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Omega_X_
July 17, 2013, 12:37 PM
My Strike Freedom finally arrived today, so as promised here is my build thread. I'll be taking the process in stages, starting with the inner frame, which I'll be respraying metallic gold to cover up the godawful gold plastic the kit comes with as standard (for anyone who didn't read my previous thread, its the regular MG kit, not the Full Burst Mode.)

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And just for anyone who hasn't seen this kit before, this is what the gold parts look like out of the box:

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Jesus Christ, how horrifying.

thwalker13
July 17, 2013, 12:44 PM
Ah, this brings back some nice memories when I got back into the Gunpla Hobby. I can't wait to see you progress man. Have fun with that build, I know I sure enjoyed building mine.

goosevf187
July 17, 2013, 12:50 PM
Looks like a cool build,your right a metallic gold will look a lot nicer.

Dlinker
July 17, 2013, 1:17 PM
Wow, that "gold" is worse than I expected. It just demands a repaint, haha. Looking forward to your exploits.

Omega_X_
July 17, 2013, 4:43 PM
Well, I gotta say, the results were better than I expected. The gold paint looks almost as good as the chromed parts on the Full Burst mode.

Just in case anyone's interested and wants to try my method out, I'll detail the resources I used to throw together a makeshift spray booth.

First off, I separated the sprues for the inner frame from the rest of the box (I plan to construct the inner frame first in it's entirety then put the armour on afterwards. Partly out of convenience, and partly because the photos will look awesome.)

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At least the gold plastic makes it easy to identify the frame sprues.

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I decided to cut out the parts and clean them prior to spraying, as It'd be harder to touch up the nub marks afterward if I were to spray them on the sprue.

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I mounted the parts on cocktail sticks using Blu-Tak, and stuck them in a polystyrene block which I taped to a spray booth I made out of a fish tank box cut in half along the diagonal. Note how terrible the gold plastic looks. I can't see how anyone could use these parts as they are.

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Just to illustrate how I mount the parts for spraying using the Blu-Tak on the back side of the part, then sticking a cocktail stick in it.

Since I just ran into the image limit, I'll double post.

Omega_X_
July 17, 2013, 4:53 PM
And here is the result:
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I'm sure you'll all agree that the difference is noticeable. Its like a thousand percent improvement on the bare plastic.

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Behold the glorious result of half an hour extra work. It almost looks like the Hyaku Shiki. And all it cost was 7 quid extra for some cheap spray paint.

So, that's the first day of work done. I'm going to build it 1 section per day. Tomorrow I'll build the arms and post my progress.

Dlinker
July 17, 2013, 5:33 PM
Yeah, that looks leaps and bounds better than the original condition. They should include instructions to spray paint the inner frame for the kit, haha.

Are you spraying indoors? And if so, you got good ventilation going?

Omega_X_
July 17, 2013, 5:54 PM
I spray in the kitchen with the outside door open. But ventilation isn't great even then, because the weather over here has currently gone completely mental and is scorching hot with barely any breeze. But I don't think I'm about to choke to death on the fumes.

Case anyone's interested, here's the listing for the paint I used:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008DLTMXE/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you're planning to buy this kit, buy this or something better, it's mandatory. Even if you get the Full Burst mode, only some of the parts are coated in shiny gold chrome, meaning unless you touch it up with a gold marker or something, you'll have shiny awesome gold next to bare, bile yellow/gold. Do not want.

outamyhead
July 17, 2013, 7:14 PM
The unpainted gold sprue parts, look more like Werther's Original toffee colour.

Looking good so far, definitely a fan and mask job when you are using that type of paint, and yeah 80 degrees in England isn't fun, my parents were telling me how the heatwave has started back home.

thwalker13
July 17, 2013, 8:13 PM
Looking really great man. Looks tons better than the gold that the parts were.

goosevf187
July 17, 2013, 10:48 PM
Lol at 80 degrees in england. You guys should come to Texas and they to paint in our summer heat

Omega_X_
July 18, 2013, 4:02 PM
Finished the frames for the arms and waist unit. I was kinda worried that the Strike Freedom would end up significantly smaller than my Zeta 2.0, but after getting the waist on, I can see the kind of proportions the finished build will have. It always throws me how Gundams tend to be long in the leg and at first it seems like they're pretty small when you're just putting the torso together. Anyway, enough blather, I have pics.

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Quick before and after comparison of the arm components. I decided to put the hands together minus the white backs, as the individual finger components are too small and fiddly for me to bother spraying them individually. I plug any holes for joints up with Blu-Tak to avoid any paint getting into the joints and making them too tight (don't want a repeat of what happened with the hip joint on my Zeta.)

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The finished arm frames. Gotta say, I'm loving the attention to detail put into the frame parts, even though they'll be covered by the outer armour. Shows Bandai don't put out half-assed kits.

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The finished waist unit frame. I changed the flash settings on my camera to try and capture the effect of the gold better. As you can tell I'm by no means a professional photographer so please excuse the quality of my crappy smartphone pics. I was gonna leave this part til tomorrow until I saw that there are only five components to put together (six counting the back skirt mount, but I didn't notice that until after the photo was taken. It just slides onto the back of the frame, so its no big deal. There's a mechanism for turning the side skirt armor to the back but it's really simple.

