Featuring the Zeon MS-06F/J ZAKU II 1:100 Scale MG
I have wanted to start a diorama for some time now, and after playing around with an airbrush for a few months I thought I was ready. I wanted the scene to look sort of like a "war torn" back alley. I began by rounding up something I could use a a base for the scene. I was at a thrift store where I found a piece of wood with the bark still attached. I went back and fourth in my mind about using it for awhile, as I thought it may look too rustic for a futuristic Gundam battle ground. After some debate, I decided to go ahead and run with it.
I started by gluing some "sandbox" sand to the base via a mix of regular white glue diluted in water.
I wanted to create a concrete cinder block type wall that would provide the mass of the background. I opted for Styrofoam to create large wall.
I carved the styrofoam into a concrete wall using a utility knife.
Moving back to the base I airbrushed the sand in earth tones with a touch of crimson to give it a very grim appearance. I did mask off the bark to (hopefully) incorporate an "earthy" tone to the piece. I am hoping it does not come back to bite me on the ass when the diorama is complete. I want the bark to lend a somewhat esoteric realism to the entire feel of the diorama.
Next I went to work on painting the cinder block wall. I airbrushed in shades of dark grey, filled in the holes with black, and finally gave it some shadowing and pop with lighter greys and whites.
While I was out, I found a 1:100 scale Burning Gundam that was incomplete, and I thought it would be more than perfect to play the role of the destroyed Federation Gundam. (At that point I was a little apprehensive about using a 1:100 MG ZAKU as the focus piece, but eventually gave in.) To start on the unfortunate Feddie Gundam, I began by fitting some actual wire into the appendages. In reality we would not have poly caps when robots blow up, but rather wire and mechanical debris. I used a few 16 guage wires and fitted them into the shoulder joint. I also took a cord off of a broken radio, frayed one end, and inserted it into the wrist joint to give it a different type of "wired" look.
I then used the (almighty) dremel and some chalk to apply both a weathering and battle damaged look.
Getting back to the base, I played around with the placement of the pieces.
I decided to do a little bit more shadowing, and added a very small amount of blood splatter on the Gundam debris as well as on the block wall.
It was then time to start the focal point of the diorama the ZAKU II unit. I decided that I would "weather" the pieces as I built instead of waiting until after the unit was fully constructed. I wanted the unit to look almost exhausted with copious amounts of battle as well as environmental damage. I used an airbrush, chalk, and would set it all in with a dull topcoat.
I started with the ZAKU head. I used a utility knife to "spiderweb" the glass. I also wanted the large shoulder shield to appear cracked and accomplished this also with the aid of a utility knife, chalk, and airbrush.
It took an average of an hour to complete two medium sized pieces. Each piece was damaged according to it's location. i.e. The feet and lower legs have more environmental wear (more mud encrusted). The arms and hands have less mud, but more cracks, holes, rust, burn marks, ect.
It took a large amount of time to render little patches of mud and dirt under the nooks and crannies of the ZAKU unit. I do think it gives it a truly realistic appearance. I have about 30 hours worth of work into the ZAKU alone at this point, and I have yet to assemble the chest piece. I may also add a few pieces of trash to the scene to make it seem more "residential".
I painted a foreboding message on the brick wall warning of a Zeon Attack. I then moved onto the weapons which just beg for some paint.
I used a silver suspension for the clip, the rest was finished in a matte black and the an dull overcoat was sprayed. The missile unit was hand painted with a brush. Only two missiles remain in place. I applied some weather to the ends of both weapons, as well as minor dirt and dust.
I then completed the ZAKU and took the opportunity to photograph him separately, as a battle damaged unit.
I did some final touch up on the base including fading the bright orange "Zeon's Coming" warning, placing some copper wire into the brick wall to represent "re-bar" supports, and re-positioned the final debris of the defeated victim. The diorama was now finished.
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