Pressing Plastic Patience

The softened, unused callouses on my thumbs are taking quite a beating today. Between overlapping cuts from my knife and residual glue caking in my pours, I’ve managed to work on 4 different kits today. With the overdue completion of the plastic assembly, Unicorn Gundam MG Ver Ka finally hit the 2nd last stage of construction, bringing this kit closer to the 100% point, with only the bemoaning process of decal application left to carry out.

Unicorn looks pretty damn cool in almost any position you put it in. The kit doesn’t feel as sturdy as others I’ve worked on in the past, leaving few options for certain poses that the kit could be left in. The special finish that the plastic comes pre-sprayed in looks really pleasing to the eye, especially when the light bounces off of the glossy surface. I could paint, which would remedy the glaring nub marks left from the tree cutting process, but I’d lose the nice finish that I paid extra for. A minor annoyance to be sure, one that Bandai could fix had they included a small vial of touch up coat for the modeler to use. I may pick up some “metallic” white paint to try and fix the spots, although, my only worry, which happens to be the biggest challenge, is finding a color that matches when dry; Impossible at best. The kit itself doesn’t seem to be down in spirits though and has quickly adjusted to his new found home by finding himself a new friend.

Using the Unicorn Gundam’s obvious joy as motivation to continue on, I turned my attention to my Ishtar kit that was in need of a re-attached leg. This kit is somewhat hard to work with, as the only point that touches the ground is the tip of her right foot. I have to drill a hole up her leg to fill with a steel nail if I want it to stand on its own. The problem is making sure the entire kit is solid, sturdy and able to support itself. A bad leg is not going to work well for this cause. Making matters worse, her leg blew off the body after a spill from a high shelf. The pin, which isn’t supposed to break (it’s metal.. so duh?) broke in half on both sides, conveniently throwing the option to re-pin out the window. My carpet strikes again!

My last option, one that I hope works, is to lap on epoxy glue. I choose to use the Tamiya quick set version, as it only takes six hours to set, saving me more time to do multiple glue jobs in one day. Alternatively, I can use the 24 hour stuff, which is much stronger, but demands far more patience than I’m willing to give out. Well, for today anyways.

The epoxy comes separated and needs to be mixed before application. This is where most people run into problems though, once again, ignoring the #1 rule of modeling: Patience and consistency is key. Kneading the glue to a “marble” state is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

It should be one solid color, or at the very least, no white areas visible in the finished… uh, glob. I made sure to spread the epoxy wide, also scraping the insides of both pieces. Doing this creates a rough surface for the glue to bond to, making it easier for the glue to grasp, thus leading to a stronger, solid piece.

Once again, Ishtar ends up spending the rest of her day laying in wait. 6 hours goes by fast, and hopefully (my fingers are crossed), I’ll be able to rip the dremel into her by the end of the night. Nothing would make me happier than to see this kit finally repaired and finished. If you haven’t noticed, or you have and are ready to kill me, I changed the color scheme of Ishtar’s outfit. Can you spot the inspired reference?

*AHEM*

Spending more time on a “lady” today than I have any other day, I picked up a profound sense for how to apply female accessories to my hobby. Guyver III and Squall were both in need of a torso re-attachment job, once again requiring the application of epoxy, and a firm grip while the drying process took place. One problem: I’m not holding my damn kits for 6 hours while the epoxy cures. I have a life. Really, I’m not kidding. I manage to keep quite busy these days… doing stuff… lots of stuff.

With a tough predicament ahead of me, and a very arduous outcome looming over my head, I had but one chance to find a solution. It wasn’t in any tool box though, nor was it something to be found on a “pro-modelers” website FAQ. The answer came from my fiancee’s (4 weeks till W-Day – wOOt) drawer in the bathroom. A lowly hair tie, thankfully black in color, ended up being the perfect “tool” (let me call it that! I need to feel like a man!) to hold my kits together while the glue set. Had I not found them, I wouldn’t have had the time to type this post out, ruining both your and my evening in one fail swoop.

I hate to do this on a Sunday, but this long story has a sad ending. The Squall kit, which has been a nightmare x3 to assemble, took another dive and broke again. This time, ironically, it broke in an even worse manner than what I had originally started with. Yay for really bad injection mold joints! I’ll throw up some process pics on it’s 3rd re-assembly soon. Mark my words: If this stupid kit takes another dive, I’m not fixing it. Garbage, or some stale plastic container is where it’ll end up. I’m washing my hands of it…. and I used to like Final Fantasy 8 too.

Grumble – Grumble – Grumble

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