1/100 Customs,  Gunpla

HG 1/100 Wing Gundam Fenice Custom


Another 1/100 kit, custom painted just like my previous NG 1/100 Duel Gundam. This time it’s the Wing; I nabbed this one off eBay for around $6; it was built and incomplete, so I figured it would make another good custom project.


Came with the original box, but no instructions. Also came with the wing effect parts.

Wing Used

Stock colors, straight built with no lining or paint, only stickers applied. The only thing missing is the v-fin, including the central head crest. No beam saber hilt or beam either. Beyond that it’s generally complete.


First order of business is to disassemble completely and clean pieces; without instructions I actually had to pay attention while I ripped everything apart. Not that this was a complex kit to build in the first place though.


After the kit had been reduced to plastic scraps, I proceeded to start with the toughest job – recreating a new v-fin for it out of pla-plate. I had my first taste of working with pla-plate with my last kit, the NG 1/100 Duel Custom, but this time the piece I’m trying to recreate is much smaller and actually a centerpiece to the suit.

Since the entire v-fin and jewel section was missing from the original kit, I had to guesstimate the piece’s size and shape based on references found online. First step was to measure the section of Wing’s forehead that would’ve contained the jewel, and draw it out on paper.


After it had been drawn out, I cut out the paper and made sure it matched relatively well with the kit and reference image.


From there, it was an easy matter to just trace what I had drawn onto pla plate and cut it out.


However, I couldn’t exactly just have a flat piece of pla plate be the v-fin or centerpiece jewel. I had to 3D-ize them both somehow, so for the center jewel I decided to basically built it like a box. Measuring things out and creating the smaller piece that stuck out of the jewel was a royal pain in the arse.


Meticulous work and extraordinarily tiny pieces. I actually lost several of the pieces I had cut out for the jewel several times because they were so tiny and literally just looked like scraps of pla plate, forcing me to recreate a single scrap several times. It was also a lot of trial and error because sometimes a side just wouldn’t fit for whatever insane reason.


At long last. I used Testor’s liquid cement for plastic models to put the thing together, but it actually collapsed in on itself several times because the cement is rather weak. A total of seven different microscopic pieces of pla-plate were used in constructing that center piece.


As for the actual v-fins themselves, I had used the thickest pla-plate I had to make them (the 1.2mm variety) and simply sanded down the edges to create the 3D look.


Painting away at the eyes and forehead sensor. Clear green plastic on such an old kit, color me surprised.


The Wing’s mechanical “frame” pieces that would be painted gray.


Pinning all the pieces up and prepping them for spraying – I sanded a lot of it down, including most prominently the torso and abdominal area.


Thrusters and fingers, all of which will be painted gray.


A little hiccup I came across was the Wing’s Search Eye – the gold part itself is just regular plastic, but from what the instructions and actual kit suggests, the actual green piece is a sticker – but a 3D sticker. I’ve never seen anything like this before; it’s not a clear piece with a foil sticker underneath, but an actual clear green gel-like thing that sticks onto the plastic, making it look 3D. As such, it was almost impossible to remove, unless I demolished the actual green gel sticker itself. Seeing as the effect was actually rather nice and I didn’t have a way to recreate a clear piece, I decided to mask it and spray it all gold.


First batch of pieces all painted up. Buster rifle in two halves as shown, painted gray. I could’ve left a lot of the suit white, but upon careful examination the actual Fenice is a bit of a beige color instead of white where it should be, so I opted to do the same.


The workstation right after another coat. I didn’t spray all these while they were together on the box; such a method usually results in some pieces or parts being missed. I took them all in hand (with gloves on of course) and sprayed each down at every angle to make sure I covered everything.


The parts that couldn’t be skewered are taped onto something and sprayed, to make sure they don’t fly away at the force of the spray paint.


Went in with some old fashioned acrylic to detail in some of the pieces, including the rear skirt armor, the leg thrusters, and the backpack thrusters.


