Monday, November 14, 2011

Seven Sword: Almost there...

After partially assembling the other leg, I was interrupted to run an errand.  By the time I returned, I had to put the final touches and put everything away.  I figure I can always resume later the night.

Piece by piece, the other leg was coming along and I finally got it done.  I took a look at the next component, the waist, and saw that it doesn't require a lot of pieces.  So I thought that I could partially assemble it together and head to bed.  Instead, I ended up piecing together the whole thing.  Since the waist was done, the whole main body is pretty much complete.  I put the major parts together and the Gundam is finally able to stand on its own two feet.  The model is now done, at least for the main body.  The rest is still in need of assembly and there are still many parts yet to be cut out.

Seeing the completed body is a bit of sense of relief.  One of the biggest hurdle is out of the way.  And the rest is simply assembling the accessories and equipment that go with it.  As I had limited time left and was getting tired, I didn't do a lot of picture taking.  So this one single photo is all I have for the time being.

I'm anxious to see how the weapons will look like when it's finally finished.  But I guess the only parts that will be done first is the backpack, which contains the "GN Drives."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Seven Sword: One Leg Up

Started finishing up on that leg that was left incomplete.  Thankfully, there was only a handful of pieces needed to put together.  Putting on the details also worked out well.  Not a lot of glaring mistakes but some of the lines turned out well.  I also managed to figure out what part of the leg was exposed and which are covered.  This helped me to put the finishing touches on the exposed areas so that they don't look too plain.  When it's all said and done, one leg is finally completed.  The parts were put together and the foot was attached to it.  I also got to see the range of motion and articulation for the leg parts.  It seems by going with a different ankle design that the range of motion suffered a bit.  Several models uses what I would call a double-jointed ankle, where the ankle portion itself is actually two joints and not just one.  Using this design made it possible to have larger range of motion.  The drawback to this is aligning them up according to your will so that they do not look off.

Now that this is done, I can finally finish up on the other leg, and maybe finally clear out a runner or two.  Repackaging the runners up so that they fit can be a chore at times.  The more pieces cut out, the more room it creates.  And I use that extra room to store the Gundam markers in it.  That just means I carry less things around when I want to work on the model.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Seven Sword: Slender Legs

Not much was done but a single leg took longer than I thought, as I had to ensure everything was correct.  There is also the fact that I had to smooth out the pieces so the extra plastic don't stick out as much.  All I got to show for is a leg that is naked.  Nothing is covering it up and I am still in the process of getting it finished.  At the rate this is going, it'll take me another two sessions to finish off the other leg as well.  But that's not going to matter much, as I would rather take my time than to hurry things through.

Perhaps what was interesting was that my niece and nephew, both around due to school schedule, looked on curiously.  Of course, with the short attention span they have, they didn't stick around long as I carefully and meticulously smooth out the excess plastic nubs in some of the pieces.  I would not sit around for hours on end watching a person do the same.  Times like these, I wish I had a camera stationed to take a picture every 1 or 2 minute for a time-lapse video.  Those would have been much more interesting to view since the process of piecing together a Master Grade size Gundam model takes a long time.  The weekend is coming up.  I may not be able to tinker with it.  However, it all depends if I have the strength to work on it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Seven Sword: Happy Feet

It is difficult to work on the model kit when you're tired.  As a result, the most I was able to do were the feet.  There is still plenty left to do for the rest.  However, I could not muster up the strength to really do anything further than this.  Not having a comfortable and nicely lit workstation can do that.

The feet design seems to be a bit strange.  Perhaps this is by design but it is the first for me.  Normally most part fit together nicely, leaving no space or gaps with other parts.  For the front white pieces, there is an intended gap.  It took me a bit to wonder if this is correct.  After examining the picture of the finished product on the back of the manual, I'm lead to believe that this is correct.  For the time being, just having the feet is good enough.  I'll work on the ankles and legs another time.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Seven Sword: Bicep Workout

Having a bit of extra time on hand, I made good progress on the other arm.  Finishing it up took a while but it was smooth sailing as I know what part is concealed and which sections are exposed.  Yet even though I made good progress on it, I also spent more time than anticipated.  After finishing the other arm, I should have simply left it at that.  After seeing what the next step was, I thought it would not take me long to put it together.  Turns out that it did took long to put two small components together.  I was also side tracked due to doing a little bit of homework checking for my nephew.  With time running out, I had to put the final touches on one of the component and put everything up.  It was one full session and then a little bit more.  I opted to finish what I had started later on.  And this is the result.

