1/100 Gundam Deathscythe Hell Custom

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Another seemingly random build straight out of left field – again, because it isn’t my kit. I’ve always liked to keep my project lineups pretty uniform – if I’m currently working on a HG All Gundam Project collection, I’m only collecting kits that fit that bill. The irony comes in that after I finished this kit, I realized it actually slots really well into a collection lineup that I’ve long since abandoned building – my 1/100 Customs category, of painted and mildly customized non-MG 1/100 kits.

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I’ve had experience with this model before – my friend built it as his first Gunpla way back in the day when he got into the craft. Now, it comes nearly full circle when the missus also picks it up as one of her first models.

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I never liked the original scheme – namely because it was mostly dark blue instead of black. I’d rectified this once before with the MG EW version, but this time I decided I wanted to go with something a little more extreme and different from what Deathscythe’s usually known for.

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This kit never held up well as a straight-built kit – a lot of it was flimsy and parts never did like to hold onto each other particularly well.

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The giant lovely bat-wings are super flimsy on their joints – to the point that if Deathscythe is standing slightly forward they would fold under their own weight.

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Seams on nearly every body section, ball-jointed hips, and polycap joints. What’s not to love about 90’s Gunpla?

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Aside from the usual sanding and nub cleaning, sealing seams will be the largest chunk of work required to get this kit paint-ready.

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I swear this entire thing is made of halves. There’s an obscene about of parts that need to be seam-filled.

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Even the wings technically require it, but I decided to forgo the work since it shouldn’t be too noticeable (the gaps ended up being huge and I do regret my laziness at not filling them in, but by the time I noticed the entire thing was basically done).

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And because it’s an older kit that lacks a lot of panel detail, I decided for the first time to add a little bit using pla-plate just for kicks.

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In retrospect the added panels made very little difference since I didn’t quite commit to doing a lot of work – just some small stuff in areas that would otherwise be pretty plain large surfaces.

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Stuck up and ready for paint.

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I’m starting to take less shortcuts with my work and actually going through the effort to prime all my pieces now. It costs me quite a bit of primer and that stuff ain’t cheap, but the payoff is worth it when you’re not slathering gobs of paint on a part just to get a solid color.

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The hands were a particular challenge to paint given that I couldn’t paint the fingers separately. Because of the seam on the hand cap, I had to paint it completely assembled and move the fingers between coats to ensure complete coverage.

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I almost relish the simplicity of having the lower legs as nearly entirely one piece, given how easy it makes assembly and painting.

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I realized after the primer coat that I had made a really dumb mistake – one of the custom pla-plate add-ons would actually get in the way of the gauntlet guard piece that’s supposed to slip over the forearm later. As such I had to pry it off, re-sand it, and re-primer.

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Color coat after primer. It’s a bit jarring seeing the traditionally dark black and gray Deathscythe in bright and saturated traditional Gundam colors.

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Hands required quite a few coats of white, which undoubtedly thickened the final finish but had to be done to get full coverage for the fingers.

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It was right before I was going to apply the final matte coat that I noticed something on my pieces – every color had flecks of another color on them. I thought it just to be dust that I could wipe away, but turns out it’s a product of poor painting setup.

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The blue had white specks, the red had yellow, and the white had all other colors sprinkled on like glitter. I always thought that by spraying a few feet away from my parts table everything would be fine, but I clearly learned here that that’s not the case.

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Thankfully it didn’t take much to fix – no paint stripping or sanding needed. Just had to waste a little more paint by going over all the colors with another layer, this time segregated so paint dust didn’t bleed onto colors they weren’t supposed to.

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Surprisingly, this kit comes almost entirely color-accurate. There are a few stickers here and there, but they were mostly for the sensors, an offense I can forgive. As such, all this masking was done for additional color break-up to have Deathscythe match more in line with the Wing Zero Custom-esque color scheme I had planned for it.

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And more paint problems. These shoulder pieces went through quite a few phases – first some primer, then the bottom section was sprayed white because it’s meant to stay white. That area is then masked off so the rest of the shoulder can be painted blue. As I was laying the blue on, however, the upper section of the piece that was bare primer started to crackle as the paint hit it.

The only difference this section had was that it didn’t have a coat of white over it, because the white part I painted was at the bottom of the piece. It makes no sense to me that the blue paint would crackle on primer and not on the layer of white, but I’ve consigned myself to the unfortunate reality that some things with paint will just never be rationally understood.

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God those curves were Hell to mask.

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Nearly everything done and finished in matte, as usual.

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Now it was time to go in with some brush paints, because painting these joints by hand is easier than masking around them and trying to use spray.

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There was a surprising amount of brush-detail work left to do after all the spraying had been wrapped up – the shoulder parts that were masked white and yellow in particular needed a lot of touch-up work because paint bled between the two colors.

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Everything else is nearly complete and yet the head remains almost completely untouched. This is because the helmet is made up of two halves with a big ugly seam running front to back.

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As such, I had to finish painting the face and eyes first, mask them and insert them into the helmet, seam-fill the helmet, spray it, then finally remove the masking tape on the face.

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The irony here is that I waited on the helmet because I thought I would be able to mask the face and assemble the helmet around it. Turns out that’s not possible due to how tight and flush the face fits. As such I had to mask the face after it had been inserted into the helmet anyway.

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I like how there’s a deliberate panel-line down the sides of the head. Most modern Gunpla helmets are assembled front-and-rear, making those seams actual panel lines, but this old kit is assembled via left and right hemispheres.

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And because even at home stretch, you run into more paint problems. I actually think I know what went wrong here though – all the colors were fine but the final matte coat on the head crackled and ended up with some ugly textures after it had dried. I was on the last of a can of matte and tried to squeeze out every last drop, but that ended up overspraying the head and coating it with a very thick layer of paint, which is probably what led to the texturing.

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And so we sand, re-mask, and re-paint.

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Finally, I decided to add a little flair to the bat-wings. I wasn’t going to do this originally but after looking at them a bit more I decided that all the white just looked too vanilla.

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I actually really like the color turnout – maybe that’s hardly surprising given this color set is all I’ve been painting lately.

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Without the wings it almost looks like your average run-of-the-mill lead Gundam.

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Of course, sue me for not being original and just laying Wing Zero Custom’s colors over the Deathscythe instead of coming up with some crazy unique scheme, but I like it. I was actually looking around online for color inspirations and found that ‘most everyone goes with the usual black/red scheme.

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It comes as little surprise to me that this thing can barely move – the articulation is so restricted that all it can really do well is stand stoic and solid.

I never really realized how good modern Gunpla was until I tried making something like this look dynamic. The main limiters are the wings that get in the way of the giant shoulders, the lack of a ball-jointed and omnidirectional shoulder joint, and (ironically) ball-jointed hips.

Getting it up in the air doesn’t help that much either given that back in the day these kits didn’t have dedicated peg holes for action bases, so I had to use the old-school prong claws to hold it up, and those then get in the way of the already poorly-designed hip joints, limiting leg movement even more.

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I like simple kits that are fairly easy to breeze through while painting – part of why I don’t build Master Grade’s very often anymore, and why it takes me years to finish a Perfect Grade. As much as I enjoyed Deathscythe’s limited parts count and clean design though, it unfortunately suffers from it in this instance just from having outdated Gunpla tech. But you already knew that. Nowadays there’s nearly no reason to buy this model anymore when the MG has long been available, though I suppose it does still make for a fun mini-project or a cheap beginner kit. HG Revive’d Deathscythe Hell Custom please, Bandai?

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