After procrastinating for over 2 months, I’ve finally finished building my Astray! Due to a lack of motivation I spent a long time getting this done even though I didn’t do anything other than paint it. Despite my horrible airbrushing skill I’m still happy with how the red parts turned out.
Happy Lunar New Year!
I finally finished the Astray on Saturday afternoon and scrambled to clean up the mess that was my room, and made it just in time. No pictures of the finished model yet as I am still figuring out how to get my setup done. With the spray booth packed away, my main table is now occupied by my PC so I can’t just move things around to set up my background.
The pile of remains from the decal work. I used a few of the included dry transfers for some of the markings but many of them had to be applied on non-flat surfaces so I used waterslides by Samuel Decal. I thought it would be easier to apply the really large ones on the Tactical Arms but I was dead wrong.
All the decals were applied on Friday but I couldn”t spray a final top coat as we are having daily afternoon storms. I waited until Saturday morning and quickly got everything done. As expected, we had an afternoon shower.
The hands were painted by hand. Not sure whether the horrible job is due to my frayed brush or unsteady hands from the lack of practice.
This has been a busy week! School work picked up while there were lots of other things going on, and I was scrambling to finish up this guy. In the meantime, I’ll try to get pictures up as soon as I can, but I have to do all the customary new year obligations such as the once-a-year visits to relatives.
Over the past week all the red parts have been painted silver.
I didn’t have enough clear red paint so I had to slow down a bit and go for a quick resupply trip on Saturday. I was left with only the red parts for the legs.
Today was a rainy day which brought relief to the blazing heat this week, and I paid the price for trying to top coat my parts on a cool night.
The part on the left was top coated earlier, while the right one was done at night after the rain. Now I have a bunch of parts with a completely different texture. I’ll have to wait and hope I can fix things tomorrow by spraying another layer.
In the meantime I got myself some fans for my computer.
There’s a drive bay adapter for my SSD, 4 el cheapo 8cm fans, a 12cm fan filter, an Akasa Viper 12cm PWM fan, and a 3.5″ drive bay fan controller.
My Cooler Master case isn’t very good at cooling due to its fairly small size. There are 5 fan locations on the case and 3 of them only support the small 8cm fans. The vent on the side panel can take up to 12cm but I cannot use it due to its poor positioning (right beside the graphics card) and my graphics card completely taking up the width of the case. I got all these from Dealextreme and out of the 4 8cm fans I bought, one of them broke apart even before I installed it. The hub holding the motor and propeller simply broke off the square frame. Can’t expect much from a $3 USD fan.
The fan controller feels really cheap and fits poorly but at least it’s working, with all the knobs having different stiffness. I was tempted to get one of those larger ones with LCD panels showing temperature and fan speeds but my case only has one 5.25″ drive bay. The drive bay adapter had mounting holes which were slightly out of alignment with the case, requiring a lot of effort to install. I also decided to change the stock included 12cm fan on the top of the case to a PWM type with a mesh filter. Hopefully with PWM I can keep the fan noise down. On the other hand I can’t tell whether it has a better performance than the stock fan. I found out that the mesh restricted the air flow. My non-modular power supply is still troublesome as the huge bunch of unused cables really affects the air circulation adversely. Maybe in future I’ll buy a modular one, and a better CPU cooler too. My choices are limited due to height constraints so I can’t get those tower heatsinks as they are usually over 12cm tall. I spent the whole of Saturday getting everything installed. Was held back due to the horrible quality of these things (except for the 12cm PWM fan) as well as the user-unfriendliness of my case. The front takes an 8cm fan but the mounting holes are differently sized compared to the rest of the fan mounting areas and was a pain to install.
The chest part had two small red bits which were masked.
Due to the large number of red parts I had to paint them across multiple sessions. Furthermore the silver coverage wasn’t uniform enough so I had wait until daytime to check and paint a second coat if necessary.
Oops, I’m overdue for an update. Again, I haven’t been getting much done this past week. It’s almost the end of the second week of school and I’m still trying to salvage whatever holiday mood while I can, and playing RO2 all day.
