GK – GANTZ:O Reika Shimohira

I’ve always felt intimidated by resin kits. Largely because my first attempt at one when I was younger, didn’t turn out well. In fact it was a disaster! Back then, at the age of 10, I was new to plastic modeling and resin garage kits were something new with figures of sexy anime characters and the Xenomorph from Alien. I was a mere budding beginner and much to learn about painting and finishing plastic less alone a resin kit. There was no internet back then, neither good publications to read up upon to gather more information. Equipment was at a premium and types of paints limited. And like most modelers, left the hobby, did what most teenagers do, try other things, get married, start a family, blah blah…the usual.

After picking up the hobby again about a year back, things are so much different and much more approachable for any beginner. I still avoided resin but always wanted to challenge myself. Besides, you can’t beat having a cute or sexy anime figure, built, finished and on display in your cabinet! Thanks to the internet and social media, you can learn so much compared to the old days. This is where I took the plunge and grabbed my first order of resin garage kits!

The Adventure Begins

Researching online, 2 online shops were the most popular and affordable. E2046 and GK Model Online. The latter is from Taiwan and orders cost a little cheaper shipped to me in Singapore. I set about sourcing through a plethora of kits available and believe me, one can get really overwhelmed! Sticking to what I learnt from the countless videos and tutorials available, I picked a kit where there was a low parts count and a simple paint scheme to work with. Nothing too complicated but just enough to get my feet wet. Reika from Gantz:O was my choice as she had a reasonable low parts count and basically all black in color! I added another kit along with her, Neol Vermillion and got them shipped to me in a week! Nicely packed too! Great stuff GKM!!

Prep Work

Once in my hands, I checked through the parts to ensure everything was complete. Nothing was broken except for a warped sword blade which is common with long thin resin cast and easily fixed with hot water to reshape it. I gave all the parts a soak in a soapy bath for an hour or more and gently brushed off any mold release agent from the surfaces of the parts with a soft toothbrush. After being left to dry, I started cutting away the nubs, while test fitting them to see if any joints needed to be filled or re-shaped. Thankfully, Reika went together easily and just needed some joint areas re-shaped internally so they sit together well. Note, though that resin dust is toxic so work with a mask, some gloves and wash your hands whenever you take a break! I worked over a box cover so dust and bits fall into it for me to dump away as and when. Great thing about resin is that it is easy to sand down so go slow and don’t apply too much pressure or else you risk taking away far too much! Polishing it off after sanding is easy as well so work though your sanding grits. I used mostly 400, 600, 800, 1000 and 1600 grits. You will also need a set of needle files to take away larger bits, and work in between folds of clothing or V-shaped channels. At the same time, I also removed seam lines and any flash from the molding process. There were also some hairline imperfections and little tiny holes and pits on the resin surface which will need filling with putty or CA Glue and baking soda if your impatient like me!

The next step was to decide if any joints needed pinning for a stronger fit! I chose to drill out with a hand vice, pinholes for her shoulders as the rifle she held had some weight to it! I used lengths of paper clip for this. I left the base of the figure till last as I suspected that once her legs are affixed, they may not line up perfectly with the holes or tabs on the base. If so, I can always fill or sand down the original marks and make new ones based on how she is fixed up! Next, I made holes for sticks to hold on to while I paint her up.

First was a coat of Badger Stylynrez grey primer. As the resin kit comes in white or beige, it’s hard to see all, if any, imperfections and the grey base helps find those you missed. Needless to say, there were several more pits and hairline marks that had to be sanded down or filled. They seem to appear magically! Another airbrushed coat of primer and checked again! This can be a tedious process for newcomers, but it’s all down to the level of finish you wish to live with, in the end. Honestly, some can be ignored, but knowing myself, I’d probably loose sleep over it!

