Cockpit done! First up, an overall coat of Vallejo US Grey. Then Black Grey for the stripe on the bang seat and an overall wash of the same color to add depth.
The same was done on the control panels but they ended up still looking quite bare. Besides, it’s supposed to be inflight so naturally the instruments will be lit. So I added the decals which really ‘pops’ the cockpit. The decals are thicker than usual and required a lot of Gunze Mark Softer to settle down. I’m glad I’m not going to touch this anymore.
Next up, the pilot. Straight assembly and trimming of the seamlines around the pilot before a coat of US Grey as a basecoat. Prussian Blue next for the flight suit. For the yellow bits, I first added white. I kept the chest rig in grey to add some ‘contrast’. Then it’s yellow for the helmet and uniform. The visor itself is Tamiya Clear Green.
I then touched up parts that had paint overruns and to add some depth, I added a wash of black grey but it’s not very obvious. At its scale, I think it wasn’t necessary. Heh. Then it’s a final fit into the cockpit for the results. Not too shabby.
Next, sealing up the cockpit and masking the canopy.
Progress slow (as usual) but basic construction done.
First up though, is to do the landing gear in the up position. I cut out the support beams on the gear doors and then I used some blu-tack as support for the doors to make sure they donâ€™t fall into the bays.
The rear landing gear was much easier to do, since they only have one door. The other subassemblies are then quickly put together. Basic construction is now all done.
Like all of their Macross series kits, Hasegawa engineered the kit to be done up in pretty straightforward subassemblies. I decided to do them up as much as possible before the painting process.
As usual, we begin with the cockpit. It’s quite sparse but should be OK with the pilot figure in it.
Next up, the (really) big fuselage. The engineering for this kit is abit odd. The top is fine. But the bottom is designed like a shell, with all the details in stage 1 (see below) being covered CFTs (stage 2) and integrated weapon pods (stage 3).
After the fuselage is done, I notice a huge gap at the back of it which is odd. I think what becomes the bottom plate here is the shield when the VF-22S is in Battroid mode.
I decided not to follow the instructions where you have to assemble the front section separately. I figure the fit would be better if I cemented the upper portion of the front section to the fuselage first, then fit the bottom portion. If there are any gaps or misalignment, at least it would appear at the bottom of the kit, easier to ignore. 😛
The RGM-79L GM Light Armor was developed for hit-and-run raids and serves as a fast attack unit for the Federation Forces. It mounts the minimum amount of armor giving it better acceleration and maneuverability. Most notable about this variant is the lack of armor on the shoulders and ankles.
The GM Light Armor carries a beam gun that’s similar to the RX-78-2 Gundam. It is more powerful than the GM’s standard beam spray gun but holds less shots. Many former pilots turned mobile suit pilots favor the GM Light Armor due to its similarity with fighter aircraft.
The RGM-79L is part of the MSV line, which was an offshoot series of mobile suits designed by Kunio Okawara (the principal Mecha designer for Mobile Suit Gundam). MSVs are official mobile suit variants that help to expand the metaverse and to help sell more model kits. Curiously though, there never was any model kit for the RGM-79L in any scale. Until now.
I pre-ordered the kit so I paid slightly less than retail for it. When it arrived, it came in a plain black thick cardboard box. Nicely wrapped in bubble wrap were:
As mentioned above, the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. OYW kit is required as a base. The conversion changes the following from the kit:
It looks like this when completed:
I was very excited when Akohobby announced that they were developing this kit. After prototype pictures popped up, showing a conversion kit for the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. OYW (which IMO, is one of the best kits in the MG line), I decided I had to have one in my collection.
Molding for the resin parts are nice and flash free. The pour stubs are not located in any important areas and the parts themselves have nicely done panel lines to complement the existing OYW kit parts.
A very nice surprise is that the visor is molded with clear resin but the modeler has to figure out by themselves how to ‘glam’ that part up. Akohobby used their own ‘Aurora’ visor sticker for their sample kit. For whatever reason, Akohobby chose not to include a small sheet of visor sticker with this kit.
The metal parts are also very nicely casted and gives the whole kit a more polished look. Interestingly, the beam gun’s barrel is also a metal part and is superbly detailed.
The decals are nicely printed. Quality-wise, they are on par with Samuel Decal offerings. The markings come in various colors to suit various color schemes and there are 2 different unique unit markings provided.
While it’s certainly possible that Bandai will release their own version of the RGM-79L (with the RGM-79 v2.0 as a base), I have a feeling it will have a very old school look. Akohobby gave their RGM-79L a modern flavor without overly changing the basic look and design. The design is clearly not for everyone, but it will be a unique addition to anyone’s collection.
The RMS-154 Barzam is a mass production mobile suit based on the RX-178 Gundam Mk. II. It was introduced in UC 0088 but was not a successful design and was only produced in limited numbers.
The Refined Barzam is a variant of the RMS-154 which appears as a bridge between the Barzam and the Gundam Mk. II. It is armed with the weapons from the Gundam Mk. II, with the exception of the addition of a grenade launcher for the beam rifle. It also mounts the Gundam Mk. II’s backpack and shield.
I really don’t like the design of the original Barzam. However, along came Hajime Katoki who redesigned it and came up with the Refined Barzam, which is vastly improved. Unfortunately, it was a minor design that appeared in Gundam Sentinel (a Side Story) so the chance of it ever seeing plastic form from Bandai was slim. Then came Akohobby who announced that they were producing a plastic conversion of the MG Gundam Mk. II. Said conversion kit was to be the Refined Barzam. I pre-ordered as soon as I could!
When it arrived, it came in a plain brown cardboard box with no markings whatsoever. Inside we get:
* Included in pre-orders only
As mentioned above, the MG Gundam Mk.II kit is required as a base. The conversion changes the following from the kit:
It also comes with parts for the beam rifle’s grenade launcher.
Molding for the parts are nice and flash free. Like their previous products, the plastic is of a more brittle quality than what Bandai produces. However, they are still nice and come with details that will complement the other parts from the base kit.
Based on my experience with the Powered GM conversion, this particular set being a first run kit, the fit should be quite good.
The decals are nicely printed. Quality-wise, they are on par with Samuel Decal offerings. The markings are for units based on the Asteroid Pezun, where part of the Gundam Sentinel story is based on.
As a pre-order bonus, the kit comes with a small metal ring, which is supposed to go onto the tip of the grenade launcher. It looks like it can go onto the pelvis too though. It’s really small but is very nicely done. Makes me curious about Akohobby’s other metal offerings.
The Refined Barzam is a very esoteric design. It also happens to be very unique, a combination of Zeon and Federation design. The kit is also very nicely done and I’m glad I pre-ordered this.