Showing posts from November, 2011

The Journey of a Thousand Miles...

...begins with a single knife nick.
More than two years ago, I built my PG Gundam Astray Red Frame as soon as I got home with it.  It was one hefty snap build, taking most of the night and a few hours of the next day to complete.  I thought that was the end of it, as I never really considered I'd be putting a Perfect Grade under the knife.

As in never.

But, if I consider my track record, I should really stop saying never, because, when I restarted collecting kits, I told myself I'll never paint, modify, scratchbuild or join competitions, in that order.  Little did I know back then that all it took was a small knife nick, and a small gush of blood to change all that.  Instead of shying away from it, I began scraping the plastic's surface, something I handled rather delicately before, to remove the glossiness of it.  After that, as if a switch suddenly toggled on, I began looking for Gundams online, and registered at my very first Gunpla forum, ZeroG.

I discovered (or more a…

Final Lap...

I know I said I shant be posting any progress pics anymore, but, I'm taking this time to breathe a little, having just finished dinner, and earlier performing with my band, X2M, at UR Face Radio (video will be available tomorrow via Facebook). This build taught me a very good lesson of giving enough time to do the diorama, especially when there is ground work where soil, pavement and trees are involved. It's also worthwhile to note that sometimes, it's the smallest of parts that can eat up valuable time and cause delay. As such, even though I do work without any definite plan in mind, I try as much as possible to line up what I can do while something else is drying or curing.

I took these photos last week but was unable to upload or update any longer. This is the middle section of the waist, and I've modified it as the battery pack for the Ronin's LED eyes.

Crunch Time!

As the days fly by and I inhale paint fumes yet again, I contemplate when this all began. Two years ago, I made a boneheaded move of modding a PG Red Frame Astray two months into the then known BAKUC. Two days before the actual submission date, I realized I wasn't going to make it, but I pressed on, hoping that Murphy won't rear his ugly head as I fought exhaustion, paint-fume-induced hallucinations and deep knife nicks, staring at an uncompleted kit and half-done simple diorama. Two hours before the deadline, I put the slightly used can of Bosny flat clear down, and looked at the mess I ended up with, and the dust that reached even in my bedroom.

Who knew that I'd be working on the Ronin again? I certainly didn't plan anything, nor did I have plans in joining any competitions anymore (I'm not really competitive, regardless of what anyone may assume or believe. I have always maintained that my greatest competition has always been myself and my te…

A Ronin Quickie...

I've retouched most of the parts that needed retouching and have begun painting the rest. I'll paint full blast this evening as i finalize the booth setup. For the meantime, although it wasn't part of the plan, I have begun adding light weathering details to enhance the Ronin's paint job.

Instead of the usual black/grey/rust weathering, I used a 30/70 mixture of Tamiya Clear Red and Gold enamel to get a reddish copper hue...

...and applied it onto the edges and crevices of the Red parts using a small brush, smudging the paint slightly as it dries to create a fade effect. I then removed the excess with a cotton tip dabbed with enamel thinner, with more smudging as needed.

I'll be touching it up further as the painting progresses.



I'll be wearing this little bugger when I submit on the last day. Surprisingly, I immediately go my entry number(s) only after a few hours of sending it in (considering I emailed it last night).

Cheap DIY Paint Booth ver MatX Part II


Like I mentioned previously, I've used packaging and duct tape to reinforce the boxes for this little project. I've actually managed to use up a whole 2-inch wide roll just to wrap the edges and reinforce the seams. I've also used 4 1/8" diameter 1-inch bolts with washers to secure the fan mount to the bottom of the main part of the booth.

Cheap DIY Paint Booth ver MatX Part I

While I've already started retouching the Ronin, I still couldn't paint full blast, mainly because of the spray dust I manage to gather every time I paint a whole kit. I was supposed to build this weeks ago (I actually bought and mounted the fan on a strip of plywood a year ago when I painted the Chimera), but I wasn't that motivated until early this afternoon.

I was planning a foldable spray booth made with plywood, but my usual creativity won't drive the gears to get me going, even though the design was simlple enough to pull off.

Since I have plenty of corrugated boxes from all my grocery sojourns, I thought of recycling them buggers and make a cheap spray booth instead. My last trip to the grocery gave me this layered box, which is actually one box inside another, but, what was "special" about this one is that there's another "layer" of corrugated board inside the wall, which is perfect for what I have in mind.

The Ground of the Dragon Shrine

The 4Ps of Gunpla: Plastic. Practice. Patience. Pain.
After 20 hours of etching on 1.5mm HIPS (and, with painful hands and arms afterward), the ground pattern for the Dragon Ronin's shrine has finally "taken shape." I've "undertraced" the Dragon by attaching the print over the HIPS with double-sided tape, used a sharp knife to score deep enough onto the plastic, then later on deepened the grooves using a dried out microline pen like a stylus. For the Yin-Yang stones, I used a compass and a circle cutter to score the plastic, and used the same stylus to etch the details.

I had to shoot this at an angle to make the "stones" visible. The Dragon itself is visible because I've penciled in on the grooves.

The Dragon Shrine

here's what I plan to do for the Ronin's diorama.

I used plastic tubes, hollow beams and HIPS to construct the Torii Gate. I plan to carve the Dragon (credit goes to for the original dragon vector art) and Yin-Yang onto a whole sheet of thick HIPS and enhance it with sand, modeling dust and gravel. I'll be hand-painting this mostly...

More Revelation: The Dragon Ronin Reborn Part II

The Dragon Scale Shoulder Guard

Though I've made two sets of these, I ended up using just one set for the right shoulder, because I decided to mount the Dragon Head on the left shoulder. I've detailed the lower guard with scales, and will be detailing the upper one with tribal flames.

Revelation: The Dragon Ronin Reborn

For the Original Dragon Ronin WIP, check it out at

The Dragon Ronin was one of my most ambitious attempts at full-blown modification and scratch building. It was originally intended as my entry to the 2009 BAKUC, but I ran out of time and abandoned the project after a frustrating bout with plastic not "molding" the way I wanted to. So, I moved on with other projects, like The Ice Queen, and thenafter, The Chimera.

I decided on a total redesign of the custom armor, removing the articulation thereby simplifying the construction and overall feel of the armor. Though I've simplified how the armor looks, how it's assembled is a different matter.

Waist, VFin, DragonBow, Back Pack and Skirts

First, I modified the waist articulation and added about 5mm or so to expose the pistons (not necessarily to give it additional height).