Finally finished up – my first custom HG project, of which I’ve devoted a good portion of the last few months to. Inspired in no small part by how hot-blooded and fun Try Fighters has been, this is now pretty much the only HG I own. All the kits that went into creating this are now in shambles and pieces, though it’s been a worthwhile ride.
I’ve never done as heavy a custom as this before – in fact I haven’t even kitbashed before this. I had to learn quite a few new techniques and expand my materials and tool set for this project, so in a sense the Vice Burning was a bit of a guinea pig, even though I wanted it to be the pinnacle of my current works.
I’ve been loving Try Fighters as the series has aired, and was willing to break my strict 1/100-only code to grab a Build Burning before a MG announcement (which as of this writing still hasn’t happened…c’mon Bandai).
I didn’t do a dedicated post for the HG Universe Booster, but it actually turned out to play a bigger role than even the HG AGE-1. I actually had quite a bit of trouble getting my hands on this, since I wanted it immediately but all the hobby shops in my area were sold out for some reason. Ended up paying a bit of premium on Amazon to get it shipped quickly.
I also originally intended to make gratuitous use of some Builders Custom Parts, all of which I snagged from my local hobby shop, but ended up returning all but one of them.
It should be pretty obvious from the featured post picture that I based this custom off the Denial Gundam. I was actually intrigued by the Denial’s design the moment I caught a glimpse of it in the new Just Fly Away Try Fighters opening. This was weeks before the Denial was ever officially introduced and its name/official lineart released.
I went ahead and screencapped the whole six frames it was in from the opening and set about using it as a reference for my own custom. The idea of a dark Build Burning really appealed to me, and I wanted to get close to what I thought the Denial would be before I saw its official art so as not to be constrained by its actual design.
By the time Denial’s debut episode aired, I had already started paintwork on the Vice Burning. I was actually pretty surprised at how different the actual suit was compared to what I thought it was, given the limited perspectives and angles from the opening footage.
The Denial and Build Burning shared pretty much no similarities in their upper torsos, or at least from what I could tell, but there was a section right above the belly area that I figured I could pull off with some bits from the Lightning.
Carved the Lightning’s abdomen to high hell. Thank god these are only HGs; I would’ve drowned in my own tears had they been MGs.
At first, I only wanted the Universe Booster for the Star Build Strike’s vents. I didn’t think I’d end up using as much as I did later, but things kind of just fell into place on their own as I chugged along.
I’m honestly kind of impressed with myself at how arbitrarily I shoehorned all these pieces together to form one cohesive chest bloc. I was actually at a loss for how to incorporate the Build Burning’s distinctive ball stomach in there at first, but eventually just slammed the Lightning’s upper chest and Burning’s lower chest together and called it a day.
Given the two distinctly different mobile suits that went into making the chest bloc, there were obviously gaps that had to be filled. I’ve never worked with putty before, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad…
Some guys at my local shop recommended Tamiya White Putty for filling in gaps (I’m not quite sure what Tamiya Green Putty does yet) but all I gotta say is this stuff smells something toxic. I swear I almost passed out from the sheer concentration of the chemical fumes that waft from the tube.
Might’ve overkilled with putty just a bit. Took a lot of backtracking and resanding to get everything somewhat smooth and seamless.
So when I was analyzing the intro footage for Denial, I didn’t realize that the bits on the shoulders were actually…on the shoulders. It really frustrated me because I actually couldn’t figure out where those clear plavsky protrusions were coming from, so I actually assumed that they were a part of the chest and that the shoulders were similar to the Build Burning’s.
To achieve the look I thought the Denial sported, I used parts of the Universe Booster’s main fuselage, burned some holes in them to hollow out the plastic for the polycaps that would hold the shoulders, and filled the rest in with putty. This actually worked pretty well, and I’m glad that I misinterpreted the Denial the way I did. I think it ended up making for a more unique look for the torso.
As someone on the Gundam Eclipse forums had pointed out, this is what happens when you skip leg day at the gym.
I had actually bought all those Builders Custom parts shown above at first because I thought I was going to have to create a lot of the exterior armor from scratch or base parts. Then I remembered that I actually had a lot of spare 1/144 sized parts stashed away in storage, from all those painful attempts at Gunpla when I was but a wee lad.
