff like plaid patterns to small labels on the detergent. However after I tried to work on the plaid on Shinji’s pants a bit, it wasn’t too bad – with oil. If I mess up I can easily correct the lines. Asuka’s hat was a bit more challenging but it worked out ok. Using oil also preserves the watercolorly look of the original painting; I think decal will make it look too regular. The letters on Shinji’s shirt, the crate, the detergent box and the buoy was more work, but it’s also quite fun to do. The original painting has “MBO” on the life buoy, but given the position of the buoy, I though some of letters are hidden and the whole thing should spell a complete word, hence I went with “JUMBO” 🙂 Turns out the kit’s buoy is positioned a bit differently from the painting, so my JUMBO word appears completely. Fine… To speed up progress, I seal the oil quickly with Kyrlon matte; since it may melt the oil, I was careful not to spray too thick and dry the sealant immediately with hair dryer.Artist oil is your friend! 🙂
Disaster: Haven’t have a major one like this for a while. After painting Asuka’s face I found that some of the facial relief on it was inappropriate, making her look “old”. So I tried to smooth them out via sanding, but one thing lead to another it was completely messed up and I had to reprime her face and wipe out her cute eyes…