The design of the RMS-154 Barzam Refined combined the best parts of the Barzam and the Gundam MKII. And now we can build one in model kit form thanks to the CuteCube conversion-kit for the RG MKII! But in conversion-kit world, not everything is as it seems....
In order to make this thing hold up to the real-grade quality we've come to expect, it's going to need a lot of work. Also, look at all these parts:
What have I gotten myself into?
The CuteCube parts are actually pretty good quality. They're injection-molded in styrene with a good color match to the Titans MKII. But the level of detail isn't quite up to real-grade standards. The leg armor, for example, has huge flat sections without much detail. I'm going to have to scribe those.
I also find that the parts don't really fit onto the MKII frame very well. They need some sanding and modification to close up gaps, and they will not reliably snap together (as we have come to expect from Bandai). This is not a problem for me, but if you aren't used to this type of building this could really throw a wrench into your plans.
The Write-up Part 1: Armor Modifications
Once I had all the armor installed (which was a project by itself!) I set out to add some additional detail. A few areas, like the CuteCube chest and waist armor, had large flat areas that didn't match the armor separation of the RG MKII. You can see some of the modifications I made in the image below: I scribed panel lines on the chest and skirt armor, and added plastic detail parts to add some interest.
I scribed some panel lines on the leg armor, as well, and added more plastic greebles. When I was done with armor modifications the kit looked like this:
This build was originally for the Gunpla Builders Association "Cannon Fodder" contest, so I wanted to add a big-ass gun to differentiate me from the other entries. I got a Wing Zero Custom beam rifle at a swap meet and so I modded it up for Federation use.
Paint Planning and Application:
I knew I wanted to go with a grey scheme to militarize the classic titans colors, and after a few test sprays I eventually decided on Tamiya Medium Grey and German Grey for the two lighter shades of grey, and a German Grey mixed with a few drops of Flat Black to make a new color I called "Ukranian Grey," which was really really dark...actually, darker than it should have been. Mistakes were made.
I also built a diorama out of an old book I had laying around. I changed the title on the spine to "The Gates of Pezun, vol. 1" to indicate that this is a history textbook that, when opened, describes a story from the battle of Pezun from Gundam Sentinel (or "Gundam Wars III").
I don't usually take photos of my models under "lightbox" conditions (as you've probably noticed, I prefer to take all my photos with the potato camera attached to my phone). But I'd never entered an online contest before, and I wanted my photos to look good. So here is my first attempt at a real photoshoot!
Until next time, keep on Barzamming out there.