My second Hasegawa kit – unlike my first foray into the Virtual On franchise two years ago with my Apharmd the Hatter model kit, this Temjin Type a8 is actually a commission build from a customer who happened to purchase my Apharmd whilst it was on sale through eBay.
I rarely ever do commission builds – while I have gotten requests before (somebody actually contacted me through this site to build their Apharmd the Hatter kit after seeing mine) there’s usually a big disparity between what someone thinks my work is worth versus how I value my own labor.
As a result, a lot of people have trouble paying the prices I ask for commission jobs, though I try to keep pricing as fair as possible – the problem is that it’s tough to figure out just how to price out labor for stuff like this. Going by an hourly rate isn’t very practical, since I usually end up spending a lot of time getting a kit right, especially if it’s for a customer with high expectations. If I asked for a $10/hour rate on my kits (right around minimum wage rate here in California), that could easily push a job into the $200 territory since I spent easily over 15 hours on a kit like this Temjin, plus material costs like masking tape and paint. $200 could buy me a Metal Build Gundam figure – even I’d have a tough time swallowing that price if I were paying for this kit.
Nevertheless, the customer who commissioned this kit was actually very understanding and willing to work with the price point, of which I was grateful to find a middle ground with him where he thought the kit was worth the price and I wasn’t being underpaid in labor.
The man seemed to be a big Virtual On headgeek, and it was flattering to hear him speak so highly of my previous Apharmd model that he bought off me online. He had apparently bought this Temjin model long ago and mostly assembled it before boxing it and eventually deciding that I could do it some measure of justice.
I regret not taking some more thorough photos of the original kit before I got to work on it – the above is the most complete view I can show here – it seemed the original builder had just straight-built it with some bits and pieces missing here and there.
Ironically, I mentioned in my earlier Apharmd build post that it would be a Hellish nightmare to build one of these Temjin kits, just because of how crazy they are with their decals, but here I am getting paid to build one.
This “White Rainbow Knight” Temjin is from the same Playstation 2 game that Apharmd was from, so I decided to build and paint them in similar styles, so the customer who ends up owning both kits can have some consistent styling going on.
And not all the pieces were cut from the runners – though it seems the original builder threw away all the cleaned out runners.
Miscellaneous loose parts in the box and some leftover polycaps.
The entire wing assembly was just straight-up unbuilt and complete on their runners. The kit’s owner had apparently attempted to apply some decals throughout, and some of them even seem to be glued down, which means I have some heavy cleaning ahead of me.
Here’s where the problem came in – the customer asked me to apply the decals to the kit and build it up for him, but a good amount of the decals on the sheets had already been used and most of the used ones were damaged beyond repair. As such, what was I to do? Build the kit without decals and leave the whole thing white? Didn’t seem like an option, so I decided to go down the crazy path and actually paint all the markings in. As far as I know no one’s actually attempted anything this insane – those decals don’t even follow the lines of the suit! It’s literally like painting arbitrary lines on a blank canvas!
I also immediately dismissed the notion of using the undamaged decals and doing the rest in paint, since that would look worse in my opinion when the decals and paintwork didn’t match up with each other. It was either all one or the other, and since I didn’t have the choice to use all decals, it was paint without question.
I became very acquainted with the decal placement diagrams on the back of the instruction manual, since I had to follow everything as closely as I could to replicate all the designs through paint.
As I started to pick the kit apart, something was unlike the others…for whatever reason the Temjin had a 00-series open hand attached to its right socket. I suppose now I know they’re compatible?
Started the refurbishing with the chest – for this entire kit I’ll be taking everything apart, cleaning, seam-filling, painting, and finally putting it all back together. I actually think I enjoy refurbishing kits a lot more than building them new – it takes one of my least favorite parts of building – cutting and cleaning – out of the equation. Sure, I still have to sand and clean a lot of these parts because the nubs are pretty bad sometimes, but it’s a lot better than having to just grind away at a new kit just cut from the runners.
The customer mentioned to me right away that he knew at least one piece was missing – a front skirt armor bit. The left one was still there, but for whatever reason the right one went missing. It didn’t seem like a big deal – scratch building such a simple piece shouldn’t be too difficult.
Three parts each, held together with some super glue. I decided to forsake carving out the details that were present on the original pieces – I figured with them being so small, no one’s really going to notice that there are a few grooves missing here and there.
Filled the seams in with putty, sanded them down, and they should be ready to paint.
Hasegawa kits don’t have the same rigidity as Bandai kits at all – their plastic just feels so much more brittle and lower-end than what I’m used to on Gunpla. I’m sure I experienced the same as I was building Apharmd, but I was still careless here and broke some of the delicate connections on the headgear. Thankfully it wasn’t anything irreparable – just set me back a few hours as I waited for the connections to cement.
