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  1. #1
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    My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Hi Guys, I'm new to Gundam Modelling and Painting. My hobby is primarily table-top games, namely Kings of War, Warhammer 40K and WarmaHordes.

    I'd like to share my experiences with painting Gundam models, specifically using Vallejo. Why only Vallejo you may ask? no special reason Those are the supplies I have from my miniatures hobby so I dont want to spend a lot on other painting supplies yet.

    By no means am I a great painter , just a hobbyist. I went straight to painting gunpla, thinking its the same as miniatures painting; I had quite a few surprises. I'd like to share those surprises to those miniatures/tabletop hobbyists who'd like a hand in painting gundams.

    Here's a few pics of my completed Hyakuren (not so good photos).

    IMG_3605.jpgIMG_3607.jpgIMG_3608.jpgIMG_3611.jpg
    Last edited by AzraelGundam; October 23, 2016 at 10:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Looks sharp, do you have problems with the consistency of the paint leaving brush marks, or do you use an airbrush?
    Oh well. What ever happens, happens.

    What ever you're looking for, it's always in the last place you look.

  3. #3
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Hi A_Lurker, I use paintbrushes. With vallejo paints I did have some problems with consistency of paints mainly with the Heavy Red paint. But googling around, I think this particular color has problems with coverage. For other paints, I think it was a re-learning on how to thin the paints correctly.

    - - - Updated - - -

    (I'll continue here, it says I cant attach more than 5 images in a single post)

    First, I'd like to highlight key differences between miniatures and Gundam models as follows:


    1. Size
    Off the bat, the biggest difference is the size between the models. This difference demands adjustments in just about every aspect of the painting process (more on that later).


    IMG_3617.jpg


    From Left to Right - 1/144 Hyakuren, Warmachine Menoth Castigator, Kings of War Ogre, W40K Space Marine Librarian.


    2. Surface
    The next difference I've observed is the "painting surface". Its not the material or type of plastic but rather the "topography" of the painting surface. In almost all miniatures you get a lot of recesses, grooves, rivets; generally known as "details". However for Gundams, 90% of the surface are all just flat panels. With most recesses are just panel lines but not a lot of detail.

    IMG_3621.jpg IMG_3622.jpg

    Here you can see the difference in the "amount" of details. In the Hyakuren, there isnt really much details. They're all smooth panels creating the torso. Whilst for the Menoth Castigator, there's a lot of rivets and recesses.




    3. Moving Parts
    Miniatures are basically static; although you can pose them to some degree; after the initial assembly and when the glue sets in, it pretty much stays put. Gundams on the other hand are dynamic models; with joints and moving components. Painting these areas can be tricky since moving the part can cause friction and start scraping the paint off, or you pose the gundam in a certain way that you forget to paint those covered areas. Notables are those behind the knees when they are bent.

    Painted Hand.jpg Painted Hand 2.jpg

    Here, the ball joint at the wrist is painted red, however, not all of the ball joint was painted red. So there's some unpainted parts when you move / re-pose the hand/wrist.

  4. #4
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    As someone who wants to transition to working with miniatures, I'm keeping an eye on this thread with interest.

    I've handpainted a few 1/144 kits with Vallejo Model Color before and your experience is kinda similar to mine. Some areas are easier to paint than others, same with how the paint performs. Did you prime that kit before painting it? Just curious because I always need to prime my kits if painting with Vallejo.
    "Typical. If I had a sense of humor left I might find that funny. I do not, on both accounts."

  5. #5
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Hi DLinker, yes i do prime my kits using Vallejo Surface Primer. From my experience, you really need to wash the kit before applying the primer; and I always need to put on two coats. I guess its just the size of the kit plus probably the mould release used for gunpla is stronger(??). For my miniatures I usually dont wash them and just prime using a brush.

    - - - Updated - - -

    II. Supplies and Equipment

    1. Paintbrushes
    You're going to need a bigger set of paint brushes to account for the size of each individual component you'll be painting. You'll also want a good mix of round and flat brushes. Flat brushes are mainly for base-coating and dry brushing. Round brushes I use for more to get to those "hard-to-reach" areas.

