Saturday, September 13, 2008

Project Arctic Warfare Zaku: 205 (AWZ: 205) Part 1 of 4



It is hot as heck here in Georgia. I miss cold weather these days. In fact, I miss it so bad that I decided to do a diorama of Zeku that fits the idea of “Cold Climate”. Thus, the project “Arctic Warfare Zaku (AWZ: 205)” was initiated.

Obviously, diorama featured some snow and cold climate theme. However, since this was my first diorama post (not first diorama though), I documented most techniques I used in-depth (mostly borrowed and/or learned by reading other gunpla modeler’s websites. I did my best to put the link to websites where I found the information so you don’t have to search for them). Also, all techniques used in “AWZ: 205” are bit more exaggerated so that all who wish to see the result of a given technique can see it easily.

My concept of operation is “very simple (Cheap is more like it) and practical gunpla” without burning a hole in my wallet. I try to utilize items and materials that are easily obtainable in local stores (thus, cheaper) and not to use stuffs that are too unique in nature that they can only be obtained from special modeling store via mail. Keep that in mind when you read this… I hope some of you find this post useful.

Background theme:

23 January 0081 U.C, It was the most vicious winter battle indeed; No one thought that the fire power of remnant Zeon forces can deliver such devastating ambush. When Lt. Thomson from the Charlie Company (C. CO), 205th Arctic Warfare Zaku Mobile Suite Battalion (AWZ: 205 MS-BN) regained his conscious, there was a dead silence over his radio channel… It was only matter of time before Lt. Thomson realized that his AWZ was the only functional mobile suit within the vicinity. He anxiously ran system check to assess his AWZ’s combat capability. Luckily, His AWZ seemed to retain 80%mobility despite the heavy damage it took on its leg modules. His only objective now is to locate and link up with this lost Unit………..


I did some image search (Thank you google!) for good arctic warfare scenes.

The base model for this diorama was MS-06F2 Zaku II F2: EFSF I got from for about $30. I got some great “before shot” from is a Korean Gunpla review website. Although it is in Korean, it still is a great site for any gunpla modeler to checkout because website is organized in logical ways (all models are organized by PG/MG/HGUC/SEED/OO and etc..).

Also, most (about 99%) of model photos are just straight build with panel lines and decals applied only. Since there are no other painting and/or modification applied to models, one may get a great idea what the gunpla would look alike as a base model before purchasing the model kit.

MS-06F2 Zaku II F2: EFSF has fair amount of internal frame, details, and great potential to carry a look of “Heavy Armored vehicle”. I built the model kit according to manual and applied panel lines before starting any mod (No decal/stickers applied yet). Now on to the modification..

Work in progress:

First, all external surface (armors and weapons) were prepared for weathering and painting. The original model kit had semi glossy look. Also there were too many unsightly spur marks (definition of “spur marks” can be found here). Sanding is very necessary and easy way to even out the surface of original model.

Next, I covered the power lines with Teflon tape to give its added cold climate protection look (kinds like when we put insulations around the water pipe in winter time) .

Here are few before shots of internal frames.

Internal frames are then dry brushed (in-depth explanations here) to give its “metallic” look. I added some “Perl Ex pigments: 655 super copper” with “Testors Enamel: 1180 Steel“ from Michael’s Art Store.

There are many opinions regarding painting using regular paint brush vs airbrush. It is widely accepted that using regular paint brush will cause brush stroke marks, resulting tacky paint job. Well you’d be the judge of that after seeing some photos below. In order to keep with my concept of operation (cheap), I used regular paint brush (I do own air brush though) for this diorama. You can see in next two photos that using regular brush can have great outcome if you are willing to apply multiple coats. The major key points when using regular brush are…
1. Use less paint (Enamel in this case).
2. Apply multiple coats.
Personally, I think this came out nicely. There were few of brush stroke marks but since this model is for battle damaged diorama, I figured it was acceptable.

Next, I added some detail painting using “Testors Enamel: 1151 Copper“.
A: Two coats of dry brushed, “steel” base.
B: Added detail painting using “Testeors Enamel: 1151 Copper”.

Front and back of body.

Chair of cockpit painted by applying glossy brown base cost and flat black highlights.

