Nov 142018

I’m still recovering from the event, but it was a damn fun time. I met a ton of new folks and got to see lots of familiar faces. For those that want to skip to all 240 entries.. yes, there were 240 ENTRIES by 116 entrants, the gallery link is here: SCGMC 2018 Gallery This is a pretty signification jump from last year’s number of 186 entries by 113 entrants. Our attendance numbers jumped from 264 to 358, which is a very signification push of almost 100 more people at our little show. We doubled our number of vendors this year and added in an artist selling their Gundam related artwork. We are expanding on all fronts. This is a good thing. We thought we had the room for everyone which is bigger than last years, but we’re definitely outgrown this ballroom this year. We are currently shopping some potential new venues and also considering just getting two ballrooms at the place we were at this year. So more to come as that develops. You guys will learn soon after we learn!

Lots of familiar faces, some folks have been coming the entire time and I saw one father and son tell me that they’d been coming since he was 17 or so, he’s now 25. It is awesome to see so many families that build together and also win together. We opened up our demo spaces to folks outside our group and I think that was a resounding success. We had Tim from Child of Mecha do a very intimate scratch building session. Session for diorama building, a session for panel line scribing, and we had a very well received talk about how to apply lessons learned in art into our projects. I think this will definitely open up the door much wider to our audience that want to show off some of their skills and teach their fellow builders a thing or two about a thing or two.

The show was a damn good time and a very long day for some of the staffers but it was worth it to see all the smiling faces, maybe some of the frowny faces, but see all the new people screaming that they are now all energized and inspired to start up projects for next year’s competition. So if you missed this year and was wondering what you missed, here’s a quick look:

That said and done, here’s what kits won in which categorires!

Winners for the Junior category which is for our modelers that are 12 and under. All entries can be seen here: Junior Entries. There was a tie for 1st place, so the pictures are 3rd to 1st left to right in the below set.

The beginner category is for modelers that are VERY new to building gunpla so their skills are not at the level of some advanced builders. However, there are several builders, while new, do actually have those skills of advanced builders so those entries are moved to the advanced categories. All the beginner entries are here: Beginners Entries

Winners are as follows:

This year we had a split in the 1/100 UC. We almost always have a split in the 1/100 UC, so for next year, I believe we are planning on presplitting the category into 1/100 UC Feddys and 1/100 UC Zeon. All the entries fro 1/100 and larger UC are here: Advanced 1/100 and Larger Universal Century Entries And the winners:

1/144 and smaller Universal Century entries are here: Advanced 1/144 and Smaller Universal Century entries. Winners:

The 1/100 Alternate Universe category combines all the other Gundam series outside of the Universal Century. All the entries are here: Advanced 1/100 and Larger Alternate Universe entries A little side note about the winners. Earlier I mentioned that we have a tendency to move entries based on the skills we see in the kit builds. The 1st place winner was entered into the Beginner’s category because the builder had only been building for 6 months and this was his first competition. The judges made the call to move his entries to the Advanced category and on that level, he managed to take first place.
Here are the rest of the winners:

The 1/144 ALternate Universe entries: Advanced 1/144 and Smaller Alternate Universes entries And the winners are:

This year’s theme was the Bearguy so a majority of the entries for the theme was in 1/144 AU since the bearguy kits are all 1/144 in scale. But the theme isn’t usually a specific category and entries can span across all categories at SCGMC and still fit for the theme. So long as the builder makes a good case for being part of the year’s theme, they have free reign on if they want to be part of the theme judging or not.

Anime figures is starting to grow and I know there was some confusion on where some kits should be placed. I’m starting to understand how IPMS feels about our kits sometimes when we randomly put them all over the place. This year’s entries: Anime Figures And the winners:

Last year we had only 3 entries in the Star Wars category so some staff members were looking at maybe folding this category back into the Mecha General. I’m glad we didn’t. In my experience with IPMS, there are some years where the category is ignore and others when the category explodes and we need to split. This was a good year for Star Wars kits. All the entries are here: Star Wars. Winners are as follows:

Mecha general is where we put all our other entries that don’t quite fit in anything else. It is a catch all from where we usually grow new categories. I believe after this year, we will see about adding a “gaming miniatures” category to the list and keep a keen eye out for how this particular category grows so we can split off more standalone categories. I’d love to see an FSS category, Macross/Robotech, or a Mak SF3D category. For now, here are all the entries: Mecha General And here are the winners:

The super deformed category always has a special place in my heart. They are relatively simple kits, but for a builder’s standpoint, they are fairly difficult. There are usually some horrific seams and tons of masking involved in these kits. Modifications adding to these kits as well as scratch building potential is very high. These are fun little kits and require a HUGE amount of work to look this good. All the entries are here: Super Deformed And the winners are here:

The diorama category should tell a story. We need to look more at this when folks are entering. The idea for the diorama is that there is a story being told. We usually want more than 1 main subject. A kit on a fancy base is just a vignette; and doesn’t necessarily tell a story. Some of the entries missed that, and we are also at fault for missing that. The entries are here: Diorama. Winners are here:

This last category gets very little love as most modelers do not feel they are good enough. For any participant that has won in 1st in any advanced category and especially those that have won Best of Show at SCGMC or any other competition; those are the folks that should be dedicating their best kit to this category. At the level, it isn’t about getting more awards, it’s about competing on that level where awards do not matter, but just being the best. I hope that next year has more entries, it is definitely cool to see folks starting to step up to the plate here. This year’s Expert enteries: Expert And the winner:

The bestest Bearguy award:

And Best of Show went to this:

This was a great show and we owe everything to our wonderful and overworked staff.

  One Response to “SCGMC 2018 come and gone!”

  1. Great write up and photos again this year! Since moving out of CA, we really enjoy reading about how the event goes and GROWS each year. All of you do such a great job putting on this competition. Well, more than a competition, a celebration of Gundam and Gunpla in every way really. At least that’s what we always thought. We’re bummed we miss it, but we’re stoked that it goes off every year, so awesome!!!