Among them was almost a complete set of armor from the F90 Gundam. This actually came from an old GFF F90/F91 conversion figure that I bought when I was only 7 or 8 years old. I’ve long since sold the base figure as the F91 Harrison Colors, but kept all of the F90’s original armor and most of its weapons. This came in surprisingly handy, as I was able to take the lazy route and just add on armor instead of having to make more from scratch.
I was originally going to make the cuffs around the wrists that Denial had (where its beam blade came out of) since I could at least tell that much from the intro footage, but it was just so easy to mod the F90 armor onto the Build Burning that I couldn’t resist.
Bulked it out nicely without too much work. F90 itself isn’t a very popular suit that a lot of people are familiar with either, so I’m glad it adds a bit more of a unique feel to the kit.
Had to putty some of the gaps together, but everything ended up being fairly seamless.
Went ahead and slapped the AGE-1 head on just for kicks. At this point I could’ve also made it a gunner-type suit if I wanted, given all the extra guns I had left over from the Lightning, Universe Booster, and AGE-1. Ultimately though, I wanted this to be a win-a-fight-by-punching-you-into-another-galaxy type fighter.
The only Builders Parts set I kept were the Power Up Wings. I figured they’d come in handy since they were pretty much detailed plates, and they really did as such. Among the spare 1/144 parts I showcased above were some bits left over from a very old HG God Gundam. I managed to find its rear skirt, but sadly only one front skirt was left. I used it as reference for size when I made new front skirts from the Power Wings, keeping the same general shape and style so as to match the stock God’s rear skirt.
Went back to the legs after I got some feedback on the forums that they weren’t quite bulky enough compared to the mods I did on the rest of the suit. Decided to be unorthodox and use Lightning’s knees to bulk up the back of Burning’s lower legs.
Puttied to high hell. I actually think it’s kind of hilarious how different Lightning and Burning are in terms of proportion. Lightning’s thighs are absolutely tiny compared to its lower legs, and the fact that I’m able to use Lightning’s knees to match the Burning’s entire lower leg kinda says somethin’.
I cut some serious corners with this legwork though. I didn’t actually apply layers of putty to fill things up (there’s always that dip in the putty where there’s hollow space beneath) and I seriously half-assed the sanding. Like, so badly that you can see the layers of putty beneath the final paint layer. I’m not sure why I burned out so bad at this stage, since it’s honestly a really ugly blemish on the final product that I could’ve done away with, but I suppose I was working on this project for so long I got a bit impatient.
By now I was pretty much done with the main mobile suit body; onto the weapons, if I even wanted any on a hand-to-hand combat suit.
A little after I started this project, I discovered a fun little Group Build on Gundam Eclipse. I hadn’t used the forums there for a while, but I figured it would be a good way to get back in the community by entering the group build. It was actually a Gunpla Builders World Championship, where the idea would be to build a suit you’d want to pilot. With that pretense in mind, I had already gotten going on my Vice Burning, but I could’ve totally made some adjustments to its fighting style to make it more personal and unique to how I’d fight.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of the most unathletic and physically uncoordinated people I know. I know pretty much zero martial arts, and actually personally prefer ranged weaponry a lot in whatever games I usually play.
Given that, I don’t actually play a lot of games. But I do get pretty competitive when it comes to the Smash Bros. franchise, which is probably the only actual fighting game series I play well. From there I reasoned that since my main was, is, and always will be (the bae) Samus, I’d do well with an Arm Cannon on my mobile suit to emulate her fighting style.
I played with a few ideas for the Arm Cannon, including making it a magnetized sleeve that would simply fit over the arm and then be stored on the back when not in use, making it a disposable weapon, etc. but eventually decided to scrap the idea. I guess by now I was seriously losing steam, since I reasoned to myself that the cannon would just end up looking tacky on the final suit, even though it probably would’ve been most conducive to my actual fighting style I would use if I ever piloted a Gunpla.