Also notice how evenly paint (metallic part) has been applied throughout the surface (no brush marks here!). A: Original back pack.
B: Dry brushed two coats of “Testors Enamel: 1180 Steel“.
C: Applied detail painting using “Testeors Enamel: 1151 Copper”.
D: Finished back pack.
F: I used “Testeors Enamel: 1146 Silver” for the thrusters.

Meet Lt. Jacob L. Thomson. He is wearing "winter camouflage" uniform (Well, I painted the pilot figure that came with the model kit as you can probably tell). I used flat grey as the base coat, and then added detail using black and white enamel.

Here is finished internal frame. Before and after shot of internal frame.
I worked on the base for the diorama while AWZ 205 was drying. A: 5” X 7” Value rectangular plaque I got from Wal-mart served me well as the perfect base for diorama. There were two advantage of using this plaque.
1. It was bit small so it cost less to decorate. 2. It was only 79 cents!
B: I experimented with basic terrain features using aluminum foils. I wanted to give a feel where one of AWZ’s feet were being slide under him.
C: I used “Rigid Wrap: Plaster Cloth” from Michael’s Art Store to cover the foil and shape the terrain features.
D: Draft base.

Here I tried to determine the “fitting” of model on the base.
Luckily, it seemed to fit nicely. Otherwise, I would’ve just added more plaster cloth to shape the base. Here are more shots indicating the “fitting” of AWZ’s feet on the base.

Here I used Acrylic paints from (guess where?) Michael’s Art Store to cover up the base. Even grey tone is very nice base coat for dark themed diorama. (The terrain will be snow covered field with muddy under sludge showing in the final product). Base coat application was done!

While base stand was being dried, I applied decals/stickers to AWZ.

Next, I used pencil to draw in some battle damage mark. As I mentioned in the prolog of this project, all techniques used in “AWZ: 205” are bit more exaggerated so that all who wish to see the result of a given technique can see it easily.

I personally believe that battle damage should not be overly done. But I wanted to show some different effects for those of you who want to see various techniques without scarifying your own model kit.

Hare are some key points.
1. Be modest.
2. Don’t be afraid of messing up (after all, you ARE messing your kit up, hence the term “battle damage”)
3. Try to do some research on how a projectile would move through an object and see if you can express it.
4. Practice, practice, practice!! Experiment on other plastic objects such as yogurt container, pudding cup, and Tupperware.

Here are some photos that will make some of you cringe…LOL! Most of the “Battle Damage” was done using model knife. However, some of the heavy damage was done using dremel rotary tool. All parts were sanded down again.

Again, the “Battle damage” marks were only superficial and did not interfere with original model’s functionality. The AWZ can maneuver, bend, and hold pose just like the brand new undamaged kit. Keep that in mind when you do this, stay away from damaging any joints, armor connection points, and/or sockets.

Next, I used “Tamiya weathering mater kit” bought from e-bay (about $4.00, and this lasted me forever) to add in some oil stains.
I applied bit more than needed to highlight the applied points.
Here you can see some realistic oil stains (still bit too much). A: Right below the area where power lines for the leg connects.
B: Below the thrusters. This can be seen as the burned marks from thrusts being fired.
C: Oil stains oozing out from the damaged parts of leg modules.
D: This area would appear as the impact area for some sort of anti mobile suit grenade launchers in the final product.

Here I added some “bumpy” textures on the armors by using techniques mentioned here.
I used “Tamiya weathering mater kit” to add some rust effects. Next, I used some enamel thinner to wash out overly done weathering effects.

Here I’ve added some realistic details for the damaged shoulder shield.
A: I’ve smoothed out the area by sanding. Then I used candle to add quick burn marks (DO NOT MELT THE PLASTIC! Just lightly graze the flame over the parts).
B: I used old cell phone parts to cut out some “would be armor” parts to fit in between the shield.
C: Here is the finished product. I went over it with again with the candle flame to add burned marks to the metal upgrades.

Here are some shots of AWZ after weathering and detailing.

Thanks for reading, Project Arctic Warfare Zaku: 205 (AWZ: 205) part 2 of 4 will be posted in few days.


1 comment:

John said...

holy shit, I have no words to describe this miniature awesomeness.