Punch for epic victory!!
Once I resolved to add the waist joint into the 00 Gundam, there was no turning back. This is my first successful attempt at modifying a plastic model and I’m glad it worked. Here’s a rundown on how it was done.
First, I had to cut the torso/waist combo block into half to separate the groin from the stomach. My pathetic box cutter couldn’t do the job, so I needed some extra tools. I encountered a mishap with my airbrush where the coil hose broke and I had to get a replacement.
This was what I bought along with my replacement hose yesterday afternoon. It’s a Hasegawa Etching Saw Set (700 yen, $16 SGD ouch) that comes with 4 blades (one is not in the picture). They have various shapes to cut different shaped surfaces. All you do is grab the saw by hand and slowly saw into the surface.
Here’s the saw in action. I’m using the large straight blade that has 4 slits at one side. It interlocks with another bit of metal with 4 nubs on them to strengthen the blade. I cut parallel to the edge so that the saw could move smoothly. If the blade goes at an oblique angle to the edge, the serrated edge of the saw snags against the plastic and you can’t move the blade smoothly.
After a few minutes’ worth of careful sawing, the block finally broke into two. Look at how clean the cut is. I then sanded the edges to smoothen the surface and repeated the procedure for the other half.
Later in the evening, I went to Daiso and bought several more supplies. I finally got myself a craft knife and some spare blades at $2 SGD each as a much cheaper alternative to an X-acto knife. I bought a cutting mat just to look cool and I also bought a A4 2mm thick expanded PP forming sheet.
If you’re planning to follow the directions of this inexperienced modder, note that you should not use expanded PP. Just waste more cash on some Tamiya clear sheet styrene (which I should have done) which will make your work much easier.
Using the PP sheet, I cut a pair of + – shaped blocks to cover the holes left after the cut. Being 2mm thick they were pretty difficult to cut but were rather rigid. I matched the joint holes to the upper waist joint and drilled 3mm holes (using a previously bought pin vise from Daiso too) in the two blocks as well as the large joining peg in the stomach. To make the joint, I cut a stick of leftover sprue from the kit and used the last remaining unused polycap PC F. The stick and polycap diameters were around 3mm too.
You can also see there is a pair of square blocks with a hole in each. This was meant to be used as a holder for the polycap and were supposed to be glued to the + block. However as I had used expanded PP, my Tamiya cement couldn’t work so they were discarded in the end. If you are using sheet styrene, this should be able to work.
Here’s a demonstration/test fit of how the stomach will hold the peg. When everything is complete, I will trim the length of the peg to fit.
Now on to the groin. There were joining pegs near the affected area which I had to remove to make way for the polycap holder I constructed. These were removed using a Brotherly Combination of the etching saw and my craft knife. I then used a lump of epoxy putty to hold the polycap holder in place inside. The leftover sprue was used to keep the assembly intact during construction.
I took the risk of discarding the square holders on both sides of the polycap and wrapped the putty around the polycap snugly instead. When hardened, the putty should keep the polycap trapped. If sheet styrene were used, the entire assembly would be glued and inserted into the groin using epoxy putty. Right after getting it into place, the leftover runner was then pulled out, keeping everything else intact. This picture was taken in the morning, but the putty should take 24 hours to harden.
I then proceeded to glue the leftover runner sprue inside the stomach. The + block would then go and putty would be used to keep it in place if needed.
When everything is cured, the leftover sprue stick, now reborn and given a new life as a peg, would be trimmed to the correct length. Lastly, I would use Tamiya putty to cover up the gaps and give a flat surface.
I also bought a roll of holographic tape from Daiso. Now I’m wondering whether I should use this in place of the stickers provided by the kit or paint the lenses Keita-style (ie. silver on back, clear green on front). Doing it like this seems nicer as painting the inside clear green would still make the lens look colourless when viewed side-on.
Everything put back together. The next step would be to fill up any holes and gaps with Tamiya putty.