One idea that I absolutely had to incorporate on the final suit however were the tongfers. I had recently come out of building my first Virtual-On kit, Apharmd the Hatter, and I honestly really liked its armament. Even better was that I had the perfect parts to make these – the Universe Booster’s beam cannons.
Since I was modeling these on Apharmd’s tongfers, I built them to attach pretty much exactly the same way. I actually had some serious issues trying to get the holes to match up with the pegs that they would swivel on, and actually had to ballpark a lot of the fittings because I couldn’t put everything together and glue all the mechanisms before they were painted. In retrospect this whole assembly probably would’ve worked out better with some polycaps inserted in there, but I decided to be stubborn and go through much trial and error before finally getting the working swivels.
The idea behind these were that they were to be both cannons and actual tonfa-like (I call them tongfers because that’s what they’re canonically called in Virtual-On) weapons for bashing and beating, with emitters that could also create beam blades.
At the end of the day though, I actually didn’t follow through with making beam blade effects even though I hollowed out the emitters for that purpose. I knew I’d never display it with the sabers emitted so it seemed pointless; canonically they’re still multi-purpose gunblades with their housings made of special anti-beam material that allows the actual tongfers themselves to parry beam blades (which accounts for why the deep midnight blue used on them is slightly darker…it’s definitely not because I messed up the first layer of paint on them and the second layer makes the shade darker or anything…hey at least I came up with a canonical excuse).
The v-fin section was actually fairly challenging, though I really do like the final result. At first, I messed up pretty badly and ended up sanding down the AGE-1’s original v-fin so much they looked like stubby rabbit ears.
After this I decided to just lop them off and brought in Lightning’s and Burning’s v-fins for damage control. I ended up using the secondary fins from Lightning and the primary fins from Burning and mashed them onto the AGE-1’s forehead whilst praying it’d work out. Turns out it actually did. Really well. A little thin piece of pla-plate was also used to cover up the AGE-1’s original forehead camera area.
Now I had to think about the effect parts. As shown, I test-painted one of the Universe Booster’s pieces clear purple and it actually turned out fairly well. I was going to do this for all the clear bits but then ran into a speed bump when I realized that painting the clear orange/blue bits form the original Burning was going to be more challenging than I thought.
At this point I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with the Burning’s original effect parts. The fire punching effects and ring of fire were cool, but I didn’t know if I really wanted to expend so much effort to try and convert them in color whilst still keeping them clear. Eventually I settled for dropping the ring of fire since I didn’t want to open up any tacky holes in the back to have them fit, but decided to mod the flame paunch effects a bit to have them work with the Vice’s enlarged wrist areas.
Everything disassembled pretty much as much as I could. The more heavily customized an area is, the bigger and blockier it is because everything is glued and puttied together. The entire torso block is most evident in this respect.
I was seriously hoping that priming all these pieces would help the GFF bits meld into the actual plastic parts a bit more, since they do look comparatively rounder and “softer” because they’re made of a different material.
After priming, hit the torso bloc with the first coat of Tamiya’s Deep Metallic Blue. From here, everything else is going on by brush and steady hand.
I used Tamiya Acrylics to fill in all the bits like the vents and everything else that isn’t actually deep midnight blue. Easily one of the hardest brush-works I’ve ever attempted, and it didn’t even turn out well with how thick the white parts ended up.
Inner frame bits all painted gunmetal gray.
Had to do some serious masking for the v-fin area, since the entire forehead section was all one piece on the AGE-1. The v-fins themselves still have to be painted white.
I also tried out Tamiya Masking Tape for the first time on this project, and I have to say the stuff’s a godsend. I’ve been using Testor’s Masking Tape up until now, and that stuff is absolutely abhorrent. Tamiya tape actually sticks, and is thankfully soft enough to go around edges and corners without bending back up like Testor’s does.
I’ve never gotten lines this clean with masking before, it’s glorious.
Getting some more brush detailing done with bits like the underside of the feet and the Build Burning calf-thruster that I moved onto the back of the God Gundam’s rear skirt. The insides of all the thrusters would also be painted metallic red.
I rely pretty heavily on putty to fill in seams now. I do have the Tamiya cement that’s supposed to do that, but I find putty usually does a better job, since I basically slather it over the seam and sand it down until it’s uniform.
