Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Bandai Real Grade Evangelion Unit-00 [Unboxing & Pre-Assembly Review]

 To supplement my ongoing fully-painted projects, I plan to build a series of model kits that'll involve minimal work. Minimal here refers to either (i) a straight-out-of-the-box build without any painting or topcoat, but maybe with some panel-lining as well as use of stickers and/or decals; or (ii) a build in which selected areas are painted while others are only top-coated, panel-lining is applied, and either stickers or decals are used. If a kit is fully-painted, then I consider more than minimal work has been put into it. In this Bandai Real Grade Evangelion Unit-00 kit, I'll be doing minimal work type (i).

Bandai Real Grade Evangelion Unit-00 plastic model kit

 Up to this point in time, I have yet to work on any of Bandai's Real Grade (RG) model kits. To the best of my knowledge most of the kits in this line of product are of a scale similar to the High Grade (HG) ones i.e. 1/144 scale. However Bandai does state the scale for its Evangelion RG series so I'm assuming they are not exactly 1/144 scale. In terms of sheer size alone, the Evangelion RG kits are quite big with the height of this particular Evangelion unit approximating 19 cm from the feet to the top of its shoulder pylons . Below are side box art showcasing the assembled kit.

Side box art showcasing the versions of Evangelion Unit-00 that can be build; ...

... the kit's various gimmicks and how it looks build straight out of the box unpainted ...

... as well as a close-up computer generated view of the EVA-00.

 Nowadays Bandai model kit instructions tend to come in both Japanese and English languages. They also tend to have colored sections amidst a generally black and white layout. These sections usually display some backstory for the kit in question, sticker/decal placement and color guide, etc.

Manual comes with Japanese and English instructions as well as some color sections

 Unlike say the older Bandai HG kits, the molded plastic parts found in RG kits are noted for having much better color accuracy and a better finish. What these means for the average scale modeler is that there is a high chance you don't have to paint the RG kit in question to have it look good. Why so? Well, Bandai's solution to a kit with low color accuracy is to use color correcting stickers. The end result of having to use such stickers is never good, so you end up better off painting the parts. Also with a better quality gloss and matte finish, the parts can look nearly like a pained part.

 With all this being said, a scale model kit will almost always still look better painted than not. Nonetheless, these RG kits now blur the lines a little bit more between how a painted and unpainted kit will look like. In other words, the RG kits give the scale modeler a more valid option to not paint a kit, and it'll be the option I'll take for this kit to see how it'll fare.

Sprue A: Soft matte white plastic parts for the leg, ankle, and feet armor 

Sprue B1: Hard semi-gloss gray plastic parts, mainly for the legs, and the back of the knees

Sprue B2: Hard glossy yellow plastic parts for the chest, shoulder pylon, feet, arms, etc.

Sprue C: Medium-hard semi-gloss black plastic parts for the inner frame, joints, and knives

Sprue D: Medium-hard semi-gloss black plastic parts for the inner frame/joints of the leg, knee, and feet

 As I mentioned in the preceding paragraph, apart from the color accuracy there is also the higher quality finish of the Evangelion's molded plastic parts which gives them less of a toy-like look. I am particularly impressed with the soft matte white finishes for the white parts, and the semi-gloss sheen to the gray and black parts. And although I feel the yellows still look a bit toy-like in their finish, I suppose they aren't as bad as some yellow part I've seen in the past.

Sprue E: Hard semi-gloss gray plastic armor, inner frame, and joints parts for the arm and elbow

Sprue F1 (left): Medium-hard matte dark red plastic parts for the shoulder pylon and back armor piece; Sprue F2 (right): Hard glossy red plastic parts for the power plug

Sprue G1: Hard glossy yellow plastic parts for the knee and ankle armor

Sprue G2: Soft matte white plastic parts for the body armor, and shoulder pylons

Sprue H1: Hard glossy yellow plastic parts for the knuckle attachments to the hands

 One solution to some of the molded color plastics still having a distinctly toy-like look is to, well paint them. Essentially if the majority of the RG kit has molded parts with excellent colors and finish, then the amount of painting you have to do is reduced. Another solution is to use a good quality matte top coat, which can make the plastic part look like it has been painted. Both solutions won't be considered in this build as I'll be taking the bare bones route to completion.

