I got into something new recently - well something actually so old that I haven't really thought about it since I was a teenager - plastic model kits!
Back when I was doing these, they were sprue sheets of solid white, blue, or red etc, and required painting.I remember those cursed little bottles of Tamiya paints - I loved them and hated them at the same time.I loved that I could paint all these cool model kits of robots and anime characters that I could get, and I hated that brushing them on, they were all streaky and blotchy, nothing like the way the kits looked on the box.I was fairly precise with a brush, but I lacked experience and technique, so I found these paints way too thick to go on the model kits nicely.
I remember spending days painting the radar nacelle on a Zetaplus and getting mad at how hard it was to get the paint to behave. I didnt really know about masking off sections I didnt want paint to accidentally touch, so I did all of it freehand.It was also hard to get all those black detail lines in precisely - I ended up using a black paint/water wash to wick the paint into the lines, but it took so long to do, a tiny bit at a time wiping away excess that got onto the other colors.The results were still pretty good for my level of experience, but I was not really satisfied with the results.Eventually I gave up painting them, just keeping the ones I had, sitting nicely in a display on a bookshelf all through my 20s - a bunch of Gundam kits: Zeta, a Mark II, a Zetaplus, and an Ex-S.Also, a Macross Battroid Valkyrie and a 1/4th scale 80's Dirty Pair Kei and Yuri.
Anyways, this time it started off when I was at a toy store with my son Connor in the springtime, and we saw a Gundam model kit with 2 units in it, for the incredibly low price of $40, an incredible steal considering that typically this stuff costs $30 to $50 for a single one.Here we'd get 2 of the big names in the Gundam series, a Gundam RX-78 original and a green MS-06 Zaku as an opponent, for a mere $25 each!I decided I had to buy and assemble them.I reasoned that I could let my son play with the robots after they were built.They came in multi-coloured plastics and everything and didn't even need paint or glue!OMG!So since Connor was behaving pretty well at the time, I bought it for us so we could both get some fun out of these Gundams.
They took about 3 days to assemble, and Connor smashed them both up pretty nicely within a week.Not too bad.Lasted longer than I thought, actually.They weren't too terribly smashed up though.Mostly the joints were too weak to survive kids twisting them and smashing them together in a "fight".I am still repairing them now and then for Connor using superglue.(reminds me, I have to glue two feet back on the Gundam and an arm on the Zaku)
So looking at these models got me thinking about my own models again.Sadly, I had thrown my collection out a while ago, but I still had a few un-built ones sitting around - notably a Hyaku Shiki that I'm pretty sure I picked up in the early 90s.So I pulled out the kit to take a look at it:
I had already painted it at some point, but never assembled it.Looking closely at the kit, I remember not liking that the gold paint was streaking, especially on the wings and ankles, and the detail on the chest plate was all wobbly.