In Progress » Abandon Base Diorama

03.24.04 » All Your
Base Are Belong To Them

The battle was fierce, but in the
end, retreat was the only option. A quartet of
GMs from the Persephone, a Salamis Class Medium
Cruiser, was dispatched to the asteroid base to
assist the escaping personnel, but they too became
victims of the Zeon’s relentless assault.

The pilot of unit 02 barely managed
to survive the large caliber fire sustained by
his mobile suit. The damage was enough to disable
the GM, but thankfully not enough to cause an
explosion. Having popped his hatch, he made way
to a nearby shuttle escaping from the base.

03.24.04 » Concept,
Color Schemes, and Decals

This diorama will depict an EFSF
shuttle and personnel escaping from an asteroid
base. The base of the diorama will be simulated
rock with an open bay door. The shuttle will be
flying out of the door while personnel help eachother
inside and try to make it to the shuttle. A damaged
GM Type C will be off to the side. It’s pilot
will be mid-flight between the GM and the shuttle.

The 1/100 scale shuttle is scratch
built. Check out the in-progress pics here.
the 1/100 figures are leftovers from several Master
Grade kits.

The mobile suit is a Master Grade
GM Type C. It will be a clean MS without weathering,
but will have damage in certain areas. The damage
will have scorch marks, but the overall look will
be clean.

Below are images of the colors and
decals for the shuttle and GM. I layed out the
color scheme in Photoshop and the decals were
designed in Flash MX and then sized and made ready
for printing in Adobe Illustrator. The GM will
have a very pale fractal camo on the orange pieces.
The Orange and Red will be washed out to an almost
pastel version of the colors.

03.24.04 » “Sucks
to be me!” said the GM pilot.

Well, the GM is already cut out, puttied, sanded,
and ready for damage. As soon as I start the damage,
I’ll post some photos. Another thing I did was
to modify the ugly feet that came with the kit.
They only took a few hours (plus drying time for
the putty/primer) to modify. Check out my PGM
build up to see how I do the feet.

04.07.04 » Damage

Here a shot of the damage to the
rear of the GM. These are from 2 or so large explosive
rounds. (or whatever… not like it’s real.. heh
heh) One hit the torso ripping a hole in the armor
and sending shrapnel to nick up the surrounding
area. The second hit the top left booster causing
a small explosion. (I’m going to say that the
flight computer had cut the fuel line after the
first hit to prevent an explosion which is why
the whole GM didn’t blow. Sound good? The reality
is that I just wanted a cool looking blowed-up
good part.)

I made the damage using my dremel
and an odd drill-like bit. I started the damage
to the shield, but my Dremel
battery ran out as soon as I started. I have to
wait for it to recharge before I can continue.
I’ll be adding little tubes, extra metal and other
“greebles” later.

04.08.04 » …and
more damage

Here’s some more damage that I got
done since yesterday. The first is of the shield.
I cut off a good bit of the lower end of the shield
and then “shattered” it up with the
Dremel. I also added strips of styrene inside
the shields gap to make the armor look layered.
For the knee where the left leg will be missing,
I dremeled it out, then added a piece of gear-looking
washer that I cut-up and a thick metal bead. Both
of which I damaged. Not pictured is the tubing
that I frayed for the ends. I also used a pin-vice
to hollow the support pieces for the frayed tubing
to make them look more pipe-like. Other tubed,
hoses and suck will be added later as needed.

04.18.04 » Paint and

I’m all done with my current modifications
and am ready for paint. I got my light gray painted
for the feet, minus-mold innards, waist and backpack.
Here’s a pic of the modified feet panted in my
light gray. I wanted to show the feet anyway,
so here’s killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

04.19.04 » Orange

I’ve painted the white and the orange
today. The 4 pieces with orange paint are done
in a fractal or aggressor camo scheme using 2
tints of the same orange. First I sprayed down
the base custom orange color, then I masked off
what I wanted to stay the base orange. I mixed
the base orange with a little white and sprayed
that overtop the base. After removing the tape
you can see the slight “camo”.

I wanted the camo to be very light.
A lot of people make the mistake of using shade
of color that are too different thus making the
camo stand out too much. I like a subtler look.

04.21.04 » Internal

Normally I don’t bother detailing
the internals as they’ll never be seen again.
For this mech however, it was a necessity since
you’ll be able to see them through the “open
wounds” in the armor. Also, this will be
good practice for my PG Zaku in which I want to
uber-detail the internals.

All the internals were painted with
a mixture of Tamiya Gunmetal (60%) + Chrome Silver
(40%). It’s a beautiful metal when done. The other
detail colors are Titanium Gold which looks like
a brass, Coppor, and Aluminum. ALl are Tamiya

I haven’t been doing the internals
as metallic lately either. At least not since
the Cloud 09. The reason I decided to do these
is so my lighting will reflect off them nicely.
(More on the lighting later.)