Sprue H2: Hard glossy dark green plastic parts for the feet as well as the lumbar/spinal armor

Sprue I1: Medium-hard matte dark red plastic parts for the neck, feet, rifle, etc.

Sprue I3: Hard glossy yellow plastic parts for the back of the knee

Sprue J: Glossy plastic parts: hard dark green/gray for the rifle, and soft light gray for the hands

Sprue K: Medium-hard glossy metallic silver plastic parts for the power plug, and rifle muzzle

 A key reason why I'm attempting this build with minimal work type (i) in mind is to see how good this Bandai RG Evangelion Unit-00 model kit can be, without any painting done. In fact I won't even apply any top coat on the kit, although I might do some panel-lining to ensure the kit has at least some depth to it. In addition, I'll also use some foil stickers to simulate metal parts as well as normal sticker/decal markings to bring the monotony of bare plastic. But that's it. No painting.  

Sprue L: Hard clear red plastic part for the Evangelion core

Sprue N: Multi-colored plastic parts - Soft matte white for the head, legs, chest, etc.; Medium-hard semi-gloss black for the chest, shoulder pylons, arms, joints, etc.; Hard glossy orange for the shoulders 

Sprue O: Multi-colored plastic parts -Hard glossy yellow for the chest, head, arms, and shoulders; Hard glossy green for the shoulders; Hard glossy red for the shoulders, body, and head; Clear red for the eye

Sprue P1: Clear green plastic part for the top of the EVA-00's head

Wire rod enclosed in PVC for use as the power plug's cable

 Included with the kit is a sticker set that contains flat markings as well as shiny metallic foils for use on the Evangelion Unit-00 model kit. Generally the flat sticker markings don't look so good on dark colored plastic, and pale in comparison to their dry transfer and water decal equivalents in terms of overall look and quality. Sadly Bandai rarely (if ever) provides dry transfers or water decals with their HG or RG kits. In comparison the shiny foil stickers are much better in quality, and in a best-case-scenario can even make a part look like metal. Moreover, there are no dry transfer or water decal equivalents for these shiny metallic foil stickers. None that look good anyway.   

Sticker sheet containing markings and shiny foils for use on the kit

 Bandai RG model kits have come a long way since its first release way back in July 2010, slightly over 12 years ago. With the Evangelion RG line being a more recent Real Grade series that launched in March 2020, the color separation and finish quality of the parts is generally impressive straight out of the box. So much so that I'm going for a straight unpainted build to see just how good it is. It has been a while since I last did an unboxing post so it was good to do another one.

 And in case you were wondering, the Space Battleship Yamato project on the previous post is still progressing nicely. In the coming weeks, I'll be working on both the battleship and the EVA-00 so do check my blog for future updates on both. Until then, stay safe and be well dear readers!

Monday, 8 August 2022

Space Battleship Yamato 2199, Cosmo Reverse Ver. [WIP - First Bridge & Missile Launch Tower]

 With water decals application on the hull and deck of the 1/1000 scale Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (Cosmo Reverse Version) now complete, it's time for the next stage. Among others, this involved the assembly as well as the final stage of painting of selected details for the First Bridge (the structure with the clear green piece atop it) and Missile Launch Tower (the red funnel-like structure behind the First Bridge).  This was followed by the application of a water decal on the tower. Both were then attached onto the deck of the space battleship via a snap-fit assembly process.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (Cosmo Reverse Ver.) work-in-progress: First Bridge & Missile Launch Tower

Additional painted details are the clear green 'windows' of the admiral's private quarters ...

... and the opaque greens of the what seems like spotlights at the base of the Missile Launch Tower.

 As to what details were painted, let's just say only one color was involved but with one being opaque and the other clear. Previously the First Bridge had its hull basecoated in the space battleship's iconic grey, and its bridge windows painted a clear green, while the Missile Launch Tower was basecoated in grey and red. Both were then panel-lined with black. 

 On this particular step of the build, the windows of the admiral's private quarters (located at the very top of the First Bridge) was painted clear light green. Additionally, the Missile Launch Tower openings was painted in a gun metallic hue while a series of spotlights at the base of the tower were painted in an opaque light green hue. Once the part details were painted, it was time for the assembly process.

Apart from the continuation of the assembly process and added painted details ...

... the other piece of work done at this stage was the 'square-dash' decal on the Missile Launch Tower ...