    –The Brewer Family

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Apr 192015

This past weekend, Angel and I along with our wives, took the excuse of the IPMS Region 8 show hosted by the IPMS Las Vegas chapter, being held in Vegas; packed up a grip of our gunpla kits and headed out to sin city. They actually have a “Gundam” category as one of three categories under the Sci-Fi umbrella; so Angel and I were under the impression that were was a pretty good gunpla following. There were 5 entrants, 3 from So Cal, and 2 from Las Vegas, one of them being a recent transplant from So Cal. But regardless, its still damn cool they have a Gundam category in lieu of being lumped in with the rest of the Sci-Fi stuff. And we got to plug the crap out of SCGMC!

The event was held this past weekend on Saturday, April 18; at the Riviera Hotel & Casino. The place is the hotel that the movie Casino with Pesci and De Niro. The place is also shutting down next month to be demolished. So at the very least, we got to see the last hurrah of an iconic piece of Las Vegas history.

Like most contests we’ve been attending of late, we dropped in, filled out the paperwork, set up our kits, maybe chatted with a few folks then ran off. With the wives in tow, AND in Vegas, there were other priorities. We asked for more space as there was only 1 gunpla kit on the table. And when we left, there were 11, 10 of those belonging to Angel and I. Hopefully there would be more entrants. But we didn’t wait along for that and went off to have a nice brunch at the Wynn. When we returned to the room after our lunch, we were told that the room was closing in 5 minutes for judging, and didn’t reopen until about 3:45. In hindsight, we should have just hung out until the kicked us out, then went to eat. I did get to meet up with an old competitor Mr. RJ, whom I met well over 10 years ago at an OrangeCon event. He does mostly mods to 1/144 Zeonic kits with German influence and all hand painted. Pretty damn amazing skills. He took first place in the Gundam category. We also met another fellow name Keven who has a blog:; you can read more about his entry on his blog. Hopefully he’ll make it out to the SCGMC show in November; Vegas isn’t too far a drive. After a quick chat, the room closed and we were kicked out.

We came back around 3:30 and the room was still closed. Kevan and Mr. RJ was around so we chatted a little more with them. There was another modeler, I believe his name was Daisuke who is from Northern Cali, and I’ve met this guy first at a SCHAMS’s show, then invited him to Orangecon that following year, then to our first SCGMC event. He made it to OrangeCon, that year, and since I haven’t seen him. Good to see that he’s still building. The tiny Japanese Biplane in the pictures below is his; amazing skills. He also builds some gunpla, so hopefully we’ll see him at SCGMC too this November. The announcement were starting up, and I hadn’t taken a single picture. So I got the gopro and the 3D printed steady cam rig I printed the two nights prior, and scanned through all the entries. At least I believe I got everything. The camera work is a little shaking as I was rushing through. I also had to edit out the sound as it was just the awards announcements. 21 minutes of silent model goodness.

So for those that have never been to an IPMS show, this is what things look like. Models separated by categories on tables. Typically, most model shows as well as SCGMC, have the attendee fill out 1 main sheet with a list of all the models they brought; and then several smaller sheets for each model kit. The master list has the entrant’s name and general contact info and a “Contestant ID” is assigned here. The master list stays with the contest organizers (at SCGMC, they stay with the registration girls). The smaller sheets have the contestant ID, the name of the entry, and details about the kit’s build. These sheets are placed under the models and tell the judges what to look for in the kit. Special paints, mods, etc. Without this sheet, the judges have no reference other than looking at the kit; so to help the judges better understand all the hard work put into the kit; filling out this sheet is very important. The sheet also tells the judge that the kit is part of the contest and they need to judge it! This is pretty standard for any model competition.


Mr RJ ended up with a first place. Angel with second, and I got third in the Gundam category. The odd thing is, we have no idea for what kit; as the kit names that won the awards were never mentioned. This happens far too often at such contest; and reason we started up the SCGMC event; so no complaints here, because we’re already doing our part to rectify the issue. I also got a 3rd place in the large figure category for the Yukari kit; which was pretty damn unexpected.

I did take a quick run with my camera to snap pictures, but I ran out of time as folks were starting to pack up. Here’s what I got:

  One Response to “Those Gundam Guys at IPMS Las Vegas Region 8 Competition”

  1. Thanks for the review of our show. Gundam has continued to grow and now sports three categories. Small scale, Large Scale and Diorama. Gaming has grown just as fast and with the addition of a categorize a major gaming sponsor we will add 8 separate gaming categories this year. April 27th, 2019 at the East Side Cannery. Hope to see you there. Joe Porche’ IPMS Las Vegas.

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UC Project Progress


March 14, 2012

It has been a while since I worked on any gunpla, but about a week or so ago, I was hit with an some sudden inspiration and using some ideas that I’ve seen over the past year I started this project. This will be a 3 or 4 part project, as there are several pieces that will eventually come together for the final finished piece. Dusting off a couple of boxes of HGUC kits, I start with the first kit, the HGUC Dreissen ver. Sleeves.

Part 1: HGUC Dreissen

Before doing any sort of mod or anything, I just cut, sanded, and snapped the kit together to get a better idea of where I want to do modifications. Sanding and snapping takes about a day or so but with it put together, the real fun can begin.

First mod is relatively simple. I just drilled open the gatling barrels on the arms to open them up a little and then shoved some adlers nest armor collars inside as a small detail upgrade. A very simple mod that make the barrels look much better than stock.

Next mods are to the waist and collar cables. The stock plastic cables are rather plain and boring.

Starting with the lower neck/collar area, I cut the piece out to expose the power cables. Once the collar piece is in two, the existing cables are just sanded away. The replacement cables are done with adlers nest 2mm diameter cables and a spring made from 32 awg magnet wires wrapped around a sleeved 24 awg solid piece of wire. The metal collar pieces are glued into place. Holes are drilled into the front and back ends of where the plastic cables existed. With the holes drilled out the new cables are put into place.

The waist cables are done much the same way as the collar cables. Adlers nest 4mm diameter metal collars are used use, and the same 32 awg magnet wire is wrapped around a 2.5mm tube to create the spring sleeve. The replaced metal cables are a simple and easy modification.