04.25.04 » More Damage
and Leg Seam Fix

First off, here’s a shot of the
damage to the shield so far. I hand painted in
all of the cracks, gouges and crevases with Tamiya
Metallic Gray. Next I lightly drybrushed all of
the damaged areas with a mixture of Coppor and
Bronze. That gave it a warm burnt metal effect.
And last so far, I drybrushed again with silver
rub and buff to highlight the worn metal. Next
I’ll do a chalk-wash on the damage to give them
a sooty look. After the flat coat, I’ll use some
pastels to finish the charring.

I also started on fixing the ugly-ass
leg seam on the GM Type C. Luckilly I only have
to do one of these. LOL! Basically I had to paint
the whole internal structure of the legs first.
Then after building the leg, I added the 2 halves
of the armor to the outside using Tamiya Glue
as a seam welder. When that’s dry, I’ll mask off
the metal parts to avoid damage while sanding
and puttying the seam smooth.

04.25.04 » More Leg
Seam Fix

The seam has been glued, sanded,
puttied, sanded again and primed. Here’s a shot.

04.26.04 » Char-Grilled

Okay, to add to the explosive damage
effect, I added a chalk wash to the damaged parts.
Basically a chalk wash is some pastel shavings
mixed with water and a drop of dish soap.

I brushed the wash onto the parts
and let it dry. After it was dry I took damp paper
towel bits and wiped away the excess. What was
left was black dry stuff left in the crevases.

Now some of the deeper crevases
held too much chalk and wiping didn’t remove enough
of it. It looked too black for my taste. So I
took an old dry toothbrush and brushed the excess
out. The effect looks really nifty and it’s hard
to see in the photos due to the gloss coat on
the pics. Once I dull coat everything and add
the rest of the charring this damage will be done.

I still need to do the damage to
the light gray parts since I just painted them
today. I’ll get to those later in the week. For
now, here’s many damage pics!

05.03.04 » Decals Done

That’s all… decals are done. Next
is adding a flat coat and using chalk pastels
for the damage weathering.

01.21.04 » Quick Start

For a future project I am scratch-building the escape
craft seen at the end of MS Gundam. I’ll post mere details about
the whole project when I get to it.

Here is an image of the craft I am building.

Here are some shots of what I have done so far. The
project is going pretty quickly so far and should be done relatively
soon. I’m using mostly sheet and strip styrene and option parts.

I printed out the pictures I drew up in Flash to the
scale (1/100) that the piece will be in. This helps with measuring.
Seen is a 1/100 scal figure from a Bandai MG kit.

01.28.04 » Pause

Here’s the latest progress shot taken last week. The
wings are cut out and the wing skids are build. I am waiting on
some g-tanks before I can continue. I also still have to file the
edges, putty, sand etc…

02.28.04 » Back to

I had a good bit of time today while my wife and baby
were visiting the Grandmas. So I worked on my shuttle. I had finished
filing the edges to round them a bit, added the vents to the back
of the cabin, modified the wave option tanks to be the size I wanted
(thanks Jester!), puttied, primed, sanded, added some panel lines,
puttied, sanded some more, etc… I still have to prime again.

Next up, I have to decide how to build the assemblies
that will attach the skid to the cabin underside and the wings to
the tanks. I’m still debating between styrene and metal. I will
be using teeny little kotubukiya burner nozels on the ends of the
fuel tanks and for the “disks” on the wings, I have some
“minus molds” that will work perfectly.

03.02.04 » More Progress

I scribed some panel lines, did some clean-up and
gave it a coat of primer to check for things needing to be fixed.
Overall, there’s only a little bit more that I need to work on for
the cabin portion.

03.08.04 » Building Complete

The shuttle is all built and ready for paint. I also
posed a bunch of the figures in space suits that came with many
of my MG kits by amputating limbs and repositioning them.

04.27.04 » Painting Complete

Painting of the shuttle is almost complete…just
need to highlight a few parts such as the backs of the round dealies
on the wings. Still have to decal it, but I’ll do that when I decal
the GM.

05.03.04 » Decals

Here’s the almost finished shuttle with decals. Just
needs the window added and a flat coat. For size reference, I added
a Tamiya bottle in the shot.

04.02.04 » Open Sesame

I started on the diorama base for this project. I
bought a large wooden oval plaque and finished it with stain and
polyacrylic. I also began construction of the bay door. My hope
is to have the asteroid be hollow. This door will set into a hole
in the rock from behind. The rock will be made from celluclay.

The “hole” for the doors is made from sheet
styrene. The doors themselves are made from sheet and strip styrene.
There was no need to make full sized doors since they will be open
and you’d never see the rest of the doors anyway. The “hole”
is about 3 inches square. I added some extra panels and boltholes
to it.

I’ll post more about the construction as I do it,
but for now, here’s a few pics…

04.05.04 » ‘roid

Okay, the base has been stained and finished and today
I sculpted the asteroid. I used a block of 2×4 covered in foil to
make the hole for the bay doors. I covered it in foil to make the
removal from the “celluclay” easier. I used styrofoam
to bulk out the basic shape of the asteroid. I also covered the
base with foil to prevent sticking. I then glued everything down
with white glue and let it dry overnight.

