First, the irony of writing an article about needing loads of Mr. Surfacer on a Bandai kit is not lost on me, given my previous piece of fan boi journalism. Almost as if I planned it this way… 😉
It does make me chuckle.
Oh well- onwards….
I’ve started working on Bandai’s 1/72 scale Destroid Spartan, which appeared in the Macross anime. I’ll admit, I know nothing about Macross. In fact, when I first read it, I thought it said Motorcross, which was a bit confusing. However, when I saw this mecha kit, all confusion was cleared up by one simple fact: it looked awesome! While I love the (mostly) sleek lines of Gunpla, this bad boy just has a beefy, almost Mechwarrior look.
The kit is fairly simple, with a parts count that is less than your typical High Grade Gunpla. All of the parts are nicely cast, with minimal flash. While the box says this kit was produced in 2010, the parts look more like what I’ve seen on Bandai kits from the 90’s.
And while the fit is good, in that there aren’t large gaps, it became readily apparent that much seam work would be needed. As I looked through the instructions, I also realized that construction would be a slow process.
As each section of the kit was built upon the previous, fully assembling any one section- arm, leg, etc., would not work. Each section would need to be assembled, given a good seam treatment, and then the next section built on top of it. It’s certainly not a difficult process, but it does take more time than such a simple kit normally would.
If you’ve not used Gunze Sangyo’s Mr. Surfacer, it’s a great tool for filling gaps, and for priming a surface. There are different grades of various thickness, with Mr. Surfacer 500 being the thickest- and my preferred option.
Now- it’s not “liquid plastic”. I’d best describe it as super thick lacquer paint, though even that is not quite precise. It can be brush painted on, airbrushed on (when thinned- Mr. Color Leveling Thinner works well), mixed with paints, and it sands beautifully.
When it is applied, there can be some shrinkage, so I always apply plenty, give it plenty of time to cure and shrink, and then apply again before sanding.
Another trick I liked is to paint it on to seams that fall along panel lines, and using a cotton bud soaked in alcohol, wipe away the excess. It closes up any hairline cracks, evens the seam up, and makes it appear as a proper panel line. Very handy.
For this kit, I started building up small sub-sections, glued with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. Once that was dry, I went ahead and globbed on a thick bead of MS 500 along all the seams, and allowed it to dry 24 hours.
The next day, I went back and sanded things down. The MS 500 did a great job of filling in the tiny dimples and gaps along the seam line. I could then assemble the next step in the process for the particular part, and repeat the process.
While the going is slow on this kit, I’m really enjoying it, and looking forward to getting to the real fun- painting and weathering. I plan to really go to town on this one!
If you’ve not used Mr. Surfacer 500, 1000, or 1200, pick up a jar at your local hobby shop. It’s a great tool to have handy in many situations.