    You'll want bigger or wider brushes so that you'll be able to cover more surface area when painting. The more area you can cover with one stroke of the brush, the better. This lessens the brush marks you'll leave when you use smaller brushes, plus it just saves time painting

    2. Nail Brush
    This is the brush a manicurist would use. I use this to clean the model from time to time since dust and other small particles may settle on the part. It is especially important to clean your Gundam part before painting to make sure its clean. Any residue or dust that gets painted on, will leave your kit with a rough looking surface. For miniatures its not really a problem, but because again of the size of the kit, it becomes much more conspicuous on Gunpla.

    3. Alligator Clippers / Bamboo Stick
    I use this to clip on parts so I can paint it without actually holding the part. For miniatures its easier because you are painting the whole model, just stick it to a base and you can paint away. For Gunpla kits, we need to paint them separately. Its also a good way to hold the part while its drying.

    - - - Updated - - -

    III. Approach and Techniques

    1. Thin your paints less
    I know the mantra has always been to thin your paints, its actually no different when painting Gunpla except you'll need to adjust your ratios and thin your paints less. It's always advisable to thin your paints (as they say to a milk-like consistency) for the following reasons:

    a. Allows the paint to flow off the brush much better
    b. Transparent layers will not obscure detail

    Unless of course you're doing some technical work like blending or free-handing, there's a problem here when you apply thinned paint on the Gunpla model.

    a. Thinner paint = Transparent Layers = More Layers to get a good hue. Again, the size of the kit affects how we paint it. The bigger the area, the more layers you'll need to apply, to longer it will take to paint the kit.

    b. Thinner paint does not obscure detail. But because of the size of the kit, applying 2-3 slightly thicker layers will not actually obscure or cover the details in the kit. Also, gunpla itself does not have a lot of details, except for the panel lines and some rivets.

    c. Thinner paint = Less control. The thin paint can actually overrun if you're not careful with how much you load on to the brush.

    Slightly thicker paint will address these issues as follows:

    a. Less number of layers required to get a good hue

    b. Will not cover a lot of the detail since the details in the gunpla are quite sizable compared to miniatures. Also, most part surfaces are just smooth panels, so there's not much detail to cover

    c. More control since its easier to see how much paint is loaded and it wont easily flood or overrun

    2. Sub-Assemblies
    Even though its advisable to paint each part separately, you can assemble certain components and paint them together. For example, I assemble the inner frame and paint it as a whole for my Graze Ritter.

    I also attached the antenna on to the head and paint them together. I cant really give you some hard rules, you'll just have to eye-ball which components can be assembled and painted together.

    3. Parts Handling
    After painting each part, be sure to set them aside carefully; for example putting them back in the kit's box. DO NOT ASSEMBLE the kit before you finished painting all the parts.

    The Gundam Kit is designed to be easily disassembled, hence a lot of modular joints. My experience with the Hyakuren, was, everytime I finished a section I'd assemble it to see how it looks. I've had too many times when I accidentally dropped a part thus damaging or chipping the paint, when i started disassembling it.

    What I try to do now is to lay the parts on the table roughly in their assembled states but not actually joining the parts. This way I dont risk dropping the part, also I minimize the risk of accidentally rubbing the paint off with my fingers when I start assembling it.

  6. #6
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Custom Painted HG RMS-108 Marasai

    Marasai Close Up.jpgMarasai Front View.jpgMarasai Shield.jpgMarasai Top View.jpgMarasai Rear View.jpg

    Painted using Vallejo Game Color; top-coated using Future Pledge. Still thinking if I need to put on a matte coat using Tamiya Clear Base

    Some insights on this build and painting:
    1. Vallejo Paints reactivates to Future Pledge. I've let the paint dry and cure for about 2 days, but when I started applying the Future Pledge, some fresh brush marks appears. Also tried applying using a Q-tip, and paint does come off. Use a soft brush and dont brush so hard; it should be fine

    2. Make sure to clean and lightly scrub off the parts to clear any dust build up before applying the Future.

    3. You can use Vallejo Washes or very thinned/diluted paint to do panel lining. Apply Future first, then do the panel line. Then I used the Vallejo Airbrush thinner to clean up. Remember not to rub too hard using the Q-Tip otherwise, paint will start coming off.

