Tuesday 20 February 2024

Water Decal Tutorial | Straw Hat Pirates symbol on the flages of Going Merry ship【One Piece】

 Veteran scale modelers or miniature painters tend to take the act of water decal application for granted. When I first started out as noob scale modeler, I remember being absolutely terrified of applying water decals for fear of damaging them as most model kits did not include spare decals in anticipation of some being damaged during the application process. One thing I wish I knew back then was that I actually had more time to manipulate the water decal during the application process before it dried out. That and the fact there were ways to re-hydrate the decals thus extending the time we could work with the decals. Time affords us the opportunity to be patient in the water decal application process. And patience is the key virtue required in this task.



 Below are the two YouTube Shorts I managed to record of a water decal application of one section of the huge Straw Hat Pirates Symbol on the main sail of the Going Merry. This is an example of how quickly the process can be achieved one you've gained sufficient experience in the process.




 Meanwhile below is the main YouTube video tutorial that shows the water decal application process taking longer to completed as well as a scenario whereby the decal is accidentally torn. The main video is much longer in duration and it best describes the process if you are new to the task of water decal application. I included a torn decal scenario to show how the issue can be resolved with patience and care. Rushing the task will inevitably lead to failure as I've learned the hard way over the years. Even today I still make mistakes, but with lower frequency as my experience increases.



 If you are a beginner to this hobby, I hope you've found the video tutorial informative and most importantly helpful. Please hit the like button on the videos, and subscribe to my channel. Thanks for taking the time to read this latest blog update. As always, be well and be happy.


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Wednesday 31 January 2024

A trio of Taito Artist Masterpiece Pre-Painted Prize Figures | Albedo, Kitigawa Marin, and Rem

 For collectors who want to display figures with high quality paint jobs, there were usually two main routes to achieving this goal. One was to purchase expensive scale painted figures while the other was to paint the miniature figurines themselves. Up to now, I had either taken the latter route or made do with prize figures with lower quality paint jobs. But in the past few years, anime figure manufacturers have started to up their game, and produce prize figures with premium-like quality designs and paint jobs. One of those companies is Taito with their Artist Masterpiece figure lineup.



 Way back in 2021, Taito kick-started their Artist Masterpiece line with a popular anime figure in Rem from the Re:Zero - Starting Life in Another World light novel/anime/manga series. Called the Winter Maid image version, this figure is huge for a prize figure with an approximate height of 27 cm from the bottom of the base to the top of he head (see video below).  



 An example of complexity in design for a prize figure done well is the Albedo from Overlord IV in the Taito Artist Masterpiece Plus (AMP+) line of figures. There is so much going on for a figure that is classified as belonging to the prize figure category. Taito more than makes up for the lack of paint shading on Albedo with both complexity in design as well as varied yet accurately textured parts.



 Another way Taito has made their prize figures more aesthetically pleasing is by adding a unique base as well as character-specific accessories. Similar to Albedo, this prize figure of Kitigawa Marin (in cosplay as Kuroe Shizuku) lacks paint shading but makes up for it via multi-textured and multi-layered parts that have excellent sculpted details. A key example of this can be seen on the cosplay dress that Marin is wearing. That dress she's wearing looks incredible despite a lack of paint shading.  



 Going forward I might plump for the more expensive upper-tier scale painted figures to add to my collection. But this I'll do sparingly because of my limited hobby budget. That means I'll still continue to paint miniature figures as well as opt to buy pre-painted prize figures as well as mid-tier painted figures. Slowly but surely, I hope to grow my figure collection despite budget constraints. Well that's it for this post. I hope to see you soon in my next hobby update. And until then, be well and be happy.


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Sunday 21 January 2024

OZ-00MS Tallgeese | Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade【Completed: Custom-painted & detailed with third party water decals】Gundam Wing Endless Waltz

 With the hard part over and done with (i.e. the custom paint and sub-assembly processes), getting this 1/144 scale Real Grade Tallgeese project over the finishing line involved the simple task of putting the sub-assembly pieces together in a final assembly process. What you see below are photos of the fully-assembled Tallgeese complete with its custom paint job and water decal details.


Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade OZ-00MS Tallgeese EW custom-paint project (front view, closeup)

Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade OZ-00MS Tallgeese EW custom-paint project (back view, closeup)

 Multiple shots were taken from slightly different angles to showcase the Tallgeese in a sort of static 360 degree view (see first dozen photos below this paragraph). For a continuous and uninterrupted video shot of the Tallgeese rotating 360 degrees, please check out the embedded YouTube video towards the end of this post. That video also includes the final assembly process as well as detailed explanations of the work that had been carried out on the Real Grade Gundam scale model kit.














