Monday, August 25, 2014


Part One: Overview, Construction and Painting

It's been nearly a year since this wonderful model was released by Bandai. I acquired mine back in March for my birthday. It is an absolute must for fans of 宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199 (Uchū Senkan Yamato 2199). 

Yamato 2199 (2012-2013) is a remake of the original Space Battleship Yamato series from 1974. The original series was released as an english dub in the U.S. as Star Blazers back in 1979. I have to admit, Star Blazers has a strong nostalgic power over me. I would watch it as a child, every morning at 7:00 a.m., right before school. At age nine, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Blazers were all on an equal level. And they still are in my mind. 
When I was a child, we called the alien enemy that commanded these ships the Gamilons. Their original name in Japan is Gamirasu (the "u" is silent), sometimes written as Gamilas or more recently, Garmillas. I like Gamiras(u). It sounds more menacing. 
If you are a fan of anime, the new version is truly AMAZING. You can see a trailer for the english-subtitled release here. And here is a more explicit trailer for DVD volume 6 in the original Japanese. 

The kit consists of four models in one box. Included is the larger Gaiderohl Class Battleship (ガイデロール級), two Clipitera Destroyers (クリピテラ級航宙駆逐艦). All three of these are in 1/1000 scale. Also included is a bonus Salvar S-VI Heavy Tank in non-scale (probably 1/160 or 1/200).

I'm not a professional modeler. My skills include puttying, sanding, priming and basic painting. I have been building plastic models since the 1980's but it's not something I do all the time. If you're an average builder like me, you can still make a really good model from this kit with very little effort. 

I have to say that Bandai has raised the quality of their kits to near perfection. There is practically no flash. The parts fit with no mis-matched left-right warping whatsoever. There is only one area that really needs any puttying. It's a hair-thin gap near the front of the upper hull of the Gaiderohl Battleship. Apart from that, most everything else is a breeze for an impatient person like myself. 

The one annoying part is the tiny fins that cover all three of the spaceships. You can see one of them on my finger in the picture below. 

I don't have large hands! The fins are tiny!

My solution to this challenge was the method I used below, using tweezers and flipping the glue applicator. Otherwise, there would be glue leaks everywhere! I'm sure this method has been done a thousand times but I felt like sharing. IMPORTANT: The instructions indicate that these fins should be placed LAST. They are 100% correct. I made the mistake of applying some of them to the sub-assemblies, and had them fall off all the time when I started connecting the larger parts later. You can get as inventive as you like with the painting of this kit, but please follow the instructions carefully! As usual with Bandai, they are in Japanese but extremely easy to understand.

Another trick I found is an amazing product made by Tamiya, the Panel Line Accent Color. It is available in black, brown, or grey. This is a joy for lazy people like myself who don't like doing classic panel line wipes and inhaling massive amounts of paint thinner! 

As you can see in the above pics, it helps to accentuate the lines on the model. It works best with glossy paint or semi-gloss. It's not good with flat paint, where it drips where ever it wants to. Luckily, the Tamiya flat military spray paints I used are actually a bit semi-gloss. I have seen pictures where people made these same kits without painting the models and just used the panel line formula and they look fantastic! NOTE: excess panel line stains are removed using an enamel thinner like Tamiya's X-20. The thinner does not harm Tamiya spray paints as they are lacquer based. You can see a demonstration of this method here. Some people even use this method to make weathering streaks. The different colors can be mixed to make a dark gray, gray-brown, etc...

Above is a masking trick I used when painting the tiny curved bridge windows. Putting tape on one side allowed me to brush the paint on without being too precise. I primed the small spaces white first for maximum contrast from the yellow colors.

I then very lightly sanded the surface, removing the excess yellow.

I decided to paint one of the Cripitera Destroyers in the blue color used by the Gamiras Royal Guard. With coloring, I tend to be more of a perfectionist. So I mixed my own color. It's a semi-gloss mixture of navy, light gray, and a blue-violet. My camera doesn't capture this color well at all. The pictures make it look much more intense than it appears in real life. I applied this color with a brush. Obviously, an airbrush would have made the finish even smoother, but this worked out very nicely. I think it's because blue and gray acrylics tend to spread better than other colors.

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