    4. Decals really make the paint and kit POP.

    5. Paint was thinned using 50/50 mix of water and future pledge. Allows the paint to go on smoothly.

    6. Use weaving pattern to reduce brushmarks; Paint from up to down, let it dry, paint left to right repeat until surface is covered

    Notes on the Painting Process:
    1. Entire kit was primed using Vallejo Surface Primer Black - hand brushed
    2. Black Surfaces were painted with a mixture of 3:1 Night Blue and Black
    3. Red Surfaces were base coated with Beasty Brown, then painted with Heavy Red
    4. Yellow Surfaces were base coated with Cold Grey, then painted with Heavy Gold Brown
    5. Silver parts were base coated with Cold Grey, then painted with Silver
    6. White Surfaces were base coated with Cold Grey, then painted with Ghost Grey
    7. Panel Linings on Yellow and Red Surfaces were painted with Vallejo Black Wash
    8. Panel Linings on Black Surfaces were painted with mixture of 2:1 Night Blue and Cold Grey
    9. Handles of beam sabers were base coated with Cold Grey, painted with Silver, then shaded using Black Wash
    Last edited by AzraelGundam; January 29, 2017 at 2:45 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Hi, I've been doing a lot of research on painting gunpla. I recently came across your post and I was wondering would vallejo paints be a good alternative for painting small details instead of using foil stickers such as the eyes and other parts of the gundam? Thanks in advance.

  8. #8
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Quote Originally Posted by RichCats View Post
    Hi, I've been doing a lot of research on painting gunpla. I recently came across your post and I was wondering would vallejo paints be a good alternative for painting small details instead of using foil stickers such as the eyes and other parts of the gundam? Thanks in advance.
    I use Vallejo paints exclusively. And yes I would recommend them for painting small details instead of foil stickers.
    "Stanley?"
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  9. #9
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Cool thanks a lot. Would you recommend the basic color set to begin with?

  10. #10
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Quote Originally Posted by RichCats View Post
    Cool thanks a lot. Would you recommend the basic color set to begin with?
    The basic color set that would be good to begin with. I never bought a basic set. I just picked colors to suit my armor modeling and then apply them for Gundam modeling. I personally think Vallejo are the best paints out there. Highly recommended if you're hand painting models. If you thin them enough, they won't leave hardly any brushstrokes.
    "Stanley?"
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    "I don't believe that's the bus..."

  11. #11
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    ^Thanks a lot for your input, I just placed my order for the basic color set. I now feel more confident to go with Vallejo over any other options.

  12. #12
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Your stuff looks great! I also started with miniatures from Warhammer 40k. Gundam are a little easier to work with. I like the citadel paints, if only their bottle design wasn't so bad.

  13. #13
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    yes i highly recommend using paints instead of the foil stickers, that is if you dont mind that they wont have the shine of the foil stickers. you can easily clean up paints going to other areas using their Airbrush Thinner. recently im trying out using masking tape (not the tamiya kind, just regular masking tape) to keep it clean

  14. #14
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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

    Kitbashed and custom painted Gundam Vuel. Had a chance to try out the new Vallejo Mecha Colors.

    Thoughts on the new line:
    1. Pre-thinned as advertised. Can be used straight out of the bottle. Consistency is great for hand brushing.
    2. Self-leveling; there are no noticeable brushmarks unlike when I used Vallejo Game Color where I have to properly thin it otherwise brush marks will clearly show
    3. Semi Glossy finish. Resin is quite tough after properly cured (about 3 days). No scratches or chipping when doing poses
    4. Some colors (red, gold and light steel) have lackluster coverage; however its still better than Vallejo Game Color equivalent especially on larger areas










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    Re: My Gundam Experience; from Miniatures to Gunpla!

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