Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bandai 1/72 VF-25S Part 1 of 3


My next build was Bandai 1/72 VF-25S.

Along with Gundam animation series, I am a huge fan of Macross animation series. Thus, 1/72 VF-25S model kit release by Bandai was a dream come true.

About the kit
Since there are many great photo reviews on the internet already on this kit so I will NOT go in to that. Please go following site for detail review.

1. You can find the photo review by dalong HERE.
2. You can find building in progress photos HERE.
3. You can find out of the box review HERE.

Quick glance

Now, after looking at some above references, I made following notes.
1. There are some discrepancies of color scheme (indicated by the red arrows in the photo, these parts are regular grey in the kit. They should be lighter grey.)

2. Despite my concerns, the color separation for the head is excellent.

3. Head include some cool gimmicks (Would be “jaw lines” fold so the head fits behind the cockpit area)

4. The clear part in front of the fighter (below, forward) is still covered by light purple sticker. This part (and canopy) will need some clear coatings.

5. Panel line fill and sticker application are must (check out the straight build without any panel lines and stickers applied YUCK!!! )

6. As all Bandai kits (normal release version) it has semi gloss look that make the model seem very plasticky (to me at least) a subdued, matted finish would give much “heavier” look.

The Plan
Here are some works/touch ups (well, these should not even be considered “WORKS” since it will not require that much of skill…. All I will need is some easy to get equipments/supply, attention to detail and lots of patient/time. SO let’s call it a “touch-up”.)

1. Prep kit by filling in the panel lines and applying light coats of clear spray paints.
2. Paint (air brush) three locations mentioned above to match the color scheme.
3. Add some texture on the canopy (Experimental technique).
4. Apply stickers and secure it with some super glue.
5. Apply weathering
6. Finish by applying sealer.


1. Kit preparation- Panel lines: People asked me a lot regarding panel line filling.
There are several options on panel linings. You can:
a) use very thin enamel and use osmoses to fill in the lines.
b) use gundam marker and rub off the excess ink.
c) use pastel and/or weathering kit/powder to brush in the panel line and remove excess dusts.

I used gundam marker method because I am most comfortable with this method and (for me) it is relatively easy to fix any mistakes I may (and always does) make.

Supply lists:
- Gundam Marker from HERE (I know it says sold out here but you can get them anywhere including e-bay. I got the one that says “GM01” Black)
- Baby oil
-Cotton swab
- Mini cotton pads
-Regular eraser
-My thumb!

Technique: Basic idea is truly logical so DON’T let it scare you!!! You just fill in the line with the pen, and rub off and/or erase the excess ink. I say excess ink because the tip of gundam marker is much thicker than most panel lines of VF-25S. Also, I draw in Panel lines while parts are still attached to spur. I find it easy to work (better control of parts) and review to ensure I haven’t missed any lines.

1). Draw in small portion of panel line (use about the same amount pressure as when you write)

2). Coat your thumb with very small amount of baby oil. Again, the “operative words” are VERY SMALL AMOUNT!! Simply put some baby oil on your thumb and wipe it off with cotton pads so you can barely tell that there are oils on your thumb.

3). Rub off excess ink with your thumb. Always rub off perpendicular (90 degree in angle) to the line so that you don’t rub off the actual panel line. Also, I believe Gundam marker ink is oil-based ink (Contrary to popular claim that it is water-based) because it is very easily removed with you use baby oil. If you try to rub it off by good ol’ “spit and rub” technique, you’ll find it much harder and I truly believe that it is the “vigorous rubbing” action that is removing the ink, NOT the spit (water-based) .

4) Erase/ wipe off the area that because discolored due to spread of excess ink (Honestly, this rarely happens. However, it will be noticed when you are done if you let it pass).

5) If you have made a mistake, then use baby oil to remove the mistake and redo (or use your thumb).
6) For hard to reach area, use either cotton swab and/or rolled up cotton pad to remove excess ink.
7) Wash your thumb frequently to keep inks from spreading back to the kit.

8) Final thought. SLOW THE HELL DOWN!!!!! Keep in mind that this WILL take all day (6-8 hours, first time). You can try to be all “high speed” and rush this but I found that when I work more than one inch at a time, the Gundam marker ink dried too fast and lines looked all messy. But, that’s it for my two cents. Here are some comparision shots.

1. Kit preparation- subdued looks.
This is very simple 10 minute process to improve your kit’s plasticky looks (However, that is entirely my opinion. If you like the glossy look of the kit, then skip this step).

