Feb 072018
 

So a quick little update. I was out of town for the past two weeks so work on the thing slowed to almost a complete stop. But I was able to get some paint on here and there, then after a week of curing, getting some masking, and more paint and the suspension is still being worked on, but at least I have the struts done. There were two levels of masking to get the three paint colors on without having to hand paint the tiny things that will most likely be completely hidden once the Mercedes is assembled. But, maybe we can see this with the wheels turned and some flashlights.

The real meat of today’s story started about a week ago on my break between two trips. Sure, I’m working on a model type that I haven’t done in over ten years. So why not make things more difficult by doing a simple mod. Go with what I know. Lights. I thought about it for a while and figured I’d make copies of the headlights and foglights. They were originally chromed so that was removed with a bath in some industrial strength cleaning agent. Then into a lego enclosure padded with playdough and the first layer of silicone is poured. Curing for a day, the mold is removed, cleaned off, flipped over, and replaced in the lego enclosure with a brushing of vaseline to keep the next layer of silicone from completely sticking to the bottom half.

Resin is poured and I now have working copies that I can mess with while keeping the originals safe. Incase this completely blows up in my face, I still have the originals to use. The resin copies are drilled out and some small LEDs are wired up in parallel and inserted into the drilled out space. I’m test fitting everything with blue sticky tack to hold things together temporarily. It looks fairly decent so far.

The LED systems are wired and tested out. I’m using yellow/orange LEDs for the foglights and using white for the headlights. The original car has a slight yellow tint to the fogs, so I’m taking some creative license. Plus, I don’t have soft white LEDs. The LEDs in their new resin lenses are placed into the original housings. The fit is perfect. Some more sticky take is used to hold everything together. All these things will need to be glued together after it is painted. But this works for testing fitting in the immediate.

The housings are test fitted to the car body with more sticky tack and it’s starting to look pretty good. I didn’t like the detailing on the original headlight lense and I think the LED lens looks pretty close to the original projectors. So this could work. The foglight housing is test fitted and powered up. Followed by the headlight housing. I think it looks pretty cool for a quick little mod. Going with what I know about LEDs makes this easier than say, cutting the hood and scratch building an entire engine.

Jan 292018
 

Last week at SprueFest, one of the things for sale was a Tamiya Mercedes GT3 AMG kit. It looks pretty good and the price wasn’t bad because of the sale so I picked one up. I also gently nudged fellow TGG Jeremy into getting one. I suggested that we should do a build off and set the deadline for August 1, 2018. This sets us up with plenty of time to get the damn thing finished and as a bonus, we could take it with us to IPMS Nationals in Arizona that so happens to start on August 1, 2018. That was last Saturday and the kit was getting ready to join the rest of my backlog and partially built kits on my shelf when I left it on my table because I was in Ecuador all week for business. Returning home a few days ago, I was ready to shelve the box but decided to open it and take a look. The last time I build a car kit was a Ford GT40 back in July 2007, so just 11 years ago. Before that, I think it was before I was even in high school. So time to learn some new tricks.

Since I started working on the sucker, I made a facebook post to remind Jeremy and then thought why not open this up for anyone else. So the challenge is to build a GT race car. Other than the deadline, and car type, the challenge is open ended. So if you’ve only build gunpla or other scifi, time to see if those skill translate to cars!

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Jan 202018
 

This past Saturday was the 2nd annual Spruefest event held by the folks at Brookhurst hobbies with support from various well known model building entities in Southern California. They had expanded their scifi category to actually split out from scifi completely and have a separate Gundam category, and being sponsored by the local Bandai distributor Bluefin, the qualifying gunpla must be Bandai only products. As a group, we usually post up about the event and hang out once we get all our gear set up and have a good look around the model room at the various kits. The room closes so the judges can concentrate. It’s a decent sized space but packed with 400 models, it gets pretty tight. So at such events, we’re force to go entertain ourselves for a few hours. Typically we find someplace and just gorge ourselves. This year, a few of the guys wanted to go karting. So we gathered a group that was interested and drove off to Anaheim’s K1. We got registered and waited about an hour before our race was on. I haven’t karted in a long long time. And being a little older, my body is telling me so just after one race. But damn was it fun. We headed back to the contest location and had a late lunch before heading back towards the competition.

We’ve been through enough competitions that we just take everything with a canister of salt. Sci-fi is generally regarded as a red headed step child. Gunpla is a niche within sci-fi… so we’re used to the folks snickering at our toy building abilities. Funny how as I was growing up, ALL MODEL kits were found in the toy sections of any local drugs store. But I digress, we just go to have fun. Winning or not winning doesn’t matter to us. It gives us a good laugh at the results. It is this reason we created SCGMC. But, we also gotta support the hobby and help folks educate as many people as possible about our silly little hobby. It’s the only way to grow it. We figured we were in good hands with Bluefin heading up the judging. I was in the contest room putting away my kits when they got to our category. I missed the announcement for a few wins – Gundam Diorama, and Large Gundam. They split the large scale Gundam into two categories just because there were such a huge turnout. Funniest thing is that the categories are separated into Small Gundam (1/144 and smaller), Large Gundam (1/100 and larger) and then Gundam Diorama. They had DQed a few of the diorama pieces based on the idea that those entries were more vignettes than dioramas – which is something we do at SCGMC, we’re pretty strict on our idea of a “diorama”. For us, we put emphasis on a story being told, and usually require more than one focused involved character. Going back to the two other categories, since they have separated the 1/144 from 1/100 – things shouldn’t be too difficult. Angel enters his GIANT 1/144 Dendro, so it is rightly entered into the Small Gundam category. He ends up winning one of the splits for Large Gundam. At this point, we wonder how much say Bluefin truly has at a contest they’re not running, but sponsoring. Again, this goes back to our general acceptance of how the model community as a whole views and accepts our niche. Regardless, it was a damn fun day. I snapped a quick video and snapped some quick pictures. I should have gotten MOST of the entries.