Starting with paint. As I mentioned earlier, to keep this kit in line with my earlier Apharmd the Hatter, I’ll be using the same Pearl Finish paints as before.
I learned well how to work with these paints last time – the basic idea now for all the white pieces is to go over them all once with a base coat of solid satin white. After that cures, I’ll hit it all again with Tamiya Pearl White, which gives it that shimmery pearl finish. The Pearl White is actually a very thin paint – it goes on basically opaque, so you need a solid color base coat underneath to achieve the correct effect. (I’ve also found that it’s good for lightening colors – I had another figure I painted in gray that was just a little too dark – hit it with some Pearl White and it turned into a nice pearl light gray, which was just the effect I was looking for.)
The customer also pointed out these little marking decals specifically to me when showing the kit – thankfully all these lettering strips were untouched, so I could make use of all of them without having to do any damage control.
I actually had to trim some of the clear excess bits on the decals because they go right to the edge of the ear-fin pieces – looks like you can’t even apply the decals straight-on without some modification.
At it again with the Pearl Light Blue – here it’s just the first coat on these pieces – they have to be masked for more colors.
I chose to use hand-painted craft acrylic for all the orange pieces on this kit, mostly because there was no way in hell I was masking all the little ovals on the suit design. To make sure all the colors match though, that means I’d also be hand-painting fairly large surfaces like that chestpiece shown above, which I’d usually just mask and spray paint.
The little disk driver thing on every Virtuaroid‘s back came in clear green, with a decal included that was meant to bring out the detail. I opted to paint the entire thing gunmetal first, fill in the black details by hand (it’ll be cleaned up later, yes it looks sloppy now) and then add the green back with metallic paints.
Starting the nightmare of a masking process with all the black/gray markings on the suit. Super ironic that I’m doing this now, when I was just talking about how I’d never do anything this crazy during my Apharmd build.
I’m sticking close to the original marking designs, but making little edits here and there where I deem it more practical.
It’s tough lining everything up so it’s all symmetrical, but if you really examine my final product versus the stock product photos with a close eye, you’ll note that the markings are generally a lot less curvy and much more angular given the nature of masking tape.
Moving onto the arms – the joint system here is actually really interesting – I’ve never seen anything like it before. The bending motion of the elbow is achieved by having two pegs (attached to the gray pyramid-like shapes shown above) slot together and meet in the middle inside the gray elbow joint.
The elbow joint itself is then attached by a single rear peg to the biceps. It’s just such a simple non-traditional way to do this kind of joint it’s almost mind-boggling.
Getting the final Pearl Clear over some finished parts. While a Pearl Clear coat over Pearl White and Pearl Light Blue may seem excessive and unnecessary, it helps to keep a consistent finish throughout the kit since a lot of the painted-on black/gray stripe designs aren’t inherently a Pearl finish.
I decided early on that I wanted to make all the clear green pieces on this kit a solid metallic green, since for one some of the clear bits couldn’t be removed since they were glued-in, and for another I just really like metallic green.
I was originally going to use my trusty Metallic Green Gundam Marker for the job since that’s been a tried and true method, but it seems it succumbed to age and didn’t quite work properly anymore. As such, I decided to head out and see if there were any metallic green brush paints that would give me a better finish.
A quick trip to my local hobby shop had me returning with some Mr. Color lacquer paint – a paint type I usually don’t like working with just because of how unforgiving it is compared to acrylics.
I didn’t have a particularly good setup to work with the metallic green – at first I popped the paint cap and thought I could just use it without thinner – I was even starting to think that the dude at the shop who recommended the thinner to me had conned me into an extra purchase I didn’t need.
I then quickly realized after the first coat of bare metallic green dried that the thinner was indeed probably necessary. The paint dried thick and glompy, with quite a few unsightly lumps. I cleaned and sanded it all off to try again and sure enough, my second pass with about a third of thinner in the mix yielded some significantly smoother results. Never again will I doubt the hobby senpais at the shop.
The original design called for a neutral gray for the marking parts, but I decided that a little more contrast would look better, while not being totally pitch-black. I had some extra Nato Black laying around (which is basically a faded, lighter black) that I figured would do the job well. After taking the masking tape off this is what we get.
I actually had to go in with some white acrylic paint and touch up quite a bit of the messy black spray that leaked under some of the masking tape. After that it was a few coats of orange to fill in the oval bits and we were good to go for the final sealing coat of Pearl Clear.
This one chest piece had to be three colors! And the plastic wasn’t even given in any of the three – to add insult to injury Hasegawa also decided that it would be okay just wrapping the entire orange section in a decal and calling it a day. Clearly not catered towards a straight build.
Need to continuously go back and fill in little subtle details like the black outlines that go around where the clear green pieces will eventually slot.
