Greetings. Keep in mind this is my second build and first MG. I feel like I see a LOT of more experienced Gunpla builders pull of better builds and paint jobs. I opted for the Astray Red Frame because of the divergence from a standard frame shape, armor density, and reduction in color diversity. Also, because (and I doubt I’ll get argument), two swords is BA.
I borrowed some of the colorizations from three different builds found on the Internet. As a point, I also prefer to paint instead of using foil decals, and the biggest mistake I made on this build was on the head at the top. I don’t feel resorting to the foil sticker here was a detriment to the overall build, but it just isn’t a personal preference.
My biggest challenge was getting the gold to lay right. Having never used this color to cover more than fine detail on a 40K figure, I discovered the viscosity doesn’t impact translucency. Thinning the paint and using a flat brush laid an even coat but required about 5 coats to cover the primer. 5 coats of anything can impact detail and maybe because the plastic has some metallic pellets used in the mold, the details seemed “fat” compared to the more rigid or coated plastics. I’m sure there’s a way around this - like maybe if I just ponied up for the gold spray or did a reverse wash with enamels (I hate working with enamel and avoid it if I can but for a reverse wash I may use them one day).
Not pictured, I painted a few of the hose insulators and tubes molded in the frame with a mix of gold and charred brown for a muted oiled bronze color. I used this on a few of the parts on the Tac Arms II sword. I also didn’t sand between coats of paint and there’s some orange-peel happening on the matte finish of the Tac Arms sword.
What I enjoyed most about this build was making subtle changes to detail colors drastically impact the overall feel of Astray. I see many people change the layout and pattern of the overall color palette, and Astray color portions don’t require someone to reinvent the wheel to have a favorable effect.
A couple of minor mistakes made was panel lines. Panel lines are easy - thinned acrylic ink or wash does it for me. I know some use enamel, but I hate enamel. I just used an additional layer of clear coat between my color and don’t worry about eating the acrylic paint.
Fortunately, these are so thin that they’re likely not noticeable unless being handled and inspected.
Overall the build took three days. Colors used are as follows:
Rattle Cans -
Tamiya Pure White
Tamiya Bright Red
Tamiya Metallic Red
Tamiya Rubber Black
Tamiya Gunship Grey
Tamiya Haze Grey
Tamiya Surface Primer Light Grey
Army Painter Uniform Grey Primer
Vallejo Polished Gold
Vallejo Metallic Green
Vallejo Charred Brown
Vallejo Bloody Red
Vallejo Sepia Wash
Vallejo Light Grey Wash
Vallejo Black Ink
Vallejo Matte Varnish
Vallejo Gloss Varnish
Mr. Super Clear Gloss
Mr. Super Clear Matt (sic)
Notes on the paints:
Vallejo Mecha Colors are thin compared to the Game or Model Color line but thicker than the Air line - I’m guessing for easier application across a range of methods (?). Either way, they’re easier to lay down without brushstrokes being a concern during the normal window for acrylics. The Metallic Green leans toward the ‘silvery’ side and the green seems like an undertone more than an overtone - rather, it’s not a very saturated or vibrant green. Experimenting with it by adding Green Ink, Green Wash, or a brighter green like Escorpina Green only made the paint color dull and lose it’s metallic luster. For how I used the Mecha Color Metallic Green, the raw paint was fine but it is not a good replacement for a Silver Chrome Alcad II with a Transparent Green overcoat (here, a brushed application would have been perfect and retained color intensity I was hoping for). Since I don’t have any transparent colors, I haven’t tried a thinned coat of Transparent green to enhance the overtone, but the overall outcome isn’t ‘bad.’
When a matte coat is applied to the Metallic Green, it loses sheen but not the silvery undertone to give a more soft satin pael green color. For some, that may be a benefit but it’s nothing to touch up small areas with Gloss Varnish to pop the color slightly agaisnt a flat texture, either. The Vallejo Gloss Varnish is tinted a slight yellow but I haven’t noticed that it impacts the color of the paint underneath.
While building this, my son asked about the difference between Gunship Grey and Rubber Black. Rubber Black is a half step between Black and Charcoal, and warm. Gunship Grey is just cool Dark Grey (obvious blue tones). They pair well, in my opinion.
Well, that’s my first MG build. There are things I know I can improve upon so the next one I’ll hopefully get better than this one.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to give constructive criticism - I am looking to improve upon builds and painting.