Next up is to butcher the lower torso. Using the idea from a Korean modeler, I’m going to try doing the same idea the modeler did for their Z’Gok vs Gundam diorama. So the first step is to cut apart the lower torso. Using the cut outs, I had some quick templates for cutting out small pieces of clear acrylic. The acrylic pieces are glued with tamiya extra thin cement and clamped together to cure.

After curing for several hours, the excess pieces of acrylic is clipped and then is sanded down. With the parts sanded, I sanded the surface of the acrylic to frost it. With the two corresponding areas sanded and frosted, work focused on the main body. The bottom of the upper torso is cut out for eventual lighting. Using the lower torso pieces as templates, plastic inserts are traced and cut out. These inserts will be used to hold the LEDs from inside the torso piece. I have some orange LEDs on order so work on this section is paused until I get the LEDs.

Next up is the backpack. The Dreissen has three backpack mounted tri-blade weapons that I didn’t really care about. The mount points also doubled for weapon hard points. Using the tri-blade weapons are mount points, I mounted a long resin fuel tank on the bottom center. Cylinder fuel tanks were mounted on the upper two points. I had a few sizes of cylinder tanks and decided on the larger set. The ball thrusters were extended with some thrusters left over from an MG Kampfer kit.

Since I decided on the cylinders as upper fuel tanks, I drilled holes into the tri-blade center as well as the cylinders to add in a fuel hose. For the spring wrapping, I used 28 awg magnet wire over the 24 awg sleeved solid wire.

The first small modification to the skirts is to drill out the indented details. With pilot holes drilled, excess plastic is cut and filed to remove all the plastic in the indented areas. Once the indented detail plastic has been removed, a slip of detailed styrene is glued to the back for a quick detail modification.

From the lessons learned in from the HGUC Sazabi project, and since I’m lighting the waist; I may as well just light the whole damn thing. So the shoulder thrusters are drilled out using bits of varying sizes. The leg thruster pieces are drilled out to accommodate 3mm LLEDs.

March 15, 2012: A small updated for the work on the sliced apart waist. Starting with the bottom piece, the middle section of the waist unit is removed and the styrene template cut earlier is further trimmed and fitted into the waist unit. With the template in place, the template is marked up to plan out the LED layout.

Small holes are drilled and the LEDs are threaded through. On the back, the leads are trimmed and wired in parallel. Then the assembly is wired up to a battery and tested out.

The same is done for the upper template piece.

The waist pieces are put into place for a quick mock up. The lights are turned off to get a better lit contrast.

March 16, 2012: Spent most of the night and early morning working on the head. The internal areas of the head were gutted with a hobby knife for a clean starting point. Then small strips of styrene are cut and glued into the top and bottom parts of the head. Since the original head was just a black part that hides any idea of some internals, the styrene strips and shapes work as internals for the head.

Next, I focused on the mono eye. Like the other mono eye kits I’ve been building of late, I’ve been finding interesting ways to light the mono eyes. Instead of the armor collar that I’ve been using, I went with wave option parts for the eye piece and wave eyes for the clear lens. I also wired up a small red surface mount LED. The internal area of a 3/32″ tube was excavated, thinning the walls of the tube such that I could shove the LED and wires into the tube. With this done, the whole mono eye assembly is put together.

With most of the parts dry, at least dry enough to work with, I did a quick mock up and tested out the light. This mod took several hours to complete, but is really worth the effort to replace the rather plain original “face mask”.

March 20, 2012: Small update as I slowly progress with more detail mods. Starting with the legs, I removed the back connection pegs on the inside of the leg halves. Since I’ll be gluing the two leg pieces together, I really don’t need the connector. Sanding the interior down, I’ll be adding a little bit of inner frame. But swinging to the outside of the legs, I added a little bit of detailing using a wave option part and a punched out styrene insert. The little punch set is from Micromak, and is a very useful tool for punching out perfect little disks.

A few years ago, I picked up a little .2mm scribing tool from a company called BMC. The thing rules for scribing lines and I was only able to grab the .2mm size. Doing a little search, I found that HLJ carried a couple of different sizes so I ordered a few last week. They arrived today and the .5mm was immediately put to use scribing out the “sleeves” for the Dreissen. I still need some clean up, but the scriber worked very well.

I’ll be adding some lighting to the back skirts. To extend the thrusters a little, I’m using some resin cast soup can thrusters, and behind these thrusters I’ll be adding some LEDs. On the inside of the skirt, to help hide the lighting gimmick, I cut some styrene for use as a cover. I still need some final detailing here, but this gives a general idea of what I’m trying to do.

The last bit was to finish off removing the indented areas on the front and rear skirts. Styrene is placed inside the skirts for small additional detailing. With the scribing tools, my next focus will be to scribe in some additional panel lines.

March 23, 2012 – Since the last update, I’ve been spending a considerable time marking off and scribing in some additional panel lines as well as adding more small modifications here and there. Starting off small since this is my actual first real foray into adding panel lines as opposed to just cleaning or deepening panel lines. I used dymo tape which is used for making labels and has a decent thickness to help with straighter lines. The first pieces are the upper arm areas. Once I got used to the technique, I moved on to the front skirts. Placing the tape in measured out areas then lightly running the scriber across the plastic until the area is scribed. I also drilled out a small hole for a metal minus detail.

I added resin thrusters that I had previously molded off the aluminum soup can thrusters. Some panel lines were scribed on the rear skirt and a punch out of some styrene details are placed in the upper side skirt area. Small strips of styrene is added to the upper area of the rear skirt.

Finished with the small bits of details and panel lines, the waist and skirt are is complete.

The inner shoulder piece is modded with a little piece of detail styrene. Since the shoulders already have a decent amount of panel lines, I just added a drilled out hole and placed in some metal minus details.

The outer arm pieces are marked off and panel lines are scribed. A small 3mm hole is drilled into the outer arm parts and some metal collars are glued onto the arm.

The inner arms got a small amount of scribing. As an afterthought, I added some additional panel lines to the outer arm areas. I snapped a comparison shot between the modified and unmodified arms. A small strip of styrene is glued into place as an accent.

