HG Astraea

The Astraea is something I have wanted to build for quite a long time, I really love the design and the look of this suit. The 1/144 model on the other hand is a bit of a mixed bag that has a bunch of flaws but a tremendous amount of pluses that make up for them.

The Astraea is supposed to be the predecessor to the Exia so naturally they use a lot of the 1/144 Exia in this build but that is the biggest problem with this kit. The 1/144 Exia was the first 00 HG kit and the same flaws it had are evident here as well, specifically the seam lines in the calves and head. I personally oped not to fill in these seam lines as they really are difficult to deal with. First the calves seam lines are very small and aren’t the modifiable kind unless you are determined to do extensive cutting and gluing, and for the small size of them it just didn’t seem worth it to go through that or the arduous task of masking the knees. Secondly is the head seam which might be the worst of its kind, The problem is that the face can’t slip in and out of it with the way it’s designed even with a modest amount of modding. The protruding vents in front of the face block it from being inserted in and even make masking it very difficult. Just like with the calves extensive modding is basically what is needed and since the seam line isn’t that noticeable I decided against it.

On the other hand the Astraea is jam-packed with extras. First of all it comes with 2 beam sabers with clear pink beams, a mountable beam rifle, a shield, a GN sword, and a large mountable beam cannon. But what is really surprising is that the Astraea comes with ALL of the pieces of the original Exia, from the shoulders, to the GN drive, to the GN condensers, to the different vents and V fin, and so on. But more importantly it comes with all of the Exia’s weapons from its shield, to its GN sword, to both of it’s GN blades, to its extra beam sabers, you really get everything.

The Astraea is a model where you really feel like you are getting 2 kits in one or at least 1.5 kits in one, but if you want to clean up this kit or want to enter it in a competition or something get ready for extensive modding.

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HG Arios

Funny enough this is the first non competition model I have worked on for the year so I was pretty eager to build it but unfortunately the Arios really points out the weakness of the 00 1/144’s. When you first snap fit this kit it looks great, the transformation is good, the proportions are great, and since the mold is so good the seam lines are hard to notice. But once you start to prepare it for paint it you realize that because most of the 00 suits are so thin and streamlined that the 1/144’s can’t recreate the designs without pretty bad seam lines and for the Arios specifically bad color separation. When I mean bad seam lines I mean that they are seam lines that you can’t mod away and are instead are the ones that force you to use masking.

I think the real reason why I got so annoyed with this kit was after all the competition models I did through the year conscious of every part of the build since they would be judged I wanted something fun and simple but this wasn’t that. I in the end didn’t even apply the decals I got for it.

If you really are a fan of the Arios you might want to get this but just know you are going to have to do A LOT of masking, almost every single part of this model needs masking.

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Competition Prize

I mentioned in a previous post that I won 2nd place in the Mecha Lounge Contest, well for the diorama category the gunpla prize was a Perfect grade RX78-2 and luckily I was the one to receive it. I totally forgot it was supposed to come this week and was pretty surprised to see a large box delivered to my house with my name on it.

Thanks again to the guys at Mecha Lounge

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Model Figures

While doing the Qan [T] I had the urge to paint the small figures that come with MG models especially since the ones included for the 00 Qan[T] are sculpted to resemble Setsuna well. I must admit for the last few MG/PG models I have done I have ignored the pilot figure, they were just too much of a bother to do since I would have to painstakingly hand paint everything. But now I think I am going to paint every one of those from here on out.

the big difference from how I was painting them before is that I am using lacquer this time. I have always been so hesitant to use lacquers outside of airbrushing that I used to use a combination of enamels, acrylic, and markers. But with the lacquers I have the color range, the fast drying, and can do enamel washes all I want.

With this I first started by masking off the body and leaving the base to get painted in the gunmetal that I was painting the Qan[T] inner frame in at the time. Once that was dried I painted the light blue first since as I learned in various art classes years ago “go from light to dark”. I also wanted to use the white plastic as the white found in the figure so I was extra careful applying the blue. Afterwards came the dark blue which I was able to apply over the light blue in certain areas making painting both easier (for example the gloves). Which was then was followed by the gray vest, the skin color, and the black hair. When they were all dried I heavily thinned some black enamel paint and carefully gave the figure a wash so the detailed would come out without the whole thing looking dirty.

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