My last blog post about the NU was almost 6 months ago. I can’t believe how long I’ve been working on that thing (on and off, of course). But now I have concrete things to show, as the painting is almost done !
For the record, I airbrushed Tamiya Light Grey primer on everything. For the armor parts, I sprayed Prince August Blue (go here for the exact reference). The frame is Alclad Gloss Black Base followed with Alclad Dark Aluminium. The red is plain Tamiya red (two coats, the first one ended up being a bit too orangey for my tastes) and the gold is Revell enamel gold. I’m playing with Acrylics (blue), enamel (gold) and laquer (frame / clear coat) here. This will allow for some nice freedom of movement when hand-painting details.
Here are some before / after pics, using every photoshop skill at my disposal :
Pretty happy with the results, here. I had a hell of a hard time painting the eyes and the result is, at best, average. I’m actually glad we can’t see them much more than that. After clear coating, I’ll do a simple wash on the V-Fin, gatlings and some vents on the side.
The chest is looking pretty good too ! The frame ends up being a bit too flashy here, for the bottom part of the chest. Maybe black would have been better here. I have a bit of a hard time to put back the metal details in here. The added thickness from the paint doesn’t help. I’ve drilled a bit more to make more space but it doesn’t seem to help, and I don’t want to risk damaging the paint. I should have stuck to decals here.
Another good looking part ! I’m on a roll 😉
There’s a LOT of hand painted details here and, with hindsight, that was probably not the best way to do things here, for two reasons :
- The handpainted gold shines a lot less than the airbrushed gold (same paint, mind you, only different techniques).
- In theory, I can erase any indesirable gold paint with some enamel thinner, since the paint is protected with a laquer clear coat. It’s the same principles as a reverse wash, really. In practice, there’s some gold dust left even if I scrub hard with the thinner. I’d wager this technique works better with normal, non-metallic paint, while metallic paint leaves some flakes behind.
I’m pretty happy with the back of the skirt. Most gold details are painted on another part and show through the frame, so I don’t have as much “gold dust” as the front skirt. The red parts lack detail, I’ll do a black wash once it’s clear coated.
While we’re behind, here’s the backpack. Nothing much to say, it looks kinda good too (if I sound very happy with myself, it’s because I feel the shoulders and arms didn’t end up as good as the rest of the suit. I’m building up tension, here.). I need to touch up some black on the beam saber, I didn’t think that part would be showing.
Alright, here are the culprits : the shoulders and arms. If you check the left picture, you’ll notice that the majority all the gold is painted into small indents in the armor, and not on the underlying frame. The end result is a bit rough, with the added problem of the “gold dust”. Another trouble I have with the arm is that it’s stuck and won’t slide to show the underneath gold parts. I’ve tried and tried to move it, but it won’t budge. I have the feeling if I apply any more force to it the whole arm will break in a spectacular fashion, so I gave up.
Next up : the legs (and feet, but I didn’t get a picture with the correct angle). More hand-painted details but on separate parts, so I didn’t have to clean too much and didn’t spread too much gold dust around. The gold parts should have been airbrushed, but I was so close to finishing the assembly I wasn’t feeling like spending a day or two masking / brushing / unmasking and instead plowed through with the handbrush. Rushing things is never a good idea, and while the result isn’t half bad, I don’t think I’ll do it that way again.
Same as the arms, some parts refused to slide because of the paint thickness. This time though I noticed it early enough and disassembled / reassembled it differently and managed to open up the armor panels. I glued metal vents near the bottom of the legs, gold painted the pipes at the back of the knees, and decided to leave the pistons alone. I don’t really like how they look (too square) so I didn’t want to draw too much attention to them.
Now for the accessories. The rifle is pretty straight forward. I actually painted it right at the beginning and that was before I was aware of my problem with cleaning the gold paint. There’s quite a bit of gold dust around, and if I wasn’t so lazy I would probably redo it, since there aren’t a lot of parts. I know too well that it won’t happen, though. Not with at least 15 kits in my backlog.
And finally, the shield ! The gold trims on the side are hand painted on the frame, so the color separation is pretty clean. The two top and one bottom trims are not. The top ones are actually higher than the rest of the shield, and not small recesses. It makes it a bit harder to clean up but I managed to do it with a toothpick.
As for the bottom part of the shield, several problems arose. Firstly, the gold wasn’t shiny enough so I redid it after the picture. Secondly, as you can probably see there’s a very clear difference in shade at the bottom of the shield. I had a small dent in the paint, where the primer was showing. I sprayed a bit of blue to cover it up but I roughly masked the gold to protect it. The end result is… not ideal… It looks better now that it’s clear coated, but it’s still visible. I’ll flat coat when I’m done decaling and, if it’s still showing I’ll try something to blend the edges a bit.
That was one big update ! Next up, decals ! So it probably won’t be anytime soon…