I use “Kryon Matte Finish” on my models to give that subdued/heavy feel. I got mine from Wal-mart for $2.99. You can get detail information about this spray Here

Two positive effects for doing this (IMHO) are 1). You model look great!! Well, obviously..LOL 2).In many cases, it makes the joints tighter so models seem to pose well (In VF-25S case, parts hold together pretty tight in the fighter mode… no more loose hips and legs… LOL that sounded like something else).

2. Paint
Although, I prefer brush painting on many Gundam models, I wanted to use my airbrush on this kit because very little masking was needed (I hate masking!!! I rather gouge my eyes out and fry them then to mask the entire model kits for air brushing!!! Especially big kits like Perfect Grade Gundam Models…LOL).

For masking I cheated a bit. I used regular making tape to cover the larger parts but I also used pre-cut, 1mm/2mm masking tape (Mr. Finely Slit Masking Sheets) I bought from hobbywave (Link HERE).

After that, I applied Mr Surfacer Spray 1000 (http://www.hobbywave.com/modeling_supplies/sprays/mr-surfacer-spray-1000-large.html) and airbrushed the area noted above. One tricky thing was matching the color scheme. The part needed to be paint is NOT white. They are light grey. Based on the manual, it is about 80% white 20% grey but after doing this, I think it will be better if proportion is 85% white and 15% grey (However, the difference is barely noticed).

3. Canopy and other clear parts
I worked on these clear parts for the kit. 1). Sensors located at the nose area of fighter (normally treated by purple stickers eww~) 2). Two canopy parts.

For these parts, I used two techniques I been working on. First is called “Dunking method” (yes I named it so I doubt you may find others calling it by the same name).
I used this technique before when I wanted a very light and transparent look on clear part. The concept behind it is same as when you dye white T-shirt. Let me explain…. LOL. When you dye T-shirt the ol’ school way, one should dunk white T-shirt in desire Dye (darker then desired color) then wash it to take out excess Dye… Right? I used the same concept there. The sensors are purple color. So I mixed some enamel to make desired purple shade then added enough thinner to consistency of water. Then I dunked the clear color parts, let it dry for 30 seconds, then place then in clear thinner to wash out until desired purple shade come out.

I like this method better than using “Clear Enamel” because I don’t have to worry about any streak marks (from the brush) and it is very evenly applied.

The second technique I used required basically dissolving the clear parts to give semi-clear look. I didn’t particularly like the fact that canopies of VF-25 were all clear parts in the animation. I figured that these canopies would act as a 360 degree monitors when it becomes the Robot mode, thus would have rough texture due to all the LCD and sensor parts embedded in the glasses itself (again just my personal opinion).

Anyways, in order to recreate that rough surface look, one can scratch the surface of clear parts on until desired look is accomplished (DUMBASS WAY TO DO, because it will never be evenly scratched) or use solvent to evenly dissolve the clear part until it loose its clear character and obtain semi-clear/rough textures.

I used “Goof-off” http://www.goof-off.com/ to accomplish this. PLEASE BECAREFUL when you/if you use this product. This is an ultimate stain remover. This contains Xylene, Methanol, and Ethanol 2 (2-Methoxyethoxy); (Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether.) and extremely flammable. Plus this WILL DISSOLVE YOUR ENTIRE MODEL if you let it. But this is very cheap to buy and wildly available. I got mine from Wal-mart for less than $5.

I applied “goof-off” to clear part using brush then washed the part with enamel thinner once it start to dissolve the parts (no more than 30 seconds). Finally I’ve masked the canopy to paint the frame.

Well, this is for now. I will discuss sticker and weathering techniques on part 2.

Thanks for reading..



eddie s said...

nice panel lining guide, btw- do you really need to use something like "tamiya masking tape" or would something like 3m suffice? does it rip off the paint be it acrylic or enamel?

Zebu said...

For me, a "masking tape" is a masking tape. I got the pre-cut ones becuse I am exremely lazy LOL.

I have yet to have any paint job being ripped off due to tape (especially when I apply top coat seal).

Good Luck~

Senbonsakura said...

I was wondering what paints you actually used (as in company and acrylic/enamel/lacquer)

also awesome guide really appreciate it

eyeshield30 said...

hi, great tutorial you've done here ^^
i have one question, i want to paint the canopy and sensor with clear blue, does it alright?
I mean, i've tried to paint the eye-google just with Clear Green enamel paint. And it turns out great IMO. Thanks before

Zebu said...

Claer blue is alright. For VF-25s, it is more like clear blue-purple. Then again, it is totally up to you. ^-^

Cloud said...

hey, when you use the krylon matte finish, do you apply it after decals have been put on?

Zebu said...

The finish seal should be put on after decal has been applied.

Basically, it is the last thing that goes on the model~

I hope it helps and thanks for visiting.