I’ve seen these 1/48 head display bases all over Gundam news sites and the like, but never taken much interest in them. They always looked fun to paint, given they usually come in one or two colors, but they’re meant as display pieces to accompany 1/144 HG kits, of which I own none.
As such, I would never go out of my way to drop money on something like this, but yet again, this particular kit isn’t mine. My very same comrade whom 1/100 Dynames Gundam I reviewed before picked this up at Robo Toy Fest last year, and I merely used it as some paint practice.
My pal merely gave this kit the straight-build treatment, leaving the original midnight blue that most of it was along with the clear orange. He did attempt to paint the eye sockets black with Gundam Marker though, so props.
Upon borrowing the kit from him, I went ahead and disassembled it to its roots…kind of. He did glue some pieces like the frontal horn piece and the innards of the psycho frame so a little thinking was needed.
What the original top collar/torso piece looked like. As I’ve mentioned before, I dislike the Banshee’s midnight blue; it should be black! The entire thing is just one dark blue brick, with the neck piece/joint separate, which was painted gray.
Eye pieces, painted all by hand with acrylics as I do with my regular Gunpla. Used flat red for the eyes, nothing fancy.
There’s quite a bit of clear orange, and in fact no gold whatsoever, as the kit should have. Even the v-fin and Unicorn faceplate are clear orange. The effect of these pieces actually don’t look bad by any stretch of the imagination, but for sake of accuracy I went ahead and painted them away in gold anyways.
It should be no surprise that I’m modeling this head display on my very own MG Banshee, which as of this writing has been complete for a while, but it’s photoshoot is long overdue…
My particular Banshee uses gold for the collar, v-fin, and some areas of the suit’s frame details. The psycho frame itself is left in the original orange/yellow, and of course the entire thing is black instead of midnight blue. I also applied gold-plated decals, which will also be utilized on the head display.
The only parts of the head display that will be left in clear orange, making up the inner psycho frame of the face and head.
Unfortunately the Design Master Gold was a little iffy – it came out with this really weird texture – grainy, like hardened sand. I had a similar problem when spraying my actual MG Banshee as well, but since that was a much smaller surface, it wasn’t as big of a deal. Here, however, it was gruesome on the Unicorn faceplate and v-fins.
After spraying the chest piece black, I masked away the areas that had to stay black – the collar piece was to be the same gold as the v-fin and the rest of the head.
To counter the grainy paint problem, I tried multiple coats of gold (I’d normally only spray one). Unfortunately, that didn’t do much. Some areas got a bit more smoothed over, but that’s only because the paint legitmately pooled to make it smooth. I wasn’t about the glomp the pieces in dripping gold paint, so I decided upon another approach…
I went ahead and sanded down the grainy gold texture with ultra-fine sandpaper to get a relatively smooth finish, then went in with my Craft Smart gold paint pen to fix up the gold. Admittedly, the gold from the paint pen is slightly darker than the spray painted gold (you can see the contrast above on the collar piece) but thankfully it isn’t particularly noticeable in most areas. I’m just glad I manged to remedy the grainy spray texture.
Everything (including the gold) was sealed with a coat of Krylon Fusion for Plastic semi-gloss finish after the decals and whatnot.
Painted, decal’d, and ready for assembly. I pretty much sanded down all the gold face and head pieces and went over them with the paint pen. The topcoat actually almost tarnished the gold a little, but I’m not displeased about that – I dislike having the gold be extraordinarily bright (unfortunately it is on my MG Banshee) since when the light catches it, it becomes a little too bright and (literally) outshines the rest of the kit. Photos also tend to suck as a result.
Almost ready for final assembly. The gray inside the collar guard and the neck joint were painted gray with standard acrylics. I ran into a slight speedbump with the v-fin though…
This project should have been done within two days (due to paint drying time) but it took almost a week because of the damned v-fins. The piece you see on the right there snapped at the joint/swivel area. At first I thought it wasn’t a big deal, but gluing the thing back on at the right angle to match the other v-fin can be…challenging. After a week of having it constantly break on me, I finally somehow managed to get it back in order with a little extra Kragle and spray paint. It’s still delicate, but I haven’t had the final result break on me after several transformations, so I want to say it’s solid.
Final product – Unicorn mode. I wish I had a before-and-after shot, but I disassembled it before I took it from my comrade’s place for painting.
Doesn’t look half bad, hmmm? I think the decals add a lot to it, though they were placed totally randomly. The actual MG only has like four decals on its head so I improvised.
The v-fin area is a bit sketchy, but if you know how to handle it then it should all be fine. My comrade had actually glued the front horn piece on before when he straight built it so it may be a bit loose and awkward fitting, but it does its job.
And of course, Destroy Mode. The gold didn’t turn out as bad as I had feared; it’s a tricky color to work with.
I’m especially proud of the faceplate; I went ahead and just glomped the gold paint pen in there, then painted the surrounding faceplate itself with flat acrylic black by hand.
The camera areas were all painted with red acrylics like the eyes. Didn’t add much for panel lines since I didn’t see the need, but my comrade personally requested the two black nicks on the edge of the front collar piece. Gray areas were all lined though, to avoid any lost detail.
Photographing this thing is actually rather difficult given it’s so hard to get a good view of the eyes. The actual Unicorn is like this too; the v-fin is just so massive it usually obscures the eyes unless you’re taking a bottom-up view on it.
Next to my actual Banshee. Pretty striking resemblance, no? The lack of psycho frame on the head display is a little off-putting though. Would’ve liked to see some shoulder vulcans or somethin’ to break up the black and gold.
Now this is a 1/48 scale bust, and meant as a display for 1/144 kits..but could it look presentable with a 1/100 kit? I don’t exactly have the crane arm of the display base (my comrade has it glued into the underside of his 1/144 Banshee) but it’s worth a try…
200% presentable. 300% Practical.
It’s a leftover stand from your standard 1/100 Action Base. I only had one black one, which is the most fitting, and the others were in use. It’s tiled like that because this is actually a knock-off stand and broke at the pivot joint.
Banshee looks kinda funky tiled sideways, but my excuse is that it’s firing upwards.
I’ll admit, this set-up isn’t particularly stable given the weight of the MG Banshee, but it works for what it is.
So all things considered, I think things worked out the way they were supposed to. I admit I had expected smoother progress (literally) going into this, but the gold proved to be a learning experience. Now to hunt for some better paint again…
I’m fairly certain this is a Dengeki Hobby Magazine exclusive, so the value should rise over time. Given this is my first experience with one of these head displays, I wouldn’t call them extraordinary, but they do make a nice display when painted up and paired with their particular mobile suit.