As you can guess I’ve been busy which is why I’ve not update the blog recently for the PG Unicorn build. I’m remedying that now with a comprehensive build update!First off, I was impressed with the size of the complete Unicorn feet so brought the PG Astray up to the craft room to do a size comparison. Yup, those Unicorn feet are big. They make the PG Astray look small, which is no mean feat (or is that feet?)! I love those Red Frame Astray feet though! Even though it’s one of my earliest builds I’m so happy with how the model came out. PG Might be big and expensive, but they’re somewhat forgiving of painting ability.I think this shot shows best of all the vast size difference in the feet. I’m now really curious to see how big the final mech is! I found that I’d got some silver Gundam marker splotches on the nice pristine painted white parts of the feet, so I had to do a mask and spray to correct that!And then I used my fine pencil to add some lines and details, saving the black fine marker for just the smallest of details. I think big thick black panel lines would look a bit out of place and produce too strong a contrast. The feet have great detail. I love this ankle section at the back. I masked and masked and masked to get the colour differentiation between the Tamiya gunmetal and Alclad polished aluminum. These leg sections follow the established colour scheme, but instead of painting the inside section aluminium I left it Alclad grey primer. I love the look of this primer! The small details are hand painted with Createx green fluorescent paint, which could be quite interesting when the LEDs are switched on! It felt like I was masking forever on the four pieces, but even though the grey primer is only partially visible behind the psychoframe, I think it will add some great detail and help show off the glowing red parts when illuminated. More tricky masking for these leg pieces. I’m trying to mask on the bevelled edge and it ended up working great. I added the thrusters that I’d already painted with blue on the inner parts, and again fluorescent green right at the centre where the psychoframe pokes through (although you can’t really see that clearly in this photo). I was pleasantly surprised how well the LED wiring fitted, although assembling the sides with the psychoframe transform was a touch tricky. I’m also using some spare water slide decals from RX-78 to add some details. You can see here how the wires all come out of the central block that you put in centrally. I like how the wires all had channels in the plastic parts to guide them into place and they seemed quite sturdy to work with.
Most of the parts of this kit are under-gated (where the gate mark ends up on a hidden edge rather than on an obvious visible surface of the piece). That makes build time much quicker as you’re not having to carefully sand or otherwise deal with a nasty gate mark that you’re sure is going to stand out like a sore thumb. Bandai is usually pretty good on where they place the gates, but in this kit they’re doing an excellent job helping the modeller get the best results with minimum hassle. Normally I’d not use armour colours on the frame, but I thought to bring over the grey/blue armour colour onto some of the frame parts like these beautifully detailed hip leg joints. Masking and masking! I think I’m getting lots of masking practise! I really like how the gunmetal came out on the curved parts though, and the contrast with the grey/blue and aluminium is wonderful. I was originally going to just use masking to paint the inner part gunmetal on these pipes, but found that hand painting was easiest. I added a few more water slide decals left over from the RX-78. These leg parts were just crying out for masking! This detail was painted yellow and masked so that the gunmetal could be airbrushed on. I used a thin layer of Tamiya lemon yellow and then covered it with Createx fluorescent yellow. I don’t think I’ve painted parts with as many layers of masking as these before! Here I’m about half-way through the process. First was grey primer, which I masked for the ends of where the white pipes from above will eventually join in. Then I put down some fluorescent green for a very thin line around the curve. I masked that off and sprayed the centre circle aluminium, masked that and now in the picture I’m putting on a coat of the light grey/blue. Masking off the light grey/blue I can paint the lower part of the cylindrical section in the dark grey/blue. Here’s another angle before I mask the dark grey blue off to paint the rest with gunmetal to finish off the piece. Leg assembly is progressing and you can see where the yellow stripe appears on the back of the knee. Adding in more of the masked and painted sections. And time for more psychoframe parts. Here’s the nearly completed knee joints.I added in some hand painted Tamiya smoke around the aluminium circular section, and then my fine black marker to add definition to the thin green curved line. Yes, I think they’re going to look great, but oh so much work! Of course, what is so nice is that there’s the right type of moulded details on this part to allow you to mask and paint these nuances reasonably effectively, although with quite an effort when you go to this number of layers of masking and painting. I’m sure I could have done it a bit more efficiently if I’d planned ahead more, but I thought I’d have to mask to ensure the green paint didn’t show through the layers on top of it, whereas in reality, the green is mild enough that the dark grey/blue and gunmetal completely obliterated it! Another angle on these rather detailed and articulated leg sections, and looking ahead in the instructions there’s a fair bit more to do on them! The leg to hip joints fit nicely into large polycaps. An interesting aspect of this kit are that the polycaps (like the ones inside the spherical joint) are often paired with POM pieces which are a hard but smooth plastic unlike either than of polycap plastic or the usual ABS or styrene plastics. I’m sure they’re to add the necessary stiffness to the joints so that the large model can hold its own weight and poses, but they can be a touch tricky. It’s best to follow the noted build order! Looking ahead in the build, these pieces are for the knee and as I’ve been using a lot of gunmetal and polished aluminium I thought I’d be able to quickly get them done in advance as now I need to prepare up a lot of white armour pieces for the build. I put down the gunmetal first, then masked… …and when I remove the tape I get this great looking piece. In previous builds I’d almost always used the Alclad metallics on top of their gloss black base, and especially for Alclad chrome that worked well. But Alclad gloss black base is tricky to use, messy and slow to dry! Tamiya gunmetal (when thinned with lacquer thinner) is very easy to paint with, doesn’t need an undercoat, dries rapidly and smoothly and is very hard wearing, and as I’ve now discovered makes an excellent undercoat for a great Alclad polished aluminium finish! And because of the good properties of the gunmetal paint, it’s very resilient to masking and the rapid drying means very little waiting around. It’s not just a good looking paint combination but a practical one too!And so we come to the end of this larger than normal WIP update. Next up I need to paint a fair number of white armour pieces for the legs, and I’ll be masking them to leave grey primer visible to enhance the lines, details and shapes. What I’ve been doing for the most part is either following a pattern like “mask bevelled edges”, but for other pieces I’ve been studying the finished artwork in the manual and trying to imagine how those pieces would look and if areas of them as grey, or even the entire piece as grey would add to the overall effect. I did try to do something like this on my MG Unicorn and the concept worked well, even if my paint wasn’t quite to the standard I’m happy with today, and of course the larger canvas of the PG does make this kind of creative masking a lot easier!