After I built the two gundam models I originally had ordered to see if I liked modeling, I ordered a bunch more models, with this NG 1/144 Gunner Zaku being the first built. At this point I knew I wanted to build more and decided I should work my way up from the cheap models to higher quality models. Why waste a more expensive model practicing my skills on? So I started with this kit, which was about $5 if I remember correctly.
Right away, I noticed that the quality of this kit was lower than the other NG 1/144 kits – a surprise. I thought it should be the same since it was the same class as the previous kits, but I learned that they vary even within the different classes.
Instead of simply snap fitting this kit like the first two models, I used some Model Master glue and tried seamline removal (mainly on the round tank on the back). While not perfect, it gave me enough satisfaction to realize the importance of seamline removal in the future. However, I also learned that as you begin to add in things like seamline removal and other techniques (rather than simply snap fitting the models), the time required for the build increases a lot.
I had seen some models online and really liked the weathered look, so I decided I would practice weathering on this kit. To do the weathering, I used a nail + candle, silver sharpie + old toothbrush, and weathering gundam markers. I would heat up the nail, poke around to make some holes and bigger damage. I think it worked pretty good for a first try. The nail + candle certainly makes big burn marks (maybe from a huge beam gun?!?).
The silver sharpie was used with an old toothbrush. I took the old toothbrush and colored it with the sharpie, and then rubbed it on the model to create some scratches and things like that. Like the nail, I was pretty satisfied with the results (considering at this point I was still 100% terrible at building models).
On the other hand, the gundam marker weathering kit was pretty hard to use in my opinion. The Tamiya Master Weathering kit (which I hadn’t even heard of at the time) is much better. The problem with the gundam markers is the application. Instead of a brush, you have the same hard gundam marker tip that the other gundam markers use. It really covers the entire area just as if you were painting it. In order to get the weathered look, you then have to go back and try to brush some off with a paper towel or q-tip. It does wipe off unlike other gundam markers, but I personally do not like the fact that you really have to paint it on just like other gundam markers first. Using the brush for the Tamiya weathering kit is much easier to get the desired look.
I finished it off with a flat dull clear coat so that the weathering parts did not rub off.
Overall, I like this model. While it doesn’t move much and it’s quite basic, I learned that weathering is fun and I really like the Zaku – gonna have to do a MG Zaku kit one day!
- Seamline removal adds a lot more time required for the build compared to simply snap fitting a kit, but is worth it. It takes a lot of sanding and work (more than originally expected). However, I never went back to building without doing at least some seamline removal on kits after this model. Seamline removal is one of the most basic techniques to do to increase the look of a model (basic, yet still time consuming). If you simply snap fit models and want to start making them look nicer, the first technique to try is seamline removal.
- Weathering kits is fun! It’s simple and hard to go wrong. Of course, when working with higher quality models and trying to build better looking models, you can over-weather a kit if you are not careful. However, there is some room for error when weathering a kit. Furthermore, the gundam marker weathering kit is not too good in my opinion. Using the hard tipped gundam marker just doesn’t feel right when weathering the kit. If you want to weather kits, try the Tamiya Master Weathering Kit (I discovered this many models later).
- Ensure that all paint is dry before putting other coats on top. Some detail lines were not quite dry before spraying on the clear coat. It ended up streaking a bit. I was too close when using the spray can of clear coat and hadn’t waited long enough.