With the entire upper body fully completed, it's just a matter of time before I can get the main body done.  But first I have to tackle the legs.  The legs would probably take me maybe 3 sessions to finish before I move on to the waist component.  That is assuming the legs are just as detailed and complex as the arms.  I did not take a glimpse of the leg instructions yet.  I should have though.  There were a few parts that made tackling the arms time consuming, because of the small parts and because of the special translucent pieces that I had to cut and trim.  At least the end result is a cool looking arm.  The joint that connects the shoulder to the body locks in, something I have liked ever since assembling the Astray Red Frame model.  The joint connecting the arm to the shoulder, however, is not all that great, as it is nothing more than a pin/hole design.  At the very least, it is using a comfortable polycap method which is a lot better than two ABS plastics holding them together.

The hands seem to be easy to take out and replace, unlike the Destiny Gundam which is very troublesome to switch hands for.  I like it this way but I still would prefer a ball-joint so that the hands would be held securely in place.  Anyway, so far, so good.  The model design is pretty decent so far.  I'll see how well the legs are designed once I'm done with them.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Seven Sword: Arm Wrestling

I guess I didn't overestimate this time.  I managed to finish up a single arm.  But after that, it was pretty much calling it a day.  Granted, I still could put in some extra time into starting with the other arm, but I did not want to overdo it.  This session had me opening up another plastic bag to fetch a runner that is used in the process.  There were a few runners that came in identical pairs.  To me, this is normal as there are some parts where the pieces are symmetric and identical.  What almost caught me off guard was when I was building the hand.  To add flexibility a choices, there were two hands I can build.  One is designed similarly to many of the Gundams before it that had a rifle or gun.  It uses a 3+1 finger design so that the index finger can be moved and placed on the trigger.  The other is a closed hand that is intended for holding other weapons like beam sabers or a scythe.  I almost thought that I had to choose one hand design over another because of a piece that had to be used on it.  It wasn't until later that I realized there's another identical runner with the same piece.  The other hand uses a different piece altogether so I do, indeed, have enough to appropriately make both option hands.  With the Destiny Gundam model, this wasn't the case, except it was made up for by having it easily detachable so one can change hands.

The arm and some of the details came out well.  I did make a minor mistake in cutting the gate off from a piece.  Fortunately when it was put together and assembled, the blemish was not easily exposed.  The panel lines were carefully done.  And while it was tricky trying to get some of the lines to stay consistent, in the end the edges and lines were more pronounced.  I cannot imagine how plain it would have looked had I not bother inking these parts.

I'm unsure as to how far I'll get to on the next session.  I already had part of the arm built before starting this one.  And it took me this long to finish one arm.  Perhaps it will result in having just the arm without a hand.  We'll see how it turns out.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Seven Sword: Dislocated Shoulder

I had thought I would get at least half done on this particular session but it seems like I didn't get that far.  I overestimated when I thought I would get probably one arm done.  However, after painstakingly piecing the final parts to the body, I had to take a break.  After a half-hour nap, I returned only to have my vision a tad blurry for a few minutes.  After a while, that blurriness went away.  Still, trying to piece together what I can is taking longer than I anticipated.  I suppose this is normal, since I would want to take my time to do this, and to put in the most effort as possible.

With the upper body finally finished, I was anxious to see how it looks when the LED unit was turned on.  The compartment that houses the LED unit was very loose and had room to spare.  There was also no mechanism for which to turn the LED on and off.  So that has to be done manually by opening up the back, turning it on, and closing it up again.  It's a bit of a hassle in the long run.  But I guess that's a compromise in order to house a LED unit inside of a small model kit.

