Afterwards, it’s time to plan paint job. At first, I decided to just go super basic and just add a flat clear coat and be done with it. I tested it out, and it does help clean up the look a lot, although I did end up painting color as well for all but white. Below is just comparing original + flat (left) and original (right)
I chose to stick with the same color scheme. Originally, I tried clear dark blue over a black base – it didn’t work as expected. For some reason I was thinking it would work like the Amethyst Purple from my previous build, where the purple was much better over a gloss black than white base. Below shows the blue over black – it’s not very blue. The final color was same clear dark blue over a white base.
For red, there were actually a large number of small parts that would’ve been hard to put on clips. I ended up using note cards with some sticky putty – it worked out pretty well.
I painted the red, orange, blue, and weapons. I left white unpainted along with inner frame as I don’t intend on exposing frame on this kit. Decals came next, and eventually a flat coat.
Lastly, a couple final better photos before I go down into weathering. Been a while since I weathered a kit so should get these now before I ruin it!
I haven’t weathered a kit in many years, and even then I’ve really only weathered one I considered somewhat decent, and the others were basic NG kits that were some of my very first kits ever done.
For this round, I wanted to actually learn about weathering a bit more and how to do it well. There are a handful of YouTube videos, but I’m old and like some structured learning, so I found some books I could go through instead (and reference videos as needed). I found the Mig Jimenez AMMO site which I’m sad to say I only just now found after years of painting models. A lot of the site is geared towards tanks and other models, but don’t let that stop you, there is some really good stuff.
In particular, I started with the In Combat: Painting Mechas book which is a pretty good overview of weathering techniques. Throughout, they do reference the AMMO line of paints and weathering options, so I ended up placing a second order to get some so I could follow along.
The AMMO filters, streaking effects, washes, chipping sets, paints, etc. are all actually really nice, and pretty much work great out of the bottle. I’ve been pleasantly surprised using them.
Out of all the techniques I tried, I would say the most visible are the chipping effects and a wash I used pretty much throughout.
First, I hand painted a handful of scratches and chips with a brush and a sponge. I used a brown tone on white and silver tone on darker colors. I was more restrained with the brown on white, and in combination with a wash later on, it seemed pretty good. However, on silver I think I over did it a bit as it doesn’t look too natural. I’ll probably go back and try to clean up a little bit where possible on larger areas such as the missile launcher below.
The next step I went to was the chipping effects product line from AMMO on upper legs and feet. You essentially airbrush on a water-based clear product, then a colored brown enamel over the top, and then use water to chip/remove the brown since it pulls the clear layer up underneath. It is essentially a replacement for the hairspray technique.
After I stepped away from the model for a week or so, I realized I may have gone a little overboard as it was still pretty dirty looking and the rest of the figure was far cleaner. I knew I was going to do more, but I found it hard to get the right balance. It also didn’t help that I had done the chipping technique with legs detached, as the front skirts covered a lot less of the legs than I thought they did.
The rest of my weathering was trying to find balance again. I dove into the streaking grime, but it’s a fairly subtle technique and most of the kit still looked too clean after applying it in a few places to match the heavily weathered feet and thighs. I had a brown enamel wash, so I applied a thin layer pretty much over all the white on the kit, and this really helped bring balance back. The kit definitely started to get a lot more weathered looking, some of the subtle affects like streaking grime were lost, however.
Lastly, I took a stab at pigments. I had ordered a few of these as well. In the painting mechas book, they toss a few on the end for some rust effect. I tried similarly, but it was a bit tricky and I’m still learning.
I also applied a gun metal pigment to the gun. I didn’t really know what I was doing and probably should have done a bit more research first on pigments in general. I started off applying with on old brush, it was pretty messy. Pigment falls all over the place and is hard to clean up, hard to place right where you want it without getting on other parts, etc….apparently I should’ve used a make up brush. You live and you learn.
After going back over gun metal using a sponge the different uses are clear. Spreading on with make up sponge is great for gunmetal but gives more of a solid even coating (that looks nice). Using a brush and scattering pigment about seems to be better for heavy rust type places that may want more texture (see around knees). Also, photos below are before I used a sponge on gun metal, for what it’s worth. It was brushed on and looks terrible.
Well, couple days later my mistake has become apparent to me. The brown enamel wash, enamel being the key aspect here. Some of the smaller pieces have become brittle and break in two with the lightest touch. I’m hoping it doesn’t continue to worsen and affect larger pieces, so far I’ve had three or four small pieces/corners break off – luckily it’s pretty heavily weathered kit so it’s not the end of the world if everything isn’t perfect at this point, but good lesson learned…
I’ve come to find out that enamel thinner is terrible for bandai plastic in particular. Not all plastic, but bandai plastic – yes. It reacts with it and will make it brittle and crack if not used carefully. Normal advice sounds like if you use it, you should
- Use lighter fluid thinner instead of enamel thinner – it also thins enamel paints but is less reactive with bandai plastic since it evaporates faster. In my case, I used pre-thinned enamel wash from AMMO and I’m guessing it’s thinned with enamel thinner.
- Wipe up any excess quickly after using and don’t let pool/sit on plastic much/etc. more than necessary. Yea I messed this one up since I basically spread it all over a significant portion of kit and didn’t worry too much about sponging up excess.
- ALWAYS apply enamel (thinner) over plastic that has a coat of lacquer underneath essentially, such as primer. In my case, Mots of the kit did have several layers of lacquer underneath, so it could’ve been a lot worse than it is. However, the back and insides of pieces likely were not all fully primed and covered – normally a good thing because it makes pieces not fit together well. However, I suspect having some raw plastic on backsides of pieces, in combination with a runny enamel wash I applied pretty liberally, it was able to penetrate behind some parts and caused trouble.