Gunpla Level 2: MG Gundam Wing EW and MG Nu Gundam RX-93 Ver.Ka
To reach the next level in my Gunpla progression I decided to try my hand at a Master Grade. I picked the Gundam Wing Endless Waltz because it looked cool and had good reviews. Most importantly, I also upgraded to better tools: a proper hobby knife and cutter. I also found a use for some weird-looking magnifying glasses I received as a present a while ago, that I would have never bought myself but actually turned out to be invaluable.
It was a nice build, less fiddly than the RG but also less elaborate - the RG felt technically superior. The kit included some dry transfer decals, and I have to admit that the regular decals didn't look so great especially on the darker parts. At this point I also figured out that it's much better to use an eraser to clean up the panel lines rather than the "Remover" gundam marker that came with the set, which was too difficult to control.
I applied proper panel lining and this time let it dry long enough before top-coating, so that the top coating didn’t ruin it. The model has regular decals and a few dry-transfer decals. I could immediately see the difference, although applying the dry-transfer decals was a pain.
The MG is much sturdier and more posable than the RG.
I know felt confident enough to try a more complex Master Grade. I picked the RX-93 Ver.Ka because it is my favorite Gundam, "designed by Amuro Rey himself" and featured in the "Char’s Counterattack" OAV. "Ver.Ka" are models designed by fabled designer Hajime Katoki. They are more complex and detailed than regular MGs, and usually come with water transfer decals, like in this case.
I further upgraded my tools with tweezers (critical for water-transfer decal), files and a decal softener. I found that unless you are going to paint the parts, the marks left by the file are too visible and ended up not using it much.
Building the kit took some time but was very satisfying. The level of details and color separation is great, as well as the articulations (individual fingers!). The water slide decals weren't that hard to apply, just slow, but in some cases didn't stick very well. I thought I wouldn't need softener or mark fit, but it turns out that I do. I also recruited Tiina to paint the pilot!
A couple of times I realized I had made a mistake and had to backtrack. This was very hard, for example I had to disassemble a whole leg and rebuild it again, and it was a nightmare. The model has many moveable parts and at first I didn't understand how they were supposed to work, otherwise I would have tried it as I went along rather than realize it too late.
In retrospect I could have painted the visible parts of the inner frame. Their monotone gray color looks cheap compared to the armor.