I feel as if I've been spamming in-progress photos of this guy forever, but finally it's ready. Long backstory short: had a bunch of Zoids from the early 2000's when I was a kid. Forgot about them for a while but still kept building models (Gundam mostly). Had my love for Zoids reignited when Zoids Wild kits came out. Was horrified to find nearly all the batteries had corroded. So... replaced the motor, replaced some wiring, made some physical mods, mostly to the inside-facing hollow parts, and chose a custom color palette.
I wasn't planning on doing that much physical remodeling, but I really felt that the insides of the feet pieces could be a little nicer. Added some panels there and casted some HMM caps to fit in those sockets too.
First time using waterslide decals... the application was fine but I didn't expect the whites to be so starkly contrasting with the other colors that were there. So I haphazardly did some re-painting and scraping. Not totally happy with how they turned out, but fun to try out regardless. This manta ray logo is from a HiQ decal set I got on sale from HLJ some time ago.
Thanks for looking! Any feedback or helpful tips/techniques appreciated.
I love the good, clean, subtle colors you've chosen! Very clean... it really stands out. The subtle use of weathering is really great, too. So many customs are almost burdensome to look at, even with expert paint jobs and hundreds of dollars in milled metal parts, that it is easy to forget how something like this can make such an impact. Beautifully done.
Wow Maethius, thanks for the very thoughtful comments. Even though it's more or less just a repaint I'd like to go with an approach that lets the design of the kit itself show through.
I know just what you mean too-- I once got wrapped up in thinking metal parts were the true high-water mark of modeling. Then nearly $20 in metal cylinders later I realized that wouldn't even cover 1/5th of the amount I'd need just for this one Zaku... so I never went any further than that.
Here's my take on the Gilraptor. Photos first, write-up after. Sorry for the photo setup- my usual photo space is off-limits as we're having the furnace replaced. So these are taken with the lights on my display shelf:
As I've said in the WIP thread, I wanted to keep the spirit of the design while sprucing it up a little. One thing I think is a big drawback to the kit is the black "bone" parts-- they're so dark that the body merges into a big blob when I look at it:
So, I opted for a lighter overall palette. The second thing I felt could be improved was the feeling I've seen several people express, which is that it feels like there is too little armor. Looking at the control art, I didn't really get the same feeling seeing it in motion in the anime:
I tried to address these a couple ways. First, I also disliked how the red leg armor broke up the natural flow of the raptor's leg joints. I felt like the heel area was too covered up by the armor, so I cut them into two pieces and rearranged them around the legs, so it would have a more natural visual path. Second I chose a light green, which I used in other places, to suggest that the limbs for example are not just bare frame but themselves could be another layer of armor as well:
Another thing that I wanted to adjust was the proportions. Using styrene, wire, a Wardick tail and spare Transformers pieces, I lengthened the legs, neck, and tail. I wasn't able to get the curvature I wanted in the neck and tail but I do think it's still an improvement. The last conceptual thing I wanted to change was the blades. I think they are a cool idea but the way they are constructed as-is left a lot to be desired for me. For one, they looked uncomfortably tucked away when not in WB mode. In Wild Blast mode, while I liked the motion it just seemed impractical to be trying to attack with a weapon that could barely extend towards its own neck. So I used some mechanical arm bits from a Gundam Build accessory kit to create some mobility:
Lastly, I just made some cuts and additions to the backpack to amp up the sense that this is a fast Zoid. Took some spare Gundam verniers and cobbled together a quad-thruster setup with near useless articulation. Oh, and the sidearms come from a Zoids Monthly magazine extra weapons sprue. I also was conflicted about the scale- in the end I opted to use the placement of the ZW rider, but with a 1/72 figure. Unfortunately I melted his left leg a little while being impatient with paint drying.
All in all pretty happy with the result, though I definitely have to work on my craftsmanship more if you see the neck spines or the blade holders closely. I don't think I'll put this much effort into any of the other ZW kits, but I am hoping to repaint and do some minor mods for a few. Thanks for looking!
Excellent build on that raptor! I agree on all points, from the darkness of the bones "blobbing" up the details to the lack or/dispersion of armor. Your color palette is really striking! Where did you come up with the idea to use such subdued and white-washed tones? they look really great! The change in scale is, as I see it, a must for this whole line... but I still wouldn't want to be sitting out in the open on this beast!
A truly superior custom; well conceived and well executed!
Thanks Maethius! The color palette is something I've been working at for a little while, and it probably comes seeing a lot of other people's models- including the customs on these message boards. It's helped me narrow down what I can and can't do. I'm inspired by a ton of models I see but have realized I'm not suited for a lot of ways that people approach their builds. For example, I don't think I have the patience or precision for those perfect or clean builds. Likewise I don't think I'm organized or skilled enough for elaborate dioramas or giant ambitiousconstructions (like a certain Zoider's King G!)
But I have seen some simple builds with color palettes that stood out to me, painted with non-local color. Meaning, for example if something is meant to be blue, it's only bluer in comparison to the colors around it but in isolation would probably be more grayish and low in saturation. Here's a couple examples that caught my attention:
So I thought that choosing certain colors -is- something I could do. For the Gilraptor, the defining color to me was red. So I used a pink off-white base (since that's reddish), and to keep everything cohesive I tried to have every color on the model include some quantity of that base. So the armor would start with that off-white, and I'd add some reds and yellows until I got the red I wanted. Sometimes I'd go too far and have to scale it back. For the green, I'd start with the base and mix yellows and blues, and same for the blue for the caps and so on. Sorry for rambling on! Always appreciate hearing your thoughts and hope that answers your question.
Those are pretty sweet! Sounds like you've gone through a lot of what I've been doing lately in figuring out what your strong skills are and focusing on them. I would LOVE to paint like some of the detail masters, but most of my focus is on building articulated models. Of course, I think we all wish we could learn quick and dirty ways to do masterful work.
SO fantastic!!! I love the little vertebrae spines on the wardick tail, i LOVE how you moved that heel armor into shin armor, it looks like it was designed just for that! Everything on this custom looks massively improved. And while there are still things I don't like, those are all from the original kit, and you wanted to preserve its look so I totally get that
Snowflake- I know what you mean. For example the tail bits, I thought it looked fine before painting, but afterwards I find the Wardick's fins (below the tail) to be so much more dynamic than the Gilraptor's vertebrae bits.
Gojulas Omega- That's a good point! I glued some pieces to the pilot that are supposed to be a harness type thing. Oh well, probably still safer than riding a Gusock at least!
Edit: forgot I had taken a couple closeups that show the pilot better. Probably left them out the first time so no one could see the sad melted foot : )