So, I had completely forgotten that I didn’t actually finish this project. It has been in psudo-limbo for the past 4 and a half years. The last update to this project was actually in October 2017. I actually continued to build up through November 18, 2017 and then stopped. Holiday season was upon us, things happened, and the last bit of the project got shelved. We’ll go back to those last undocumented two weeks before coming to finishing this project within the last 10 days. So below is the last picture from the last post and what the kit looks like now.
Jump ahead to close out the story on this, supposedly, quick build that only took almost 5 years to complete.
Last we left, I had gotten close to finishing the surface prep on the at home, pirated booster shields. Finishing touches on surface prep is done with light curing putty, sanding, and primer sessions. Keep doing this cycle long enough, and eventually you have a near perfect copy.
The two main pieces of the booster shield are just about there.
The main body starts getting some decal work. While the PBandai kit did come with some water slide decals, the amount just didn’t cut it, as I just wanted to overboard ver ka style decal the thing. Ver ka manuals are bought out as well as a stack of left over and 3rd party decal sheets. And we start planning on where things will go. I even reference the HGUC Hazel kit manual to help out.
Things start to get a little out of hand.
Some of the decals I have are old, so a little help from decal setter helps glue down some of the older decals in my collection. Some of these decals at this time are 15 years old. Kept in a dark dry spot, not your mom’s box, that’s a dark dry spot that’s a little musty… But in a spare gunpla box, and they’ll keep for years.
Mark setter to help glue. Once dry, mark softer to help melt edges around complex curves. And things really get out of hand.
So far, these pictures are 4 years old, so I’m just guessing at why I took them. I think the first is a comparison between a non gloss coated surface(left) and gloss coated surface(right) as a good starting point for decal application. Always gloss coat, it helps reduce silvering and promotes the best surface for water slide decals. And then we start decaling. This is pretty damn tedious and it is best to break this down in sections and only work on one section at a time or you may burn out. I’m beginning to think that a burn out was the cause for this thing to be shelved.
Decal work on the leg is done and it also looks like the panel lines were applied. Also over a gloss surface. Once that is done, a flat semi gloss coat finishes everything and ties it all together. Oh look, black coated SD Macross Monster kit in the mix while in the middle of decal work (see the Hazel parts in the upper right hand corner) ADD also plays into why kits get abandoned mid build.
Mask paint mask. I actually started working on the other shield. That piece I’ve given up on as I’ve glued the current booster shields in place. The booster shield pieces get paint and I’m actually starting to paint the three main pieces of the booster shields. I’m pretty close to finishing right…? Right?
Actually, there are multiple reasons why I suddenly remember that I didn’t actually finish this kit. I mean, up until now, the main body was done. Decaled, panel lined, flat coated, and assembled. I even entered it in a few contests by then. But the booster shields, part of the regular shield, and gun went into a box and got shelved some time after in 2018.
First reason was that I brought this it out from the display case so I can snap some pictures of it with a green screen for use in some upcoming Anime Expo panel presentation materials. It’s not flattering to the kit, and if you’re around July 1st, at 8:45PM at AX AND you are 18+, you can see why I took those pictures. So the kit was sitting on my desk. Second reason is that this year’s SCGMC theme is “Titans” And AOZ leads up to Zeta and the formation of the Titans. This kit is a Titan’s Test Team kit; so it literally fits the theme criteria. And third reason, I’ve been playing Gundam Battle Operation 2 and my go to General suit for the 500/550 cost range is the Hazel Custom. I just love playing the suit.
Now I just needed to find out where the hell I put the booster shields. And after about an hour of searching through all the boxes on my shelves, I found the damn parts. The box was actually labeled, P Bandai Hazel parts – as the original Hazel box was long discarded. So the first picture is the parts right out of the storage box. Second picture is the mess that I now need to deal with after assembling the parts.
So the fit isn’t the greatest. Of course, these are pirated copies and the resin molding/casting process is homebrew and comes with all those benefits of home brew. Translation: they suck ass. Putting the parts together, there is a considerable gap since the width of the copies are now much thicker, a result of just poor quality casting. They’re good enough, but not good enough… I also realized that while I started painting the parts, I’m pretty sure I didn’t plan on assembling them after paint and leaving them at that. So back to the drawing board with these. I glued the two pieces of each main shield piece together and started to sand down the excess. For the bandai plastic version, even gluing the two pieces together, there is a gap between the two parts. All reference pictures show no panel line here. So that will need to be glued and filled. Lots of light curing putty is employed to fix the shields now that the two main parts are assembled and glued together. The last picture in this set is after a priming session that shows the surface close to ready for paint. Truly ready for paint this time.
It is a good thing I document all the work I do. I didn’t even remember that I had custom mixed the damn colors. So re-reading the first post I made on the kit, I actually found the bottles of paint and had to fix and paint already painted areas. The third piece of the shield is painted as well as the gun. I use masking tape for guides for the other bits of masking tape so that the three shield pieces are as uniform as possible. I should have just made a template and cut it out on the cricut. But things to do for next time I build one of these. Mask off and ready for the next layer of paint.
As from my previous references, base color of midnight blue and a heavy shaded white the is sprayed to prep these surfaces for the final color layers.
The main shield pieces still get more surface prep work to fix the visible gaps. Sand, prime, putty, prime, repeat. Always this cycle.
Custom purple sprayed first over the heavy shaded white to pick up the shading effect. Followed by another layer of masking and then the finisher’s wolf blue. And then unmasking to more disappointment. Color bleeds and mismatched masking lines.
Like the sand-putty-prime cycle, there is the mask, paint, remask, repaint cycles. Eventually with enough patience, we get there.
This third piece is then glued to the main shield parts and ready for even more masking.
A punch is used to create perfect circular masks for the metallic accents.
Things continue to work in my favor as one of the shield’s paint chipped awesomely when I went to remove the masking tape. Needless to say, I was much more careful with the other two shields. But sand, paint, sand, paint, mask paint. This is why it took 10 days to just finish these supposedly paint ready parts.
Oh look, more masking and painting. Even more masking for the yellow detail bars that are on the front of the shields as well as along the bottom.
Finally the paint is done and some gloss coats are applied and we get to decaling. Since I went nuts and ver ka style decaled the crap out of the main body, I can’t just put 1 decal on each booster shield. I think each shield has about 23 or so decals. So yeah, that process took a few hours.
A few layers of heavy gloss to help hide decal lines and panel lines later, the parts are ready for the final flat coat and assembly with the patiently waiting MG Hazel.
I just needed 10 days of work to finish what I started 4 and a half years ago. Here are the completed pictures: