1/100 scale Master Grade, RX-178 Gundam Mk-II, Titans Prototype Mobile Suit is again going to be a big challenge. The kit has enormous number of parts. The first step is to wash the parts in a detergent full of container. After rinsing thoroughly, let the parts to dry for a while. In meanwhile you can look at the handbook and make a plan how to best proceed. There is actually no best way to start from.I always prefer to wash and clean the parts with detergent, which is an ordinary dish washing liquid from Coles or Woolworths like "Morning Fresh". You can put the amount desired without any fear damaging the parts. And the lukewarm water helps the detergent to solve easier.
Now you can begin to choose colors or even mix them for your desire. I usually use acrylic based paints and thin them with an acrylic thinner to a consistency of creamy milk and airbrush the surface. While spraying don't forget to ventilate the room from time to time and wear a simple mask so you don't inhale the paint particles and the chemicals during airbrushing.
Some parts need to be painted on the frame and some bigger parts must be cut, trimmed, assembled and painted in order to have a perfect finish as well as detailing. I usually start from the limbs. There is no reason why I do that and build the head after I finish the torso.
The painting process
First I had to look at the model to find out, which colors were used and scale them according to the scale. Because the model is 1/100, lighter colors should be used in order to achieve a more realistic atmosphere. Originally the skeleton has to be Grey but I like to use metallic color to achieve a more realistic look. For the shell covering the skeleton I used a metallic mix containing bronze and a Grey blue color. Both colors combined very well on the suit. For the air ducts I used yellow strait out of the bottle and washed them for detailing. The pilot cabin was originally red but I decided to use yellow, which I think was a good decision. Yellow shows the metallic color better than red and has a more realistic look. We are also used more to yellow color in industrial machinery.
Painting the weapons I used again different colors but applied some metallic finish for the nozzle to get a more consistent look as a whole. The weapons are also wearied out due to constant usage, which were highlighted in the detailing process. I always spray a gloss finish after the painting process and continue to do so until every section in order to create layers for every procedure.
The washing and detailing
After the paint job, I applied the first wash to the skeleton in the hope to achieve a distinctive look, which is used metal under harsh conditions. The skeleton is the core of the mobile suit and has to endure forces unimaginable. But the shell (parts) covering the skeleton can be changed or repaired and painted again if damaged, therefore they have a more newer look. But if you look at the back of the shield you will see oil and hydraulic stains, which I later applied.
I also liked the hose ,which came with the model that resembled the hydraulic connections of the machine. These are visible at the back of the legs and the backpack unit. These features give the Titan a very machine like look. These type of hoses can be found in earthmoving machinery such as excavators. The hydraulic pistons at the front, for moving the feet have fascinated me with their chrome silver, shiny look.
I needed to apply the wash several times in order to get the desired effect of old used metal. Applying the wash takes always a long time because you have to wait until it dries and you need to apply again until satisfied.
By the way the wash is diluted paint with thinner. I usually use acrylic paints from Tamiya and the wash is very runny compared to color. This helps to highlight lower parts and lines of the model, sinking into the gaps.
By choosing the wash color always take the surface color into account. The wash should be a darker shade of the surface color. This kind of wash color gives a more realistic look to the whole model. If you have white surface use a gray wash instead of a black wash in order to get a better effect. It is all about the transition between colors and it is according to the modelers desire and taste. I like smoother color transitions, which give an enhanced feeling of scale and realism.
But be careful not to apply the wash when the parts especially joints such as arms are assembled. Because the thinner goes into the joints and doesn't dry and every time wash is applied these places overload with thinner. This corrodes the plastic and causes them to break. It is very difficult to repair this kind of damage.
I usually use a conventional brush to apply the wash. The "Roymac CS-30-1 Liner" size 1 or "Roymac 3550 Golden Sable" size 1 or 2. But it is up the modeler to choose the best brush by trying them out.
I never use the stickers coming with the kit. Especially when making the head unit, I always paint the eyes. The eyes in RX-178 should be green but I decided to make them golden to give a better contrast with the black outlining. The result is amazing giving a high contrast and making the eyes look more lively.
The head unit contains also some intakes on the sides. These require very careful detailing due to their significant role as a major detail in the head. I use very small brush strokes to highlight them and the result is always amazing.
Cutting and sanding
Every part needs to be cut very carefully to make minimum damage to the paint job especially the detailing. But every part needs to be sanded in order to get rid of the chips and obtain a smooth surface. After sanding paint must be applied again and if needed also a small scale wash. In that situation I wash the whole part again to keep the consistency of the whole part. But sometimes I like to add some patches to resemble repairs conducted after a fight.
Therefore sanding is one of the most difficult part of making a model. It is tiring and requires patience. If you can imagine that a single arm contains approximately 20-25 parts, sanding every part and painting them again takes time. But the gratification and enjoyment after the completion of every section is unimaginable.
Assembling is the fun part once you have accomplished the sanding it goes quite in a fast pace and one can't stop because of curiosity. But still you have to be careful not to press the parts to strong together in order to settle them. Some parts need to be even glued in case of loose fit. But this is seldom. I always check before putting every section together in order not to forget to include any parts. After putting a section together it is difficult to separate them and there is always the risk of damaging the paint work. Therefore always check the manual for every single section before assembling the legs, arms, or the torso.
Applying the decals and finishing
Applying decals is always exciting because you are nearing completion and always curious what the outcome is going to be. The Gundam decals are of premium quality and and are applied by scrubbing them gently at the back to the indicated place. You have to be careful by pulling out (separating) the pilot paper in order not to tear or damage the decal. After applying the decals a last inspection is made of the whole model to correct any mistakes. At last a gloss finish is applied to embed the decals and protect them from outside effects.
The kit was of premium quality and all the parts fitted without a hitch or without the need of a major change. It took me around 60 labor hours to accomplish the Titan. This one was still a little bit easier to build than the Archangel. But the planning and the detailing part took a long time. I was again amazed by the extend of detailing and the quality of the kit. I had a lot of fun and another big challenge.