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Article by Paul Nortness

In my last article, I introduced you to Gunpla, a new Japanese passion that originated from a TV show and quickly broke out to models, movies, artwork and even a space MMORPG (massive multi-player online role-playing game). I also went over the basics of building a Gundam model. Today, we will be covering techniques that will give your Gundam a nice finished appearance and make it pop.

The techniques in this tutorial are considered advanced, but are still easy enough that anyone should be able to complete them. Typically, I like to call out all the tools we will be using during this tutorial in the beginning but I feel it may be easier to introduce new tools as we go today.

We will be finishing the Duel Gundam Assault Shroud that we built previously. The first thing we need to do is prep the model for painting. This means fill in all the seams and any pock marks left when we removed the parts from the sprues.

We need to break the model down as much as possible, separate all the limbs from the torso.


Games Workshop has created a wonderful product called "Liquid Green Stuff" they sell under their Citadel Paint line. Liquid Green Stuff is essentially a watered down, brushable version of the two part putty. It is amazingly easy to work with, simply paint it on the seam and let it dry. Once dried, it can be sanded smooth using an emery board. It also takes sanding film very well, but since these parts are pretty small it is best to stick with the emery boards. Just go slowly and make sure all the seams are filled and sanded smooth. Don't worry if a seam does not get filled, we can always put a second coat of Liquid Green Stuff on.

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Once we have all the seams filled and smoothed out, we can move on. One thing that always bugs me when I see Gundam models is they are in pristine condition. Gundams are meant to be giant war machines. To make our Gundam look the part, we will need our trusty battery operated rotary tool. If you have a really light touch or want to add some serious damage, you can use a more powerful tool like a Dremel. What you want to do is just "dent" the surface up. Add scuff marks, dents, dings, chinks, make sharp edges rounded and worn down. Go crazy! This is where artistic license really takes hold. The only thing off limits is the poly caps. That could affect the way the joint moves so stay away from those. I chose to go subtle on the model itself, concentrating most of the battle damage to the Assault Shroud armor and the shield. I really gave the shield a working over. I figure the shield is going to bare the biggest brunt of incoming attacks so it will look the most beat up. Now that our Gundam looks like a grizzled war veteran, we can start the painting process.

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Whenever we paint, it's important to put down a coat of primer. This gives the paint a good base to adhere to. I will use two different primers for our Gundam. For the Gundam and shield, I will use Tamiya Surface Primer white. This is an excellent primer and for the white parts we will not even need to go back over with white paint. For the armor and weapons, I will use good old Krylon grey primer. I could just use the Tamiya for these parts, but it is very expensive so I use it sparingly. Once the primer dries we can start adding color. As I mentioned before, the Tamiya primer goes on super smooth and we can actually use it for our white color. Now that our Gundam is all white, we can snap a picture of it and load it into Photoshop if we want to create a custom paint scheme. I opted for black instead of blue. I will also paint the lower leg sections with Tamiya Gun Metal and the Assault Shroud armor will be Insignia Blue with Blood Red highlights.

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Now that our base colors are all dry, we need to detail paint. For this, we will need a fine brush and silver paint. Lightly apply silver paint into all the dents and scratches we made with the rotary tool. If you mess up and get some silver outside the dent, it's OK. Just wipe it off and try again. Using a flat tooth pick, you can add paint chips to edges. Parts that come in contact with the ground like feet and knees would be perfect for paint chipping. Now, let's focus on the eyes. Paint the entire area of the eyes black. Once the black dries, add silver to the eyes themselves. Now, take some Tamiya Clear Green and apply it over the silver.

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The weapons should be painted black with metallic lightly dry brushed and all the exposed joint parts should be a flat aluminum. Laser lens on weapons can be painted using the same method as the eyes, using a clear red or blue. Before we move to the next step, let's give the Gundam a clear overcoat. This will protect the paint from scratching.

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These little beauties are called "Gundam Markers". They are specially designed pens used to fill-in the panel lines on Gundams. It is very easy to achieve excellent results with these markers. Just follow the panel lines with the pen. If you mess up and get ink somewhere you didn't want, that's OK. Just grab a rubber eraser and start rubbing. Presto! The ink is gone. Once all the lines are filled in, it's time for Duel Gundam to kick some butt!

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In Assault Shroud armor

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Have fun and happy building!

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