Dec 122017
 

Progress on all my project have all but stopped because I finally picked up a PS4 over Thanksgiving weekend and have since been sucked into the world of Assassin’s Creed Origins. Hooray for Egyptian boobies! I was playing Star Wars Battlefront 2 for 3 days and since I don’t really care for COD style FPS games, the online aspect of the game didn’t appeal to me; the campaign portion ended fairly quickly. I really just got the damn bundle for the Star Wars labeled box and controller. The game, not so much.

This coming weekend is our annual Xmas build gathering which consists of a potluck, drinking alcohol, maybe some model building, and a white elephant gift exchange. We have a minimum requirement of $25 for the “gift” but folks have brought things such as PGs, MGs and whole paint sets. Its always fun to watch everyone steal from one another.

The other thing I’ve been fiddling with of late is creating a new watch face for my Huawei Watch. For the longest time, I’ve been wanting a watch face with Eastern Arabic clock numerals. They’re typically search keyed as “Ottoman watch” and this will pull up a ton of images of antique watches. The obsession actually manifested after watching the movie Looper, where the main protagonist has a pocket watch with such a face. So, when I first got the smartwatch, I did some searched for faces but didn’t find any watch face that had those dial ticks. I figured it was a bit too early in the smartwatch face creating game and I eventually forgot about it. Recently, the itch returned. But again, the search was fruitless. If it doesn’t exists, I guess I should create it.

I found an image file for clock dial scheme and created 1-12, cleaned up the images a bit then started work on creating the watch. So as to not reinvent the wheel, I took an existing watch and just stripped away the cosmetics and replaced them with newly created one. I ended up with the following, the first picture is what the watch looks like on bright mode, and the second is on dim mode.

In my research for real Ottoman style watches, I came across a company called Tourby and I really liked the look of these custom watches. So I added that bit of flare to the watch.

In bright mode, the watch face displays current temperature, date, steps, battery for watch and phone, and heart rate. With the dim mode, this shouldn’t drain the battery too badly, but this is still my second or third watch design, so we’ll see as I test this on my own watch. For those interested in the face, I uploaded it to facerepro where you can grab it, leave a comment, and rate it. I’ve already updated it a few times since uploading it yesterday. I spent a little more time cleaning up the numerals and did some small design changes here and there on the watch. I should just close this off and work on a completely different version next.

I still have tons of projects in various stages of completion, but I’m really enjoying the hell out of killing Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians while every so often; getting treated to Egyptian boobies. I should get some work done on at least the MG Hazel project during the build gathering this Saturday. For those local to Southern California and want to join the build gatherings, fill out of form here subscribe to the mailing list. If you cannot make it this Sat, there’s always next month.

Edit, I added another version, the dim view is the same. I removed the weather and heart rate and shifted the step counter up. I redesigned the second counter to look more like the Tourby custom.

Nov 132017
 

I picked up this kit on a trip to Hong Kong in 2011 from a shop that no longer exists. This was a recast from a series of SD Macross kits made by Metal Box as a limited run kit for Wonfes 2011 winter. The casting isn’t too bad. I did find a bubble here and there and there was a gap issue that I needed to fix. But overall, the kit is a pretty solid piece of resin. I had originally pinned this guy way back in 2011/2012 but had shelved it for various reasons. Then after my move in 2015, it kinda got lost in my stash of kits. After seeing all the cool SD kits at SCGMC, I feel the need to get one quickly done. A resin SD kit may actually be easier to build than a Bandai IP SD kit. I don’t have to deal with seams. Revisiting the kit, some of the pinning was rather poor. The thing is damn heavy, so I needed to repin using a much thicker brass rod. Here’s what the kit looked like a few nights ago.

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Nov 052017
 

It’s November, and another SCGMC has come and gone. We had another great turnout this year. We added even more vendors this year and the room was filled with all kinds of gunpla goodies from vintage kits, to resin add ons, to the latest release, to non gunpla mecha and anime figure goodness! We had folks come down from NorCal, folks up from San Diego, and even folks flying in from the east coast – Virginia, South Carolina, and Boston just off the top of my head. We changed our layout a little moving our demo area to the stage which created much more space for the entry tables as well as vendor space. Our special event shirts almost sold out too. It’s great to hear people come to the show and the first thing they do is run over to the shirt table and look for this year’s latest designs. It’s also awesome to run into someone wearing the shirts randomly out on the streets!

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Oct 232017
 

Last I left off, I had most of the exterior armor pieces painted. The procrastination for the interior armor painting resulted with those bits getting worked on last. The leg armor pieces were painted but I noticed that there were some details that frame up the vents on the front and back, so those areas were masked off and the inset areas were painted with Mr Super Iron then masked off again to paint the frame areas with alclad magnesium. The contrast looks fairly decent when assembled.

Since I am building the Hazel I version, I want to also have it running all three booster shields. The kit unfortunately, only comes with one. I actually started the mold making process at the same time I started spraying the primer. The mold making process takes a bit of time, but if I wrote everything up as it happens sequentially, it becomes harder to follow some of the steps because things keep jumping from one topic to another. That said, lets finish up the mask and paint sessions.

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