Wednesday, May 20, 2015

[Project] HGUC 1/144 RX-78-GP02A 'Physallis' Type-MLRS Part 1

1st finished project of 2015 PART 1

Welcome to my project log.
This is a log of my recently finished plamo project.  This is a GunPla, specifically the HGUC 1/144 RX-78-GP02A 'Physallis' with its MLRS option.
Picture from Gundam Wikia
This is the original color scheme for this mobile suit

Want to skip the boring reading?
Click here for the goodies instead! -> GP02 Finished Product
Box art with some of the runners


  • Build type: semi-straight-build (converted some seamlines into panel lines)
  • Start Date: January 15, 2015
  • Finish Date: May 17, 2015

Build Preview:

Here's a bad snapshot of the finished product.

Build philosophy:

I currently build Gunpla on a straight-build basis.  This is because I still lack the skill and time to learn the skill to do major customizations.  Right now, I only use basic techniques and currently, I want to perfect my painting process and techniques.  For me, establishing my best painting discipline is better than knowing how to customize kits (I mean, for now) because I have seen a lot of builders customizing their kits (e.g. kit-bashing, pla-plating).  While I have seen a lot of builders having epic results on these activities, more often do I see builders going over the top on their customizations which only they themselves see as epic.  Aside from the disproportionate kit-bashing a lot of these I call 'shortcomings' or 'failures' results from poor paint jobs (like bad color combinations, bad painting practice and poor painting skills).  Given those thoughts, I decided to not make those same mistakes and poor practices - before I delved into painting, I researched a great deal around the net and watched a lot youtube vids about painting plastic models.  I learned a great deal from that research method, I probably learned a great deal more than if I asked already answered questions in Facebook groups or forums (lol).
But enough about that.  For this project, I decided to airbrush paint using both hobby-grade and industrial-grade products.  The color pattern I used was military-themed which means I eliminated anime-ish and/or cartoonish colors that you will not see in real-life military applications.  I primarily replaced all yellow colors and stuck to shades of gray.  The color blue is not a problem, but for the red color, I decided to darken it.  Red is the first color the human eye can detect and in military situations becoming the first thing your enemy sees is a no-no.
Picture linked from Gundam Wikia
Those bright yellow and bright red colors are targets for enemies on the battlefield

It is also worth mentioning that I decided to try my hand in shading techniques (e.g. pre-shading, highlighting, etc) for this project.  I saw videos made by builders of military models and miniatures and I found them interesting and also eye-appealing.  With techniques from these flavors of model painting, I took a shot to see how it will go.
Image from
This is the result I basically aimed for

The Build

I never thought before that I will be documenting my projects in this way, and so I failed to take photos of earlier steps I did so let me just enumerate:
  1. I washed the runners  by soaking them in clear water mixed with dishwashing liquid and used an old toothbrushing to lightly brushed the parts.  After then, I rinsed them clean under running water and left to air dry
  2. I proceeded to assemble the parts (i.e. cleaning nubs, etc) and trimming pegs to enable me to disassemble them later if needed.
  3. Since this is an HG kit, it is necessary to remove seamlines for parts that are supposed to be a single solid object.  A lot of modellers use a lacquer-based putty to smooth the seam out of view but that still does not eliminate the seam itself, only hide it under it - there is a possibility that it might open again if the parts are put under pressure.  For me, the best way is to use plastic cement - brush this on the parts you want to cement together (put a little bit more than usual), let it stand for around 10 seconds for the plastic to slightly melt, then put the parts together and clamp them to let the melted plastic ooze a bit.  After a few hours (or 24 hours for me), sand the parts clean.  This method eliminates the seam entirely, fusing the two plastic parts into one solid part.
  4. I actually assembled the head first.  I first finished painting the face plate of the Gundam: painting the eyes, etc.  I did this because I need to remove seamlines on the head.  But before removing the seamlines, I first masked the face to protect it until all the other painting is done.
  5. After all sanding and seamline removal is done.  I dusted off the parts as clean as I can, for some parts are re-washed them to remove oils from my hands when I handled it.  From this, the plastic is now ready for painting.
Let me just give an advice to everyone: Please prime your kits properly.  I have experienced paint peeling off just because I skipped this step.  In my experience, the best primers are the surfacer-primer types.  These basically are 'paint' that puts a new layer of surfacing on the plastic which mutes the original color of the plastic and also helps the paint you will apply adhere to the plastic better.  Surfacer-primers will also reveal large defects and/or scratches you missed in the initial cleanup.  Using primers will also prevent your paint from peeling off when you do masking.
In my quest to make myself independent of brands, I used this VHT primer.
VHT Prime Coat
I found this primer to be very good.  It's as fine as a Mr. Surfacer 1500, it is sandable and sands cleanly and it has microfillers like the Japanese-brand surfacers.  Microfillers will smooth out shallow scratches you might have missed during the initial test-fitting.  Also, this VHT primer is very strong that it can resist stripping agents like iso and denatured alcohol.  Its spray nozzle is also designed to spray finely which helps you prevent spraying too thickly.  Also worth mentioning that when shopping for a primer, get ones that are lacquer-based.  Lacquer-based primers provide the strongest grip on the plastic compared to even enamels.  It also has quick drying and curing time which saves you time for a great deal.  Now, I am not quite sure if this VHT Primer is lacquer-based; I actually think it is enamel-based as it smells like the normal household enamel paints.  But regardless, enamel-based primers are also strong and so you should only worry about its curing time.