Next up, the legs were marked off for scribing. I scribed in a little vent detail onto the leg. The bottom of the legs are scribed with a 1.0mm blade and a small strip of styrene is glued into the spot for accent.

Moving to the upper torso, a few quick panel lines are added as well as a 3mm metal collar piece.

The center torso halves were drilled out and cut to glue in small connection points. This also helps organize the internal wiring scheme; a little lesson I learned from the final assembly of the Sazabi where I ran in to all sorts of issues dealing with putting all the wiring together. The two connectors are glued to their respective pieces and when connected, the two halves are in a split view.

This should conclude the mods for the kit – that is until I decide on adding more, but I don’t want to go overboard and effectively lose the idea that this is a Dreissen. Here are pictures of the kit with the mods. The missing mods are all the lights that I have planned for the suit. That should be part of the next update.

March 25, 2012: Since most of the cosmetic mods were complete, I went and completed the lighting mods. Starting with the leg thrusters, the four thrusters are very similar to the HGUC Sazabi in design so it was quite easy to put in the LEDs.

Next up were the shoulder thrusters. Earlier, I drilled out the holes of the shoulder thrusters. The area inside the shoulder isn’t very large and the thrusters ports are not very large either, so I settled on using surface mount LEDs. I made a small template that fit into the shoulder piece right above the bottom piece of the shoulder. With the plastic template in place as well as the thruster cover piece, I marked off where the circles lined up with the template. Taking the template down, I just glued the surface mounts into position and wired them on the back of the template. Putting everything together, it works, and the shoulders are lit up.

With all the little lights added here and there, I started to wire up everything just as a sanity check. So all the wires are hooked up. I’m planning on running an external power source, so the bottom of the left foot was cut open for a connector. With the connector glued into position, I wired everything from the leg up. With the current design, I have the upper torso and lower torso wired independently. The connectors I placed into the corresponding split lower torso piece will connect both halves lighting up everything.

Once I had everything connected, I turned off the main workshop light and connected a test battery. I’ll definitely need a higher volt battery with a larger capacity. The Sazabi had something like 28 lights. This little bugger has about 36 since the waist areas alone are 7 LEDs a piece. And since I’m using an external power source, I can easily accommodate that rather than trying to power it all within the suit.

Here are a few close up shots of the back thrusters, the upper torso and the shoulder thrusters. I then went and took everything apart and once I get some final sanding done, I can start the painting stage. The build will finally start to progress more visually.

April 3, 2012: Small update, the internals are painted with gloss black and then alclad metallics. I’m using alclad steel for the main frame parts. The internals for the thruster bells are alclad burnt metal. Those are masked off then the exterior areas are painted with alclad stainless steel. The other armor pieces are primed with Mr Surfacer 1000.

Returning to the arm pieces, I cut out some 5mm by .5mm rectangle styrene pieces and glued them into the scribed out groove keeping a small space between the pieces as a final piece to the added details.

The internals are masked and painted for a couple of steps. The food is masked and painted. I still have one more step to masking and painting the foot before that is done.

Parafilm is used to mask off the thrusters that were painted earlier so that I could paint the internal areas alclad steel.

Using the build manual, the color guide is translated and I mixed up the specific colors. I’m planning on sticking with the standard Sleeves theme, but maybe adding only a small customization. The dark purple color was specifically mixed as an enamel since I will be using the reverse wash technique to do the raised details on the sleeves and chest piece. So with the paints ready, I started with the white parts. The sleeves and chest piece are painted with lacquer white, the first step in the reverse wash technique.

Jan 17, 2019

Time to kick off the new year with a project. Not necessarily a new project, but something that has been shelved for almost 7 years. I had to dig through my harddrive to find this next set of pictures. Last date from the pictures in this set is April 14, 2012. I originally stopped working on this project because the then girlfriend and I started a project to remodel our house. And since the remodel, the damn thing has stayed on the shelf. This part of the original project was about 85-90 percent completed. I had just about finished painting everything. What better way to get a quick finished kit than pull something that is almost done and just finish the damn thing up.

This is what the kit looks like now, as in after spending the past couple of days relearning where I had left off and what I was doing with the thing. ALl of this was painted but not assembled. I spent some time gluing pieces and doing more complete subassemblies.

Painting continued with mask, paint, unmask.

Parts were shaded and painted.

Internal details are painted most of the bits and pieces for the kit are assembled.

The sleeves for the kit are raised details and perfect for a reverse wash. Lacquer white is sprayed followed by enamel dark purple. Once this dried well enough, a q-tip dipped in lighter fluid easily removes the enamel dark purple revealing the raised white areas. This is where the project stopped. And I didn’t actually finish cleaning all the raised details. The upper torso raised details were still painted with the enamel dark purple and has been sitting like that for almost 7 years. A q-tip and lighter fluid and slowly rubbing the raised details removed the enamel. The reverse wash technique is still viable even after the enamel paint has been cured for 7 years.

Fast forward to earlier this week, Jan 14, 2019; I start back up on the project. Ditching the original diorama idea, for now; I just want to finish this project as a little vignette. I grabbed a wood base and used it as a template with some playdough on my silicon asteroid terrain. Removed the wood base and mixed some hydrocal and poured the stuff into the playdough pool.

An hour later, the playdough is removed and I have my asteroid disk. But then another idea for display comes into my little brain and I do a quick 3D design for a raised column that is about 30 degrees in angle. Which means the original disk I made is now too small, so once the support structure is printed, I use it as a template to create a slightly oblong asteroid disk and I have the start of my display base.

The ideas is that the Dreissen will be standing on top of the disk. The reasons for the angle will make sense in my next post when I get closer to finishing the project. Or, if you’ve read the link above, you can make a pretty good guess as to why I’m angling the lower half of the body.

