Tag: Anime

Completed : Max Factory 1/72 Soltic H8 Roundfacer

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Kit Info
Brand : Max Factory Combat Armor Max 02
Media : Injection Plastic
Markings : Kit

The Subject
Fang of the Sun Dougram (Taiyō no Kiba Daguramu) is a 75 episode anime TV series created by Ryōsuke Takahashi that aired in Japan from 1981 to 1983.

In Space Century (SC) 152, an independence movement is growing on the planet Deloyer. Crinn Cashim, the son of the leader of the Earth Federation government on Deloyer, pilots the Dougram and fights for the ‘Fang of the Sun’, a small team of guerillas fighting for the independence of Deloyer.

The Roundfacer is the standard Combat Armor deployed by the Federation. It is versatile and would revolutionize mechanized warfare. It is easy to produce and would serve the Federation throughout the war with the insurgents. It is armed with a handheld linear gun, a shoulder-mounted 7-tube missile pod and 4 arm-mounted 25mm chain guns.

Info from Wikipedia and instruction manual

Note: Western audiences would probably recognize this mecha as the GRF-1N Griffin, a BattleMech from the board game Battletech.

The Kit
This is the second release in Max Factory’s modern take on the mecha from Fang of the Sun Dougram. The kits are by and large snapfit and come with water slide decals. Somewhat poseable with the use of polycaps, they also have a retro aesthetic to match the  design sensibilities from the 1980s. Parts breakdown is quite simple and can be easily separated into subassemblies. However there are some oddities: the pilot figure will need to be cemented in place since there’s nothing holding it in the cockpit and the right hand won’t hold the gun properly. A pleasant surprise though is the canopy which already comes with a pre-painted frame.

The overall fit is a mixed bag. Some of the joints fit well, others are loose. The shoulder ball joints are about 1mm too large so there’s no positive fit to the sockets on the body. Luckily for me, the easiest fix worked: I carefully sanded down one side of each ball joint. In any case, the overall design of parts are quite simple where Max Factory doesn’t try to avoid obvious seamlines. All in all, it slots in between a modern Bandai and Wave kit.

Colors & Markings
I went with a modified version of the standard colors for the Roundfacer. It’s now a 2-tone green painted in a splinter pattern. The 2 shades of green (RLM 2 and RLM 71) are what the Luftwaffe used for their machines in WW2. Otherwise, I followed what is shown in the instructions.

As usual I went easy on the decals. I initially wanted to add a custom artwork on the shoulder shield but changed my mind in the last minute. The kit decals are a mixed bag: they separated quickly from the backings but they have a satin finish to them and the white colored decals tore easily. Initially it looks like they didn’t react well with Mark Softer. Thankfully though, once cured and given another spray of gloss, they actually looked quite good.

I decided to weather this kit slightly more than usual which I wrote about here. TL:DR, it was panel lining with oil paint, then panel filtering with oil paint, then chipping and drybrushing with acrylic paint, then streaking with oil paint, then dusting with Tamiya Weathering Master, and lastly adding dirt on the feet with pigments. I also made sure to cover some of the paint that had flaked off with chipping. Unfortunately the weathering revealed some seamlines that I didn’t fix properly. Oh well, lesson learned and moving on.

So that’s it. My first completed kit of the year. And one that was relatively trouble-free. While not the best fitting, I like this series of kits. Definitely more to come.

Project Log
> Part 1 : Construction
> Part 2 : Painting
> Part 3 : Finishing

Number 1 of 2018

WIP : Max Factory 1/72 Soltic Roundfacer Pt. 3 – Finishing

As usual, I went easy with the markings. The kit decals are a mixed bag: they slide off the backings quite quickly but they have a satin sheen and some of the white ones tore easily. They also didn’t react much with Mark Softer.

I began weathering with panel lining with lamp black oil paint. This adds a subtle depth to the panel lines. I then assembled the kit together before going onto the filtering stage.

First up a look at the surface after panel lining but before filters.

I then added small drops of white, yellow and blue oil paint over the surfaces.

With a damp flat brush and up down motion, I then blended the oil paints together.

It’s subtle, but the oil paints add additional depth and variation to the colors. I also find that they blend the 2 camo colors together. At this stage I found seamlines that I didn’t fix properly. Oh well, moving on.

I messed up the final flat coat in my hurry to finish. The finish is pebbly in some spots due to uneven application.

Anyway, more weathering is next. Basically it’s:

  1. adding filters and blending with oil paint
  2. chipping with acrylic paint
  3. drybrush with acrylic paint
  4. streaking with oil paint
  5. dusting with pigment

These were all done to taste. Thankfuly, I managed to mitigate the pebbly-ness of the flat coat somewhat.

From the beginning of this build, I managed to lose the 2 chest inserts but luckily it looks OK without them.

I’ll try to clean up the dust marks, add a final flat coat to seal in the pigments and I can call this one done.