I screwed up just a bit when applying a what was supposed to be a final flat coat on the torso bloc. After the flat coat had dried over the sprayed deep metallic blue and all the acrylic detail that I painted on by hand, the metallic blue underneath actually started to bleed through the acrylic, most notably on the white bits.
Later on I figured out that it was because I sprayed the matte coat on way too thick, causing the acrylic to melt and allow the paint underneath to show through. This also caused some crazy paint warping, so I had to essentially scrape all the acrylic off and start over. I’ve since figured out that my usual habit of spraying on my paints thick and plentiful isn’t a very good idea after all.
Lower body mostly done, with the torso missing for the reason pointed out above. Everything sans the gunmetal was flat coated, making for some easy and quick lining on the few parts that needed it.
A cool little mod I’ve seen done on the Build Burning before is the inclusion of painted clear parts in the open hand covers. The more I think about it, the more sense it would’ve made for Bandai to have actually included some parts here, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t try pulling off on my own. Busted out a (very) old runner from the Crystal Clear MG RX-78-2 to make the bits that would slot into the hand caps.
Because I couldn’t really test fit the tongfers before I painted them thanks to the gluing mechanism I relied on to have them attach, I ran into a bit of a speedbump when I actually tried to put them together. The Universe Booster cannons that they’re made out of have three clear Plavsky Star bits for each. Naturally I made use of all these clear bits, but didn’t realize that one of them would actually get in the way of the cannon folding up against the arm all the way. By the time I hit upon this everything had already been painted and sealed, so I had to go back, add putty, sand it all down, and finally repaint it all.
As a result of these last minute mods under less than optimal conditions, the underside of the tongfers also look very unrefined in that I didn’t do as good of a job with the putty as I should have. You can still see a bit of the dip where the peg hole used to be underneath.
In retrospect I probably would’ve been better off just covering the entire area with a thin piece of pla plate after sanding it down, but what’s done is done. I actually do have a strong dislike of going back and modifying or “fixing” old projects, as when I deem something complete it’ll take an act of God to get me back to it.
Back to the clear effect parts, which have proven to be the most frustrating endeavor of this entire build.
When I went into the Build Burning’s effect parts, I thought I could easily sand the orange bits down and have them become a bit of clear, then simply paint over them with clear pink paint and call it a day. However, things didn’t work out this smoothly as I found when attempting to sand the orange away.
The clear pink I applied on after the sanding still had a distinctly orange hue, thanks in large part to the inside of the pieces still remaining in the original plastic color, and the clear purple went on too dark. At this point I was at a loss for what to do, since I still wanted to preserve at least the opacity of the effect parts but also didn’t want them to be an ugly orange/pink or brown/purple.
I eventually found a solution after much trial and error (I stripped the paint on the small Universe Booster bits at least thrice, and that stuff ain’t easy with it being some freakishly durable lacquer) in the form of painting all the pieces with a base coat of very thinned out white acrylic.
I had already tried painting all the pieces in silver with the clear paint on top for a bit of a metallic-looking finish, but found that I didn’t quite like it much. The base of thinned acrylic covered enough of the original plastic color to allow the clear paint to go on vibrantly, but also still allowed for some relative opacity under the light.
For the punch/kick effects, I painted everything a nice opaque (it isn’t quite completely clear anymore) pink, with the intention of painting the ends in clear purple along with the flame “tails.”
The purple is still a bit too dark on the flame tails and I admittedly glomped the paint on there after being done with screwing up so often, but I at least take solace that it still shines under the right light.
Somewhere down the line I also decided to compensate for my suit’s lack of weapons with some crazy effect parts to make a more awe-inspiring display. One of the most memorable HG Build Burning builds for me was the Episode 1 ‘Cast Off’ diorama set, which made use of the Tamiya flame and impact effect parts to capture the grandeur of the first Try Fighters episode.
I’ve always wanted to snag a pack of these effects because they just look so damn good, but I’ve never really had good reason to until now. They’re available in the traditional orange/red flame colors or in blue. I went for the blue because it seemed more natural if I was going for a purple/pink final effect, but someone pointed out to me later that it probably would’ve made more sense to go for the red/orange if I was aiming for a pink result.
