Model 'Till You Drop
(December 2016)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ever start working on something that you just didn't want to stop working on? How about starting an enjoyable, rewarding modeling session and having sooooo much fun that you wished it would never end? This might have involved FINALLY getting an opportunity to work on a Grail kit of yours - (one which you've always wanted or one of your favorite subjects). Then 6 or 8 or 12 hours later you "came up for air" and realized how much time had actually passed by? Well, I recently had that experience.

Back on Thursday, December 29th of last year I was invited over a modeling friend's house to participate in a building session. Scott H. was holding the event and another modeling bud, (Brad) also dropped by. This was actually the fifth or sixth time in the year I had participated in model building sessions with others. (Brad had hosted a previous event earlier in 2016).

The session was scheduled to start at 11 am and last until "whenever." With me being true to form, I was late. I didn't leave until around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Since the trip was a rather lengthy one, (around an hour and a half according to Mapquest), I gave Scott a quick call. (He insured me that there weren't any plans on finishing anytime soon).

Sooo, I packed up my LARGE plastic container, (filled with 2 modeling tools and supplies boxes, along with 4 different models I had been working on) and jumped on the road.

The trip to Scott's place ended up taking just under 2 hours to make, (and I got lost once on my way). However, I DID finally arrive. I grabbed supplies and kits and walked down the pathway to his house.

(The beginning of the session)
Scott and Brad were set up in Scott's kitchen. There was a large paper table cloth which had been placed over the table, to protect it from our paints and glues, (potential staining and caustic modeling stuff).

Both Scott and Brad were working on Maschinen Krieger Mecha, along with some associated 1:20 scale female figures. They were focusing on hand-painting acrylic paints on their models.

I unpacked my supplies and proceeded to work.

(Horizon's Flash Figure)
The first model I started working on was my Horizon Flash Figure. This was an old, vintage resin kit in the large 1:5 or 1:4 scale. I had actually started working on him a number of years ago.

The figure had been assembled completely and I had left off with cleaning up his seams.

I put a mask on which I had brought with me, pulled out some sandpaper and started working on his seams. About 10 minutes later (after taking in my surroundings) I decided to stop. Since we were in Scott's kitchen, (and about to feast on some delicious home-made soup), and since neither Brad nor Scott had masks on, I didn't feel comfortable with spreading some potentially hazardous resin dust around in his kitchen, with it possibly finding it’s way into our meals, the kitchen's surface (somewhere), or into Scott's or Brad's lungs.

Ok, no prob. I packed my Flash back up and proceeded onto the next model I had brought with me: my Armored Crab.

(Armored Crab #2)
This was actually the second Armored Crab I had purchased and was working on. My first one had been completed earlier in the year, and was painted in multiple metallic blue colors.

When getting into the first build I had decided to pick up a second one of these resin, garage mecha kits. I had also decided to construct a diorama scene which included both.

The Armored Crab had previously been assembled and primed. Unfortunately, the Tamiya white spray primer paint I used had some problems with its finish.

I had been working on cleaning up these blemished and marred areas in several previous modeling sessions, and needed to finish it before re-priming.

I pulled out the associated plastic bag containing the parts and started working on them. I probably spent close to two hours cleaning up and removing the problem areas in the paint before it was done.

Ok, next up was my Cosmo Zero fighter.

(Putting Decals on Bandai's Cosmo Zero)
I had inherited Bandai's 1:72 scale Cosmo Zero from a friend several years back. He had basically assembled most of it, along with inking most of its numerous panel lines.

I had completed assembling the fighter along with numerous subassemblies that still need to be assembled - (the base, missiles and bombs). In addition, I had used a Gundam Marker to add additional detail to the remaining panel lines.

All of the work done to the Cosmo Zero resulted in a very, very good looking aircraft. (This, despite the fact that none of the Cosmo Zero's base plastic had been painted).

I had even entered the Cosmo Zero (in its unfinished state) into a couple of modeling contests, winning several awards for it. However, it really wasn't finished.

I wanted to add the kit's numerous decal markings on, followed by applying a clear dull-coat over and finishing it up with the application of some pastels and acrylic paint "blotches" to suitably age and weather the fighter. Finally, I still needed to paint the small in-scale pilot figure and add him to the cockpit.

I pulled out the model's associated box, (which had been filled with everything I needed to complete the decal applications: a newly purchased set of decal setting solutions, Q-tips, tweezers, and a section of paper towel; even some bottles water...

...only to realize that I had left the most important item, the Cosmo Zero itself, at home. I had moved the Cosmo Zero to a different plastic box (in order to protect it in transit). - :~/

I decided that it was time to take a little break.

(Soup Time!)
It was probably somewhere around 7 or 8 when I decided to get a bite to eat. I got a bowl of Scott's very good home-made Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup, some homemade bread, along with some root beer soda. A half hour later I was through (and ready to get back into my modeling).

I decided to tackle the last modeling I had brought with me to work on: My Gundam Real Grade Sinanju.

(Assembling Gundam's Real Grade Sinanju)
I purchased this guy earlier in the year, when making a visit to a nearby modeling store (Millennium Hobbies). Store owner Irad had recently busted one of them opened, assembled it, uploaded an associated video on it at: and had it out on display on his store's counter-top.