For the asteroid “shell” I used celluclay.
It’s a paper mache clay that dries like rock! It’s very easy to
work with and smooths with water. It take a long time to dry though.
Right now I’m running a dehumidifier and my spraybooth fan to try
and spped up the process. The base is covered in foil to prevent
the water from the clay from warping the wooded base.

I covered the foam and wood with the clay and smoothed
the celluclay to the desired thickness and rough shape. Then I used
sculpting tools, fingers and marbles to do the pocked surface. After
I dusted with sand and left over “boulder” bits from my
mars base. Those will simulate crater ejecta and small rocks/boulders
that were pulled in by the asteroids microgravity.

When it’s dry, I’ll be able to remove it from the
base and pull out the foam and wood to have a hollow shell. I’ll
then add the bay doors from behind. I’ll prime and paint it when

Here’s some pics. The tape on the foil is a guide
to where not to apply the clay.

04.12.04 » Warped

The asteroid is pretty dry now after 2 hours in a
200 degree oven. I wish I’d done this a week ago. See the celluclay
takes forever to dry and while my wooden base didn’t warp thanks
to the aluminum foil, (thinking ahead helps) the celluclay asteroid
did. I repaired it before baking today, but even after the fix and
bake it was still a bit warped.

I have a solution though! See, my dremmel cutting
wheel has a screw. The screw lifts the wheel up a slight bit from
the table-top. Well, what’s nice is that the highest gap point so
far is right at the level where the cutting wheel reaches to. All
I’ll have to do is cut around the base when I’m completely sure
it’s dry and it should sit flat. I hope.

Celluclay shrinks too so as you can see from the above
and below pics, the asteroid shrunk a good bit. I actually like
that I can see some of the base top now though since I really like
the wood finish I did.

04.18.04 » Painting

Okay… it’s official. Celluclay is a royal pain in
the ass. But… I like the way it looks when done. I had several
problems with the celluclay which were actually my own fault. See
I needed the asteroid to be hollow so I could add the doors from
behind. Well, celluclay takes FOREVER to dry unless you put it into
an oven. If you apply the wet elluclay to your wooden base, over
time as it dries, it will warp your base.

Having known all that and planning ahead, I built
up the rough shape with foam over a base covered with aluminum foil
to keep the base dry. As the celluclay dried, it pulled the foilup
and in and thus… a warped ‘roid. Most people build their clay
directly on their base and oven dry.

Well to fix all this I did what you saw on the 4.12
update. That didn’t work right.

So next I screwed the dry warped asteroid to a piece
of MDF. Then I was able to fill in the cracks and bake it at 200F
for a few hours until dry. I ended up repeating this a couple times
just to get it right as I wanted it. It now covers the whole base
and fits snug all over.

also had trouble with the doors fitting. In the end I ended up cutting
a piece of wood the shape of the door frame and placed it into position.
I used modeling paste, which is kinda like joint compound, to fill
in the cracks. When dry, I knocked out the wood, shaped the poening
with my dremel and the door fit almost perfectly. I actually found
this modeling paste in the bottom of a drawer while in search of
white glue. I bought it over a year ago for 50 cents at an art supply
store clearance sale. Lucky me!

Now it’s ready for paint. I’ll be doing the method
my friend Jester showed me for painting rock. The first step (and
all that I have done) is to prime and paint the whole thing black.
Next will be several drybrushed layers of color. Here’s a pic so

04.18.04 » Painting
Time (Part 2)

The asteroid is painted. I used cheap acrylics from
Michaels to do the drybrushing. I also cut a 1 inch nylon bristled
brush in half to get a rougher brush. The mixed paint was black
+ brown + white. After each dry brushing I added more white. I did
about 10 coats. Each coat applied was lighter. The effect was awesome.
Thanks J!

05.04.04 » Let there
be light!

I mentioned earlier that there may be some potential
electronics… Well there ARE electronics! I wanted to add something
to this piece that I’ve never done before and lighting is it.

There will be 2 sets of 4 red LEDs on the bay door
entry shaft. These will blink 4 on 4 off in a heart-beat sequence.
The GM will have blinking LEDs inside of the head and the body cavity
to simulate damage, sparks, and random life in the MS.

Not knowing how to do such a thing I went surfing
and found this article
on Starship Modeler’s website. It’s a great article on doing blinking
lights and the author really knows his stuff. Using this as a reference
I made a parts order from and went to work wiring
it up.

Here is the simple diagram that I made so that I can
understand it easier. The normal diagrams were confusing. I need
to visualize what’s going on. Also posted is a pic of my wired up
4060 chip tested and ready to go.

05.07.04 » And there

It works!!!! Everything’s wired up and ready for final
assembly/photos. I guess this will be the last in-prog. The only
wiring issue I had was fitting everything into the chest cavity.
I ended up having to hollow out the top of the core block with my
Dremel to shove some wires into. Here’s some pics.

Comments are closed