Thursday, August 18, 2016

MECHA REVIEW: Deep Space Jegan

As promised, I have started collecting and writing about how I started making this crazy project before it premieres. This article is about how I made my custom robot model for the show.

I've still got a lot of editing to do, but unfortunately my computer is still not running at 100% and may need a power booster/battery thing because the voltage in our building is low and spotty, which makes my computer insane and 4 of the 5 hard drives randomly stop not a good time. There's also no ground cable in our apartment but everyone says "it's fine". I don't think it's as fine when I'm over 600watts with 5 or 6 hard drives 4 sicks of ram, water cooling, and a ton of other power sucking shit, but whatever. Let's get on with it.

The Idea
My crazy idea for the Mecha Review came to me while watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. I could build a simple set, some miniatures, shoot it for no money, then edit everything in Photoshop and Premiere pro and call it good. This required my pilot character to...pilot something. Obviously, since the show is principally about mecha anime, I thought of gunpla as a great basis for my project. 

I had recently re-watched Gundam Unicorn, and in the opening of that first episode, the NZ-666 Kshatriya battles a team of Jegan pilots, lead by a unknown ace pilot in a RGM-89S Stark Jegan. The battle is beautifully animated and super awesome to see, and I credit that battle (and the guy who sneakily uploaded it to YouTube about 7 years ago) for getting me back into Gundam after 4 or 5 years. The RGM-89S was my choice as the base model for the Mecha Review suit.


Originally, I wanted to simply mix parts of the Stark Jegan and a ReZel, both from Gundam Unicorn, to make a sort of JeZel custom, so it didn't really look like either suit in particular. I bought both kits and to my dismay, the kits are so radically different that none of their parts could be interchangeable without a lot of effort. So then I did tons of research on mobile suits from Gundam, which parts looked cool, what ideas could I steal, etc. I came up with an idea to steal just a few pieces from the ReZel, then borrow a few weapons from the Unicorn Gundam's Full Armor set (which itself stole weapons from various other kits), dig around in my old parts bin, and do some sketches and tests. 

Putting it Together
What I needed in my fictional world was a suit that could travel long distances with improved communications, more boosters, a tad more armor, powerful weapons, and lots of gray. I took the basic Stark Jegan kit, removed the shoulder pieces and their missile pods, and began making small armor patch pieces and drilling bullet holes.


Then, I took parts from some strange kits, including the very old Full Armor ZZ glue-together kit from over 20 years ago, a no-grade HeavyArms backpack, a no-grade Deathscythe Schythe, pieces from I think the F90 Plunge-Type, and various other bits from the ZZ Gundams I've owned, and an old F-22 Raptor jet kit I got when I was five. 


The finished kit also includes an under-barrel cannon on the beam rifle sourced from a Ball kit, two giant boosters from the Full Armor Unicorn, as well as it's missile/grenade pods, and even a booster stolen from a broken Gelgoog Marine to add a touch more thrust power. ZZ Gundam's shoulders are now DS Jegan's arm shields, and Deathscythe's scythe handle has been cut and glued and fitted to create a folding handle for the under-barrel cannon.

Decals and Paint
It was obvious to me that this thing should be colored in a subtle way. I wanted it all-over gray with a few colored highlights of blue, but changed it to red and yellow because it popped more. My original inspirations for color were the C3 Zeta Plus and the Full Armor ZZ Gundam. I used mister color neutral gray and tire black for most of the kit. I wanted it to be dark, but not so dark it wouldn't show up on a starfield background. Most of the painting was done in our garage, with detail paint done on my desk with a tiny brush. I did the panel lines with a mixture of diluted india ink and mashed up pastel crayons to make it look rusty and dirty. 

The decals came from Hong Kong, and were originally for the Unicorn Gundam. The custom decals were simply made on ink-jet printer decal paper, and were sprayed with flat clear coat and applied with mr. color products before being lightly sanded to look old. I designed the symbols and logos myself in Adobe Illustrator, which you can clearly tell because I spelled Mecha wrong in Japanese and had to redo it. Smart. 

From then on, I just got a decent Gunpla stand and drilled and glued a mount to the under crotch area of the suit to give it a very firm mounting platform. You can see it obviously, but most people don't notice it until they turn the suit around...or not at all. This will be Photoshopped out of the scenes in which it plays.

End Result 
After all the cutting, pla-plate gluing, more gluing, painting, decals, washes...this is what I ended up with.

 Yes, it's not perfect. You can see a few seams, and, god dammit, even though I applied the decals 3 different times, some of my custom ones lifted. It's terrible working with the ink-jet decal paper, but it's the cheap solution. Don't get me wrong, I'm super proud of myself, and I'm sure I'll give it little touch-ups down the line anyway. 

That's everything I had, other than forgetting to mention that the hands are Banda Detail-Up Manipulators. I think that about covers it. Thanks for checking this article out, and I'm sorry about how slow it loaded because of all the pictures. 


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