Bandi's HG Gundam Wing Mobile Suits:
WING GUNDAM &GUNDAM EPYON
Ever get an urge to be spontaneous, really spontaneous? Ever had the desire to throw all caution to the wind and make a whimsical model purchase? Sure you have! We all have, including me! We all probably do this often, in fact. (Way too often)!
Recently I followed through with one of my spur of the moment urges, bit the bullet and purchased a kit. My acquisition was a brand new 1:100 scale Bandi HG Gundam Wing Mobile Suit WING GUNDAM (XXXG-01W) model.
I had been browsing through the shelves of a local Toys R Us store. When going down one of the isles I spotted this small gem. Actually, it appeared that there had been a number of other 1:100 scale Gundams out as well, (a Gundam Deathscythe Hell, an Altron Gundam and a Gundam Epyon). The Wing Gundam was the only one left, though.
Earlier in the year I had heard that these models had started invading the stores on the West coast. I guess they finally worked their way Eastward.
These robot models have been very popular in Japan for quite some time, along with the various Gundam Anime (Japanese Cartoon) shows that have been showing there. With the introduction of the Gundam Wings animated series to the US earlier this year, the craze has started attacking us Westerners as well.
The WING GUNDAM was priced at the (slightly) steep fee of $20.00. It only took me a minute or so to decide to scarf it up.
Bandi has been creating models containing multi-colored parts with very good snap fitting characteristics for a number of years. I hoped this would be another example of their good engineering.
I wanted to throw this kit together pretty quickly and not have to worry about painting it nor cleaning up the seams. I hoped it would end up looking "presentable." Also, I hoped that it would help to alleviate the hum-drum, seam cleaning, multi-colored paint scheme masking tediousness that had begun taking some of the joy out of modeling for me.
When I arrived home and opened the box I was very happy to discover that this was indeed another one of their multi-colored/snap together/excellent designed kits.
(Look at a glance)
The WING GUNDAM comes molded in seven different colors. In addition, there were oodles of parts: 13 Clear Green, 14 Red, 15 Gold, 19 Blue, 25 Medium Gray, 35 off White and 34 Dark Gray cap-stan (flexible) plastic joints, yielding a grand total of 155 parts! The cap-stan parts are the things that enable the hands and feet and arms and legs and head to move. There was also a small stick-on decal sheet.
Another pleasant surprise was that this kit was designed with many of the recessed panel lines located along the edges of adjoining parts. (This was getting better and better)!
There were two different instructional booklets: a color one written in Japanese containing numerous color photos of the Mobile Suit, along with a black-n-white English booklet. Since both contain the same picture diagrams, either works equally well.
(A family affair?)
When I arrived home I was cornered by my two sons! They wanted my model! Anthony and my younger son Michael had been viewing the Gundam Wing series on TV shortly after it started airing this year. With their model building activity being non-existent for many months, maybe this would spur them on to start building again.
The next day I dropped by a different Toys R Us store and picked up two more Wing Gundams, (one for each of my sons). In addition, I found a Gundam Deathscythe Hell, an Altron Gundam Mobile Suit and a Gundam Epyon Mobile Suit. I ended up purchasing the last three kits for myself. The Epyon Gundam was priced at $20.00, with the other two priced at $28.00, (due to the additional parts contained within).
I arrived home late that evening and Anthony and Michael were so psyched that they talked me into letting them start working on the robots right then. So, there we were, sitting at the kitchen table, working on the Gundams until around 11:30.
Anthony worked on his by himself with very little assistance from me. Michael, on the other hand, required some help. Anthony got half way through and Michael and I got a quarter of the way finished with his before I decided that I had had enough building for the evening.
The next morning Anthony's building juices were still flowing. He talked me into letting him finish his kit by himself, instead of waiting until I arrived home from work to help. He ended up finishing it later on that day.
I helped Michael with his robot when I arrived home and we finished it off (finally) about two weeks later.
Even though I had to delay starting my own, it was so nice seeing them so enthusiastic about building theirs that I didn't mind. In addition, this was a good father/son group/bonding activity. Finally, the fact that I worked with them on theirs first gave me a chance to decide how to attack mine later.
(FINALLY - Time to build my own!)
During the weekend following my purchase of the robots I got a chance to start working on my Gundams. I decided to work on both the Wing Gundam and the Gundam Epyon simultaneously.
Since I had detected some minor spaces between the adjoining parts of Anthony's and Michael's kits, along with there existing a general looseness to them, I decided to use some liquid cements on my Gundams. Plastruct Plastic Weld and Tenax-7R were used. Clothespins were used to clamp the pieces together until the glue set.
The Plastic Weld was used for most of the building. It was applied liberally to the inner alignment pins and holes, along with the edges of the adjoining parts. The Tenax-7R was carefully applied only to a couple additional areas, where gaps still existed after the Plastic Weld was used.
The parts to these robots are designed to interlock together with successive parts fitting over the existing assemblies. This is the case with the feet, the legs, the arms and the heads. Because of this, I did not follow the "suggested" assembly steps. Instead, I decided to work on all inner assemblies first, attaching the surrounding outer parts next, and so on.
I ended up achieving a very good fit with the parts. In many cases, the good fitting design combined with the liquid cements completely removed the seams, leaving a smooth transition from one piece to the other. In others, these gaps were only barely noticeable.
A number of times I ended up getting some of the glue on the outer surface areas. Fortunately, by quickly using a piece of 300 grit sand paper followed by some 600 grit sand paper, I was able to completely polish out the damaged plastic areas! I was even able to restore the original sheen to the bare plastic in just about all cases, so you couldn't tell that the plastic had been damaged! (I've never been able to do that before!) I don't know what type of plastic Bandi uses, but I really wish other model manufacturers would follow suit and use it as well.
Another one of my blunders was the accidental removal of some of the golden yellow coating on one of the wing tips of the Wing Gundam kit. Because of this, I decided to strip off all of the gold/yellow coating and paint it Model Master Gold. I ended up using a liquid called Paint and Decal Removal Solution, by Polly S, to do the job.
Some liberal applications of this substance to the parts, followed by some soft scrubbing with a Q-tip removed the entire outer coloring.
After washing these parts in soapy water and air-drying them, I airbrushed the Gold on. This new finish was not quite as shiny as the original. However, it still worked for me.
Copyright © 2010 by Anthony I. Wootson. No material may be reproduced without permission. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.