[Editor’s note: I’ve got a lot on the go at this time. Not only Gunpla but also big things at work like the launch of the new hobbylink.tv and our semi-annual inventory count. As such I haven’t been able to get to editing pictures and making posts of what I’ve been working on, but that actually works out well for you readers as it gives me a chance to share this amazing RG Strike kit sent to me by Mr. Graeme of GNParticles. Check out this work of art!]
Perhaps like every child of the 70s in the UK, I started making model kits with Airfix model planes.I do remember going to the model shop in town, perhaps early 80s and finding early Macross kits – a Valkyrie. Tactical Pod Glaug etc, which were my first introduction to Japanese mech robots. I later got into scratch building, making replica SciFi television props, monsters, space ships and designed and sold and manufactured a resin garage kit of Robot from Doctor Who. After moving to Canada at the turn of the century, I found Gundam models kits in the local store and built RX-78 v1.5 and received Zaku II for my birthday. And after a gap of a few years, I got back into models with the construction of the 1/12 Tamiya Caterham 7. Now I’ve found Gundam kits again, and have been enjoying building the mechs that I enjoy in the animes.
One of the great things that has happened to Gunpla since I first found the kits is the introduction of the Real Grade line. I wanted to build the Strike, but was especially interested in the launcher pack, and to get that, you have to get the Skygrasper. For some reason Skygrasper just doesn’t have the appeal for me of the mech, but I put it together with the same pain scheme that I’d chosen for the Strike, with more bold of a colour differentiation than the different greys and white that the main armour pieces come in, and a rich metallic feel to the red and blue coloured sections.
For the different shades of the main armour I mixed varying amounts of Payne’s Grey (a blue black) into Tamiya white acrylic. I us an airbrush, and I find the Tamiya acrylics stick really well to the plastic without an undercoat and I try to use them as the base for tinting new colours. The metallic blue is Createx pearl blue with Tamiya clear blue over the top, and the red sections were done similarly; Createx pearl red with Tamiya clear red over the top. I don’t like the Createx transparent red as like the pearl red, it’s a bit pink and not a nice deep red like the Tamiya. I was very happy with how these had all looked on the body of the Strike, so I copied the same paints over to the body of the Skygrasper.
The launcher pack is moulded green. Green! No, I don’t like how that looks, but I just loved the dark dark grey/blue made with the Payne’s Grey, and the use of the yellow details on it still ends a feeling of “green” to the weapon without it actually being green (through colour contrast). I used Alclad polished aluminium for the small amount of metallic gunmetal sections and on the inner frame of the Strike, not that you really see much of it on the finished model. The wings of the Strike backpack were done with Alclad gunmetal.
Panel lines were done with a Rapidograph technical pen, and the whole kit was finished with a nice top coat of Future Finish floor polish. This produces a great glossy coat that helps with the application of the oh-so-many tiny stickers that come with the RG kits. I put another layer of Future Finish floor polish on top to seal the stickers in.
Like all the RG kits I’ve made so far, the Strike is excellent, and thoroughly recommended. I really like the inner frame and the entire build process. The amount of small parts and how what larger sections part are broken down into a few of smaller parts really helps the painting process. I didn’t find the Skygrasper to be the same level of value-for-money as the Strike though, and although welcome to get the extra weaponry for the Strike, the Skygrasper itself is a touch boring.
I’d not really used an airbrush until I got back into Gunpla, but I’m finding now that the creative paint process is perhaps my favourite part of the build. I really enjoy finding new paint techniques for interesting looks and working with the colour schemes. I’ve just finished PG Char’s Zaku II, and a bit undecided on what to build next, but I’m thinking it’s going to be one of the new Valvrave kits.
You can read more on my adventures in Gunpla at www.graemenattress.com