Keeping things Real (grade!)

It feels like the plamos are taking over. After not building one for ages, I ended up doing 2 in 2 weeks! Last week, I built the YF-29 and this week, after receiving the Real Grade Freedom Gundam, I finally got off my ass and built my RG Strike Gundam which had been sitting there for ages (and if you think that’s bad, I still have an unbuilt MG Exia and Figurise Kamen Rider Double!!

This was how it looked straight out of the box. Unsurprisingly, it took far longer to build than the YF-29. I was really curious about the RG series when it was first announced as it was pretty much billed as a 1/144 scale kit with the details and features of a Perfect Grade! However, it wasn’t until the RG Strike Gundam was announced when I decided to give one a try. I wasn’t too bothered by the initial RX-78-2 and Zaku releases.

However, what I found out wasn’t quite what I expected…

Looking back, it shouldn’t have really been a surprise. Afterall, shrinking a 1/60 PG into a 1/144 scale kit is pretty much impossible. Instead, the main frame of the kit, which allows for much of the poseability of the kit, is pretty much built straight out of the box.

As a result, for the Real Grade kits, you aren’t so much building a kit from the ground up, but rather putting armour onto the frame which is provided to give it the appearance you want.  Still, the finished product does look the part and the poseability is definitely up there with at least the MG.

Whether or not it matches the full PG scale is debatable though. One big issue is that the joints on the frame where the separate sections connect (the hips, shoulders and waist) feel very loose but the other joints are fine. Bandai also put in an extra joint for the thumbs but not the other fingers so the hand in general is closer to a MG but it’s still way better than the usual HG stuff!

There’s also plenty of panel lines to give the illusion of detail and they even put in the different shades of white from the PG kit in there as well (though that’s something I could have done without!)

But I’m not finished there. Instead of just leaving the kit in its OOB state, like I normally would, since it’s a 1/144 scale, I decided to try out the no-paint method of tidying up the kit. It’s something I always wanted to try but didn’t really feel up to doing so with the larger kits which I normally build. In this case, the removeable armour parts was a blessing and there weren’t too many so I didn’t need to worry so much like I would have done with a MG kit or higher!

For those who don’t know, the no-paint method is pretty much just sanding down the parts with low grit sandpaper and then doing it again with increasing grit (i.e. finer sandpaper) to remove the plastic sheen from the parts. Chubbybots did a decent quick basic tutorial on the technique a while back. I started by putting panel lines in first and then sanding the parts with 400 grit sandpaper. That got rid of the sheen but left lots of visible scratchmarks. After that, I worked the parts over again with 800 grit sandpaper and then, if it was a colour part, I finished with 1000 grit.

I found out pretty early that it was best to panel line first as I first tried out putting it in after the initial 400 grit sanding but the 800 grit also ended up smudging the ink onto the parts and making them look darker than they should. No such problems with the 400 grit and it still left visible lines as well!

But, after completing the left arm and leg of the kit, I can’t really say I noticed too much of a difference. You can on close inspection but it’s not as pronounced as I thought it would be! The sanded parts are at the top.

… and on the right side of the above photo. What do you think? Am I overthinking or expecting too much? Do you see a pronounced difference between the parts? Well, I still have the main body and Aile pack to do. Hopefully, I’ll have it finished by next week. Also, Treasure Festa is this weekend and I saw a SWEET Homura from Madoka Magica! Maybe this event won’t be a bust! And I’m still waiting for my Gundam Extreme Vs on the PS3. It was shipped 2 weeks ago dammit!!! Importing is painful!!

4 comments to Keeping things Real (grade!)

  • subaruhess

    I wonder how difficult it would be to put the HG akatsuki armour on the frame.

  • I suspect pretty difficult. The HG kits aren’t designed to have something inside them afterall, so heavy modding will be required just to get the parts to fit. And I suspect there will be plenty of gaps as well. Then there’s the issue of the gold plating… Experimenting with one of the the other HG GAT series kits, like Duel or Buster would probably be a safer bet to start with, or even a HG Astray.

  • Q

    It’s quite impressive to see how far 1/144 Gunpla has advanced in these 3 decades, especially after having a quick tour of the history in Gunpla Expo Hong Kong last Sunday.

    Putting armour on a frame sort of reminds me of Frame Arms, where all mechas share the same inner frame iirc.

    I personally can’t see too much difference on the parts before and after sanding. Perhaps a bit darker on those that have been sanded, but maybe it’s an optical illusion due to the existance of the panel lining or that ink from them have smeared onto the parts as you’ve said on the post.

    As for Extreme Vs, too bad multiplayer is limited only to vs play, and no online arcade or other kinds of co-op are available. Just finished trial mode recently, but may get around to online eventually.

  • Tell me about it. Having said that, the HGUC stuff was pretty good from the start and the scale didn’t really improve too much from that for a while since it all used the basic designs.

    The armour thing is like frame arms but both the PG and recent MG kits also do the same thing. The only difference is that the frame itself also needs to be built as all the parts are unassembled while the RG gives them to you out of the box.

    The main difference is that there’s a lack of a “shine” on the sanded parts which marks them out as clearly plastic, but at first glance, there’s not much to it.

    And, would you believe it? I’m STILL waiting for my copy of Extreme VS!! I tried play asia because they started shipping to the UK again but it’s taking AGES and I don’t think the holiday season is wholly to blame… Well, I’m visiting the folks for christmas so I won’t be around to check for it until next year but I’m very disappointed by play asia. They were never this slow when I used to use them!!

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