... however still missing from space battleship's deck are its primary/secondary guns ...

... as well as four more anti-aircraft (AA) guns on each side of the hull ...

... and these will be located relatively lower than all the existing AA-guns.

 While assembly of the First Bridge already completed prior to painting the admiral's room windows, the Missile Launch Tower was still mostly in its component parts or minor sub-assemblies. Putting the launch tower together was a straightforward task without any complications (see below). 

First Bridge, plus base structure of Missile Launch Tower and pieces of the tower itself

Base structure that holds the Missile Launch Tower, which at this stage, is in three separate pieces

Yet to be assembled pieces of the space battleship's Missile Launch Tower

Missile Launch Tower of the Space Battleship Yamato 2199 after it has been assembled

Base structure that holds the Missile Launch Tower and the tower itself

Missile Launch Tower, after it has been attached to the base supporting structure

Missile Launch Tower with water decals applied, attached to its base supporting structure

First Bridge of the Space Battleship Yamato 2199, with all its 'windows' painted clear green

First Bridge (left) and the Missile Launch Tower atop its supporting structure (right)

 Once these two main sub-assemblies i.e. the First Bridge and Missile Launch Tower were fully-assembled, it was then time to snap-fit them onto the space battleship's deck. If my memory serves me, this process was a bit nerve wracking because (a) the fit was quite tight even though I had placed masking tape over the connecting holes to prevent paint from clogging them up; and (b) there were a lot of thin, fragile parts sticking out from both main sub-assemblies thus exposing them to potential breakage during the assembly process. This scenario tends to happen to me a lot mainly because I like to paint the individual parts or sub-assemblies before assembling them. 

Before attaching the First Bridge and Missile Launch Tower onto the space battleship's deck ...

... the Hangar Bay with its docked space fighter aircraft was moved out of the way, and then ...

... the holes onto which the bridge and tower fit into were exposed by removing the masking tape (note: tape's function is to prevent paint from getting into the holes and making the fitting too tight) ...

... before the Missile Launch Tower and its base structure was attached onto the space battleship's deck ...

... followed by the First Bridge; the assembly process was tricky with so many fragile parts sticking out, and with the fitting still being quite tight even without having paint clogging the aforementioned holes.

First Bridge and Missile Launch Tower after being attached onto the space battleship's deck

 At this stage of the build, there are still large chunks of empty space on the deck and hull. So essentially there is a ways to go before the Space Battleship Yamato (Cosmo Reverse Version) can be considered complete. For one thing the photos on this post show a ship that's missing her Primary/Secondary Deck Guns, Rocket Anchors, Spacecraft Catapults, Stabilizing Fins, and the Third Bridge. Most of these structures have been painted with the exception of the ship's main stabilizing fins. Moreover, there is also the matter of applying decals onto the deck guns.  

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (Cosmo Reverse Ver.) work-in-progress: fully-painted First Bridge and Missile Launch Tower with its base supporting structure attached onto the deck (side view, from left)

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (Cosmo Reverse Ver.) work-in-progress: fully-painted First Bridge and Missile Launch Tower with its base supporting structure attached onto the deck (side view, from right)

 Other than the items mentioned in the preceding paragraph, there is also the matter of the base itself and the accessories for the base. The base itself needs to be painted, and the appropriate description sticker applied to its side. Meanwhile the base accessories consists of tiny 1/1000 scale miniatures of various types of spacecraft that appeared in the anime.

Shown here is an isometric view of the Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (Cosmo Reverse Ver.) ...

... and from this zoomed-out isometric view we can see that the space battleship is still ...

... missing its deck guns, anti-aircraft guns, fins, third bridge, catapults, rocket anchors, ...

... and the tiny individual spacecrafts (excluding ones in the hangar bay) for placement on the base.

 If my experience with the hangar bay fighters is any indication, then I have a feeling this project will hit a speed-bump when the time comes to paint the aforementioned tiny spacecraft. I didn't particularly enjoy painting those tiny fighters in the hangar bay so it stands to reason that I won't like it any better painting different types of spacecraft. Who knows, if there is less repetition involved then maybe I won't hate it as much. Anyway, up to now at least, the project seems to be progressing along at a steady pace. I'll deal with the potential speed-bump when I get to it. So here's to small victories in our hobby projects. Cheers, and see you soon in my next post!
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