HG 1/100 Master Gundam Chinan Custom

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Another 1/100 custom, once again based on an existing Build Fighters custom suit. I’ve never actually watched G Gundam, but I’ve done a bit of reading up on it so I know what generally happens in-show. I knew what series Master Gundam was from instantly when I saw Master Chinan’s glorious entrance in the last episode of Build Fighters; this suit’s sheer badassary during that battle was enough to make me take to the suit and its unique color scheme instantly.

before master

I snagged this one on eBay – fully built as usual and of course, incomplete. I believe I paid $6 total for this one, not bad. Came with instructions, though the moment I took the kit out of the bubble wrap the entire thing fell apart.

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Disassembled. It looks like this kit only comes in two colors – black and red, along with the clear green eyepiece. Everything else was apparently done in with stickers. This kit’s from way back in ’94, so the proportions and general quality of the suit are pretty dated. Hopefully a paint job will fix it up somewhat.

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Although I disassembled the actual Master Gundam first, I chose to leave the backpack alone for a while. This behemoth is ridiculously clunky – everything keeps falling off left and right, and the entire thing just feels as though it’s going to snap in half any second. The plastic is strangely brittle – and here I thought Bandai’s been using the same plastic since the dawn of time, but clearly there’s been a quality improvement over the years.

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Separated parts into ziplock bags, based on what color they need to be painted in. I’ll be going over the red pieces in a fresh coat of red for an even finish, while everything else will be varied in color.

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Cleaning some pieces at my buddy’s house.

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Something that really bugs me about this kit is the suit’s head design – it just looks way too big proportionally, and I can’t take the suit seriously. I don’t dislike the actual Gundam’s design itself, but this old HG doesn’t do it justice. I guess that’s what I get for opting out of the modern HGFC version. I sanded down the tips of the head fins in a vain attempt to make the whole thing look less obnoxious, but it didn’t really help much.

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Little bits that would be the v-fin and chin.

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Ended up disassembling the backpack and sorting it together – mostly just massive red plates that need a good amount of detailing and painting since the yellow stripes on them were stickers.

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Made some cake that day with the guys so had a mid-build snack. Consulting some reference on the computer screen while working.

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I was surprised at the amount of nubs and cleaning I had to do for this one – the builder clearly did a pretty botched job with it originally. Took a while to get everything cleaned up.

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First bit painted up – the torso and waist block. I painted it all as one piece instead of separately as I usually do since it would all be the same color anyways. Ironically this will be the only actual black on this suit.

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Hands done in gray.

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Red parts either pinned up or taped down and ready for spraying. Those massive red binders are gonna be a pain if I don’t get a smooth finish on the first round.

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And these will all be navy blue. As I am basing this off the Master Chinan custom version of the suit, there’s actually very little black on the Gundam and more of this weird off-dark blue that I’m just using Navy blue for.

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And here are the gold pieces being prepped. While some of them were conveniently separate pieces for ease of painting, a lot of the actual gold on the suit needed to be masked…

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I mentioned the gloss paints issue in my Wing Fenice Custom post, so naturally that rule still applies here where I’m using all gloss spray paints and topcoat. Went out and god a bottle of gloss red just for this suit, though I imagine I’ll be needing it in the future as well.

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Some rare detail on this kit for the forearm pieces. After the initial coat of red, I went ahead and painted the innards with gray brushed acrylic.

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Now, remember in the original image of this kit it was missing something? It only had one of its little circular cone-shaped kneecaps; the other was straight-up missing. As a result, I have to make a new one.

However, making a piece like this out of pla-plate won’t be easy – the thing is like sloped inwards a bit as it comes out; matching it perfectly would be more hassle than it’s worth.

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Given that pla-plate pretty much wasn’t an option, I decided to try something unorthodox – I’ve seen modelers create molds of certain pieces before – I’m sure they use resin or some other crazy stuff. Given that concept though, I didn’t really know where to start except bust out some clay from my (massive) storage.

As per most things I do, I don’t usually bother to do any research on how to do something before I just try to do things my own way with a concept that’s probably been well-developed and refined by others. I’ve done this with Gunpla, clay molding, creating this site, ‘most everything. Had I known to do research on how to build Gunpla when I first started in elementary school I wouldn’t have had built as many poor models as I have. Alas, live and learn.

That being said, I just took out a block of some unused purple clay and stuck the kneecap that needed to be cloned in there without a second thought.