Starting to panel line the completed pieces. I’ve learned by now that panel lining always comes last – I haven’t worked with any paints or topcoats so far that have reacted positively with Gundam lining marker. The topcoat will almost always make the lining marker run.
The clear green piece that I painted metallic green there also gave me no shortage of trouble – the original owner had glued it in place so it was a chore to clean out the glued plastic and re-carve the groove that the visor should sit in. Then to make matters worse, because it was glued in at the center, prying it out ended up breaking the visor, so I had to work with gluing that thin little piece back together and eliminate any seams that came with it. The end result isn’t perfect – there’s a slight bulge at the center where some of the original chunk of glued plastic still remains, but I couldn’t cut it down any more without re-breaking the visor and I didn’t want to deal with repairing it yet again.
Scratch-built front skirt bits glued onto their frame pieces – it all fits!
The shoulders were one of the worst parts to mask – even worse that there were four sides that I had to get as even to each other as possible. The forearms also weren’t fun thanks to the grooving, which means if the tape didn’t stick down inside the grooves all the way, paint would leak through.
Ended up coming out fairly clean – there was still quite a bit of paint bleed along the edges at the shoulders, so I had to go in with white acrylic brush paint to touch it up.
And because we can’t have simple mech designs, there isn’t just two colors (base white and black trim) on parts like the arms – no sir, we’re going three colors, which means after we peel the masking tape for the black, we’re re-masking yet another section to throw some silver on there.
Using a several-year-old bottle of Testors Clear Parts Cement to glue the clear parts in – I can’t use Super Glue here even though I’d like to because that stuff leaves a weird fogging residue after it dries. The Clear Parts Cement dries totally clear, though it takes much longer to bond and cure.
While I probably could’ve just left some of these clear pieces in and painted around them, I decided that I’d rather struggle to get them out rather than do any more masking. As a result, one of them (for the right thigh) was so glued in I had to take a pin vise and basically drill through the bottom base plastic to push the clear piece out.
It slowly dawned on me as I was taking the legs apart that these parts would probably require the most seam-filling.
I was right. All those parts shown above needed to be seam-filled one way or another, and that’s not even including the ankles and feet.
I’m glad at least they were kind enough to give the front of the lower legs as a single piece that slots in on top, eliminating any halfsies seams down the front.
Legs split and ready for paint.
Just about all the white armor pieces painted and seam-filled. The ankle guards in particular look so much better since they’re made up of three pieces, all of which left some gnarly gaps in the armor at first before they were sealed.
You know I’m getting serious when I need to bust out my seldom-used 2mm Tamiya masking tape. I don’t like using this stuff as much as the traditional yellow Tamiya tape, since it’s thicker and tougher to bend around corners, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Masking off the leg designs actually wasn’t as difficult as I imagined – a lot of it allowed me to just stretch one piece of tape up the length of the leg.
After peeling the second layer of masking tape for the black and silver, I found that there was some pretty bad paint bleed with the black onto the white. I could’ve used white acrylic touch-up paint as usual, but I’d prefer to avoid using that method as much as possible, since the difference in spray and brush paints is still too noticeable
As such, I chose to remedy this issue by re-masking the legs yet again – this time covering up all the black and silver parts and re-spraying the white so it ends up cleaner on both sides. This method worked, though ironically the extra layers of white paint on the legs means they’re slightly whiter than the rest of the armor which only has one coat of white throughout, but this is such a slight difference I’m pretty confident it’d less noticeable than bits of white acrylic. .
I actually used the same method again with the completed shoulders – I mentioned earlier that the paint bleed on these was pretty bad, and unfortunately the white acrylic paint I used to touch it up was super visible and unsightly because the shoulders are eye-grabbers on the suit.
At one point I tried using one of the spare marking decals to see if it would hide the little white acrylic paint marks – it certainly did that, but the marking itself against the rest of the shoulder design didn’t look too good, I didn’t think. As such I had it promptly removed and simply masked everything else off to re-spray the center white section so it’s smooth and even now.
Finally moving onto the backpack and wings, which was left completely unassembled by the original builder. I showed earlier how a lot of decals had already been applied to the backpack runner – turns out they were only applied with water and nothing else, so it was a simple matter to literally blow them all off with a can of compressed air.
Minor seam-filling required here – nothing looks too complicated.
I can’t read Japanese, but at least Hasegawa was kind enough to give us a little paint key as they mention in the manual here and there what colors should be what. Technically the kit called for a difference between “steel” and “silver,” but I couldn’t be damned to buy a whole new can of paint just for that subtle difference, so the colors were merged.
It was actually really amusing to note by the end of this build that it looks like even the manual designers couldn’t keep up with Katoki’s ridiculous color shenanigans. A good amount of parts on the manual are actually mis-colored and don’t match with each other – are those sections of the foot supposed to be dark gray or silver?!