Buster rifles sprayed gray with some acrylic gunmetal added for certain parts like the ammo.


Completed pieces so far, assembling the waist.


For this project, I went ahead and bought some Testors model masking tape. It comes in three different thicknesses and allowed me to precisely mask some pieces that had to be two colors, like the abdominal piece shown.


Funny thing about the buster rifle –  my gloss topcoat went a bit haywire on these pieces. When I first examined them after the topcoat had dried, it screwed up the gunmetal acrylic and made it extremely light and faded, almost like it took the paint completely off. After a while though, the gunmetal sheen came back and it looked proper again, but I don’t know what exactly caused this phenomenon.


I should note now that the head unit is what I’m most ashamed of when it comes to this kit. I screwed it up pretty bad, due to my impatience with waiting for spray paint to dry.

Long story short, I tried fitting this piece with the rest of the head before the beige spray paint on it had dried completely. Result, my fat pudgy fingers ended up leaving prints in the paint and pushed some of it around. While dry to the touch, it obviously wasn’t completely dry. With that, I had to sand away the old screwed up paint and redo everything, though the sanding also ended up taking a lot of the detail on the piece away with it.


V-fin and forehead jewel sprayed down.


For the thrusters on the suit (which are lacking in number surprisingly, given this is the Wing Gundam…but I’m fairly certain the wings also contain thruster capabilities), I painted them first with a coat of acrylic silver and then with some clear red, to achieve the usual metallic red finish. It was surprisingly difficult to accomplish neatly for the backpack thrusters though, as they are just one piece.


Some more acrylic detailing with the little mechanical areas of the suit, like the vents in the shoulders and the bits on the upper arms and feet that look like vulcans.


Head is coming along…kind of. The red paint on the forehead jewel rubbed off a bit, and there were some fitment issues due to the paint. I haven’t had these issues anywhere else; I just got really unlucky with the head. The vulcans were also hand detailed with gray acrylic paint.


Just about all the pieces on the suit that had the particular vulcan-looking design. These are all singular pieces, so the black and gray had to be painted in by hand with acrylic paints. I bought a specific little bottle of gloss gray for this project, as all paints I use have to be gloss. Gloss coating matte or flat paint is not a good idea, and unfortunately most of my acrylic inventory is matte, so I’ll probably have to start stocking up on gloss acrylic for projects like this.


Progress shot. I build whatever I can as the pieces become available through painting. Panel lining is saved for the end, after everything is gloss coated.


A good amount of pieces had to be masked for this kit, including the wing binders and the talon claws on the forearms. Note the unmasked piece showing the clean line between the gold and the green.


Upper torso all but complete. Yes, I somehow got the head together. Waiting on lower legs, wings, and crotch piece.


There were several areas where I could have done this, but I chose to only do it in a few places – parts like the front skirt that could just be lined I chose to fill in with gray.


The shield needed a lot of work, since it was basically just one piece, minus a few bits. The entire rim had to be masked and painted separately from the red, and the little green tip also had to be done in by hand.


Unfortunately, I discovered that masking and painting with acrylic doesn’t really work that well. The acrylic paint has a tendency to leak under the tape, pretty much invalidating the entire masking process. I ended up taking off the acrylic and the tape with no problems, and just painted it on by hand.


All the wing binder parts complete, with their masking tape removed. Also testing out some panel lining on the feet, not using a traditional Gundam Marker though.


Instead, I tried a form of panel washing that involves my black acrylic paint instead of the traditional enamel wash or whatever else is used. Basically, since the piece is gloss coated already and the acrylic stuff is water based, it should be removed easily. Therefore all I really had to do is brush a whole mess of acrylic onto the grooves, wait for it to be semi-dry, and use a wet cloth or tissue to wipe away the excess. While it does come off easily, the paint in the grooves stay just fine.


Masking the actual wings now.


After painting. Note how the some spray paint did bleed a bit through the masking; not sure what went wrong, but it was neglectable so I just left it alone.


