Sunday, 17 November 2019

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0 [WIP: Waist Unit]

Most colorful section of the R-78-2 Gundam Lower Body is perhaps a term I could assign to the Waist Unit that has been completed here. But that's perhaps pushing it a bit seeing that the only extra splash of color the Waist Unit has over the other components of the Lower Body is the bright yellow on four armor panels around it. Both feet, if you remember, do indeed have a large amount of red hue. Regardless, as it stands, the last piece of the Lower Body puzzle is now complete.

Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Waist Unit

A quick analysis shows the Waist Unit puzzle as having the most amount pieces that need to be assembled when compared to other components of the Lower Body (i.e. versus an individual leg, ankle or foot). However things aren't as complicated as they would seem. Upon closer inspection, you would find that four big sections of the Waist Unit comprises identical pieces that differ only in terms of orientation. This reduces the actual complexity of the build. Instead what it does is just draw the assembly (as well as the earlier painting) process out a bit more. Tedious but manageable.   

Numerous painted parts of the Waist Unit before assembly; some decaled, some not

When laid all out on the hobby mat, the numerous tiny pieces of the Waist Unit can seem a bit daunting. But as with the painting process, slowly but surely, the assembly was completed without a hitch. The only frustration, if you could call it that, was having to place sticker decals in the right place at (almost) the first try. My clumsy fingers made that part more of a pain than it should've been.

So many parts that it almost blows my mind, almost as there is a pattern to this chaos ...
... there are actually "four-plus-two" almost equal sections that surround an inner core of the waist ...
... at this stage of the assembly process the "four-plus-two" sections that I mentioned becomes clear ...
... the Waist Unit is finally near completion with only the final sticker decals left to be applied ...
... sticker decals that due to their shape can only be applied post-assembly.

Not all the sticker decals could be placed onto the Waist Unit prior to assembly. Such was the way the decal was shaped that a few pieces could only be placed onto the Waist Unit post-assembly. Luckily for me things went rather well and no major FUBARs like the torso decal occurred this time.

Waist Unit of the RX-78-2 Gundam painted, decaled and assembled
That tiny yellow chevron in a sea of red is actually a separate part by itself
All six pieces of skirt armor surrounding the Waist Unit have some freedom of movement
Having all six skirt armor pieces able to move will allow the legs, when attached, a high degree of poseability
As much as I dislike sticker decals, they admittedly make the Waist Unit look much cooler
Back of the Waist Unit differs from the front only in the groin area
In addition to paint and decals, the Waist Unit also received some panel lining
Side view of the Waist Unit is a pretty boring one
As to why it's so I don't know but the red groin area (the one with the chevron) is movable as well

From above and below, the metallic innards of the Waist Unit become highly visible. Upon attachment to the torso and legs respectively I do not expect the metallic innards to be very visible at all. But as I've often repeated ad nauseam ... just because you won't see something in the final build doesn't mean I won't paint it. I can't afford not to. My hobby OCD insists that I paint everything. Well, almost everything. There are some really hidden spots that I can now let go of. Only just.

View of the Waist Unit from above showing the pegs that will attached to the body's core section
Inner sides of the Waist Unit skirt armors were painted with a metallic hue

So the bits and pieces that make up Grandpa Gundam's Lower Body is now ready to transition from their sub-assembly form into the final build. I'm pretty excited to see how the Lower Body will look when the photos are finally taken. This week I'll end my blog post without any quotes. I'm just glad I could even finish writing the blog post and upload before the week was over. And with that I thank you for taking the time to read my post on the RX-78-2 Gundam project so far. Cheers!

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Sunday, 10 November 2019

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0 [WIP: Leg Outer Panels & Hip Joints]

Like meat on the bones, the outer armor panels - when attached to the Leg Inner Frames - provide a significantly bulkier presence to both legs. This might seem like a natural progression of the build but the designers deserve some kudos for designing great looking shapes, combining both sharp and rounded edges, to deliver legs with oomph; legs worthy of arguably the most famous Gundam.    

Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 work-in-progress: Leg Outer Panels &  Hip Joints (isometric front view)
Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 work-in-progress: Leg Outer Panels &  Hip Joints (isometric back view)

Although I would've expected it to be the other way around, the part count of the Leg Outer Panels turned out to be actually higher than those of the Leg Inner Frames. Detailed analysis shows this was due to the larger single-piece-molded-parts on the skeletal frame (as an equivalent think femur and tibia on the human leg). Apart from some minor masking, the painting process was straightforward.   

Numerous tiny pieces of the Leg Outer Panel parts were all individually painted before assembly

Meanwhile, putting it all together was almost intuitive but not quite. I don't have the experience for that to happen yet. There was a lot of referencing to the instructions to make sure the right pieces went into the right place. But if push came to shove, say I lost the instructions, I dare say I could've figured it all out like a jigsaw puzzle if I spent enough time tackling the assembly task. Below are the series of photos showing the various parts being slowly put together one sub-assembly at a time.

Pieces of one Leg Outer Panel all painted up and decaled; awaiting assembly onto the Inner Frame (center)
First some of the outer panel pieces were pieced together prior to being attached to the Leg Inner Frame
At this stage, most of the outer panels have been attached to the inner frame except for the knee area
Only the uppermost Leg Outer Panel (white part) is left unattached together with the Hip Joint (metallic part)
RX-78-2 Gundam Right Leg: Outer Panel & Hip Joint fully attached to the Inner Frame

As is the case for the entire RX-78-2 Gundam so far, color separation of the leg outer armor panels was well thought out by the Bandai designers. I just followed their recommendations and painted the panels as intended in the instructions. What's nice to know is that one doesn't really have to follow the recommended color scheme. Because the parts are already separated based on color, one could use that as the basis to paint your own color scheme. For example, you can just replace the light brown panels with another color say pink; the light bluish grey with violet; and the white panels with red, or a different combination all together. This would result in a whole different Gundam altogether.

Color separation on the outer armor panels make the leg look less flat as a whole
Orientation of the Hip Joint means that this is the right leg of the RX-78-2 Gundam
Exposure of the innards at the back of the knee ensure the inner frame is not completely covered up
Metallic innards are most visible around the knees, especially when the leg is bent
Decals on the leg aren't numerous but enough exists to increase the realism of the whole pice
Color separation of outer panels; metallic innards; and strategically placed decals form a potent mix

On my previous post I had shown that the Leg Inner Frame could bend in on itself at a 180 degree angle. And as expected, once the outer armor panels were attached the leg could no longer bend that much. At best the thigh could only bend around 120 degrees towards the calf. But in all fairness, even this level of movement was extremely impressive considering the bulkiness of the outer armor.

As expected, the outer panels on the leg prevent it from fully bending in on itself
Freedom of movement of the leg with the outer panels attached was still very impressive
Notice how the outer panel armor on the knee opens and closes to facilitate flexibility of the joint

Now complete, both legs are part of larger Lower Body section that also comprises the Ankles/Feet and a soon to be completed Waist Unit. Below are photos of both completed legs.

Both legs of the RX-78-2 Gundam sans ankles and feet (front view)
Both legs of the RX-78-2 Gundam sans ankles and feet (inner side view)
Both legs of the RX-78-2 Gundam sans ankles and feet (back view)
Both legs of the RX-78-2 Gundam sans ankles and feet (outer side view)

For the legs to be part of the larger Lower Body it needs to connect to the Ankles/Feet via holes on the lower end and to a Waist Unit via Hip Joints on the upper end (see below).

Ankles/feet will attach to the holes (see above) at the end of both legs
Hip Joints at the other end of the legs will attach to the soon-to-be-completed Waist Unit

So all that's left of the Lower Body to be tackled is the Waist Unit. This will be the next step. Once done, the lower half of Grandpa Gundam will be ready for assembly. And as always I leave you with quote that may not be entirely relevant but it's a quote nonetheless. This week we have a quote from Lucifer Morningstar who says ... What I hate more than anything is a liar, a charlatan, someone who doesn’t believe in what they say. That's a lot of people to hate. Oh well, have a great week ahead!

