HGAC Wing Gundam

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Delving into the After Colony timeline with my All Gundam Project now – this HGAC Wing was one of the first flagship models of Bandai’s new HG lineup when Gundam Build Fighters first aired.

I’ve decided to go through my lead Gundam builds by doing a starter suit from each series first – Strike has already been done for SEED, so Freedom won’t be bought and built until starter suits like the X, Victory, Exia, etc. are finished. Wing is obviously the representative for the first half of Wing.

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I’m glad High Grades are simple enough that I can cut every piece off their runners, throw it all into a plastic bag, and still have no trouble assembling it all without part number guides later. The fact that the entire kit takes up half a sandwich bag still amazes me.

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Wing is actually canonically smaller than most standard mobile suits. It stands in at around 16 meters in-universe compared to the standard 18 meters set by the RX-78-2. As such, its details in HG form are even smaller and more subtle than usual.

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I was particularly concerned about having super thick panel lines on this kit, since panel lining regularly with Gundam marker on such small kits without the ability to wipe excess away (because all the surfaces are painted) is like going at it with a blunt-tipped Sharpie.

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As such, I decided to try something different – all the white parts would be painted in a color coat of satin white, hit with clear gloss for strength, and then finally sealed with a nice flat finish.

Before all that painting though, I’d try panel lining the bare plastic underneath and rely on just enough of the lining marker to bleed through the paint for a nice subtle effect.

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Mixed results. The bleeding was very inconsistent; some parts turned out vibrant and clean, while many ended up half-faded and messy. The faceplate grooves are especially shallow and difficult to line with anything but a needle, so I was really relying on this method to pull through. Unfortunately, as seen above, it didn’t end up so nicely. As such, I simply covered it all up with more white paint and went for a thinner marker.

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Hand-painting white is hard. It always comes out rough and patchy, even if I try to do thin layers bit by bit. Glomping the paint on thick is really the only way to get it to look smooth, but then it’ll just look…thick.

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I had hoped matte coat would solve everything. It kinda did, not really.

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Beam cannon was seam-line patched right down the middle and sprayed a matte gray. Gunmetal brush paint was then used to bring out the detail by hand.

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There she is. Come to think of it now, I actually didn’t do very much seam-filling for this kit. I guess it comes from it being pretty modern – there are bits on the rear of the calves and lower legs that could’ve been done away, but Bandai has gotten really good with making any seam lines actual panel lines on the suit.

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The kit has all the modern articulation you’d expect from a High Grade nowadays, though its limbs do feel more fragile and delicate than most. The elbows still bend and move freely despite the yellow claw on the forearms, which articulates forward for Bird Mode.

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I used a different blue on the Wing than I did on the Strike – while I think you could consider both navy blue, Wing’s version is a more definite washed out navy. Strike’s blue is definitely not a true blue – the shade’s darker than that.

I’m actually not too happy with the Wing’s blue and wish a little that I used Strike’s paint instead. Still, this differentiates them I guess, since you wouldn’t think the two suits shared the exact same palettes.

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I think my biggest gripe with this kit’s overall sculpt is the face. Having owned the Master Grade kit before, I can forgive the rest of the suit being  a bit less detailed and bubbly because well…High Grade. But the face is squished and flat for some reason – the eyes are little more than thin green lines.

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Ironically, if my memory of the TV show serves, I think the original design was actually closer to this scrunched-up look than the more flushed-out Master Grade face. I would’ve definitely preferred wider eyes and a longer face though.

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Its main weapons are simple and stable – for the most part. The good news is that the Buster Rifle handle is no-nonsense and plugs securely into hands without issue. The shield on the other hand (pun intended) – not so much.

There’s no peg on the underside of the shield that attaches it to the forearm – Wing is only able to hold it via the handle in its manipulator. The main problem here is that the weight of the shield often causes the hand to pop out of its socket.

It’s not so much a problem as a minor annoyance that could be fixed with some tightening glue, but after this photoshoot I’ll seldom be touching the kit again so I simply never bothered.

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The suit’s iconic wings have quite a bit of range – they don’t extend upwards quite as far as the Master Grade can go, but they do so enough to look good.

The suit only sports one hilt stored in the shield, though two clear green beams are included. The shield actually opens, where the saber is stored, though unfortunately it never quite closes completely flush.

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And finally, Bird Mode. The transformation isn’t complex in the first place (you should be able to figure it out just by juxtaposing the biped and bird forms) but I actually remember it more from the constant Wing transformation stock footage used in the show. P1170739

There’s really no part-swapping involved for the transformation, though you do have to remove the hands.

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Funny thing too, while I was building the kit I was wondering why the little raised bit on the back skirt was molded as a separate piece. It was the same color as the rest of the skirt, so it didn’t really make sense to mold this bit separately if it served no function. Turns out that it did though – and here I almost glued it all together.

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It kinda bugs me that you have to remove a part of the suit’s design to plug the action base into its Bird Mode, but I suppose this was the only way it really could’ve been done given how close the thighs are together, meaning the usual crotch hole can’t be utilized.

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Wing’s a nice little cheap High Grade that hits all the basic points well – there’s really no other 1/144 version you should be going for if you want a Wing Gundam. Due to its smaller size as a mobile suit, a lot of the details can end up being difficult to work with or end up a bit sloppier than expected.

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