Gundam In Progress

Bandai’s 1/100 IBO Schwalbe Graze: Loving Those Vallejo Mecha Colors!

After finishing the frame on my 1/100 Bandai Schwalbe Graze  Gunpla, I moved on to painting the armor. 

One of the benefits of these Iron Blooded Orphans kits (and indeed- any kit with a full inner frame) is the convenience of having the full frame assembled, and then being able to fully paint all the armor, and just add it on. I’ve even done partial weathering of the armor off of the frame.

And Bandai did a great job on this one of minimizing seam lines. In just about every area, they are hidden, or are made to appear as an organic part of the structure. Any remaining places can be easily treated as a panel line, and finished as such.

I wanted to stay reasonably close to canon colors, but not so close as to need to mix paint, so I wanted to find out of the bottle equivalents. I’d already used a few colors from Vallejo’s Mecha Color range, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out a few more colors.

Vallejo’s Mecha Color range is an excellent choice for any Gunpla model

I chose Electric Blue (69.020) and Dark Blue (69.021) for the main armor parts. The Electric Blue was a decent match for the lighter blue color the kit was molded in. The darker blue plastic was just a bit too dark for my tastes. I thought it would allow for better post-painting techniques to be applied if it were a bit lighter, thus the choice of Dark Blue. (I think the Mecha Color Titan Blue might be a closer match, if you want to stick closer to the original.)

I’ve used Vallejo paints in the past- Model Color, Model Air, and Game Color. I’ve liked all of them, so I was confident these would perform well.

As I do with any new color, I tend to airbrush it initially right out of the bottle, as long as it is not obviously too thick. This allows me to test it’s performance as is, and then decide what thinner may be needed afterwards.

Pouring some of the Electric Blue into my Badger Patriot airbrush, it appeared to be just a bit thick, but I pushed ahead as it was. Shooting at my preferred 18 psi, I began to spray.

And I was pleasantly surprised to see it went down beautifully. I was able to apply it in light mist coats, and even moving up a bit heavier to a lightly wetter coat. It proved to be VERY forgiving. In a few places, I deliberately overdid it, and except for a place or two with an obvious blob that built up, everything leveled out very nicely. 

The resulting finish was a very smooth, slightly satin look. I showed it to my daughter, and she commented it looked for the most part as if it had been cast in that color.

I went on to spray the Dark Blue color, and it performed equally well.

Once the armor pieces were painted, I assembled the various sub-assemblies. mating armor with frame.

The gun and axe were simply given a coat of Badger Stynylrez primer, then drybrushed with Citadel’s Leadbelcher. Once dry,  I applied Nuln Oil from the same brand as a shade, and finished off with a drybrush highlight using Citadel’s Runefang Steel. 

I can say I was really, really please with the performance of the Mecha Color paints. They airbrushed very nicely, were very easy to work with, and a few brush painting tests showed them equally adept at that method of application. Vallejo has done a very nice job of picking colors that are very applicable to Gunpla, and the Mecha Color line is priced the same as any other Vallejo paint. (I used them on my recent GM/GM for the light green armor parts, and loved them there too!)

Give them a try- I think you’ll find them to be excellent.

As to the Schwalbe Graze- next up is the weathering! (I love this part…. 🙂 )

2 comments

  1. Need to try the mecha color line soon!!! Been seeing as well as reading only good things about it for a while now. Looking forward to seeing the weathered finish on this one Jon!

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