All the same though, I took a brush and went to town on the flames directly, without any prior prep. Just straight clear lacquer over the stuff, with purple for the main deep blue bits and pink at the tips where it would show best thanks to the whiting effect on the original pieces.
I had originally intended to paint the effects silver or with watered down white first as a base coat, but a certain Meijin builder at one of my local hobby shops recommended that I keep everything clear. After seeing the final result glow in the sunlight, I’ve never been more glad to have taken his advice.
While I did get the tamashii effects with every intention of always displaying Vice Burning with them, I snagged a GP Base anyway because it felt wrong not to have one when I’ve put so much effort into my own personal Build Fighters kit.
It was actually a lot of fun making the template for the base, though it’s too bad the window is so tinted that it’s hard to see the actual lettering when it’s closed. I might put some LEDs in there if I feel like it later, though for now it’ll just be a bit of memorabilia that makes me feel like a real Build Fighter.
I was originally also going to try my hand with some metal pins for detail on this kit, but decided against it since I have no experience doing anything with metal parts and this would require drilling that I could potentially screw up horribly. I’ll probably grab a drill and practice on some older and cheaper kits first before I try it on anything I care about too much.
All the leftover parts at the end of the day…there’s almost a complete AGE-1 in there, along with most of a Lightning and some bits and pieces of the Build Burning. I debated on adding the Plavsky Power gates on at first, but then decided against it since it’d probably end up looking too tacky with too many effect parts.
Most of them were acrylics, sans the two clear lacquer paints at the very top. Tamiya acrylics honestly aren’t bad; I was particularly fond of the light blue, as it went on smoothly and dried in fair time, not too fast nor slow. The white however, didn’t quite work as well. Aside from going on thick even in thin layers, it seemed to dry way faster than I could apply an even coat with.
All the sprays used. Note how most of them are some form or shape of clear coat; there was matte, semi-gloss, pearl gloss, gloss, and pearl white all involved in this long-winded process.
I’m actually pretty fond of how it turned out; it has a very masculine and muscular shape, in contrast to the base Burning’s scrawny frame. Build Burning’s original ball stomach is admittedly tiny in contrast to the wider upper torso, but I don’t mind it. Gives it a kind of hourglass shape.
I call it…the Viicceeee PAAAUUNNCCCHHHH…!!!
While not as mobile as the original Build Burning thanks to all the added armor, it isn’t significantly hindered. The torso-to-shoulder connection is still the standard ball joint, and the skirts are a bit more limiting than they were before, but the stomach, head, waist, and arm movement remains relatively unobstructed.
The knees don’t quite bend as far thanks to the armor on the back of the calves now, but the Vice Burning can still kneel if needed.
Tongfer fun. Canonically, I wanted them to be used as both bashing weapons and cannons, but it was just most natural for me to pose them as cannons. You can see some of the putty blemishes on the undersides of the cannons in some photos. Thankfully this isn’t normally visible.
As I mentioned before, this complete display is heavily modeled after the HG Build Burning “Cast Off” diorama featured above. I probably could’ve used a photo frame base and made a full set-down diorama from all this stuff, but I like having everything loose so I can be free to reposition anything and everything on a whim. The final display in my room will be confined to a single lightbox so it’ll look singular and uniform anyways.
Note that the clear pink bits aren’t actually done particularly well; it actually looks a bit uneven because the base coat of thinned down white acrylic melted a bit at the clear pink lacquer that was applied over it, causing some see-through splotches here and there.
I’m pleased with how the deep midnight blue came out though. Everything was originally metallic, so I was taking a bit of a gamble by sealing everything in flat coat, as I wasn’t sure if keeping a semi-gloss/metallic finish would look better than an obvious matte coat.
On a side note, if anyone wants a custom GP Base template made for them, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to whip something up quick and easy with your custom builder info. Of course I wouldn’t be printing them, only making a custom electronic copy for those without easy access to the base template or Photoshop. (I actually made the Yajima logo on the bottom from scratch, as there doesn’t seem to be a Yajima Trading GP Base template available on the net yet).