I also would like to recommend this primer from RJ London:

RJ London Anti-Corrosion Primer
Also available in Grey and Rust Red
I used this as well on this project and I would say it is very tough too but has a tendency of being too thick - though nothing a little sanding can't fix.

There is also this one, which I used before: Bosny Plastic Primer

This primer works well too and it has application to plastics as its main use (PS, ABS, etc).  Main problem is that this is transparent and also there is a time-limit to its effectivity.  After 10 minutes, you have to spray the color you want to paint your kit immediately.  If you went past 30 minutes without painting anything over it, you will have to respray this as the primer is no longer effective past that.  This is more an adhesion promoter for paints rather than a surfacer.

All of the above I mentioned are spraycans, however.  I used spraycans for this project because I haven't found...or rather I was not yet confident in airbrushing primers of any kind.  I actually tested airbrushing a decanted RJ London Primer, but it became very rough and cleanup was such a hassle so I abandoned the idea for the time being and just went for a spraycan approach.  But airbrushing primers gives you control over application so if you'd like to use your airbrushing for priming, I believe one of the best one to use is still this:
This also comes in Black

Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 is from the Mr. Hobby line of hobby products by Gunze-Sangyo (also know as GSI).  They also make paints like the Mr. Color line of both water-based and solvent-based acrylics.  They also have the Gundam Color line, which are basically what Bandai uses as color references in their Gunpla releases.  GSI, by the way are the creators of the Gundam Markers.
Now, this does not come airbrush ready, so you will have to mix this with Mr. Levelling Thinner.  Start with a ratio of 1:1 and I recommend spraying it with a PSI of 8-10 or with 0.5bar.  You could also use lower grit values like the Mr. Surfacer 1200 which gives you more microfillers to cover larger and/or deeper scratches.
Next, I believe is the best so far in terms of primers you can airbrush.
The two larger bottles in the middle are the primers
These are the Alclad II Primers.  Completely airbrush-ready right out of the bottle, just shake the bottle (the bottles have agitators inside) for a few seconds and pour this in to your AB cup.  Alclads are popular specially for their all-lacquer paints.  They don't have the normal paints like GSI or Tamiya have, but they focus on special types like for metallics, candy-finish and one of the best is their primers.  Alclad Primers have microfillers as well.  I actually got one grey and one white and will be using them for my next project.  I already found videos in youtube and found good reviews of the product so I'll cover my own perspective of the product in future logs.