Painting time

Once I was satisfied with the surface, I started to airbrush a coat of Badger Stylynrez black. At this point, I started to plan out how I wanted to overall look to be. I wanted the main body suit to be in a matte or semi-gloss finish and the bikini suit a gloss finish. That and some straps, shoes and gloves needed to be glossed. I continued the process of painting the black and did gloss and matte coats thereafter. I didn’t do any masking and instead used ModPodge Gloss to top coat some areas as I was too darn lazy! After all, it was for my own display and I have used ModPodge to top coat many a project with no issues. So why re-invent the wheel..LOL!

Her face was airbrushed with Badger Stylynrez white primer so that the flesh coats will look brighter if sprayed over a grey base. Using flesh tones from Vallejo Skin Color, Salmon pink was based and basic flesh applied as highlights. Her hair was sprayed black and brown streaks added with tinned down Citadel paint worked with a brush, building up layers for intensity. Once her face piece was dry, I added some pastel shading around the eyes and below the neck for some shadows, before top coating it with MrTopCoat Matte. I didn’t attempt to paint her eyes and instead chose to use the decals provided. In hindsight, perhaps I should have as I didn’t fancy they way it made her look. Ah well, too late and maybe one day I will remove them and paint it instead. Some drops of gloss over her eyes and the head was assembled with her hair pieces. All that was left was her rifle which was also sprayed black and details picked out with some Citadel Lothern Blue for the lines. Vallejo Mecha Color light steel was used for the tiny round disc that adorn her suit and the middle filled with Citadel Lothern Blue as well. Soon she was all ready to be put together!

She’s Alive!

I used 5min epoxy and some Gel CA glue to fix her up. Epoxy was applied to the main larger tab areas and a little CA near the edges so that when put together, they will bond quick from the CA, thus allowing me to work on other parts while the epoxy cures. I left her alone for a day to ensure it all cured and held together before tackling the base positioning. The next day, I worked on her base positioning and as expected, the back foot was a little off the mark. The peg there was sanded away and a new hole made with a pin from her feet to fit. At this point, I donned some cotton gloves to not damage the surface of the model and laid her down onto an old t-shirt!

The base was treated the same way and cleaned up, prepped, holes filled, primed in black and Top Coat sprayed on! Reika was then epoxied onto her base!The rifle wasn’t glued on and had to be squeezed into her hands, which ended up with me taking some paint away from her fingers!! ARRGH! Well, nothing can be all plain sailing always! Once the rifle sat into place, I used a BBQ stick to clean away the flaked paint and brushed in black on the marred areas of her fingers! Easy fix! Reika was done! And I was happy with it!

So….how was the experience?

feel that alot of intimidation came from lack of knowledge and experience. Working with a resin kit isn’t much different compared to working on regular plastic kits! The processes of sanding, filling, fitting, painting are all the same. Alot comes down to the fear of how it would look in the end, and what our expectations are. To solve this, as a modeler, we need to accept our skill set, our equipment limitations and our own abilities. With that, approach something new with what you got! Since the process is similar, work with your limitations and set about an achievable goal. The kit won’t look bad if you have some modeling experience in hand. The finish may not be competition standard but if it’s merely heading to the display cabinet, and looks pretty good to others who see it, I don’t see what the problem is. I guess we are, and always will be, our own worse critics. Which is good for improvement, as long as we continue to check and accept ourselves.

Reika was easy to build and finish. Figuring out the approach to get to the end, with as little a hassle as needed, was the hard bit. And sometimes, things may need to take longer to accomplish than most. Even though Reika went together well, I don’t expect all Garage Kits to have this easy a fit and was ready to take on the challenge ahead! So much so, that I ordered 2 more kits!

So, in the end, choose a kit with relatively low parts count. Something with not many tiny bits as resin can warp with thin small pieces or they can break easily. I try to avoid long flowy hair, apparent with many Anime characters, but this can be hard to avoid. Such intricate hair detail can be a pain and will need some time to fill gaps and sand imperfections away. I’m just lazy HAHA! Look at the finished figure pics and think about your painting approach. Grab as much information from online tutorials and research on how others work on their resin figures. You’d be surprised that many use other mediums to paint and finish their kits. In the end, have fun! You can always strip the paint away and start again. I’m looking forward to my next resin challenge FUN!

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