So I had a little accident with one of the wing binder parts. Throughout the kit, I tightened every joint, polycap, and peg that would have a moving piece. This is due to the fact that everything was absurdly loose on the original kit; the wings wouldn’t even stay up on their own. As a result, I didn’t sand down the peg that held the small red wing section in place, and attempted to fit everything together while it was tighter than my undersized jeans on my body. Upon forcing the red wing piece in there, I twisted it to test the turn, and ended up twisting the peg right off the binder piece – and it was now stuck in the red wing piece, literally so tight it’s pretty much fused plastic.


The only way I ever managed to clear out that original problem piece was by eviscerating the stuck bit from the red wing with my exacto knife. It took a lot of grinding and grilling, but I finally got the thing out. By the time I did though, it was too ruined to glue back into the wing binder; I had to construct a new peg. I actually broke the tip and chipped bits of my exacto knife through this process.


The replacement peg was made from an old spare runner; I just cut a bit off and sanded/cut it down to size. When I discovered that the peg was too thin, I cut and wrapped a thin piece of pla plate around it to bulk it out. Turns out that did the trick; it finally holds the small red wing in place.


The spray palette used for Wing. All Krylon paints were gloss, with only the matte gray on the far left being used as primer. That in and of itself was a mistake. I learned a while back that gloss paint doesn’t exactly work on matte; because the matte paint is more rigid than that of the highly concentrated gloss, putting a gloss coat over a matte one will result in the underlying rigid texture of the matte coat showing through. I learned this the hard way before with my MG AGE-1 Test Type Custom and its gnarly topcoat results (I used gloss topcoat on a matte finish) but didn’t realize the reason why.

With Wing, a similar scenario appeared in that I primed the green pieces with flat gray before I actually applied the gloss green. As a result, the first coat of green had some grainy texture to it, which freaked me out a bit at first. Thankfully, another coat of two or gloss managed to hide it, since the gloss paint is much thicker than the matte. From now on though, I’m using strictly gloss paints for my custom jobs; no mixing finishes from now on.

The reason for gloss from now on isn’t just because I have gloss topcoat though – if I wanted to, I could use matte paint and spray some Testor’s Dullcoat over, which would work and look just fine, but there’s another big reason I want to stick to gloss.

After using matte coat on my MG Sinanju (which as of this writing has yet to be photoshooted, let alone reviewed…I don’t want to touch the thing after finishing it to be honest), I discovered a crucial fact – matte coat is weak. Not so weak that it’s going to flake off on it’s own or anything, but weak enough that some rub between the skirt armor and thighs of a mobile suit will take it off. Some research online also corroborated these findings. Gloss, on the other hand, is significantly more sturdy. While I admit I think I like matte finishes more for their look, it sure as heck can’t beat gloss for sheer durability of the paints.


The bottled palette. Mostly acrylic, though the transparent red is an enamel. The gunmetal was used for the beam cannon, the dark gray and black for detail parts, and the silver and red for the thrusters on the suit. Most of these paints I get are usually matte; that’s just what they default to, and I’ve never had a problem with it. However, since I’ll be using gloss topcoat more often now, I’ve slowly begun to hunt for some more glossy stuff to add to the inventory; I bought the gloss dark gray specifically for this project.


But all in all, there it is. The finished product. I did spend a fair amount of time on this project, and the return is fairly worthwhile – I’m actually quite satisfied with how it turned out.


Obviously, the color scheme itself is taken from Ricardo Fellini’s Wing Gundam Fenice in Gundam Build Fighters. After brainstorming for some color schemes (I considered the red Wing that showed up in Build Fighters at first), I reasoned that green is a fairly rare color for a Gundam and Fenice has already proved that it looks damn good in Build Fighters, so why not?


Admittedly, I did take on a bit of outside inspiration when doing this build – what actually got me convinced that a paint job alone would be enough to do this kit justice was the splendid Wing shown here. I’m not sure who the modeler is, but the kit speaks for itself. I was originally going to do some two-toning for some parts (the RG-style dark gray/ baby blue) but ultimately decided against it. I also used this particular kit to model for my scratch-built v-fin.

