Gaijin Gunpla

The last of the red paint needed to be put on and it was crucial I get it right. If I messed up now, the red circle wouldn’t look right and the theme might not work at all. I approached this step with much trepidation, and a little procrastination, but I had a week without the family in the house and needed to take advantage.

The first step was to set the kit up in the position it would be spending the majority of its time in. From there I placed a piece of tape onto the kit and drew a rough line of where the circle needed to be.

You’ll notice that the dragoons are closed as I draw this line. This is intentional. I don’t feel the need to have my dragoons go all full burst.

Laying the tape flat on my cutting mat I took the design knife and cut along the line I had drawn then placed the tape back onto the kit.

This looked good. It would be my template.

Using that as a guide I cut out four more and laid them over the dragoons.


You can see the crumpled tape from failed attempts. It took a few, that’s for sure.

Then I masked the rest of the piece that needed to stay white.

And then took advantage of the great weather and sprayed two coats of red within a couple of hours.

Once the paint was dry I removed the tape to check the result and was delighted, no overjoyed, to see that it was pretty much perfect. I reassembled the kit to see the final effect.

I approve of this.

With painting finished all that was left was to flat coat those parts. I divided the parts into two painting boxes, one half of each held one whole dragoon.

(extra pieces were flat coated along with the parts that remained white.)

Although my yard, if you can call it that at my house, is very small I am glad I have it.

I also realized I had forgotten something. These parts!

I grabbed my small paint box and painted these with a couple coats of the Mr. Hobby #9 Gray.

The eagerly awaited batch of replacement parts also showed up during my week of single living, so I set to them as soon as I got the package in the door.

I had mentioned in my last Courage post how I was unsure about the red on the piece of the backpack used to hold the dragoons. A frequent visitor to the site commented that I could keep the back red and the front white. I had the exact same thought so I ordered the extra parts. It’s good to have options.

The next day the flat coat on the Dragoons was dry so I reassembled them for what felt like the hundredth time and then put the final piece on, the small clear triangles that fit on either side of all four dragoons.


I had sprayed them with pearl white to make them noticeable. I wasn’t using any stickers behind them so just a clear part over white, surrounded by white, would be lame.

With the dragoons assembled for what I hope will be the final time I took some shots. (here’s one.)

You’ll notice how the red on the dragoon is not visible from the front. This is by design. When the front dragoons rotate upwards, the red on the dragoons behind shows. It is at this moment that the rectangular shape with the red circle of the Japanese flag is realized.

Now it’s time to get dirty.

Way back before I started painting I took a file to this kit to rough it up. When you survive an earthquake and tsunami, you don’t survive unscathed. This guy got dirty. So to make this plastic kit dirty I decided to use two methods.

The first was to use enamels like I have done in the past. Another attempt at dry-brushing, so I first disassembled Courage into individual sections.

I was very hesitant to use a hard bristle brush on this kit because I didn’t want to wreck any of the paint, particularly the red and the white which went over the blue. Even though I had top coated the kit I lacked confidence it would protect against a scrubbing with a hard brush. Instead, I went to the 99 yen convenience store near my house and got three soft-bristle brushes.

I brushed every inch of this kit (except for some frame) and then waited a bit before taking the enamel thinner to it to remove excess enamel. This guy definitely looks grungy. Some sections of the kit could have turned out better, but I am not going to complain at this point of the build. The end, and the deadline, are approaching and I have that euphoric feeling of being so close to something special.

Then it was time to make him even dirtier. For that I would use Tamiya Weathering Master, mostly Mud.

Why mud? Well, when that tsunami hit Touhoku it churned up an enormous amount of earth and the water swallowing towns was dark and muddy. It almost ceased to look like water. With the soil it carried along the water actually left a visible water line on buildings, power polls, people’s walls, etc. I’ve seen a lot of video and hundreds of photographs of a straight, distinct line dividing a surface into two sections; above the water line where the object is almost the color it was before the tsunami struck, and below where it is now just a brown/black stain. I wanted to get a representation of that on Courage.

As the line is very distinct when you see it, I took masking tape and wrapped it around the leg of the kit where I thought the water line should be. Then I set upon it with a cotton swab and the weathering master.

And then I took the Soot color to the feet. The mud color was a little too light to work on that dark gray.

The result…

The weathering master actually did a very good job of bringing out the scars I inflicted on the lower portion of the legs. It works, I think.

Considering that done, it was now time to work on those 16 funnels (or whatever they are). First step; get them dirty, too.

I would need to wait for the enamel/thinner to dry completely before I could start writing the Japanese on them so while I waited I contemplated markings.

I hadn’t intended to use any at all. I felt my theme was/is very specific and the different shades of red and white and gray used break up the kit well. However, it is also a giant machine and some of these markings are cool. After debating in my head for some time, I opted to use markings in places visible from the side. From the side the kit doesn’t look like a flag so adding some little touches here and there would probably add to the overall look of the kit rather than detract. The section that saw the most stickers? Those large rifles it wears on it sides. However, due to the dirtiness of the kit and the dark paint many markings aren’t really visible except upon close inspection. I think I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There are a lot of markings.

I wasn’t about to disassemble this kit again so what I did was just manipulate its limbs into various positions which allowed me access to the place that would receive the marking.

I liked this position so I took a picture.

This one amused me, too.

All that is left is to write the Japanese onto the funnels, reassemble them and place them on the kit. Then I’m done. I’m actually ahead of the deadline so I have some other work I will do to this in the meantime. It will be cool, I promise.

Categories: Builds, Courage

7 Responses so far.

  1. When you started talking about weathering I figured the water line was coming XD
    It’s really well done, and I had no idea weathering could have such a deep meaning. Those broken Gundam dioramas have NOTHING on this. (They’re still pretty cool and sad though)
    If you could photoshop a “1/1” Courage onto a pic of a place that was devastated but is now well along recover, it’d make a beautiful message.

  2. sonar says:

    I really like the idea of the water line. That is such a stark representation of the tragedy for me.

  3. Yuri Barbosa Ordeste says:

    At first, I didn’t like this project too much, but the more I saw it, the more I fell in love with the idea, and the waterline was just the cherry on the cake. I’m sold, this is on my top 5 custom gunpla of the year for me, great great job Syd!

    And sorry for that, but I don’t have other place to put this, but since I know you’re such a SNSD fan I need to share this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7ItSe4Q-gw&feature=player_embedded

    I just can’t stay serious looking at middle-aged japanese man re-making my favorite Girl’s generation music ^-^

    • syd says:

      I love that video. Props to anyone willing to try to dance like Girls’ Generation does. I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from the old dude in the back left side with the bad timing.

  4. Shaomu/Nyanerius says:

    Since the tsunami hasn’t been the focus in the local paper for quite a while now (instead it’s about how the Fukushima power plant breakdown will affect us BCers; so far I haven’t seen anything local covering Peace Boat’s activities and other groups that are actually doing something for Eastern Coastal Japan’s ongoing tragedy), I’ll dare to ask:
    Does that white paint glow in the dark?

  5. Gundam Gunso says:

    You did a really great job on this kit! Very clean and precise painting!

  6. jenssen says:

    what type of paint did you use for the gold inner frame?

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