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I think I'll use the flash from now on. Compare this to how the bare plastic comes on the sprue and it's a no-brainer. Everyone should spray their inner frame on this kit.

Thats all for today, tomorrow I'll have the frame completed so you'll all be able to marvel at it's gold-plated glory :p

goosevf187
July 18, 2013, 5:09 PM
I like the way the that gold looks, good job man

thwalker13
July 18, 2013, 8:14 PM
That is one great looking frame man. Makes me can't wait to revisit the Strike Freedom.

Dlinker
July 19, 2013, 1:00 AM
That is indeed a lovely shine. Can't wait to see the whole frame together.

Omega_X_
July 20, 2013, 1:55 PM
Sorry for the late update. Weather was insane yesterday, too hot to do anything at all, let alone paint. Anyhow, here's the results of today's building:

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As you can see, it's not quite as finished as I said it would be. Wasn't expecting there to be so many components to the legs. I always forget that they make up the bulk of the parts for any gundam. Also I went back and did some cleaning up. Turns out I hadn't shaken the spray can enough when I first started, and the result was that the torso and arms were noticeably duller than the hips and leg components. Also I was sloppy removing some of the nub marks with a metal file without cleaning up with sandpaper and when I sprayed those areas it left horrible scratches where I'd filed. So I ordered some mixed grade sandpaper and went over those areas with 600 grit, followed by a polish with 2000 grit and it looks much more presentable. Also, I'm discovering more and more uses for Blu-Tak. As well as securing parts in place for spraying, it's also really useful for masking parts. Want to respray an area, but dont want to disassemble the pieces to remove the poly caps? No problem, just cover them up with Blu-Tak and spray over them. It's far more convenient than masking tape, as it can be broken off and shaped in seconds instead of having to screw about with scissors and tape.

So unless the sun tries to kill everyone again, I'll definitely be finished with the frame components tomorrow. Well, unless I run out of paint, but I'm pretty sure I've got enough for one leg. FYI, I also intend to paint Kira Yamato before putting him in the cockpit, so I'll be able to put my Warhammer skills to use.

Dlinker
July 20, 2013, 4:18 PM
I'm a huge fan of masking with Blu-Tak too, though I use it mostly for smaller jobs and any areas with odd shapes (like circular/rounded areas). It's strong enough to withstand any hobby paint out there so there are no worries of it disintegrating or dissolving.

thwalker13
July 20, 2013, 6:56 PM
Looking amazing man. That is for sure a great looking frame for the Strike Freedom. Are you planning on doing anything with the armor?

Omega_X_
July 21, 2013, 4:47 PM
Nah, apart from some minimalist panel lining. Maybe it's because I'm relatively new to the hobby, but I really don't see the point in painting the armour, unless the idea is to completely change the colour scheme. The only exterior pieces I'll be painting are the parts of the beam rifle that they give you stickers for (I hate stickers that substitute for coloured plastic. On a MG kit, you should get separate pieces in the proper colours.)

Anyhow, as promised, I have the frame completed:

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I'm really happy with how it turned out. The extra time and effort was worth it to end up with a frame I won't have to be embarrassed to show. The spray paint I selected was perfect for the job, much better than just going over the parts with a gold paint marker.

As you can see I have the head assembled too, minus the V-fin. I think I'm gonna attach the armour going from the right side to the left (purely because it'll look cool to photo, as if the gundam is 'under construction'. Well, it is, but you know what I mean.) I'll try to get the tiny Kira Yamato pilot figure painted and in the cockpit in the next few days too, since I'l have to put him inside before I put on the chest armour.

So far I'm really impressed by this kit. The level of detail on the frame parts is astounding, especially the legs. The mechanism to split the armour plates when you bend the knee is ingenious and the whole thing has been really fun to put together. Definitely my favourite kit so far, at least until my Exia arrives.

BTW, any tips for lining the side vent fins on the head? The lining markers I have don't make a thin enough line, and it's hard to get a cotton swab into the nooks and crannies to erase my mistakes.

Dlinker
July 21, 2013, 8:30 PM
Wow, yeah, that's how the SF's frame is supposed to look. Shiny, brilliant, and obviously gold.

Glad to see you're enjoying the kit. It's not surprising that the quality is pretty darn good (apart from the crappy color on the frame) considering it's one of Japan's most popular suits.

Regarding the lining, have you tried a really thin pencil?

Omega_X_
July 21, 2013, 8:52 PM
I do have a mechanical pencil I was thinking of trying. Do I dip it in ink or just use it as is?

thwalker13
July 21, 2013, 10:36 PM
I used a GM01 Black Lining Marker on mine. Worked very well. Only bad part it you'd have to order one. You could try thinning some enamel paint and letting it run around the vents then clean up the access paint.

extend
July 21, 2013, 11:00 PM
I like the way the that gold looks, good job man

I agree. The "gold" parts fresh from the box looks like a caramel candy.

Dlinker
July 22, 2013, 12:02 AM
I do have a mechanical pencil I was thinking of trying. Do I dip it in ink or just use it as is?

Just use it as is. It'll be like a really light grey lining pen so you'll have to put down the lines a few times to get the desired darkness.

Omega_X_
July 22, 2013, 7:55 PM
Cool. BTW, I already have a pair of lining markers. I order pretty much everything over the internet. There aren't any shops in my area that sell gunpla in the first place.

Omega_X_
July 28, 2013, 1:02 PM
Okay, sorry bout the long delay. I've just been focusing on getting the Strike Freedom finished, so didn't bother updating. But now it's finally completed, so I have pics (and I'll have to triple post to get around the upload limit.)

So as I mentioned, I assembled the armour pretty much from right to left.
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And as promised, I painted Kira Yamato as well.
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It was fiddly, but actually not as hard to do as I feared. I superglued him to a cocktail stick so I had something to hold onto, then I just painted him in sections, starting with the blue. For the really tiny lines like the red on the chest, all I did was to first paint the whole area in the colour of the lines, then paint over the top of it, being careful to leave the lines in the original colour. I used Games Workshop acrylic paints, since they're pretty much the best paints for any model painting IMO. I used Ultramarines Blue for the main colour, Blood red for the lines on the chest, Chaos Black and Skull white, and I painted the visor Shining Gold to make it stand out.

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And there he is in the cockpit. Considering he's barely visible with the hatch in place I guess I didn't really have to put a lot of effort in, but I wanted to do this build properly.

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Since I've run out of upload space, on to my next post.

Omega_X_
July 28, 2013, 1:12 PM
So here is the main body of the gundam in its completed state:
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And with the wing attached:
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As expected the wings make the gundam back-heavy, but it isn't difficult to reposition the legs underneath to make him stand up straight, and once you do he's actually pretty stable. I was paranoid of him toppling over at first, but I left him standing all last night without incident, so there's no need to worry about balance issues as long as you have the legs positioned right.

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Once you have him up on the action base, the results look pretty spectacular. Only thing is it's really quite scary getting him to sit up there, as the slightest knock will make the whole thing wobble quite a lot. The connector seems to sit in the slot quite well, but even so, it's quite a nervous experience for me.

Onto the final post.

Omega_X_
July 28, 2013, 1:26 PM
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So overall, I've been pretty happy building this kit. The one thing I will say though for anyone who hasn't built it is that once you have the MS finished, you'd probably think there wasn't much work left to do, but those wings take forever to finish. Problem is that there are so many components that look almost identical, and while putting it together was no challenge for me, cleaning up all those near-identical parts was really tedious and took a lot of the fun out of the build. But once it's finished it really sets off the look of the suit. There's a pretty complex mechanism inside each wing that fans the dragoons when you open them out which is pretty cool, even if it is tiresome to build.

My only other complaints are minor. I think the vents on the ankle armour and on the shoulders should have been separate pieces like they are on the head because colouring them with a gold marker is a pain. Also, I can't get the guns to sit tightly in the hands so they fall out the second I try to close the fingers, but overall I think this is an excellent kit. Strike Freedom is definitely in my top 5 best looking gundams and the kit really does justice to this fantastic design.

Anyway, with Strike Freedom completed, I can now move on to what I consider the best looking gundam of all time:
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I did mention that my Exia arrived a few days ago. Look out for my new build thread soon.

Dlinker
July 28, 2013, 2:34 PM
Good job on completing your SF. Painting the frame really did wonders in improving the overall look. Are you going to panel line the armor? Or did you already do that? Kinda tough to tell from the pics, haha.

Looking forward to your Exia. I love me a good 00 kit.

thwalker13
July 28, 2013, 3:28 PM
I'm also looking forward to seeing your Exia. The Strike Freedom looks awesome man. Painting the inner frame looks really awesome. You chose a great paint for it.

Omega_X_
July 28, 2013, 4:13 PM
Thanks. Yes I actually did line the Strike Freedom, just my crappy smartphone pics aren't clear enough to really notice. I lined in gray instead of black, and I only did the obvious grooves. I dunno, I think lining absolutely every little thing where the panels meet takes away from the look of the kit IMO. It just looks too cluttered and messy. That and I'm kinda lazy. There isn't actually a lot of lining to do on Strike Freedom anyway. Also I'm not putting the decals on, since it doesn't have them in the anime, and I think it looks better with clean white armour.

Any tips for getting the guns to stay in the hands? They won't stay in place at all, even unposed.

EDIT: Sorted. I painted the grooves in the gun handles. The added thickness from the paint made the guns sit tighter on the slots in the gundam's hands. Problem solved.

V0LTES-V01
July 28, 2013, 6:31 PM
You made a rewarding decision when you decided to color the frame of the Strike Freedom. I have seen images of it in their stock form; such a dreadful color. It makes me wonder why BANDAI didn't Vacuum Metalize it just like the 1/100 HG Gold Frame Amatsu. Well anyways, good job with your project. I look forward to your next one!