FA-010A Full Armor ZZ Gundam

The arms on the model needed a lot of work, I ended up replacing about 50% of the kit parts with scratchbuilt pieces.

The design of the Full Armor parts on the forearms and small scale doesn't really allow for removable armor, so I opted for a parts swap with the normal and armored arms. The kit parts for the inner arms aren't bad, I left them mostly intact. with a little reworking so they match the FAZZ lineart. I widened the opening for the elbow attachment, and added a rotating polycap to allow the elbow joint to come apart for parts swapping.

The Full Armor forearm kit parts are a mess, I tossed them, saving only the diamond shape elbow covers (you see the cutout for them in the pictures below). I scratchbuilt new ones from sheet plastic and a little bondo. These are basically box builds, with layered thin styrene sheet for added detail. There's a polycap embedded in the right arm to attach the double barreled rifle.

Here's how I make the minus molds seen throughout the kit:
1. Draw a center line on thin plastic sheet. This will be the "minus" when you're done.
2. Use a file to sharpen the edge of a brass tube with the diameter of the minus mold.
3. Slowly rotate the end of the tube on a piece of thin plastic sheet, applying light pressure to cut out a circle.
4. Stick the circle down on a piece of tape to hold it in place, and slice it carefully in half along the center line.

I sawed off the front and back of the outer shoulder armor and discarded the rest. These were combined with some plastic sheet to make a box that fits over the kit inner shoulder. I built a new pauldron from sheet styrene as well. The large vent on the outer shoulder armor was based on a rectangular piece of plastic sheet, with beveled edges formed from Bondo. Louvre textured styrene completes the vent detail. A quick "Bondo squish" action added the recessed vent detail on the front and back faces of the armor. Below you can see the original compared with the modified armor, and a detail view of the large vent (note the Bondo squish vent in the right pic).

The fins that sit on top of the shoulders are fully scratchbuilt from sheet styrene and Bondo. These were a lot of work, especially the vent on the underside. The tiny antennas on top are sheet plastic, the ones on the outer edge are brass rod. The outer shoulder armor is held in place on the shoulder by the via a peg on the bottom of the fin that goes into a polycap embedded in the inner shoulder. I rebuilt the entire arm structure in the style of HGUC kits, with a long pin (brass tube for strength and styrene rod for polycap fit) extending from the shoulder, through the bicep, and into the elbow. This makes it much easier to paint and assemble later.

Assembled arms. Here you can see the inner shoulders, including scratchbuilt vents on the side.

The hands were a lot of fun on this one, and I was surprised at the great result I got. I cut away the fingers on the kit parts and glopped Bondo in their place. Once it cured I gradually carved it into the fists you see here. Both thumbs and the fingers on the open hand were carved as seperate pieces. These turned out to be much easier than I thought they'd be, and they look awesome. No more stock kit hands for me!
 
A ball joint provides the wrist articulation. The yellow putty you see in the pic is just bondo with some yellow paint added so I could pretend I was using the good Tamiya stuff from Japan. ;)

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