Before Bandai put out variants such as the Hyaku Shiki Master Grade with the Ballute, and the High Grade with the Hyper Mega Launcher, the only way to paint a Hyaku Shiki kit was to strip all the chrome off first. Sure, there are plenty of people out there who love the chrome look, but for a painter, that really bright chrome can be a problem. I’m not too much of a fan of the look, at least, not on the Hyaku Shiki. Thankfully, there are the HGUC Gryphios War version and the HD Edition Master Grade, but only one of those is still findable these days.
So, with all of those kits available, why would I bother stripping the chrome off one?
Well, that’s because I wanted to make my Hyaku Shiki look extra cool, so I purchased an old HY2M head set.
Bandai doesn’t really make these anymore. Basically, each set would include heads with LED modules for three different mobile suits. In this set, you have the Hyaku Shiki, Shin’s Zaku, and the Re-GZ. They never made a non-chrome Hyaku Shiki, as far as I can tell, because that variant came out several years later.
So I attempted chrome stripping for the first time, using a method I’ve heard on the Internet several times before—409 cleaner! I poured some out into a plastic container, and let parts sit in there overnight. I made sure to do a test run with some old leftover chrome runners, but well… nothing happened. At least, that’s what I thought: I didn’t notice until later that the silver chrome on the back park of the runner came clean off, leaving the white underneath. The gold stayed.
Thinking this was just because the test runner I used just used an older type of chrome, I went ahead and submerged the Hyaku Shiki parts in the 409 cleaner overnight, not touching it for about 24 hours.
Either 409 cleaner changed from its old formula, or I did something seriously wrong. I decided to seek out other methods, like bleach, or isopropyl alcohol, and even those didn’t work! Eventually, I used the model maker’s ace-in-the-hole: acetone! And this… didn’t quite work either. It removed all of the gold, leaving just the silver behind. I figured this was good enough, so I went ahead and sprayed it with primer (on all sides) and started painting. So far, it’s going well enough. It still needs a few more coats. Once I remember to actually buy batteries, I’ll show off the full head unit.
Also, I’m pretty sure the 409 cleaner would have worked if I just used the acetone on the gold parts, and then submerged the remaining silver in the cleaner. OH WELL, I’ll have to try that next time, I guess.
So make sure to learn from my mistakes here! Bandai uses some crazy chrome that’s near invincible. Don’t worry, next week I’ll get started on the kit proper… but while you wait, make sure to get some Gunpla from FPNYC to keep you occupied!