I’ve had some practice with NG 1/144 gundams, so I decided it was time to try a HG 1/100 kit. I wanted to try something bigger. I chose the HG 1/100 Gundam Leopard kit. It has a big gun.
In addition to wanting to try a larger kit, I also wanted to try mixing paint to try and get a good color match. I think I did quite well matching the color for the kit, at least the green! Good for a first try.
I did attempt seamline removal on this unit, since it was larger and did have plenty of seams to work on. However, I didn’t do a great job on seamline removal for this kit.
I put the foot armor on after painting the rest of the kit due to the way it attaches to the feet. The feet are a different color, and I hadn’t learned the wonders of proper masking. Instead, I painted the armor, the feet, and then attached and glued the armor onto the feet. However, this left the seamline to remove. After removing the seamline, it needed to be repainted since I had sanded most of the paint away. There I was without knowing how to mask properly and needed to paint, without getting it on the feet. I handpainted it. I also had to remix the paint. I did not get a perfect match on the color, and you can see the brush marks somewhat on the foot armor.
Later on, I tried an enamel wash, but it hardly showed up on the dark green color. I ended up going over it with gundam panel line marker. I only did one leg so that I could compare the differences. The left leg is an enamel wash, and the right leg is the gundam panel line. You can see that the panel line marker is more noticeable.
Overall, this build fulfilled my needs. I wanted practice with a larger kit and I wanted to improve my airbrushing. When compared to the previous airbrush job (NG 1/144 Forbidden Gundam), this paint job turned out a lot better. Practice makes perfect.
- Mixing paint can be fun, but always mix more than you need. Mixing paint is an art, and it can be fun to come up with new colors or try to match other colors. However, it is also difficult to get perfect matches. I ran out and had to remix some paint. The remixed paint was not a perfect match to the original mixed paint. I highly recommend mixing enough the first time around so that you have some left over for touchups. You never know when you might need it!
- Use proper lighting when doing seamline removal! It is time consuming, but as previously mentioned it is worth it. However, it’s not enough to glue the parts together, sand away the seam, and start painting. You need good lighting and you need to double check after priming. Once I pulled out the camera to take photos, a lot of imperfections appeared where the seams were not totally gone. I had been working in a poorly lit area so it was hard to see when the seam was entirely gone. Furthermore, I did not double check thoroughly after priming. As such, the seamline removal on this kit is quite poor.
- High grade kits are not necessarily more difficult than NG kits just because they have more parts. Instead, they just take more time to put together. However, they are certainly nicer than the NG kits in that you can move them and pose them a lot better.
- Learn to mask properly. It didn’t really even cross my mind when building this kit and I had to try to work around it using a brush. It’s not as smooth as using an airbrush.
- The mouth on this HG kit is crooked. It may look like I simply colored it wrong and didn’t stay within the guides, but that simply isn’t true. I guess this is an older HG kit and as such it isn’t perfect. Not all HG kits are equal.