One of the first things I needed to do was to check the lighting and start assembling the kit into major subsections. The immediate problem was my wiring. I had used black wires for EVERYTHING. So, I needed a battery on hand to test the polarity for every connection pair. The first task was to wire up some of the major parts and make everything in parallel. This gave me the chance to fix the wiring a bit and add in some red wires to mark the positive leads. The wires are soldered and shrink wrapped. Once I start bunching up the wires, they will inevitably rub against one another which will cause shorts, so wire wrapping ensures that everything is isolated.

A quick test with the battery shows that the rear skirt thruster lights all work together.

The same is done with the leg thrusters. Test, test, and continue testing while everything is slowly assembled and reconfigured.

The modified backpack is glued together and rewired finished off with a quick test for the thruster lighting.

One of the pitfalls of soldering while really close to the damn plastic is that this can happen. I f-ing melted the damn chest piece.

My first thought was to get another HGUC Dreissen kit. Then I came to my senses and realised it’s only plastic. And this is a very simple piece with precise angles. This is an easy fix. And relatively quick with the tools I have. Light curing putty. The first step is to actually rough up the indented melted area so that the putty have more surface area to grip. I applied two layers of putty. First layer went down and once cured under the UV light, a quick sanding to get a rough shape. Second layer of putty makes sure the whole part is completely patched.

Once I finished sanding, the part is primed to check for mistakes. Lucky this was a relatively simple piece and I got it in one shot. Once the primer is cured, I’ll paint back the white and no one will be the wiser.

This little project shouldn’t take too many more updates to finish. So another few weeks and I should have this one buttoned up.

Jan 20, 2019: Last we left off, I assessed the project and started on the last bits to finish the damn thing. The chest piece that I melted is painted and back to normal. Another electronics test to make sure all the wire rework didn’t screw anything up. And the whole thing is gloss coated.

Since all the electronics are still working, I can can turn off the lights, and get to work on making sure the thing looks decent on the base. The ceramic base is dry and I can get to work test fitting that. Angles look good so time to move on to the final bits of work on the Dreissen itself.

So I had cut the poor Dreissen in half as the original idea of the diorama had a Unicorn some distance away with Banagher running off to chase pseudo Char. We’re just going to have to imagine that he’s long gone since, well, Unicorn speed. So, back to the fresh cut. I wanted some internal details so that it’s not just a blank light bulb that was cut in half. I searched for something that would work as a decent template and came across some submarine cross sections. This was almost perfect. I just needed to manipulate it a little to fit my needs.

I gimped this since I don’t have photoshop and started messing with two of the subsections. Getting it better fit against the Dreissen’s cutaway sections. Lines were darkened a bit and the round subsection was stretched.

Once I was done here, I ported them to Adobe AI, yes, I know, why not just use AI. Well, I’m more familiar with gimp, and AI has some cool vector features. The images were vectorized and then more stretching and stacking to get a few images that I could measure in some test prints and then print on a clear water slide decal sheet.

Decal sheet is printed and sprayed with a lacquer clear coat to help seal in the ink. Allowing this to properly cure is key. Skipping out on the clear coat or curing of said clear coat will get you an inky mess and blank decals. Learn from my experience. I cut two decals out and I’m glad the printer kinda screwed up the printing. Some broken lines will really work here. The decal is dipped in water and slid into place.

A little test with the light clearly shows that the decal alone isn’t going to do things. Something I already knew going into this. I just needed the decal as a template from where I can “trace” with a fine brush and some enamel black paint. Adding in a few more lines here and there to round everything out, I do another quick lighting test to see how it comes out. It’s looking better. Time to let that dry and move on to actually finishing the kit.

The other decals. Funny, I didn’t even remember buying “Dreissen” decals. Or, Dreissen ver Unicorn decals. But there were also in the box along with Unicorn and Geara Zulu decals. I guess my original plan was to have a Zulu in the mix too. I used these decals as well as decals I picked up from my local hobby shop: Robot 4 Less’s Simp Decal Sheets They are nice decals and already precut, so no need to trim the decals after cutting them from the sheet. I need to go back and just pick up a bunch more warning labels. In no time, I completely lost track of time and the decal process took about 5 hours.

Friday rolls around and I get a delivery. My dehydrator came in, and now I can seriously speed up my drying process for paints. I use the lowest temp setting of 95° and run it for about 2 hours. This seriously speeds up my work time. I was able to gloss my decals, dry them in 2 hours, and get to panel lines.

Panel lines were done, the parts go back into the dehydrator for 2 hours and I can do the clean up.

A clear flat is sprayed and then once again, back into the dehydrator for another 2 hours and the damn thing is pretty much done. What would have normally taken at least a day of drying/curing between each layer of gloss/decals/gloss/panel lines/clear flat, I cut done to about a day. I should have bought one of these damn things much sooner. Another electronics test and full assembly test against the base so I could start working on the thing.

Setting the completed Dreissen aside, I think I will return to it and add another layer of enamel paint to the cut away sections. I want more definition there, but that can wait, on to the base. With the measurements and wiring done for the base. I get to sanding and filling the base so that it fits nicely on the wood block. I used more hydrocal for this as I can really quickly cure the stuff in the dehydrator.

Next update will probably finalize the build and if all goes well, the end of the week will see some completed pictures.

Jan 21, 2019;

And a day after the last post, I’m done. I seriously did not think I was going to have this update until at least the end of the week. Dehydrator = time traveling for model building. I filled in some gaps between the 3D printed support piece and the base with more hydrocal and into the dehydrator. An hour later, I can sand the surface smooth and apply some plaster cloth to the whole base. Again, into the dehydrator. 2 hours later, I get to apply more hydrocal to the surface to even out everything and make the whole asteroid look like a single rock. Into the dehydrator. 2 hours later, I can sand and clean up the surface.

The first step is a quick wash with some acrylic brown. This give the base a starting color to work with. Next up, I used enamels and drybrushed in some colors using zinc, gunmetal, brass, and chrome. This gives the surface a little bit of tonal variation.