Before moving forward, I think I also need to tell you what not to use as primer, THIS: Bosny Primer Grey
This is just a primer-colored paint
EDIT: It has been confirmed by Bosny representatives and some users that Bosny Grey Primer above is indeed also an acrylic-lacquer primer.  I also noticed in experience that its pigments are coarser than normal paint from Bosny.  It also promotes adhesion for succeeding paint layers pretty well.  But since it uses acrylic as its main medium (with a lacquer-solvent),  I still find it scratching off easier compared to primers like Alclad Primers and Tamiya Super Surfacers.  Use this if you can't find anything else.  For me, I still use this as a normal paint and a good back-up primer if I ran out of Alclads.
I have seen a lot of modellers posting in groups like: "WIP: Primed/primered my kit, ready for painting".  Then I see they just used this paint.  Guess what?  This is not the primer you think it is.  It is just a normal paint color, probably Sea Gray in other brands.  Unlike the real surfacer-primers, this paint just colors the plastic in its primer-like color.  Okay, this is a lacquer-based paint.  It is also matte when fully cured.  Given that, this paint will grip the plastic good enough and also provides a grippy surface for next colors to grab on to.  That may be good for a while, but once you do maskings, there is a risk that the paint will peel off along with this one.  In short, if you're going to prime your kit, you better do it properly - use the right stuff.  Just use this one as you would with a normal paint. (I actually use this an alternative to a Sea Gray paint).  You also cannot sand this if needed.  But then again, you can kind of use this as a pseudo-surfacer:
  1. Spray the Bosny Plastic Primer as instructed
  2. After 10 minutes (and not more than 30 minutes), spray this over.
  3. Viola, "priming" finished
Okay, after that lesson about priming and stuff, I suggest letting the primer to cure for 24 hours.  Primers from spraycans, specially the lacquer-based ones dry in just 30 minutes, but general tip for all paints is to let it cure.  Curing is letting the paint fully rid itself of solvents and carriers, letting the color-pigment to fully settle on the surface of your kit.  Primers that didn't fully cure may have problems when you handle it too early, not too mention the risk that it might have negative effects in the future.

Moving forward, here are the parts mounted for priming:
Parts mounted using trimmed runners with alligator clips attached.
I trimmed used plastic runners and fixed alligator clips on them.  For parts that don't have anything to clip on to, I used sticky tack clay to stick them on the plastic sticks.  I used Faber-Castell Tack-It (Php56).  It works well in keeping parts fixed and it comes already pre-cut.  The good thing about sticky tacks is that you can re-use them again and again.  After painting, just knead them several times.  Kneading the sticky tacks wears off the paint that got on to them and reactivates the sticky agent.  This basically means you can use a small amount over and over again for future projects.

After securing the parts on the mounts, I just sprayed the VHT Primer on the parts.  I just sprayed 2 coats and kept everything thin and even.
By the way, I used white as the color of the primer.  I find it easier to control the color of my base coats and also very effective in the pre-shading method that I will be using.

So that basically ends the first part of project.

If you're still interested for the next part (part 2), CLICK HERE :)


  1. The VHT Primer, I have never seen that before. Where did you purchase it?

    1. @Illsteir, I got the VHT Primer from True Value. It is a hardware store in Trinoma and, I believe, is a sister company of Handyman. The last time I checked, they also now have a VHT Grey Primer which has the same color as the Alclad Grey Primer aside from the White and Yellow ones.

    2. I work near that area. Thanks for the info!

  2. Oh nice blog you got bro! Very informative... Bookmarked ahaha!

    btw Bosny Primer is a primer, it was confirmed by Bosny...

    1. @kuyayobs
      Thanks much for the support!
      Regarding Bosny Primer - thanks for confirming as well. At least now I have another option for priming plastics. Though I like Alclad Primers better than Bosny. Bosny's primer grey still gets scratched and reveal the bare plastic underneath it. Primers like Tamiya and Alclad are very durable (I accidentally scratched the paint and it only revealed the primer layer). Nonetheless, thanks for confirming Bosny's primer. It works really well in adhering paint :D

  3. Yeah, Maybe there are batches of good and bad bosny primers.., I experience one time having a Can of Bosny Primer that goes off easily when applied... even if I tried it to decant and shoot it in to my Airbrush, it easily get scratch.. Right I'm using bosny primer as fillers for some gaps coz it's really thick, it saves a lot of Mr. Surfacer 500

    1. Yep, I now use Alclad's primer as it tends to be more cost-efficient compared to the Mr Surfacers. It comes airbrush-ready and fills gaps as good as the Mr Surfacer 1000 or 1200.

    2. Yep, I now use Alclad's primer as it tends to be more cost-efficient compared to the Mr Surfacers. It comes airbrush-ready and fills gaps as good as the Mr Surfacer 1000 or 1200.

    3. Yep, I now use Alclad's primer as it tends to be more cost-efficient compared to the Mr Surfacers. It comes airbrush-ready and fills gaps as good as the Mr Surfacer 1000 or 1200.