Since this kit is over a decade old, its special features, articulation, and general look are outdated. It can’t do anything extreme when it comes to movement; at most it can either look good standing static or with its beam cannon raised. The legs in particular are very restricted, and the wings can barely open.


As armaments go, I’m only in possession of the (undersized) beam cannon and shield. I didn’t get the beam saber with the original kit, though I don’t really care for one – not like it could pull off any decent poses with one anyway. Originally, the kit couldn’t hold its cannon for jack. However, the paint fixed that and it wields it effortlessly now. The shield goes on with a simple peg, no handle or anything special.


Despite the panel wash method I had talked about earlier, I went ahead and used Gundam marker to line instead. The reason being that the panel wash with acrylic only really worked with grooved areas – the parts that were simply raised edges and the like didn’t take to the acrylic well, so I opted for the old fashioned method instead. In the end, I like how the Gundam marker turned out. I actually used one of my older markers with a bit of a flurried tip, therefore making the lines a bit thicker than they should be.

Using marker was still a bit of a hassle though – check out the amount of panel detail on the legs and shield! I heard a lot of people doubt that this kit was the old 1995 HG because they thought Bandai didn’t do that much detail back then. Evidently, they certainly did. Ironically, there’s more exterior detail on this kit than the modern Master Grade…though that isn’t necessarily a benefit.


And of course, it’s no secret that the Wing Gundam is capable of transformation. While the actual Wing Fenice isn’t, this particular kit technically is still able to do so. However, ever since completion, I’ve decided against trying out bird mode.

I actually sanded down several areas such as the opening arm compartments (which I personally think is a very nice touch – the recent MG is actually unable to do this due to its redone proportions, making the hands physically incapable of fitting into the forearms, requiring part swapping instead) so they could still be functional through the paint, but no matter how I looked at it, some areas would be tarnished if I tried to grind it through Bird Mode. Given that fact, and the undeniable truth that I never really took to the Bird Mode anyway (I usually don’t care for Gundam transformations, though with Transformers that’s a different story because well…Transformers) I decided I’d rather have it look pristine in MS form rather than test out its transformation.


I didn’t mention it in the WIP section, but I did add detail up the bttom of the feet a bit. No panel lining down there though, ironically.


Now interestingly enough, the original Wing I got included the clear green effect parts meant for use in Bird Mode. I’m not even sure what they’re really supposed to be – to my memory nothing like this ever appeared from the Wing in-show, and almost all the other 1/100 HG Wing kits also sport similar effect parts in rather random places for like…no reason. I suppose it’s meant to make it look like it’s flying in Bird Mode? Or are they beams? Whatever the case, for a 1995 kit these are some pretty well done clear pieces. Of course, they’re not meant to be attached in Mobile Suit form since it looks kind of silly (looks like Wing’s discharging some green slime or somethin’ from its wings), but it is possible.


And since I do also own the Master Grade, here’s some obligatory Gunpla advancement juxtaposition.

The proportions on each kit really speak for themselves. This is what over a decade will do to a mobile suit design.


And with my previously custom painted 1/100 kit, the Duel Custom. I have to say, after these two, I’m really liking the idea of starting a cheap 1/100 Gundam collection, all of which will be custom painted. I got each of these for no more than $6, and the painting experience is actually quite enjoyable and invaluable as a learning point. Yeah, their proportions and quality won’t be up to par with even modern HG 1/144 kits, but I personally think the custom paint jobs make up for it…that’s probably just the paint, sweat, and tears that went into these talking though.


So overall, I’m counting this kit as a success. I do realize that there are plenty of seam lines all over that are quite an eye-sore, but for the effort I put into it I think I got a fair return. I like to think I’ve come quite a ways from my first real custom painted kit, my MG AGE-2 Gundam SP Ver. from ages ago.


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