By itself, the body and head look fine.  The only part that may seem off are the eyes.  The camera don't pick up the eyes that easily as the other previous models could.  That is usually due to the eyes having a reflective foil sticker on it.  And when that camera flash shines on it, those eyes really light up.  This time is different.  Instead of having a foil sticker for the eyes, it has a thin translucent sticker covering the outside part of the eyes.  Trying to get those type of sticker on is a lot harder than the foil ones, since the foil stickers are thicker.

Up until now, I have only done rough preview glimpse of how the head will look with the LED turned on.  Now that I have the body finished, I can see how it looks for real.  I must admit that purchasing the LED for this model is well worth it.  Even though there are limited number of parts that can be illuminated, it's still a great sight to have a model light up.  Things like this are pretty rare in most conventional means.  Usually any model that light up via LED tend to be a custom-built model that the hobbyist crafted themselves.  And usually they're on a level far beyond my reach and capabilities.  Getting the tools is one thing.  Actually doing it using those tools is a whole different story altogether.  Okay, sure, Bandai's Perfect Grade models can have LED too.  But they are very large and it isn't surprising that they come with them.  Those were built with LED in mind.  And then there's the cost associated with Perfect Grade models, far more expensive than even the most fanciest Master Grade models to date.

The next session, I will definitely have at least one arm finished.  But I am unsure as to how far I will be with the second arm.  Or maybe I am overestimating again...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Seven Sword: Body Building

Some of the complications that come with building Gundam models is cutting the pieces out cleanly from the runners.  Sometimes you get that thick gate that eats up a lot of room and can make getting a clean cut difficult. Some of the pieces I have to cut out tend to be like that.  And then there are those with gates and orientations that make cutting difficult with the current tools on hand.  Times like these I need a side cutter with a sharper point than a dull one.  I was not expecting that I would have trouble cutting some of the pieces off because of these molding designs.

As I start to work on the upper body of the model, it becomes clear just how much space is reserved for those special LED units used to light up the model itself.  The compartment is small but so is the LED unit itself.

The body is unfinished as of now.  I expect that it will be finished on the next session.  After that, it's building the arms.  I doubt I will be able to finish both arms, given the amount of time I spent piecing this much of the upper body alone.  Yet in the end, I hope that it is worth spending that extra time.

I did a quick test/view of how the LED unit will illuminate the head.  I must admit, it really looks great.  I hope Bandai will design/create more models using their LED units.  It should not be reserved only for the 00 Gundam series.  Anyway, that's all for this one.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Seven Sword: The 1st Step

As I was finishing up Destiny Gundam, my other Gundam model arrived -- a Master Grade 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G.  I guess you can say I have a thing for Gundam mechs with unusual or unique sword designs.  But even though I have finished Destiny Gundam, I was not truly able to start on this until a few other parts arrived. The first being 4 GunPla LED units that I ordered from Amiami.  The second being the batteries required for the LED to work.  Once I had those in place, I looked through the assembly manual and the runners.  Much like the other large-box Master Grade models, this one will take a while for me to finish.  This does seem to indicate that any of the small-box Master Grade models tend to be less fancier than the large-box ones.  The Deathscythe EW that I put together seem to reinforce that theory.

Just like before, I intend to take my time piecing the pieces together.  But it may end up taking longer than I expected given that some of the pieces are very small.  Due to these small pieces, I spend more time making sure that extra plastic nubs are removed and smoothed out.  And then there's the option.  The option is that some sticker applications are intended for those who choose not to use the LED units that are now generally available.  Yet given how they made it a choice, I doubt many would dare go with the non-LED route.  There is just something a bit... dull... when a model goes unlit if there is an option to make it illuminated.

There are a few special runners in this kit.  These are specially crafted to let light travel through it.  But as I cut them off from the runner, they felt brittle.  I suppose this is due to the material makeup for these parts.  That means I have to be more careful when cutting them out.  They're a bit more rigid than normal plastic, thus they don't bend as easily.  So perhaps that's why they felt more brittle than expected.  Hopefully I won't end up snapping a piece off.

At the end, I only have one component completely finished.  And while this is the beginning, it is only but a first step out of many towards a very interesting model.  I'm anxious to see how the finished product looks.  Yet at the same time, I must refrain from rushing.  Patience is key.  That and a warm and comfortable workstation.  Brrr... it's chilly.