Now, because the Gundam Eclipse Group Build I’ll be entering this into requires it, I figure I might as well give some backstory here on the specs of this kit if it were actually a Build Fighter model that I could control…
Type: Close-to-mid range Plavsky specialist. Operates well in most environments, including space, land, water, etc.
- Violet Vice – the Burning Vice is able to control and manipulate violet flames that have burning and corrosion properties through hand and body gestures. The flames are generated directly from the Burning Vice’s body, and are rely on the suit’s remaining particle supply to manifest.
- Vice Limiter – a limiter that’s normally in place during normal combat situations but can be removed in extreme circumstances. Allows the suit to go into Full Burst mode, releasing all of its particle storage and increasing its performance. (Think Trans-Am – last resort that only lasts a limited time before performance plummets). Also results in feedback to the pilot, resulting in a sudden change to a ruthless beserker-like fighting style and loss of conscious piloting ability where they won’t stop fighting until every enemy on the battlefield has been destroyed. (Think Aila/Second Meijin under the Embody effects). This is especially detrimental and dangerous during team battles, as every combatant on the battlefield would be recognized as an enemy unit, meaning team members should stay far away from the Vice Burning if the limiter is ever removed.
Main Weaponry: Vex Tongfers – only physical on-board weaponry for the Vice Burning aside from its hands and feet. Tongfers are made out of a specialized material that allow them to withstand mid-tier beam attacks (think electromagnetic armor used by Vagan in Gundam AGE) and parry beam sabers. The emitters are double-purposed to emit both beam sabers or high-output beam shots. When the Vice Limiter is removed, the Plavsky particle storage bands on the tongfers are able to emit a particle screen around the Vice Burning’s wrist areas that act as makeshift shields and increase the output of the tongfer beams when fired.
Optional Weaponry: None.
Strengths: Deadly fighter at close range, with high mobility and agility thanks to its high particle output and multiple points of thrust. Relies more on dodging attacks than blocking them, even though in emergencies it is capable of doing so with its forearm-mounted tongfers. Thanks to its less traditional punch-everything-until-it-works hot-blooded Supar Robot (har har see what I did there) approach, the machine’s output and performance is actually fueled in part by its pilot’s will to fight and passion for the battle.
Weaknesses: Lack of any prominent long-range weapons, though this is made up for in part by its significant thrust output and speed. Vice Limiter is a severe double-edged sword, to both the suit if it runs out and any potential teammates that get caught in the crossfire. A pilot without the will to fight will also be unable to operate the machine properly, and when all passion and will is lost, the Vice Burning goes into Zero Fill (Accel World anyone?) and becomes unable to move. The electromagnetic armor on the Vex Tongfers are also only able to block regular beam shots or beam sabers; more powerful weapons (X’s Satellite Cannon, Epyon’s Beam Sword, AGE-3’s SigMaxiss Rifle, etc.) would still be able to penetrate.
Backstory: Created mostly for the Rule of Cool, the Vice Burning is born out of my own personal preference for darker suits/themes, the color purple, and the sheer incredibility of the Build Burning Gundam’s hot-bloodedness in Gundam Build Fighters Try. While I don’t normally fancy suits that aren’t grounded in reality to some degree, I figured it’d be fun to let go and create something that basically refuels on passion and hot blood. I also made it a point to abstain from adding any optional wear packs or giant wing structures – two of my personal dislikes when it comes to Gunpla and mobile suit design. I prefer conservative, simple suits more than anything else, meaning designs like the base Strike (notwithstanding all of its optional packs, I’m talking about the Strike itself) and Exia appeal to me, while stuff like the Destiny and Wing Zero are a bit too out there for my tastes.
So all told, this was honestly a pretty fun project. I learned more working on this single kit than I have in years, and am glad to have been able to expand my skill set as much as I have. Of course, even then I know that there are a lot of points that I need to polish up on, as is evident with this model in all of its imperfections. Custom building and kitbashing has been an enjoyable experience, though I’m not sure if I ever want to do anything on this scale again. That box of spare parts and kit bits makes me slightly sad.