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Sunday, 3 November 2019

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0 [WIP: Leg Inner Frames]

As with the arms and torso of the RX-78-2 Gundam, the legs possess an inner frame that can be assembled first before the outer armor panels are attached. In all instances - on the arms, torso or leg - when inner frames were being build, the assembly design has been such that some pieces outer armor would invariably become part of the overall mix. Visually these outer armor panels stick out by virtue of being the few non-metallic pieces of the inner frame build (see below).

Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Legs Inner Frame (angled, side views)
Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Legs Inner Frame (angled, front & back views)
Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Legs Inner Frame (opposite side views)

Similar to the Arm Inner Frame before it, the number of parts involved in the Leg Inner Frame build was surprisingly low. Both had assembly processes that were considerably less complicated than the Torso Inner Frame which comprised a fairly high part count. The only issue of note, if you could call it that, was the need to mask some of the parts during the painting process. This was more of a chore rather than being difficult, due to the need to mask tiny parts with big clumsy hands.  

Leg Inner Frame parts were all individually painted before being assembled

Compared with the arms and torso, it was actually much easier to build the leg's inner frame. That could have been because I had become more experienced at this stage or it was due to the inherent design of the build. Either way I found it almost effortless when putting the Leg Inner Frame together. Perhaps the parts with hooks confused me for a while but it wasn't too big of a deal.

Parts of the Leg Inner Frame painted up and awaiting assembly; no decals were required at this stage
Trickiest part of the Leg Inner Frame build was attaching the hook-like parts together (see 11 o'clock position) ...
... which was then attached to the largest inner frame part (see center piece) ...
... a small piece with the copper surface was then attached to the lower end of the center piece
Upper section of the Leg Inner Frame was attached to a side metallic panel which will eventually cover up the knee joint (see extreme right)
One of the two RX-78-2 Gundam Leg Inner Frames after the parts were fully assembled
White and light brown sections constitute the Outer Armor Panels of the Leg Inner Frame build
Holes and pegs seen on the inner frame will be points onto which the Outer Armor Panel will attach
Masking was required when painting the lower section (see copper atop the light brown surface)

Good articulation design of the build allows the Leg Inner Frame to bend almost 180 degrees onto itself. However, it's likely the knee joint might not bend as much once the Outer Armor Panels are attached onto the inner frame. At the very least, I would expect this level of articulation to allow the RX-78-2 Gundam to execute the "take a knee" pose, once the mecha is fully assembled. 

Leg Inner Frame freedom of movement: Fully bend in on itself at an 180 degree angle
Leg Inner Frame freedom of movement: Bend at a 90 degree angle
Leg Inner Frame freedom of movement: Bent at a 45 degree angle
Leg Inner Frame freedom of movement: Fully extended

It's a shame that most of the leg's inner frame will eventually be covered up by the outer armor panels.There is a beauty to just the inner frames themselves. In fact some modelers have created an "open hatch" version of the build in which they leave all the Outer Armor Panels half open to give visual access to the inner frame. Although I won't be doing my own "open hatch" version, I still had to paint the inner frames. Even with the outer panels fully attached, some inner frames still show.

Front view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Leg Inner Frames
Side view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Leg Inner Frames
Back view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Leg Inner Frames
Opposing side view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Leg Inner Frames

While I've managed to keep to my self-imposed minimum of one blog post a week by writing about my backlog of completed stuff, it has been relatively quiet on the actual hobby front these past month or so. Thankfully it's not another episode of the dreaded hobby malaise. It's just life imposing itself on available hobby time. Oh well, there is always tomorrow. And with that I leave you with a quote from Stranger Things 3 ... Yeah, the real world sucks, deal with it like the rest of us - Jonathan Byers

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