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Pop it back out and voila, mold accomplished. Now this is just a mold; I need to put something inside it to make the actual piece. Naturally, that something will also be clay. First I need to fire the purple mold in the oven to harden it, then pop a mushball of clay in there to create the piece.

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First attempt. Not bad, hmm? The tip is a bit off, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with sanding. The big blob on the bottom will obviously be chiseled off once the clay has hardened, leaving just the actual piece I desire.

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But then as fate would have it, clay is much more fragile than I imagined. As I was chiseling out the blob on the bottom, the big chuck that I had been cutting away accidentally cracked and took some of the actual piece with it. There was no mistake in where I cut, but if one section of the clay cracks, it could take a lot more with it. Lessons learned, need to chip away at the excess little by little.

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Luckily, as long as I have the original mold undamaged, I can create as many duplicates as I need. The clay is pressed into the mold, pulled out once it’s been shaped, and fired in the oven to harden.

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Those arm pieces I mentioned earlier snapped together and topcoated. The seam line is quite off-putting right down the center, but there should be armor going over this section so it shouldn’t be as noticeable.

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Head is formed of two halves, with a red chin piece, a red v-fin, and the clear green eyepiece inserted to complete the look. They’re sanded and painted, but unfortunately I’ll need to go in with some thick white brush paint for the faceplate.

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Pieces ready to be topcoated. Generally all of these pieces only require one coat of paint since I’m basically painting over a similar color underneath, then one coat of gloss coat, so the paint doesn’t actually clog up and become as thick as some of my other kits that require multiple spray coats.

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Lower leg pieces done. With their first coat, anyway. I’m extremely pleased with the gloss navy blue – just look at that incredible shine!

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Meanwhile, getting somewhere. SD Master Gundam anyone?

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As I mentioned before, while some pieces on this kit could be painted directly as all gold, there are quite a few areas where we don’t get the benefit of parts separation. The lower legs needed to be heavily masked to allow the top area near the knee to be painted gold. Given that the area to be masked curves, it took me quite some time and serious concentration to make it happen.

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Shoulders hooray. I might as well point this out now – this HG’s proportions are so bad that I swear the entire red collar area is completely wrong in relation to the actual suit design. All the lineart I see of the Master Gundam has the red collar piece being much more narrow like a U, rather than having it extend outwards to the sides. This is the only iteration of the Master I’ve seen that has this funky design; chalk it up to Gunpla quality control back then.

Also notice the grainy texture on the shoulders – that wasn’t the result of any mishap with painting or anything, but rather an actual part of the kit mold. Yeah, only the shoulders come looking like rough sandpaper while ‘most everything else is smooth as butter. Why this was a feature I’ll never know – I don’t see any other Master Gundam kits who sport the grainy shoulders, but I was too lazy to actually go through and sand them flat.

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Most of the miscellaneous navy blue pieces done. The shine is still amazing.

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Used the usual metallic green Gundam Marker to do in the eyes, forehead camera, and rear head camera.

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The wing binders were criminal – almost as bad as masking for the legs. Given that they came in all red, the yellow stripes that were stickers have to be sprayed gold to match the rest of the suit. It isn’t as easy as it looks though – those suckers also curve. Not as simple as ripping one long strip of tape and laying it down parallel to the raised edges, no sir.

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And done. Not bad, hmmm? There was a little bit of gold bleed here and there since my masking wasn’t perfect (I did most of it at around 4AM in the morning, cut me some slack) but that was easily remedied with some red acrylic to cover up the problem areas. While the red acrylic doesn’t match the sprayed red perfectly, it’s close enough to only be noticeable upon close examination, especially after everything is given an even coat of gloss.

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Gold finished on the legs and ankles. My goosh though, these were a nightmare. Apparently I did a horrendous job of masking the curves, since there was an unprecedented amount of gold bleed. Unfortunately, unlike the red binder pieces, I don’t actually have any navy blue acrylic gloss paint, so I had to improvise in covering up my blunders. Rather than mask everything and start over (never again), I decided to just use the spray paint as brush paint.

Yeah. I went ahead and sprayed a good pool of the navy blue spray on some scrap cardboard and proceeded to paint away the gold that bled through the masking tape. This was far from a pleasant job, given how close I was to the toxicity of the fumes and how the spray paint actually dried incredibly quickly. By the time I was done cleaning up the last piece, I was working with half-dry spray paint on a paint brush. As a result, a lot of the pieces look far from smooth; they’re actually really gunky and gnarly. By the time I was done and realized that what I achieved was far from the perfection I imagined, I decided to just flip my work table and be done with it. Might as well keep what I have, I was done fixing things in vain.