 What this scale model kit lacks in terms of size, it more than makes up for in detail and complexity. As such, the Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade Tallgeese retains a significant amount of shelf presence, with the caveat that the mecha model kit is displayed prominently in the upper levels of your display shelf. Admittedly its small size may make it less visible if positioned on the lower levels.


Front close up view of the Real Grade Tallgeese from a slightly different angle

Real Grade OZ-00MS Tallgeese EW custom-paint project (side view, closeup)

 Meanwhile, below are the YouTube videos of the Real Grade Tallgeese project for those of you who would like to see the scale model kit being examined, assembled, and reviewed in recorded real-time.




 It was nice to kick of my adventure with the Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade line with the OZ-00MS Tallgeese EW. Because of the excellent finish of the molded-in color white parts in this scale model kit, I was able to reduce the amount of work to be done, thus lessening the complexity of the project. This helped reduce any trepidation I faced in starting the project as well as reduce the time needed to complete it. All said and done, the Real Grade Tallgeese is finally complete. Hopefully it's the start of many more Real Grade projects to come. Well, that's all for now. As always be well and be happy!


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Friday 12 January 2024

OZ-00MS Tallgeese | Gundam Wing Endless Waltz【WIP: Custom-painted/decaled sub-assemblies】

 Custom paint work for the Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade OZ-00MS Tallgeese EW was completed faster than expected due to selected application of paint in this project. Only parts that looked toy-like and/or plasticky such the red, yellow, and gray parts were fully repainted. For the dark colored parts (e.g. the bluish gray), I was able to top-coated them with a matte clear coat to achieve a paint-like finish without actually priming and painting them. Meanwhile the white parts wasn't painted because I felt that their original molded-in color and finish look nearly as good as painted. In other words, the expected results of repainting the white parts did not justify the time and effort needed.


Real Grade Tallgeese sub-assemblies custom-painted, top-coated, panel-lined, and detailed with water decals (front view)

Real Grade Tallgeese sub-assemblies custom-painted, top-coated, panel-lined, and detailed with water decals (back view)

 While the decal/foil stickers set provided with the Real Grade scale model kit are serviceable, they aren't good enough of you want a high quality finish to your project. Decal stickers are easy to apply but tend to look terrible because their borders stand out and it's impossible to make them flush with the surface. The solution would be to used either official Bandai water decals if they are available or third-party ones if they are not. In my case I couldn't get hold of the former so I'm using the latter.


Sticker/foil stickers provided in the Real Grade Tallgeese EW scale model kit

While the official foil stickers tend to fare better, the caveat is they will peel off eventually especially if they have been applied onto curved or round surfaces. The solution to this is to paint said surfaces instead, but I plan to just use the foil stickers for now.


Third party water decals by Artisan's Club for the Real Grade Tallgeese EW scale model kit

Artisan's Club water decals for the Real Grade Tallgeese EW removed from its packaging

 Let's get things started with the Tallgeese's head and torso. For its head, the red plume, orange-yellow vents as well as metallic parts have been painted with Mr.Color lacquer paints while the white armor remains in its original molded-in color but is at least panel-lined with Mr.Weathering Color. As for the shiny turquoise mono-eye at the front, it's a foil sticker not paint. In hindsight, I kinda regret using a foil sticker because in my experience, stickers of any kind on a curved/round surface tend to peel of after an extended period of time. Especially if they are tiny as is the case for the mono-eye.   


Head sub-assembly of the Real Grade Tallgeese EW (front view)

Head sub-assembly of the Real Grade Tallgeese EW (side view)

Head sub-assembly of the Real Grade Tallgeese EW (back view)

 Meanwhile, the painted sections of the torso comprise the orange-yellow vents and the metallic sections. The dark bluish gray arm extensions were only top-coated with the Mr. Super Smooth Clear lacquer-based matte clear coat. Similar to the head, the white armor remain in their in-mold plastic color with work done on them consisting of panel-lining and detailing with water decals.


Torso sub-assembly with extensions for attaching rocket vernier/thrusters (isometric view)

Torso sub-assembly with extensions for attaching rocket vernier/thrusters (front view)

Torso sub-assembly with extensions for attaching rocket vernier/thrusters (back view)

 Aside from the Tallgeese's torso itself, there is the intricate and complicated twin rocket verniers/thrusters that are to be attached to the back of the torso. The white armor parts received similar treatment as the torso and head, while the yellow sections were painted. Both rocket verniers/thrusters were also detailed with the third-party water decals. All of the inner sections were painted in metallic paint since they become visible when the rocket verniers/thrusters are in an 'open' position (see below).


