My next model was the HG 1/144 Miguels Ginn. That’s one cool looking machine.
My goals for this build were more practice with the airbrush, to do a good job at seamline removal (the previous model had poor seamline removal), and to try pre-shading. This model came with stickers / decals, so it would be my first time applying those. Finally, I tried an enamel wash in a couple of places.
To start off, let’s just say I spent much more time sanding this model than any models in the past. I really wanted to master seamline removal so that I could make those seams disappear whenever necessary. To get good practice, I removed all seams on the model, even if they would be hidden or in hard to see locations.
Lots and lots of sanding. Then primed it. Then sanded again. Turned out much better this time! Briefly, for seamline removal I start with 180 grit and work up to 600 grit (USA scale). I also have some metal files that I use these days before the 180 grit, but at the time of this model I did not. Most of the work is with 180 grit sandpaper. I spent relatively little time with the higher grits since they are just smoothing out the surface. 180 grit (and metal files) take much more time because that is when I am actually sanding away the seam and extra glue.
Overall, I was quite proud of my performance on seamline removal compared to the previous model. The seams are all essentially gone. The main seams were down the front / back of the legs in the middle, and same for the arms.
For pre-shading, I originally thought that it was always done with black. I pre-shaded this model with black and then used a yellow top coat (it’s more yellow than it should be. I think it should have more orange in it, but I didn’t have orange). For a first pre-shading attempt, I think it turned out ok. However, as others have mentioned to me, it does make the model look a little bit dirty. Black pre-shade underneath lighter colors such as yellow probably is not the best choice. This model was intended to be a clean build, but turned out looking a bit dirty.
The stickers / decals were a bit difficult. The kit itself came with clear stickers, which are thick and don’t look very good. Many people say to avoid the clear stickers (come on green paper) if possible and I agree. They are simply too thick and look like stickers on the model.
I also had some generic Gundam seed waterslide decals. These are the Z.A.F.T. decals on the back of the model. They are much easier to slide and position correctly, and they definitely look much better than the stickers. In my opinion, waterslide decals are the way to go. Decals can really help bring some character and add great detail to a model.
Finally, the enamel wash. I wanted to try it. It was messy. The job was poor. You can see it on the back of the model (legs). It was not a good mix of thinner / paint, so it did not flow well into the cracks. Furthermore, I did not do a great job cleaning up the extra afterwards. This just adds to the “dirty” look of the model which was intended to be clean.
While the enamel wash wasn’t a great success, it did provide good practice since this was the first model I was really trying it on (the NG 1/144 Forbidden Gundam doesn’t count since I only did a tiny little bit). I think it just takes time to learn the right ratio for thinner / paint when doing an enamel wash. In general, more thinner lets it flow better but causes it to be lighter. Less thinner results in a darker wash, but it doesn’t flow as well. You must find the right balance.
- Sanding is key to seamline removal. Lots and lots of sanding. One of the most time consuming aspects (if not THE most time consuming aspect) of building a model properly is seamline removal and sanding. It really takes a lot of time, and it can be tiring. I’ve tried many ways to speed up the process and make it easier, but we must face the fact – the best way might be to just grab a piece of sandpaper and start sanding! You can try fancy tools but generally a piece of sandpaper and your hand is the best way to go. Takes a long time, but it works well.
- Pre-shading can be done with a variety of colors. Black is not the only pre-shading color that can be used. In fact, it might not look all that great under some colors, especially transparent colors such as yellow. Experiment with different pre-shade colors and learn which colors look good under other colors. Red pre-shading can bring warmth to a model. Blue can make it appear cold. Try different ones and see what you like!
- Avoid stickers (green paper) if possible. Use waterslide decals instead. Waterslide decals are easier to apply, position, and look far better. Unfortunately, most kits do not include waterslide decals and instead tend to include stickers. They need to be purchased separately, although you can buy a full sheet with plenty of decals for around $5.
- Enamel washes take practice. Finding a good balance between thinner and paint can be challenging for new modelers trying an enamel wash. Practice on an older model the first couple of times since it most likely will not be very pretty (mine sure wasn’t). But, as always, practice makes perfect.
- Mr. Color German Gray is perhaps my favorite color. The black color used on this model is really german gray. It’s a really really dark gray – pretty much black. I think it is one of my favorite colors, and it will definitely come up on future models.