Moving right along…
So up until this point, I had practiced some basic techniques, airbrushing, weathering, and other concepts. However, I had not done a lot of modding. I added a couple pla-plates to some of the previous units, but only the smallest amounts and they were hardly noticeable.
So, for this exercise, I opted to focus on modding. I wanted to do both simple mods such as pla-plating and detailing, in addition to more complicated mods such as making certain parts more like the MG kit.
My original idea was to take the HG kit and make it more like the MG kit. Since there were quite a few details involved, I will post the details on a works-in-progress page.
In the end, the mods I ended up doing were:
- Separated the face from the helmet so I could paint them separately after gluing
- Allowing the “spread out” part on the inner wings to open and close like the MG kit (the HG kit has them either open or closed but you have to manually remove the part. Now on this kit it simply slides between open and closed)
- Separated the feathers on the wings so they can move separately rather than as one single unit
- Added mesh wiring to the chest
- Added some details to the back of the feet including mesh
- Added some detail to the foot armor
- Added minor detail to the feet (red part)
- Modded the back skirt so the two skirts both move and move independently
I learned that modding can be fun but involved and difficult. I ended up needing many tools to do it (saws, rotary tool, spare plastic) and it took several tries to get it to look how I wanted, but in the end I think the kit looks better than a standard HG kit. However, out of all kits so far, this kit also took the longest to build.
The two most difficult parts were modding the wings so that they can open and close, and the mesh wiring on the front of the chest.
The wings caused trouble because I had to saw the “expanded” wings parts down so they would fit inside the rest of the inner wing, and I needed some way to let them slide in and out – I wanted it to be stiff enough so it wouldn’t be loose, and I didn’t want them to open too far or the part that I cut off would become visible. This involved gluing some plastic on the inside of the wings to stop it (which was difficult to get to stay in place).
The main problem with the mesh wiring was the fact that it just did not want to glue to the plastic. What type of glue do you use to glue metal to plastic? Normal glue used for these kits doesn’t work – it won’t bind to the metal. I ended up using some weird super strong super glue that worked – but it was very difficult to apply. By the time I decided to add mesh wiring, I had already glued the front and back of the chest unit together, so I had to work entirely from the outside of the kit. Combined with the fact that it was difficult to glue the mesh to plastic, it was a difficult and messy process.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the results, but glad when the process was over. I definitely like seeing the mods and knowing that I improved the kit (in my opinion), but after working on it for weeks and weeks I soon began wanting to move on to the next kit.
- If using mesh wiring, plan ahead and get the right glue! Metal mesh does not glue to plastic using your standard glue, and it is difficult to get it to stick. For this reason, be sure you can work from the inside of the kit if at all possible. You want plenty of extra mesh around the edges so you can use plenty of glue. This will also help the outer appearance look clean. Trying to work with mesh from the outside of the kit is a terrible idea.
- Once you begin modding, many more areas to improve start to appear. At first, I didn’t know what all I would do to add detail to the kit. I just started with some basic pla-plating on the feet. But then I needed to add more detail to the foot armor so it matched. However, from there I just had to add more detail to the back of the feet / legs so it matched the front. To mod the back skirt, it required modding the waist area so I could attach the side skirts, and so on. The process continues. Once you start, you can’t stop! So plan ahead and expect it to take time. Do not rush it.
- If you want to do some modding, make sure you have the tools. At first I tried using my simple knife, sandpaper, and basic rotary tool set. However, I later realized that I needed saws, spare plastic, and even spare parts from previous kits. Spare parts / connectors are amazing for modding if you have some lying around (ball joints, etc). I had to keep running out to the store to buy more tools and stuff to work with.
- Patience. This isn’t something I specifically learned from this build, but it’s been a process up until this point. At first I would build a model in a couple hours. Then it took me a few more hours. Then it took a few days. Then a few weeks. Sure – the models became larger and more complicated, but I learned that patience is probably the most important thing in modeling. When rushed, I made errors. Seamlines did not entirely disappear. There were flaws in painting. If you have some patience, then you will fix the errors when you see them (trust me – you will still have the errors! Flaws will still show up. But will you fix them or not?) It took me 6 months of modeling to learn this lesson. If you learn anything from this website, learn this point. Patience. Do not rush it. Fix any flaws that you notice along the way.