The final wash was acrylic black. The label says enamel, but when I tried to mix this with some lighter fluid, the two did not want to mix. So I used water and it worked just fine. My first pass was a little too light so I added more paint and did another pass with a sponge brush. This blends everything together. And then into the dehydrator. 2 hours later, I spray a clear flat and again, into the dehydrator for another 2 hours. The wood base was sanded and stained and placed into the dehydrator with I was drying the painted base. After 2 hours, a clear gloss was sprayed and back into the dehydrator. The rock base is drying with the clear flat at this time. Once that first layer of gloss is dry, I sanded it with some high grit sanding pads and sprayed another layer of gloss and back into the dehydrator.

2 hours after that last spin in the dehydrator and the base components can be assembled and glued together. What normally takes a day between each step that I used the dehydrator now only take 2 hours. So realistically, I was correct in estimating the completion at the end of the week. I just didn’t factor in that I could use the dehydrator for the base too.

  2 Responses to “UC Project Progress”

  1. […] this project was search my website to see what the latest posted progress was, and I found it here: HGUC Dreissen that was part of a bigger UC diorama Now that we’re caught up from that page, we can continue with the work. Painting continued […]

  2. […] The complete top to bottom progress for this project can be read here: HGUC Dreissen progress […]

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Build Layers


All my kit builds typically follow this layering concept. Starting with the bare plastic to spraying color to applying the final clear coat follow these steps. Depending on the final finish, some of the last optional steps may be ignored.

Now beginning from the bare plastic, this tutorial begins after completing the initial sanding work. The first layer sprayed onto the plastic parts is primer. Primer does the following:

  • Wipes out the color giving a single neutral color to start from
  • Fills in small scratches left over from the sanding process
  • Shows areas of rough sanding, mistakes in sanding, and pinholes that were unseen before (applies mostly to resin kits)
  • Primer also gives a nice surface for paint to stick

Since most bandai gunpla kits come pre-colored, it is always a good idea to prime the kit as this wipes out the color and gives a uniform color to begin from. For example, if you wanted to paint a kit red, but the original color of the parts were black, the red would take on a much darker tone due to the black base color. Neutralizing this with a grey or white primer will give the red a more natural tone that is truer to the paint’s intended color tones.

Primer is also a small filler and will fill in small scratches left over from the sanding process. The primer will also show areas where additional sanding work is needed. This happens often as the initial sanding phase does quite a bit of work, but some areas are missed. With additional sanding work done, reprime the part and you will notice a significant improvement in the surface.

Following the primer is the base color and preshade color. Preshading is optional as it is a technique to create shading effects. The base color is typically a darker tone or variation of the final color. This creates a subtle shading effect if done correctly.

Following the color layers, is a gloss clear coat. This is to protect the paint and create a surface most suitable for decals. For more information on applying decals, click here.

The waterslide layer is then protected with another gloss clear coat. For the next step, it is important to pay close attention to the type of clear coat you used. I typically use lacquer or acrylic gloss clear coats to seal in the decals layer. The next layer employs a wash using enamel paints. For more information on the panel line wash layer, click here.

An optional layer here is a fade or filter with employs enamel based paints to create subtle weathering effects like rain marks, faded paint, sun faded damage, etc.

Following the wash layer, you can choose to apply your final sealing finish coat; gloss, matte, or flat; depending on the final finish you want on your kit; or you can apply a flat coat and add an additional layer of weathering: pastel/pigment weathering.

Once the pastels/pigment weathering has been completed, the final clear coat can be applied as an option. A final clear coat will diminish the effects of the pastel/pigment weathering, but will seal the kit so that it can be handled. If you know you will never handle the kit, you can skip this step. But if you want to eventually move, repose, or generally handle the kit, it is best to seal it. Your final finish is to your taste, but typically, if pastels were added, the final look of the kit should be flat or matte.

Metallic paint layers differ from the general layers in that the base color prior to the metallics is always a gloss black. The gloss black is the best base color that brings out the luster and effects of the metallic paints. Weathering is typically avoided since a flat coat dulls the luster of a metallic paint finish. It is best to use semigloss(matte) or gloss as the final clear coat.

The following is a chart for painting candy coats, which is basically the same as metallic painting, but with the addition of spraying a clear color over the metallic which creates a metallic color.


December 17, 2007: This section will discuss the use of different clear coats.

Gloss Coat: (Under construction)

Semi Gloss/Matte (Under construction

Flat Coat: Flat coats are applied prior to the application of pastel weathering. Pastels and similar pigments such as those from MIG, tamiya weathering kits, your mom/girlfriend/you own make up kits, etc; will not stick to a glossy surface. They stick the best when applied to a flat coated surface. Additionally, if you want a final flat finish, you can spray a flat coat over any other clear coat and create an overall flat finish.Below is a video showing the application of a flat coat to a part that is glossy:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.


  12 Responses to “Build Layers”

  1. Hi there, I’ve gotten a lot of information from your tutorials, thanks. I’m starting to build a princess tutu figure for my wife, and without your information it would surely be less of a finished model. Your stuff is good, especially the HGUC Sazabi, nice work. Corey.

  2. I really like your tutorial especially with the sanding and paint part.

  3. Thanks for the tutorials. I was wondering if the clear color coats or the top coats need to be thinned if they’re the Mr. Hobby brand. Thanks!

  4. Clear coats out of the bottle from Mr Color (Mr Super Clear definitely need to be thinned with Mr Color Thinner. It’s really too thick out of the bottle for use in the airbrush. I tend to decant my clear from spray cans of Mr Super Clear, and with that, it’s not really necessary to thin, but I add a small amount of Mr Color Thinner to it anyways.

  5. Thanks!

  6. What happens if you use a flat top coat over metallic paint? I want to paint my kit with metallic colors but not glossy. Will the flat top coat reduce the luster of the metallic paint or will it be fine?

  7. Metallic paints are by nature, supposed to be shiny. I would recommend doing a semi gloss, or a satin finish, where you get the metallic shine, but it’s not overly glossy. In general, if you flat coat a metallic finish, it kind of diminshes the effect. BUT, if that’s the effect you’re going for (think a dusty piece of aluminum that’s been left out in the sun) it’s not shiny but looks dirty.

    I recommend getting some plastic spoons, spraying the metallic over three spoons, then spray each spoon with a gloss, semi gloss, and then a flat, and decide which finish you like best.