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Almost done. It’s actually looking pretty good, just missing the head and kneecaps.

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Kneecap successfully cloned and painted. Looks like a pretty close match now, no? Of course it isn’t perfect though – it’s hard to escape the inherit softness and round edges of clay, even with sanding.

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Bottom of the cloned piece versus the original. It’ll have to be glued in. Unfortunately the paint turned out a bit weird on it; for some reason after I topcoated the gold, it remained sticky to the touch. The actual color and texture of the piece isn’t a problem, but for some reason the paint is perpetually sticky on the clay. No problems with plastic though.

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Last bit to finish up – the only accessory item that came with the Master Gundam. This cable is actually for its wire-guided arms, though only one connection point was included.

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As such, I had to scratch up a little connector piece to attach the cable to the Master’s upper arm. Nothing too difficult – I actually scrounged up some spare MG Zaku tubing parts for use here, since they fit the arm peg perfectly. I glued two bits together and added some pla plate to one of them to bulk it out a bit. Insert wire, glued, done.

after master

And there it is. What I said above still stands – a paint job can only do so much for this guy. The proportions (especially that head – it didn’t get much better) still make me cringe a little, but I’m at least grateful for the smooth and shiny gloss coat it sports all over.

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For the finished product, you might notice that the head is actually a much lighter shade of blue than the rest of the navy blue parts. That’s actually because I messed up on painting the white faceplate at first, and had to sand/clean it off, along with some of the original navy blue coat on the head piece.

Such a process mandated that I give the piece another coat of navy blue, which ended up creating another shade and made the head a completely different color than everything else. It’s my biggest gripe with the completed kit, as the head is actually made of two halves and the rear half is painted normally with just one coat of navy blue, while the awkward front half stands out like a sore thumb.

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The faceplate itself is also kind of funky – the white acrylic gloss that I used for it went on really thick, and as a result covered up a lot of the face vent lines. I didn’t have a lot to go off of when I lined them in, and as a result they look uncharacteristically messy. The entire head unit is just a problem for this thing, very disappointing.

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Given the age of this kit, it doesn’t exactly sport mind-bending (or even really limb-bending) articulation.

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The skirts are very sadly mostly stationary, with only the side skirts being movable. No more than ninety degrees at the elbows and knees, but even that’s not of much use when the legs can’t go anywhere from the hip.

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Of course, only one pair of hands is included with no other hand-held accessories to speak of, as per Master Gundam’s fighting style. A Darkness Finger hand would’ve been nice though.

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The forearms do have a little gimmick in them though – the navy blue piece can split and slide forward, revealing some innard detail that I painted gray.

This attack is apparently called the Near Crusher, a piston-driven fist attack not dissimilar to Cherno Alpha‘s Tesla Fists.

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And of course, probably my favorite part of this kit – the wire-guided arm. Yes, singular because only one wire is included despite both arms being capable of this function and yes, arm because it’s not actually a rocket-powered fist.

This would be the Distant Crusher, though I’m not gonna lie – the way it’s presented here is a little less than intimidating. I am fond of how the wire can actually support the weight of the arm and how it looks displayed though. Not many (or any) of the kits in my collection sport launch-able fists, and it is a function I’m fond of in mobile suits.

Normal Mode

And of course, before I forget to mention it, Master Gundam does have a Full Cloth mode. This is actually its normal mode apparently, whereas the form with the binders pulled back is attack mode. The gold stripes turned out pretty well, no?

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“It’s too early to give up, Mao!”

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Now it’s a trio. Master Gundam is actually strangely short compared to the others; the Wing officially stands at 16.3 meters, the Duel at 17.50 meters, and the Master at 16.7 meters. No question that the Duel is the largest of the bunch, but the 1/100 Master is shorter and generally smaller than the Wing. Guess even scale was skewed back then.

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At the end of the day, I’m happy with the end product. Yeah, this is probably the most subpar kit in my collection, but I think the paint job came out well enough to redeem it slightly. There’s no question that the same job on the MG or the HGFC would look worlds better (and I am considering it, after this test-run came out successfully), but the Master makes a nice addition to the ever-expanding 1/100 custom collection.

 

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