Rocket verniers/thrusters sub-assemblies in a 'closed' position (isometric view)

Rocket verniers/thrusters sub-assemblies in an 'open' position (isometric view)

 Both of the Tallgeese's arms had a lot of work done on them, along similar lines to the rest of the parts shown so far: white armor was panel-lined and detailed with water decals; dark bluish gray parts top-coated with a clear matte coat and also detailed with foil stickers; and yellow stripes painted.


Hand, arm, and shoulder sub-assemblies of the Tallgeese were custom-painted, top-coated, panel-lined, and detailed with foil stickers and water decals ...

... similar to other sub-assemblies of the Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade Tallgeese EW

 As for the Dober Gun, the main task was to paint its gun barrel with chrome metallic paint while the ammo clip was painted in a less shiny iron-like metallic paint mixture. The rest of the gun i.e. its dark bluish sections were top-coated in a clear matte coat and then detailed with water decals. For the shield, the key process I was afraid of messing up was the application of that big eagle water decal onto its front. Thankfully all went well, as did the painting process for the yellow and metallic sections. That beautiful glossy shine on the white sections of the shield are the original molded-in plastic color. The shoulder extensions for both the gun and shield were top-coated with a clear matte coat only.


Dober Gun with its metal sections painted, and the dark bluish gray section top-coated/detailed with water decals, together with the extension that connects the gun to the shoudler

Shield (front view) with the yellow and metallic parts painted, but white sections remain in their original glossy white molded-in plastic color with water decals applied onto its surface

Shield (back view) with the yellow and metallic parts painted, but white sections remain in their original glossy white molded-in plastic color; as well as the top-coated bluish gray extension on the left

 At the waist section, the innards were left in their original plasticky state because they will be largely hidden from view once assembly is done. The same could be done for the outer (and more visible) white armor because the finish on the molded-in white color and finish look much less plasticky and toy-like than the gray parts. However, some work was done on them i.e. panel-lining. Other areas such as the yellow and metallic sections were all fully painted as well as panel-lined.


Waist section sans the side skirts (top-down isometric view)

Waist section sans the side skirts (bottom-up isometric view)

 On the back and side skirts,the work done was mainly to paint the innards in an iron-like metallic paint while the white armor was just panel-lined and detailed with water decals. Meanwhile the work done on the legs are similar to the arms/hands with the addition of painting the metallic parts.


Back skirts (view of outer section) with painted metallic parts, and unpainted white armor still in its original molded-in color and detailed with water decals; both panel-lined with black wash

Back skirts (view of inner section) with painted metallic parts, and unpainted white armor still in its original molded-in color; both panel-lined with black wash

Back skirts in the 'open' position thus exposing the rocket verniers/thrusters, which were painted with Mr.Hobby Mr.Color Super Metallic 2 lacquer paint

Side skirts (isometric view) with painted metallic parts, and unpainted white armor still in its original molded-in color and detailed with water decals; both panel-lined with black wash

Side skirts (view of inner section) with painted metallic parts, and unpainted white armor still in its original molded-in color; both panel-lined with black wash

Legs of the Tallgeese with (i) the white armor in their original molded-in plastic color, and detailed with water decals; (ii) the yellow and metallic parts painted with lacquer paint; (iii) the bluish gray parts top-coated with a clear matte coat - panel-lining was applied where applicable  

 Below are some additional closeup views of the Tallgeese sub-assemblies sans the weapons.


Real Grade Tallgeese sub-assemblies (sans its gun and shield) custom-painted, top-coated, panel-lined, and detailed with water decals (front view)

Real Grade Tallgeese sub-assemblies (sans its gun and shield) custom-painted, top-coated, panel-lined, and detailed with water decals (back view)

 So with the sub-assemblies all done up, the final assembly process of the Bandai 1/144 scale Real Grade OZ-00MS Tallgeese EW is now ready to begin. This I'll complete and post in the upcoming blog update. Don't let the time between last week's unboxing post and this work-in-progress post fool you. This project has taken a lot of time and effort to even get to this stage. I had actually completed both the unboxing and custom-painting months ago thus allowing me to upload both posts in quick succession. Anyway, the end is in sight. Until then I bid you farewell, be well, and be happy!


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