    It’s a subjective matter, and personal preference, so do some tests and what ever you like, go with it! There’s never anything wrong with something you like 😀

  8. Great idea, I’ll give the spoons a try.

  9. I have a question. I’m painting a sazabi ver ka in the future and I want to make it 3 shades of this clear coat.

    I’ve tried this color with a alclad chrome base coat (above a gloss black base).
    In order to get the color separation, can I do something as simple as change the metallic coat? IE, use polished brass, and gold and chrome as the three different mettalic layers to get three different shades of purple?

  10. Yes, you will have three shades of that purple of you do that. The gold and polished brass may be pretty close in tone; but it may work, try it out and test this on some plastic spoons. Test all the color combinations on plastic spoons, that way you see exactly how they will come out.

  11. Quick Question: Where does Panel Scribing fit into the chart?

  12. Ted, sorry for the late response, I was in AZ. Panel line scribing sits right above bare plastic.

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LED Installation


This is an update to a page that is easily at least 6 years old. This page will include that information at the VERY end of, as over the years and more recently, I’ve found better ways for implementing the LED installation into your every day gunpla. In this tutorial will be the Gouf Custom mono eye, the HGUC Sazabi lighting, and then the original Gogg lighting tutorial written so damn long ago.

Gouf Custom

In comparison to the original LED modification this time around, as opposed to having all sorts of wires running through the kit, using a fairly sizable switch assembly, a big battery holder and battery assembly; I’m going small scale. Below is a list of the components I will be using for this modification:

  • 3mm Red LED rated at 1.85 forward Volt at 10mA
  • 150 ohm resistor
  • Small reed switch
  • SR521 watch batteries that put out 1.55 Volts each
  • A rare earth magnet

And here is a picture of the above mentioned parts:

The idea here is to keep the components as small as possible so as to fit within the confines of the head assembly. The reed switch is a magnetic switch. It is basically two leads piped into a glass tube, so when placing a magnet over the leads or over the glass the leads connect and a connection is formed. It’s pretty damn cool, and these switches were about a buck a piece, so this beats the hell out of building my own magnetic switch or just using your standard mechanical switch.

The resistor is calculated out according to my power source and the LED’s specs. It’s pretty basic math: resistor (R) = (Power Supply Voltage – LED’s forward Voltage)/LED’s current rating. OR you can just cheat and use an online LED calculator. So with what I have, I need to use a 150 ohm resistor. First things first, connecting all the components and just doing a quick test.

The pictures are not the best representation of the assembly in action, so I made a quick little video to demo the entire test assembly:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Next up is to modify the head and internals so that everything fits into place. The mono eye holder is cut and sanded, then two small holes are drilled to accommodate the LED anode and cathode. The LED assembly is test fitted, which resulted in the need to further grind down the mono eye holder. About a third of the part was sanded away. This was the only part that required significant modifications, and it was just trimming down the part by sanding it down and drilling holes.

Looking back at the Gogg, just keeping the LED alone is kinda tacky as it’s just one long bulb; so to make it look more mono-eye like, a metal collar is added. Even with the small mono eye window, this small amount of detail is still fairly clear, and should still be visible once the mono eye lights up.

With the LED bulb in place I can now focus on the rest of the electronic components. The batteries are wrapped with duct tape and placed in series so that I get a total output of 3.1 volts. 1.55 volts in the single battery cell isn’t enough power to light up the 1.85 volt LED. The internal section of the head at the back is an open space and perfect for fitting most of the electronics. A bit of resin carving and shaving was needed to get the battery pack to fit just right and have the top half of the head come down.

The reed switch, as small as it is, wasn’t small enough to fit inside the head assembly, so a modification to the bottom of the neck piece was needed. A concave cavity was carved out of the bottom that fit the reed switch. The leads were then carefully bent. Side note: the reed switches are fairly delicate, while I was bending my first reed switch, the glass broke causing the entire switch to come apart. The leads are positioned to run up the back of the back corners of the neck and through bottom of the head. The only issue I have is that the switch leads are exposed and run up the side of the neck, but this is an easy fix with some mesh tubing, it’ll even look like a small bit of added detailing.

The bottom of the head piece was carved to open up room for the switch leads. One switch lead connects to the negative end of the battery pack. The resistor is soldered to the other end of the reed switch and then bent to fit. The resistor is then connected to the cathode end of the LED with the anode end of the LED connecting to the positive end of the battery pack completing the circuit.

After some fiddling with the fit of all the components to get all the connections set; everything came together quite well. And placing a magnet at the bottom of the neck assembly turns on the LED. The entire assembly resides within the head and neck and operating the LED only requires placing a magnet at the bottom of the neck. A definite improvement upon the previous LED tutorial.

And now for the pictures of the completed assembly.

And of course, a quick little video demonstrating the working assembly:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

HGUC Sazabi

Starting with the leg thrusters for the HGUC Saz, some time was spent with drilling through the thrusters, test fitting, and more drilling. I wire wrapped four of the 3mm white LEDs together in parallel, then after successful test fitting, I assembled everything together.

Not too bad of a lighting job. Good thing that the Sazabi is a fairly sizable suit or this would be a really difficult job.

The legs’ wiring is threaded up the legs. Since I’m using some very high gauge wire, it’s pretty easy to thread the wires to where I’ll have my central battery and switch unit. Additionally, I did some mods to the bottom of the foot and added a thruster bell as well as LEDs there too.

At this point the Saz is up to 11 LED, 5 for each leg, and the backpack thruster. The side skirts were also lit up, so that’s three on each side bringing the total to 17 LEDs. These LEDs were added in the same manner as the leg LEDs. The Saz has an internal shoulder thruster that I added, and this thruster also has an LED inside. Saz is up to 19 LEDs.

The jumble of wiring I have for the kit so far. Fun times.

On to the mono eye. The space in the Saz’s head is small, but with proper planning, anything can be done. Starting with all the components of the head and the LED. For this, I’m using a 1.8 mm green LED as the Saz’s mono eye is green in color according to the anime. The LED is bent to fit into the area and the mono eye piece is modified with a metal collar replacing the original plastic nub. The ring piece is drilled through from the metal collar so that when the light is placed inside, the ring will move and still get light, keeping the functionality of the original kit’s design. A bit of the male section that connects to the mono eye ring is cleared. And the light is installed.