I had purchased the Sinanju to do a quick build - (an out-of-box build to help get the building-juices flowing freely once again). I planned to just assemble it, adding very little additional details or work to it.

(Back to the build)...Bandai's Real Grade Gundam models are in the smaller 1:144 scale. Real Grade Gundams, though have bookoo parts. In addition, the Sinanju is one of the larger Real Grade Gundam models, coming in at just about the size of a Master Grade.

The numerous parts included is due to the fact that instead of just assembling a simple robot kit, you start out with the associated endoskeleton, (which has all sorts of detail and engineered articulation, rivaling a really articulate action figure toy).

The outer panel sections, (the main parts of the robot) are then attached onto this assembled endoskeleton. All sorts of finely added detail help the Real Grade build up to extremely attractive robots, with a mininum amount of additional work.

I opened up the box, studied the instruction's directions, and proceeded to assemble the complete endoskeleton.

After spending probably several hours on it, I was finished. With previous Real Grade Gundam builds I've done I ended up dry brushing silver paint onto the endoskeleton, (in order to help the otherwise obscure details pop out and come to life; this really ends up bringing them to life, adding a really nice 3-dimensional look to it).

Even though this internal detail is mostly hidden with the final assembly of the outer panels, I would know what was lying underneath. (Yeah, I know...A typical Advanced Modeling Syndrome symptom).

Turns out I had left my bag containing a newly purchased bottle of Testors Enamel Silver Paint, some paint brushes, paper towels and thinner at home. (I really had left quite a few important supplies at home). - :~\

I checked with Scott and Brad, and Brad had some (slightly?) old Model Masters Enamel Silver paint. I looked at it, and even though it was a bit thick and gummy, I decided to forge ahead with it.

(Bad decision!).

After spending probably a half hour trying to use it, I was regretting my decision. Have you ever used some Testors silver enamel paint, (which was kind of old) directly from the bottle, brush-painting it on, and end up being left with a crappy paint finish (where some areas are more shiny than others, along with some lumpy regions)? This was what my resulting paint finish looked like.

("No Problem") I thought. I could just use some paint thinner to thin everything down. (After all, the paint finish was supposed to be a thin, wash consistency anyway).

After spending probably another half-an-hour trying to work some Mineral Spirits into the mix, (with very little success) I finally decided to call it quits.

It was now somewhere around 3 or 4 in the morning...(My, how time DOES fly when you're having fun!)

Even though I was still pumped up and ready to tackle yet another modeling project, I was out of models to work on.

(Time to chill out with some movies)
It was somewhere around 3 or 4 am and we all had finally finished working on our models and figures.

Scott had had an original Star Trek marathon playing in the background, but had switched it for the Aliens movie a short time before.

Brad, Scott and I decided to chill out and watch the rest of the movie.

A bit later Scott started talking about some Bruce Willis movie (titled Tears of the Sun). I hadn't remembered seeing it. So Scott popped the DVD in and we proceed to watch it.

A short time later Brad was snoring…I guess his body had finally given into the fatigue factor.

Scott and I watched the movie to its end. (Part way in I had started recognizing it). At that point it was around 6 am.

I had previously made an appointment to see a guy I know (who lives in Newark, Delaware) later on that day. Ironically, it turned out to be only 38 miles away from Scott's.

I ended up hang out until around 6:30 or 7, before finally buggin' out and making my way over Newark.

It's been a long time since I've been able to throw myself that completely into doing a continuous modeling session, (with no to very little interruptions). Previously, when I used to work in the IT field, I would sometimes start working on airbrushing my models, beginning at 9 or 10 in the evening, after my kids were sleep and any daily household chores had been finished. I would plan to only work until around 11:30 or 12 at latest, and when I looked up at the clock would discover that it was 1:30 or 2:30 in the morning.

Our modeling session at Scott's was a real good fresh breath of modeling air for me personally, (although it did get a bit thick there in Scott's kitchen with the paint and thinner fumes when I was working on drybrushing Sinanju's Endoskeleton, and later trying to remove the paint).

This was one of my most productive, enjoyable modeling sessions I've had to date. Later on, (on Friday), I ultimately ended up suffering for it a bit. I finally got to sleep at somewhere around noon, got only around 4 or 5 hours of sleep, which was interrupted twice, had a splitting headache for much of the remaining day and was dead-tired when making a trip later, over to my folk's to celebrate my Dad's birthday.

However, it was worth it and I wouldn't have changed the experience for the world!

The next time your model building activity dips down and you need to jump start it back to life, try to dedicate a day to getting back into modeling. If you can find a modeling-bud to hang out for a group building session, so much the better. (There's something special about the social aspect of hanging out with friends combined with the productive aspect of working on one's models).

Try to remove any potential distractions or interruptions and block off a LARGE amount of time for it. (This actually works best if you have multiple models to work on consecutively, so you can jump from one project into the next).

And have at it!

You'll ultimately be glad that you did!

Keep the glue and paint flowing, take care and God's Blessings!

- Tony

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