Sunday, 14 May 2017

Star Wars C-3PO [WIP - Head, torso & a weathering test]

After a few weeks of having to hand wash clothes, it feels great to finally have the washing machine back in working order. More importantly, it frees up valuable time for hobby work. And that was spent on early assembly and paint work on the Bandai 1/12 scale C-3PO model kit. Thus far I have only managed to complete Threepio's head and upper torso. It's moving along at a snail's pace but that's okay by me seeing that the model kit requires delicate work, more so than most kits anyway.    

Bandai Star Wars 1/12 scale C-3PO: work-in-progress on his head and torso

With beautiful gold plated chrome-like parts, C-3PO's armour had the potential to look good without any major basecoat repaints. But that still leaves a lot of work to be done especially in the realm of realistic weathering. My main paints in this endeavour were the Mr Weathering Color oil-based paints and their corresponding solvent Mr Weathering Color Solvent 110. It's likely these are enamel paints though I can't say for sure. One thing I noticed is they seem to be less 'harsh' on the plastic compared to other enamels like the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color (more on this later in the post).  

Mr. Hobby's Mr. Weathering Colors and Tamiya's TS-79 Semi-Gloss Clear were my main paints for this project

Prior to sealing everything in with a clear semi-gloss clear coat, I used a combination of black (Mr Weathering Color - WC-01 Multi Black) and a mixture of black with brown paints (Mr Weathering Color - WC-03 Stain Brown), both diluted with varying ratios of Mr Weathering Color Solvent 110 to create washes and paints. These were then applied to Threepio's head and upper torso to create a sense of depth to the whole piece. I found Mr Hobby's weathering paints easy to work with. They adhered well into the nooks and crannies of Threepio's armour. Not only that, Mr Hobby's oil based paints were easy to clean and in some cases little to no solvent were required when cleaning.   

Mr. Hobby's weathering paints effectively filled crevices 
Bandai Star Wars 1/12 scale C-3PO (front view view)
A semi-gloss clear coat reduced the level of shine reflecting off C-3PO's gold armour

Bandai's attention to detail is already evident at this early stage of the build. As the series of photos below show, Threepio's 'gold-plated' back panel first opens up to reveal a transparent plastic casing which in turn covers up a detailed thingamajig comprising gold, silver, red and white doohickeys. Threepio's back instrumentation panel of-sorts was first seen in Empire Strikes Back and to be honest I never really noticed it until now when working on Bandai's plastic model kit.

C-3PO back panel exposed; it was painted with gold, silver, white and red paints
C-3PO back panel covered by a piece of plastic casing
C-3PO back panel completely covered up by the gold-plated armour
Oh, oh, that's much better. Wait... wait. Oh, my! What have you done? I'm BACKWARDS.

Threepio had a semi-gloss clear coat applied to him for the following reasons. Firstly, the original 'gold-plated' armour was far too shiny for my tastes so a semi-gloss coating was applied to damp down the shine to an acceptable level. Secondly, it produced a slightly more weathered look to Threepio's armour. And thirdly, in an ironic twist the muted shine made Threepio's armour look more metallic than the original shinier parts which in my opinion looked a tad plasticky.

Bandai Star Wars 1/12 scale C-3PO (back view)
Final semi-gloss coat also gives C-3PO a more 'weathered' look

Prior to using Mr Hobby's oil-based weathering colors, I tried out the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color and a black Citadel acrylic wash on the shiny 'gold' plastic parts. In comparison to the Mr Weathering Color paints, it seemed harder to clean any excess Tamiya panel liner off the plastic. Meanwhile once any excess acrylic wash had dried, it tends to cloud the armour and become nigh impossible to be removed. But it's important to note that Tamiya's enamel paints are formulated more as a panel liner while Mr Hobby paints are intended for more general weathering use. So I'm not exactly comparing like for like - it's more like seeing how different products affect the plastic.   

A test involving Tamiya's Panel Line Accent Color and X-20 Enamel Thinner as well as Citadel's black wash
Closeup of the results of the weathering test on C-3PO's gold armour

Mentally exhausting and detailed paint work lies ahead in this project as next up is Threepio's abdominal section which comprises thin wiring of many hues. So keep tuned for that one. And on a completely unrelated note, I have finally got around to watching the Big Bang Theory sitcom. Wow! What can I say other than I absolutely love this awesome show. With that I leave you with my new favourite geeky word of the day ... Bazinga!


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