Temporarily, I used some sticky tack to cover the back part of the LED that I don’t want shining through when lit. The top piece of the head is cut internally to accommodate the LED. And with everything trimmed down, it all fits together fairly nicely.

A fairly simple modification, but took a little bit of time figuring it out and excuting the mod. LED count:20.

Next up are the two smaller backpack thrusters. I used the 1.8mm white LEDs and cut the contact point open so that the back of the LED can be inserted into the backpack. The thruster bells are just temporarily tacked into place. The back area will need some fine tuning to make everything flush and hide the extra lighting bits.

On to lighting the arm thrusters. First, I cast the arm’s thrusters bell section. The 1.8mm LEDs are glued to the resin cast bells with CA glue. Then the entire assembly is placed into the mold I made of the Saz’s arm thruster assembly.

So now I have a casted part of the Saz’s internal thruster component, with LEDs embedded. And a quick test has the lit up thrusters.

With the casted LED working, I went back to refine the process and made a new mold of the original thruster piece and cast new versions of the part that are much cleaner and easier to integrate. Now I can fully get on with integrating them.

The integration involves hiding the wiring as best I can. The shoulder insert piece that I made a few weeks ago also needs some detail so time to kill two birds with one stone. Using some wave parts, I created some ports. These ports were then glued onto the created shoulder parts.I coiled up some springs and sleeved them over the wires and then threaded the wires through the ports and into the shoulder area.

Here’s a test fit and test lighting. And with three lights on each arm, the total LED count is 28.

The current date of this page update is February 9, 2011 – the HGUC Sazabi project is still ongoing so this page will be updated once the project is completed to show the final lighting results.

MG Gogg

This is the original tutorial for installing an LED unit.

Since the MG Gogg is a relatively new kit, there does not exist a HY2M kit for it. The back of the Gogg has an incredible amount of room, that I thought would be perfect for storage of a battery unit and a switch for an LED assembly. The tools required for this are some wire cutters and a soldering iron. Parts used include a red LED, wiring, 3volt Lithium battery, and a battery holder. All these parts can be found readily at local electronics stores or your local Radio Shack. The following pictures is the LED I used.

First, a few holes were drilled into the head of the Gogg, to allow room for the LED leads. Here are some pictures of the Gogg head. The first picture is the Gogg head upside down. The next picture is the underside of the Gogg head. The following two pictures show the LED inside the head. MG’s are great in the sense that these LED’s fit perfectly. If the LED is too big or not the correct shape, they can be sanded down, But do not expose the internal wires, this will ruin the LED, so if you are sanding the LED, be careful.

The following pictures are of the wiring, battery unit, and switch. The LED has a positive and negative lead. Using the battery, test this and find out which lead is what, and wire accordingly. I used red for positive and black for negative. I soldered the wires to the LED first, because it made it easier for me to solder the battery unit and switch assembly with the most ease.

The first picture is the switch, battery holder, and battery. The second picture shows the LED with wires attached. The third picture is a picture of the switch being soldered to the battery holder.

The switch has two leads, to this I soldered red wire’s because only the positive current flow need to be attached to the switch. One wire is then soldered to the positive lead of the battery holder, and the other wire is soldered to the positive lead on the LED. The negative wire is connected directly from the negative lead on the LED to the negative lead on the battery holder.

The following pictures show the completed process, with the LED in the head, and completely connected to the battery and switch assembly. As seen, the negative connection is direct between the negative lead on the LED and the negative lead on the battery holder. The switch sits between the positive LED lead and the positive battery hold lead.

The following pictures show the LED as it is working as well as how the entire assembly fits inside the back of the Gogg.

The following picture shows the LED switched on, and the installation is completed. It is a fairly simple process, just be careful with use of the soldering iron and it is best to have everything planned out before any implementation.

  10 Responses to “LED Installation”

  1. I was just wondering if you could possibly give me some advice on this, I want to install this mod into my HGUC Hy-Gogg. Just any advice would really help. Thank you!

  2. The HGUC gogg head is fairly large in comparison to other hguc kits, so it should be fairly easy to install an LED. I recommend following the method used for the gouf conversion kit above. There are a hundred different ways to add lighting to kits, I have a few illustrated above.

    The only advice I have is to just experiment with it, follow one the instruction style above. and if you get stuck, ask a question. Take pictures along the way to make it easier for folks to help you with any problems. Read the diagramming link, buy some leds a battery and some wiring and just try it out.

  3. Can you give me advise or tutorial on how to install led lights on the HG try bbg and regular bbg on their clear parts?

  4. I built a Bearguy and added lights to the eyes: So hopefully that will help you. It is not difficult, just need some practice working with LEDs.

  5. Could you give me some advise. I’m planning to mod the HGUC NZ-666 Kshatriya I don’t know will it work or not since the parts look quite small.

  6. The 1/144 Kshatriya is bigger than the 1/144 Sazabi, and I was able to light the 1/144 Sazabi: So it should be do able. You just need to look at where you’re planning on placing your lights and execute it. I would also need some more specific questions to better help you out.

  7. I am a total newbie when it comes to LEDs… I messed up the wiring in my Perfect Grade Wing Zero Custom, and I’m wondering if it’s even possible to salvage the wiring for the chest and eyes.

  8. Anything is fixable. It depends if you are trying to fix the actual bandai light units, or fixing the wiring scheme you custom made. I have not built the PG Wing Zero, so I do not know the wiring scheme (if any) there is in the stock kit. Pictures will help!

  9. what size drill bits did you use to drill through the gouf eye piece?

  10. I don’t remember the exact size, but it was pretty damn small. I have a drill bit set for model building and looks similar to this: I only needed the hole to be big enough to thread the LED leads through the eye piece. I suggest you get some calipers for measureing and then you can measure pretty close to what sizes you need once you pick up a similar bit set.

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