The kit is from the Bandai Master Grade line, 1/100 scale, very well engineered in my opinion, with a fairly decent amount of parts. It was built mostly out of the box.
The internal structure was built first, following a different sequence than the one suggested in the instructions. This was done to ease painting later on. No modifications were done in the ‘poseability’ area or extra detailing. Once it was all put together it was painted with a mix of Tamiya German grey, metallic grey and flat black.
Next came the backpack; which in my opinion looks boring out of the box, flat big sides with nothing going on. Here I started adding elements from modern armor. Crane loops were added to the top panel, which came from the spares of a 1/72 DML King Tiger kit. I scratch built thermal ID panels from Evergreen styrene and fixed them on the sides. Then part of the rear panel of a 1/72 M1 Abrams kit was fixed on the bottom of the backpack. This helps to break the monotony a lot. Finally a holder was scratch built using thin sheet styrene bent carefully with a photo-etch bending tool. This would hold a spare ammo magazine attached to the back panel of the backpack.
Next came the torso; two additional crane loops where added to the top that came from the same King Tiger kit. I added some armor plates from sheet styrene and drilled holes at the corners to resemble the bolting points. Vents were added to the sides of the torso, this come with the Bandai kit but are optional.
Next came the backpack frame; which gave me some trouble. The gaps and seams were terrible and I decided to cover them with thin sheet styrene instead of trying to fill them. I added support brackets and search lights (generous donation of a pair of bosch lights from Dave O’Meara over at Armorama). I also added the smoke grenade launchers from the Abrams kit, but one of them was lost during the painting process. I didn’t like the asymmetry so I removed the other one.
The legs and arms were left unmodified. Only the skirts and shield have armor plates added using the same process as before.
Battle damage was done using different tools and liquid cement, just brushing it on and then pressing the tool in. A file was also used to rough up the borders of the armor here and there.
Painting, markings and weathering
Since I wanted the Mecha to look as realistic as possible, I decided to go with the NATO camo scheme. I used Tamiya acrylics for the base coat, NATO Green and Brown lightened with 20% white, since I find weathering tends to darken the colors. The camouflage was airbrushed after carefully masking the borders with adhesive putty (also known as sticky tack). After a coat of Future came the decals, which are all aftermarket some of them designed by myself and printed on an ALPS printer. The “Anger is a gift” decal is homage to one of my favorite bands, Rage Against the Machine. The serial number on the back of the feet is nothing but my birth date; it was inspired on the serial numbers found on the rear of Sherman tanks. The rest is just regular warning labels, chevrons and numbers. The JFOR decal means Jaburo Force, which I invented to fit the model into the Gundam Universe.
After the decals were done I gave the model a light oil wash with burnt umber paint. After it was dry it was sealed with Krylon Matte Finish. The weathering process continued with drybrushing and paintchips done with a light grey color. Rain marks were done with Tamiya buff thinned in a 1:9 ratio with water (not alcohol, which will lift the paint up pretty quickly). Dusting was done with thinned Tamiya Flat Earth on the lower parts of the Mecha and smoke effects were done with pastel chalk below the boosters and on the artillery hits.
The base is nothing but a wooden base with a layer of celluclay on which the feet were pressed to create a sunken look. Once dry dirt and cat litter were pressed in to simulate rocks, all of it was painted with Tamiya Flat Earth and drybrushed with Buff. Static grass from Games Workshop was then glued in place. The cows are by Woodland Scenics and are HO (1/87) scale.
This project was really fun and I learned a lot of new techniques with it. The Bandai kit is very well engineered and does not represent any problems even for beginner modelers, not that I am much of an experienced one. I am very happy with the results. For more information, please visit my blog over at xplan303ex