It’s not clear in the picture above but I got most of the colours done. In my previous update I showed the pre-shading on the white parts; over the past 2 weeks I painted more white and managed to get the shadowing to look half decent. I also slapped on a layer of clear so they are ready to get decals and panel lines. Apart from the white parts I also got the light gray waist pieces done. I took the easy way out and dug up the mix I used for the beam rifles on my WZC. I also just finished working on the black parts. For these the colour guide suggested a 90% midnight blue + 10% white mix, but mine had more white. It completely concealed my earlier pre-shade attempt so I did a post-shade with black paint, but the results are not very obvious.
Now I’m left with the gold and red parts and for the red ones there are so many of them and so many layers of paint required.
I didn’t do anything major over the past week so here’s a small update.
I got the red parts painted black. It took several sessions of painting as there was a ton of parts, and this is merely the first of several other layers of paint.
Also attempted to pre-shade all the other parts. I used a more heavily thinned black paint as I was tired of my previous attempts which resulted in near invisible shadowing. I had problems getting my airbrush to behave predictably when I was doing this. Paint only started spraying when I pulled the trigger back almost 1/3 of the way, and the position seemed to keep changing and created black patches or runs here and there. I could not get myself to spray fine lines. Later on I adjusted the position of the needle so that paint would come out the moment I pulled back on the trigger and things have been smooth since. Hopefully I can get enough coats of white to cover up my horrible shading.
I need to write a report for my final year project and submit it by 15 January. Still spending my weekdays in school attempting to finish writing it. In the end I usually end up slacking.
I’m still lacking the motivation to get anything done. Instead of buying canned sprays this time round I managed to buy a bottle of primer and I was shocked at how much I had been cheated all these years. A fairly complex kit like the Astray used up less than a bottle. In contrast, if I were to use canned sprays, it would probably take at least 2 cans and each can is just over double the price of 1 bottle. So much savings in cost I felt like shooting myself.
With my lack of motivation I took a long time to get the parts primed. You may have noticed that the white coloured parts are still white; I decided to use Mr Base White 1000 on them instead. I felt that the opacity of Mr Color’s white paint is really low so it would take many coats of white just to cover up the gray base colour.
Oh and for those of you out there who celebrate Christmas, what gifts did you receive? Well again my next kit has been decided by someone else.
It’s a HGUC kit that I got as a gift all the way from Japan, hahahah! Details aside I had been thinking about trying out an RG or buying the newly released Nu Ver.ka but my evil plans have been foiled again. Not a bad thing since I have been spending too much money on PVCs this year.
Progress has been particularly slow due to me spending my weekdays in school, and being at the most boring stage of the build – sanding. People are going on holidays while I’m spending my second vacation in a row stuck doing something else with not jeopardizing my final year project as an excuse. I’m also lacking the motivation to do anything else. All I want to do is just build a kit with my awesome Tamiya side cutters alone. I got a little addicted to using them to cut stuff.
Nothing much in terms of photos this week. Everything was disassembled and separated into trays. As expected, it was troublesome dealing with the layered assemblies. I see myself using up several cans of primer and top coat again. Every time I go for a resupply trip and pick the bottled primer for airbrushing the shopkeeper would strongly recommend using the spray cans instead, giving reasons such as not worrying that your airbrush would be clogged. Maybe he can profit more from selling those spray cans.
As far as sanding goes there aren’t many obvious nub marks or seams, but there are flash lines on many parts to deal with. The biggest culprit is the two swords. Maybe in the end I’m wasting my time sanding areas that become hidden when assembled.
And this was what happened to my tube of putty when I tried to roll it up. There was a tear in the tube which made almost the entire tube harden. I can force a bit out the top but it seems to have dried a little. I don’t think I’ll need a lot for this kit so I’ll make do with what’s left.
Got the weapons built within a day, the base on another. There are enough parts to convert the Tactical Arms to the one used by the Blue Frame 2R except it doesn’t have beam effects for the Sword Arms.