Welcome back, model-monkeys! Last time you were subjected to my semi-coherent pontification, we began construction of Bandai’s High Grade 00-series Arche Gundam. This week we’ll be continuing where we left off- moving on with construction, and getting some paint on this thing.
As I mentioned in my last article, I use an airbrush to paint my models, and this article will be written with that in mind. An airbrush is really an invaluable tool for model construction- in the long run it will save you money on spraypaint, and it lets you use custom-mixed paint that would otherwise require hand-brushing. The airbrush I use is an Iwata HP-BCS. This particular model comes in a set with a number of useful accessories for $80-100. When selecting a first airbrush, what you want to look for are double-action internal-mix airbrushes. The former means that the button or trigger controls both airflow and paint flow, while the latter indicates that paint and air are mixed inside the body of the brush. Iwata, Badger, and Paasche are the brands you should focus on. The other part of an airbrush setup is a compressor. Mine’s a Silent-Aire Scorpion, a very basic model. I must admit I don’t know too much about different types of compressors, but I do know the cans of airbrush propellant you can buy are no substitute.
Anyway, onward with the build. If you’re going to paint your kit, you might as well toss the foil stickers- no matter how well you paint, if you use those stickers your kit isn’t going to look very professional. We’re going to start by painting all the places where the white stickers would have gone. White is a color that frequently has opacity issues, and were we to paint it right on there’s a good chance we’d get the underlying red plastic showing through, leaving all the white with a pink tinge. What we’re going to do is lay down a coat of more opaque grey paint first.
The gray I’ve used here is Games Workshop’s Citadel Foundation Astronomican Grey, thinned 1:1 with water. I would not normally use GW paint, but the Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey I intended to use was dried up. After letting the grey dry completely, the areas to be painted white are painted with Vallejo Game Color Skull White, also 1:1 with water. I intend to hand-brush the GN Fang compartments in the hip binders, so those stay grey for now.
Once the white has dried, it is masked in preperation for the spraying of the red paint. I use Tamiya yellow masking tape for this, since its low adhesive minimizes the risk of lifting off paint when the tape is removed, an occurrence which can seriously set back a build and really ruin your day. I burnish the tape down with a thumbnail, revealing the underlying panel lines so the excess tape can be removed with an exacto knife (make sure the blade is sharp and new). The fang compartments can be quickly and easily masked by popping the doors into place over them.
These parts are now ready to be airbrushed red. Fortunately for me (and anyone else building one of the red MS from Gundam 00) Vallejo produces a paint that is the exact right color out of the bottle, Game Color Gory Red. After this is thinned, (2:1 paint:water) applied, and allowed to dry the masking tape can be removed, revealing neatly delineated white bits.
Nobody’s perfect, and once you take the masking tape off you may find your paint needs touching up. This is best done with a small, moist brush and paint thinned to the same ratio as you used in your airbrush. Thinning is vital for touch-up work, as it allows you to better blend the touchup with the rest of the paint.
That’s it for this week, dudes. Join me again next week, when I’ll show you how to improve the effect parts and fancy the Arche up a bit.