Gaijin Gunpla

[Editor’s Note: enamelhands is back with more of his modeling wizardry, this time a diorama! Check out what he’s been up to!]

The Scavenger DIO was an idea that I had wanted to do for a Gunpla competition on the now defunct MACForums. It was my first solid attempt at scratch building and modding. I saw the Loto kit and thought that it would be great fodder for a Dio, seeing as you get 2 kits in one, meaning I could tell more of a story with my dio, that you can’t do as well with just one kit. It’s completely handpainted. Sadly, I didnt finish it in time for the competition.

Here’s the back story: “In the destroyed cities of the future, repairs and parts are hard to come by, and must be robbed from the graves of downed mobile suits. Noone knows who pilots this suit, but it has become known as “Scavenger”. Along with its trusty “Recon Drone” the Scavenger forages through the ruins of the city. The human survivors on the ground know to steer clear.”

So in this scene, the hyped up Scavenger Loto would be happening upon a downed suit to grab parts from.I started by mangling one of the Loto with battle damage. The big holes were made with a drill, the smaller bullet holes were made with a small handheld drill bit. The gashes and scrapes were made with a chisel blade for my Xacto knife. (Chisel blades are awesome for doing damage, I use it all the time now). This was comparably the easy part.

I took a chance with the Scavenger. I’m not good at mods (never tried them before), and the idea scared me a bit. I wanted to add details to every part of its armor. I started with the legs (adding bits here and there, and making them look bulkier), then the torso (adding vents and armor), and skirts. It was a good start because it wasnt too complicated, (and these parts are small!) and it helped me build confidence.

I added some height to the Loto by adding layers of plaplate to the bottoms of its feet, and widened the shoulders using plaplate and epoxy. I carved out an L shaped recess on the rear tread covers too, so that you could see more of the tank treads in the back.

Then I started building the arm rocket launcher. This was daunting, because I had to build more complex shapes around the original arm. I ended up buying the Plastruct thin cement that instantly bonds polystyrene (This stuff is great!). I punched holes in plaplates with a leather hole punch to make the missiles, and used tubing from leftover parts of my Ma. K Ketzer.

The arm sabre was built using similar techniques, but I left space to insert a beam effect part later. The backpack had to be cut in half to make room for the “solar charger” which is just a skirt piece from the Crossbone Gundam, epoxied in place and then the two halves are glued back together. Then I built a little cover for the shoulder cannon to sit in, and glued 2 cannons together for the other shoulder (you can see all this stuff in the WIP composite pic).

The ‘Drone” was almost completely scratch built (which I’m pretty proud of). I recast the Loto’s shoulder flood lights for its head (I ended up making 3-4 of them just to get used to recasting) and scratch built the body using pla plate and stuck a poly cap on top to put the head in. Then I used the treads from the downed Loto as treads for the drone (you cant see the back of the downed Loto anyway) I think it turned out pretty cute.

The diorama is made from a stand for a car model that I found cheap at Michaels, and I found some old styrofoam from a TV box and cut it up to make the rubble and building ruins. I covered the whole thing with sand, dirt and glue, and painted the whole thing pretty much all black with acrylic paint (any other paint would have just melted the whole thing. Luckily a buddy of mine reminded me of that before I would have stupidly spray painted it.) Once everything was black, I could layer tones over top, such as browns, greens, reds and unpainted sand (from the beach actually!).

The dio still missed some elements, so a started adding bits of cotton sparingly, for grass, broken toothpicks for downed poles, leftover Loto parts, and used Plastruct L beams and I beams to make the rebar/supports. I painted those black and drybrushed them with silver.

Then I used brown ground chalk and sprinkled it generously at key parts on the dio (the scavenger’s feet and legs, around the drone, in little nooks and over larger rubble rocks for that gradient feel), then I brushed it into the model and dio with a dry brush.

You can check out various parts of the WIP if you want, including some pitfalls and ideas that didnt work (like the triple shoulder lamp that I tried, but ended up looking silly):

And you can check out the gallery for the finished piece:

Thank you Syd for featuring me again (I really liked the Buffalo Blitz Gundam, it came out really great). Long live Gaijin Gunpla!


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