Another good example. The side and rear profiles tell you that the side skirt bits should be in Steel. Then the front-on diagram has them in Silver – hence why I decided to say screw it and just made it all one color on the kit instead of playing these games with the manual.
Getting to the Temjin’s one weapon – some sort of lancer swordXgun thing. It came mostly assembled (with a few parts falling off here and there) so I just had to pick it apart and clean it up.
There are actually supposed to be four of these tiny little detail pieces that go on the weapon, but for some reason one was missing by the time I got to it during the weapon’s disassembly. I honestly can’t tell if it fell off and I lost it or if I got it like this.
I wasn’t particularly willing to re-mold such a small and detailed piece though, so I opted to just make some small edits to the weapon design and deleted the two lower bits. No one’s really going to notice, right?
The designs on these little wing fins that open up on the backpack assembly were pretty gnarly as dictated by the manual. I decided to simplify them greatly and basically just make them lines instead of the crazy maze-like designs that they were stock.
And as I’m right about ready to put the upper wings together, I fumble with the Mr. Hobby lacquer metallic green and end up spilling it all over my cutting mat, desk, and parts of the wing assembly. The lacquer promptly ate through the spray paint and plastic, so I had to do some serious damage control to bring it back. Was very upset with this turn of events when I was so close to done.
But somehow, I made it. I told my customer I could have the kit done in a week – what a lie that was – it actually took around three weeks – though I took a week and a half break in between for Anime Expo 2016.
I totally underestimated the kit from the get-go – even when he showed it to me in person at first, I thought it would be a simple matter to mask and paint the markings. By the time I really started taking the kit apart, I had realized the true nature of the beast I was tackling.
I’ll say now that these kits are well and truly more display trophies than they are action figures. You’d expect a Bandai kit like a Gundam to be poseable and playable after completion – these Hasegawa kits aren’t quite as versatile.
For starters, it seems to only have early 2000’s HG articulation – the elbows bend to 90 degrees, the legs are connected to the hips by simple ball joints, and while the legs and thighs do feature some cool armor-splitting wizardry, they don’t actually help much with a full bend. The above is as far as the legs will go.
Hasegawa plastic in general also just feels much more brittle than Bandai’s usual quality stuff, so these guys are very fragile. Everything just feels flimsy and loose, even with every surface painted and just about every non-moving part glued in.
And to further keep it in line with my previous Apharmd model, I also tampo’d the unit’s model number on a wing. I’m sad that I also couldn’t add the “TYPE a8” marking because it was simply too long, and I also somehow misplaced the “a8” part, so I couldn’t apply it even if I wanted to.
The little disk driver that holds the CD/DVD pops up to reveal the hard drive thing underneath. Forgive me for being so ignorant – Virtual-On has some kickass mecha, but I know as much about their mechanics as I do the rules of baseball (read: I’m pretty sure it uses a ball and possibly a bat).
The thrusters on the backpack do have some opening gimmicks to reveal the cool-looking panel designs within, but sadly they’re pretty obscured by the giant outer wings.
I spent so much time getting those metallic green details in too – makes me sad that they’ll hardly ever be seen.
Geared up with its only accessory. I actually really like how the high-contrast black/gray markings on the pearl white came out – I’m just a fan of more saturated colors in general I think.
I simplified the markings on the weapon greatly too, but at least the general shapes are there.
The hand is also cemented to the handle because I can’t see the weapon ever being displayed unless it’s being held, and with the way the hand is assembled, there’s no way to have it securely holding the weapon unless it’s permanently bonded.
Like the previous Virtual On kit, there’s no hardpoint in the crotch or back for an Action Base to connect to, so it’s really only meant for ground display. A universal figure stand with a waist clamp would probably do the job, but I didn’t have one on hand – a shame because it would be super cool to recreate the boxart.
It actually took me a while to figure out what this was for – after watching some online game play-throughs of Virtual-On I figured out this accessory was included for the explicit purpose of recreating the Temjin’s one victory pose where it salutes after you win a battle. Talk about dedication and faith to the details of the game.
I’m glad to say that I’m actually really satisfied with this job – it should be obvious by now that these Virtual-On kits aren’t for the weak of heart – it clearly takes a lot of work to get these guys done right, and that’s probably how Hasegawa intended it.
I never imagined I’d be building a Temjin – and painting the entire thing instead of using the included decals no less! Looking back on the whole build process I’m not sure if I’d do it again. The kit looks awesome and I love the final design despite my simplification edits to the markings, but I know for a fact I’d never have been able to plow through such a big project like this if it weren’t a build for someone else. Knowing my habits, I’d have left it on the back-burner for months before lifting a brush.