WIP : Max Factory 1/72 Soltic Roundfacer Pt. 2 – Painting

Painting begins with a base coat of black. For this build, I tried Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black thinned with Mr. Color lacquer thinner for the base coat. Having not have much luck with using acrylic-based primers (I find them hard to use), using this new combo was very easy. I thinned the paint 1:1 and was done in no time. The finish is a lot stronger than acrylic primer : it doesn’t chip as easily. Going forward, I think I’ll base coat with lacquer paint.

I then added a marble coat with a gray color. I hoped that this would add some subtle variation of the actual color. I messed up the marble coat though and only realized why when I was cleaning the airbrush: the paint gunked up in the cup and nozzle. I suspect this is due to using Tamiya Acrylic Retarder on AK Interactive acrylic paint. I’ll need to test this some more.

Taking a look after painting, the marbling effect only shows up in the red colored parts.

I decided to do the marble coat again. As you can see, I’m not that neat about it.

The color scheme is a splinter camouflage of dunkelgrun and grau like what the German Luftwaffe used in WWII. First on is dunkelgrun (dark green). I then masked the pattern and sprayed grau (gray) next.

I do the same for the all the parts that will have the dunkelgrun and grau colors. The inside sections of the pelvis and shoulder plates where then painted in gunship gray.

Once these have cured it’s time for decals.

WIP : Max Factory 1/72 Soltic Roundfacer Pt. 1 – Construction

New year, new project. This time it’s a snapfit kit from Max Factory. The subject is the Soltic Roundfacer, a mass production mecha from the 1980s anime Fang of the Sun Dougram. This show was never exported out of Japan so I’ve never actually watched it. But I’ve always liked the designs of the mecha. For western folks who play Battletech, the Roundfacer would look familiar as FASA pretty much stole the design and renamed it the Griffin. The design of this kit is retro and has a certain charm to it.

Fitting-wise, the kit is not as well done as a typical Bandai kit. Also unlike Bandai, they don’t really make the effort of hide the seamlines. The molding is good in general though, and it can be easily painted in sub assemblies. The polycaps however, aren’t the best. Some of the fitting of the limbs is looser and the arms don’t fit well at all to the body: they fall off even just being left alone. All in all, I would probably rank this between a Bandai and a Wave kit.

The pilot figure will need to be cemented inside the cockpit since nothing holds it in place, which is odd. The size of the pilot also looks to be slightly bigger than 1/72. The gun also pretty much cannot be held with any positive lock by the hand. I fixed that with a small wad of blutack. A pleasant surprise is the prepainted canopy which would have been a challenge to mask properly.

Instead of trying to find and fit a smaller ball or socket polycap into the shoulders I tried the simplest fix first: I carefully sanded the ball joint flatter on one side and they now fit snugly. I did however, manage to lose one of the rings that go between the fist and the cuff so I decided to scratch a new one from some Kotobukiya Round Thrusters. I just needed to make sure the hole I made clears the square polycap on the cuff. The new part I made looks alright. It’s thicker so I went ahead and made another one to replace the remaining kit part.

Seamline fixing is next and I’ll be ready to paint this thing.

Mecha Nostalgia : Robotech

In the early 1980s, my older brother who was studying in the US would record me video cassettes worth of cartoons. If I remembered correctly there were 21 cassettes at 8 hours each. Yup. That made for a lot of 30 minute cartoons. Among them was a little gem called Robotech.

Robotech is an 85-episode adaptation of three different anime television series made between 1982-1984 in Japan; the adaptation was aired in 1985. Within the combined and edited story, Robotechnology refers to the scientific advances discovered in an alien starship that crashed on a South Pacific island. With this technology, Earth developed giant robotic machines or mecha (many of which were capable of transforming into vehicles) to fight three successive extraterrestrial invasions.

Info from Wikipedia

At this point in Singapore, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada, the 3 separate series that made up Robotech were also playing on local TV in their original forms, except they were dubbed in Mandarin. So it was a confusing time for me. But no matter, I enjoyed all the different versions, even more so after I’ve learned about their differences. Robotech itself was never shown in Singapore.

Like most Robotech fans, I preferred The Macross Saga and The New Generation. For one thing, the characters are more interesting and of course, the mecha stood out more. Robotech’s overall plot was far more mature than was out there with its handling of romance and many character deaths. As a kid though, I could have done with less of the icky romance, especially in the Macross Saga.

The toys were released by Matchbox that went with 3 3/4 inch figures (same as G.I.Joe of the time) with the vehicles correspondingly scaled (somewhat) to match. I remember they were only available in a toy shop at the top level of the mall Wisma Atria. I had 3 toys from the series: the Excalibur Mk VI (retconned into the Tomahawk), the Armoured Cyclone and a figure of Rand in civilian clothes.

The holy grail of this line for me was the Veritech Hover Tank from the Robotech Masters portion of the series. The Hover Tank was the main mecha hero Dana Sterling piloted. Incidentally, there was never a Japanese version of this mecha made. I remember drooling over this toy whenever I was at the toy store.

There are a lot of purists who poo-poo Robotech, saying that it’s a travesty of the original material. For me though, it was my entry into anime and in a language that I understood best.

Part 2 of a series

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