Category: Hobby Musings

Guide : Painting a 1/48 US WWII Pilot

While finishing my Italeri 1/48 A-36 Apache, I decided to go ahead and paint up a pilot figure so I can use it as a size reference. It’s what I have been doing with my 1/72 modern pilot. This WWII pilot figure comes from the Hasegawa 1/48 WWII Pilot Figure Set. The instructions simply say ‘US pilot’ so I’m not sure if this represents a USAAF or USN pilot. I think it’s the latter though. In any case, this is the only option for a US pilot.

The details are decent but nothing to shout home about. Clean up however was minimal.

First I sprayed a base coat of black.

Then I sprayed white at a 45 degree angle from above. This simulates the Sun as the light source so I immediately get some highlights and shadows.

The basic colors are then handpainted. Some of the highlights and shadows can still be seen which is what we want.

Then I washed the figure with Army Painter Warpaints Soft Tone for the flesh with Army Painter Warpaints Dark Tone and Citadel Shade Nuln oil for the rest.

Once the washes have cured, I went back in to add highlights using the same basic colors.

The end result is… decent for an hour’s work. But it doesn’t look half bad posed with a plane so I’m more than happy with it.

The box comes with RAF, IJA/IJN and Luftwaffe pilots too so there’ll be more practice to come.

Musings : Bandai’s Super Mini-pla Sentai Robo series

Candy Toys are toys/model kits packaged with a piece of candy or gum and sold in supermarkets. Usually there will be 3-5 different models in the same box design so you have to hunt through the racks to get the one you want. I used to buy these as a kid from Japanese supermarkets. The candy is arbitrary really because the main event is building the toy inside the box.

In the last few years Bandai has started releasing the robots from Super Sentai for their Super Mini-pla line which are basically candy toys. Now, you simply buy the whole set in one go so no more rummaging in supermaket aisles needed though I’ve always thought that was part of the fun. Anyway, they’ve released quite a few Super Sentai robots so far:

Pictures from Hobby Search

And they look great: they are articulated and can be split into their component parts just like their TV and toy counterparts. I also think that they visually strike a nice balance between looking like proper mecha and the ‘guy in a plastic robot suit’ look.

Thing is though, Bandai has a habit of dropping a line abruptly. Just look at Super Robot Chogokin, which promised to be articulated non-transforming (mostly) metal robot toys. They also released a few Super Sentai robots for this line. But the line has stopped years ago after just releasing 4 of them.

I’ve always liked the idea of having a display of Sentai robots in my collection but I think the chances of Bandai releasing all of them as Super Mini-pla is actually quite slim since there are so many of them (this list I linked doesn’t even include the secondary robots).

However, this does make it relatively easier to not start collecting the line. 🙂

A visit to Warhammer – Tottenham Court Road

So I visited the UK earlier in June and I made sure to visit a Games Workshop store. Lucky for me there was one near the hotel I was staying at. Even better was the opening hours: they are open till 10pm every Monday-Saturday.

The store wasn’t big. But it was packed with people, products and display! They didn’t offer the full line of products but there were more than enough choice for both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar. There was also a wall with the complete line of Citadel paints and tools. If you have more than 24 hours to spare, they also offered the service to order web-exclusive items and have the them shipped to the shop for collection. Nice.

There were tables set up for folks to do figure painting and play games. The store was also filled with very nicely painted figures.

I could ogle at these for hours but my son and I only had about 45 minutes to spare there.

More stash stuffers although only the Dreadnaught was mine. I resisted many of the bigger items (like the Imperial Knights which went for 100 GBP) since we had limited luggage space as usual.

Definitely an eye opening experience!

A visit to Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku

A scale modeler’s trip to Tokyo is never complete without visiting at least one of the Yodobashi Camera stores. On my trip in December, I stayed in Shinjuku and happily, Yodobashi Camera Shinjuku was only a 5 minutes walk away. Very dangerous indeed for this modeler.

It turns out that this particular Yodobashi Camera is the first ever opened and it’s huge: it takes up space in 12 separate buildings (!!) and multiple floors in each building. Quite amazing. I went to the hobby and games building and I was greeted with 5 complete floors of products to ogle at. The hobby section alone took up 2 floors.

So I definitely felt like I was a kid in a candy shop. Alas, the missus was on this trip with me and the fact is that my stash is unrealistically big (this is the subject for another post) so I just bought what I felt won’t be easily bought back in Jakarta including a new 0.2mm airbrush for when my cheap China-made 0.2mm eventually breaks down.

I also managed to visit BIC Camera in Shinjuku and Yurakucho but the selections are a lot smaller. Given a choice and a time limitation, Yodobashi Camera is the way to go although I managed to score a Fists of War kit in BIC Camera that Yodobashi didn’t carry.

In any case, any Yodobashi Camera in Japan is a must visit if only to marvel at the amount of products (be it model kits or other stuff) on display. Did I mention the building for watches in the Shinjuku branch takes up 3 floors?

A quick look at a Daban 1/144 Jegan ECOAS and Base Jabber Type 89

I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some bootleg kits from Daban. They go for a fraction of the price of the originals so are they worth the savings? None withstanding the ethics of getting bootlegs, it’s a mixed bag.

They look OK from a distance but up close, flaws do appear particularly the Jegan ECOAS.

  • Clear parts aren’t really clear like the originals. They aren’t as shiny either.
  • Parts generally have a a light oily feel
  • Polycaps are harder and not as maleable which makes it difficult to pose the kit
  • Molding/detail of the parts are not as sharp in general
  • Instructions come in Chinese although there are still Japanese here and there. They are also folded without a proper crease
  • Sprues come in 1 big bag and most of the parts are scratched
  • The plastic feels more brittle
  • Some inconsistent fitting issues. I ended up trimming off many of the male connectors to ease fitting

The fitting issues are more prominent on the Jegan with major gaps even after trimming the connectors. The neck also flops around.

The Base Jabber on the other hand, fits very well and is pretty much trouble-free.

Obviously, 2 kits aren’t big enough of a sample size to draw any concrete conclusions. But the Jegan will definitely require some elbow grease to fix the issues so I don’t think it’s worth the savings. On the other hand the Base Jabber is quite problem-free. I’m not planning to buy another Jegan kit just to see if the fit issues are different but it’s probably safe to say that problems depend on the kits you buy. Bootlegs are definitely an affordable option to use as parts for a diorama/vignette and perhaps for kitbashing though. So, YMMV.

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