Friday, 28 June 2019

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0 [WIP Part 2 of 3 Core Fighter : Detail Painting and Sticker Decals]

It has been quite a while since I painted figurines at a scale of 1/100 or less. My last effort dates back more than three years ago for a 1/144 scale project that has since been mothballed. Back then I painted the ensemble cast revolving around the Millennium Falcon (first Han and Chewie followed by the rest). from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As you can see my painting skills at such scales have degenerated due to lack of use. But being a fastidious online chronicler of the progresses made on my miniature figurine and scale model kit projects, I am still posting the results, warts and all.

Amuro Ray, seated pilot version at 1/100 scale [Completed]
Torso looks a bit of a mess but I didn't bother with touch ups seeing it'll be largely hidden from view
To my naked eye the results looked great but up close with a dedicated macro lens ... not so much
Painting straight lines at this scale gets easier the more you practice
At this tiny scale, the miniature figurine looks better the farther you pull back

Apart from Amuro Ray in the seated pilot pose, there wasn't really much detail painting required of the FF-X7 Core Fighter of the RX-78-2 Gundam. Ordnance in the fighter's missile pods was painted a plain red; the cockpit backlit display green with off-white nondescript letterings; while surrounding area of the pilot seat received a dark gray hue with more green instrument panels plus dots of off-white and reds to signify instrument lights. That last bit would eventually turn out to be a waste of effort as at that time I didn't realize most of it was going to be completely hidden from view.

Missile pods attaching into the wings had the tips of its ordnance painted red
Cockpit instrument panel with a green 'backlit' display and some nondescript letterings
Surrounding area of pilot seat which, at the time of painting, I didn't realize was going to be hidden from view

Throughout my eight years in the hobby, this was the first time I had come across sticker decals. And after working with them for just a short while, I can easily say I'm not a fan. At all. To me, they have too many negatives. Firstly, outlines of the sticker decals are extremely obvious thus cheapening the look of the whole kit. Secondly, if any weathering or panel lining is done too close to the sticker decals then the paint will tend to seep underneath the decal making the outlines even more obvious. Thirdly, it's impossible to move them around once stuck onto a surface. Peeling the sticker decals off to reposition them can work occasionally but in my case they were damaged beyond repair.    

Semi-assembled sections of the Core Fighter which required sticker decals
Bandai Gundam sticker decals and instructions on where to place them on the kit

Visibility of the sticker decal outlines seem to vary depending of the color of the surface the decal is stuck on. The frosty outline of the decal looks best hidden against a white background. But then again it could just be surfaces angled in a way to reflect more light therefore exposing the outlines. 

Sticker decals on the fighter's nose section was both wrongly placed (warning sign) ...
... as well as damaged (the nondescript words after WB102 had been torn off)
Frosty characteristics of the sticker decal seem more visible when placed against a blue versus white background
Most of the sticker decals for the Core Fighter require a mirror version to be placed on the other side
Any weathering or panel lining tends to seep underneath the sticker decals and make the decal outline visible
Yet another sticker decal which requires a mirror version of itself to be placed on the opposite side
White backgrounds seem best for hiding the frosty outline of the sticker decals
         On the wing tip, the sticker decals show another inherent flaw in that they don't conform well to uneven surfaces            (note: a groove in the middle of the decal causes the wordings to reflect light differently) 

Does that mean I'll never use sticker decals again? Unfortunately that may not be possible. I'll definitely avoid sticker decals if alternatives such as water decals or dry transfers are available. In cases where alternatives aren't available I'll either do without or use the sticker decals anyway.

Sub-assembled sections with sticker decals are placed next to a five sen coin and paperclip for size comparison

Before I sign off for this week, I thought I would add my two cents on Gundam kits in general. Initially I had wondered if I should paint the Core Fighter at all seeing that the color separation of this kit was so good. Even at this fairly early stage I can tell you I'm very glad I did. Though slight, the differences between a painted surface and a standard molded plastic surface is perceptible enough to the naked eye. So much so that the former has a higher realism factor while the latter looks toy-like. Well that's it for another week. The next should see a completed FF-X7 Core Fighter. See you then.


  1. So little and so nicely done...lovely colors btw!

    1. Red, White and Blue ... colors of France too :)

  2. Looks great ! Can't wait to see it finished !

    1. This is only the Core Fighter ... the main piece is the Gundam itself which is way more complicated!

  3. 1/100th, that's 15mm scale is it not?
    Great post, the kit is really coming to life with all these details added.

    1. Not too sure ... I think so. It's all slowly coming together.

  4. lovely, and holy crap thats tiny

    1. Not as tiny as 1/144 but yes still tiny. But the figures will really make the mecha look gigantic in return :)

  5. Can‘t see your skills having degenerated at all! That‘s some rather impressive painting on a figure that size.

    1. Thank you Moiterei :) I did so much better previously of the Star Wars 1/144 figurines. But hopefully it will all come back. It's muscle memory after all :)

  6. I simply can't believe this kind of results can be achieved. Fantastic :O


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