Saturday, 30 November 2019

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0 [WIP: Core of the Body]

Tempting as it is to now attach both halves (Upper Body and Lower Body) of the RX-78-2 Gundam together, call it done and start snapping shots for the blog, the venerable Grandpa Gundam per se is not quite finished yet. Rushing into the final assembly of the mecha itself (i.e. Grandpa Gundam sans any of its external weapons) would likely be disastrous seeing that both halves have a certain fragility to them. This arises out of their many moving and non-monving parts. This is where the Core of the Body (aka Body Core) steps in, serving both a structural as well as aesthetic function.    

Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Core of the Body (aka Body Core)
Scale comparison of the RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core components using a paperclip and five sen coin

Structural because the Body Core forms a basis for a strong connection between both halves in an otherwise hollow interior of the mecha's Upper Torso. And aesthetic because the front of the Upper Torso can be swiveled upwards to reveal the seated pilot within the Body Core. From the scale comparison in the immediate photo above, you should be able to tell that the Body Core isn't that big. A possible reason for this is to allow it to fit into the hollow torso interior. Nonetheless it's a solid enough block that allows both the Upper Body and Lower Body something substantial to attach to.

Amuro Ray, pilot in full flight suit and seated in the Body Core version (front view)
Back view of the seated Amuro Ray, which I don't know why I painted as it will never see the light of day
Cockpit seat, which also will also largely be hidden from view once assembled into the Body Core
Mid-section cutaway of the Core Fighter that forms the main structure holding both halves of RX-78-2 together
With the Body Core being a single molded piece, painting it entailed lots of masking
Apart from the single molded piece, there is also the pilot and cockpit seat that attached separately

Technically speaking this build was relatively easy. After all there were only three pieces involved. Apart from the single molded piece - i.e. the mid-section cutaway of the Core Fighter which is the largest of all three - there was also the seated pilot version of Amuro Ray and the cockpit seat. As a miniature painter I thought it was an excellent design choice to make the latter two as separate parts. It allowed to paint details I otherwise couldn't have reached effectively with my brush.  

RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core with Amuro Ray seated inside (angled side view, from the right)
RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core with Amuro Ray seated inside (front view)
RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core with Amuro Ray seated inside (angled side view, from the left)
RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core with Amuro Ray seated inside (view from the top)
RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core with Amuro Ray seated inside (view from the bottom)

Despite all the written explanations above, you might still be a bit confused as to where does this Body Core fits into the greater whole. And I don't blame you. As the old cliche goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So to provide a better context of how the said part relates to the Upper and Lower Body please refer to the two photos above this paragraph and the one immediately below.     

Body Core in relation to the Upper Body and Lower Body of the RX-78-2 Gundam

As you can see from the top view of the Body Core, it doesn't really connect to the Upper Body via a joint. Instead it slides securely into the hollow interior of the Upper Torso. Connections via a jointed system are made primarily between holes at the bottom of the Body Core and corresponding pegs on the Waist Unit of the Lower Body. Despite this, I still expect the connection to be a fairly strong one because the whole Body Core in a way acts like a huge connector peg that inserts itself into the corresponding 'hole' i.e. the hollow interior of the torso. Hopefully this all makes sense to you.  

Final closeup view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Body Core with Amuro Ray seated inside

While there is actually still lots to do for this kit such as main weapons - Beam Rifle, Hyper Bazooka, Shield and Beam Sabers - that the RX-78-2 Gundam is able to wield, the mecha itself is just a step away from completion. With all its main components - Upper Body, Core of the Body and Lower Body - assembled and painted, all that's left to do is to assemble the mecha's disparate parts together. Well, almost the only thing left to do. First, I plan to paint up a 1/100 scale figurine of Amuro Ray in a pilot suit standing up, and pose him next to a fully assembled RX-78-2 Gundam. This way the mecha would still remain in the background and not be the main focus ... yet. His big reveal will come soon enough, and before any of the weapons are completed. So I'll work on Amuro, for now.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

MG RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.3.0 [WIP: Lower Body]

Even without the Upper Body attached to it, the RX-78-2 Gundam Lower Body still manages to look impressive all by its own. At least to me it does. After weeks of work in which I could only see the separate sections of a greater whole, it was extremely gratifying to finally put all the pieces together. And truth be told I'm delighted at how the paint job (and to a lesser extent, the decal work) turned out. Far from blowing my own horn and patting myself on the back for a job well done, I am actually truly surprised I had managed to get the results I did, seeing that this is my first Gundam project.  

Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Lower Body (against a blue backdrop)
Complicated design of the Lower Body serves both an aesthetic as well as functional purpose ...
... aesthetic as in the whole Lower Body blends curves and hard edges for a gorgeous mecha look ...
... and functional in that freedom of movement build into the structure allows for a highly poseable Lower Body
Back view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Lower Body (against a blue backdrop)
Exposed back knee not only shows the metallic innards but also enables the joint to bend inwards to a high degree
Side profile of the RX-78-2 Gundam Lower Body is a brilliant marriage of straight and rounded lines
Color separation of the armor panels combined with strategically placed decals makes for an impressive look

If you had been following my work-in-progress posts these past few weeks, you would then easily comprehend the immediate photo below. Up until today, much work was required to get the various sub-assemblies - Waist Unit, Legs, Ankle/Feet - done up. It was almost a relief as I pieced the sub-assemblies together to form the Lower Body of the RX-78-2 Gundam. Even so, at this stage, I still can't piece the Upper Body and Lower Body together for you to get the first glimpse of a fully assembled (and painted, and decaled) Grandfather Gundam. More on why at the end of this post.

Sub-assemblies of the RX-78-2 Gundam Lower Body: Waist Unit, Legs and Ankles/Feet

Meanwhile, putting the Lower Body against a darker seems to focus one's eyes on its many details and features. It could be just an optical illusion but that's how it feels to me. Below then are a series of photographs of the said section against a black backdrop.  

Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version 3.0 Work-in-Progress: Lower Body (against a black backdrop)
Dark backdrop makes details on the RX-78-2 Gundam Lower Body stand out even more impressively
Tons of details are visible on the Lower Body from the waist all the way down to the feet
Painting of the outer armor panels were done based on the official recommended color scheme
Back view of the RX-78-2 Gundam Lower Body (against a black backdrop)
While the Lower Body and Upper Body (see previous post) of the RX-78-2 Gundam is now complete ...
... there is still the matter of the mecha's Body Core (not shown here) to be assembled, painted ...
... and placed in between the upper and lower bodies thus acting as a connector for both halves

So very close now! The next logical step is the joining of the upper and lower halves of the RX-78-2 Gundam. But as I alluded to earlier, I can't do this yet. There is a matter of painting, assembling and weathering the Core of the Body, a sub-assembly which is to be placed between both halves; serving as a connector. This Body Core represents the mid-section of the Core Fighter with its cockpit open and the pilot exposed. And while I can actually transform the already completed Core Fighter and used it as the connector, I won't because I would prefer to display the completed fighter by the side of the mecha. So I best get to work on the Body Core ... no slowing down now as the end nears.

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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