RMS-106 Hi-Zack

A fair number of detals were added to various parts of the kit, and I upgraded the weapons and accessories as well.
I developed a new trick for making recessed details that were on the lineart but missing from the kit parts. Basically, I would file a piece of metal (brass or aluminum, whatever I could find) into the shape of the recessed detail I needed. Then I heated the metal up and pressed it into the plastic, holding it in place until the plastic cooled. Then I sanded away the melted plastic that mooshed out, and was left with perfect recessed details. I used this to make rectangles on the back of the feet, the little triangles at the top of the dark green vernier housings on the legs, and a few other small details throughout the kit. It worked quite well, though I missed the mark a few times and had to fill and start over.

The lineart shows verniers on the back of the lower legs, which were present but horrible looking. I replaced these using the same "Bondo squish" technique used on the feet, this time using a shape carved from a large plastic rod to mush into the Bondo. I also added small Kotobukiya round molds to represent the openings of the jets on these, and the verniers inside the lower legs.

I had recently scored the old B-Club 1/100 Marasai, which has beautiful mechanical detailing in all of the joints and vernier areas. Since the two MS are closely related, I wanted to do my best to get the same style of detailing into this kit. So I added lots of little grebles to the verniers in the backpack and lower legs. These were made from aftermarket jets (some were resin copies I made), bits of wire, homemade minus molds, cable ties, guitar strings, and whatever else I could come up with

The machine gun was built pretty much stock. I did fill in the underside of the ammo cartridge with Bondo (it was hollow), and added a little slice of ridged plastic inside the front of the sight, just to imply some detailing. This was covered with a slice of the flat sprue label from a pink Wave H-Eye set. The same pre-scribed plastic was used to add vents to the intakes at the top of the binders (or whatever they are) on the backpack.

The powerer cables on the entire kit, including the heat hawk, were replaced. I wanted individual cable sections, like on MG kits. But I also wanted the squarish crossection of each segment, not the beveled edges found on MGs or in the Max Factory brass beads. I searched and searched for beads or anything with the right size and shape, but found nothing (I've since found some hematite beads that would be just about right). I ended up doing the unthinkable, cutting each segment from plastic tubing. This proved to be extremely tedious, but the end result is exactly what I was looking for.
I made a simple jig to mark the segment length by cutting a slot in a piece of brass tubing that fit over the plastic tube. Then I marked the lengths by drawing a line through the slot in the tube, sliding each mark to the end of the tube to measure the next length (see diagram).

Once these were marked, I chucked short lengths (about 3") of the tube in my Dremel, turned it on, and cut the segments using an x-acto blade (the spinning made the lines clearly visible, and did the cutting work for me). I did end up with ridges at the end of each segment because of the heat from cutting them this way. After I had a few hundred of these (about 20" total length!), I cleaned them up by stringing them on a stiff wire and sanding them smooth. I also cleaned up the flat ends one by one with a file. Whew! Don't ever ask me to do that again!
The cables were finished by threading Wave springs over semi-stiff wire, then stringing the beads on. Sections that didn't need articulation (the waist and head cables) were threaded over plastic rod bent to the correct shape.
The cables on the heat hawk (molded as one big ugly piece!) were smaller, too small to make using this method. Luckily, I happened upon some glass beads at a craft store for $.99 that were the correct size, and were fairly consistent in shape. So I threaded these over wire to complete the heat hawk (also filling in the hollow back of the weapon with putty).

The poor model didn't even come equiped with a beam sabre, so I made one out of brass tube and built a mount from plastic sheet and putty at the back of the waist to hold it using the lineart as a reference.

The L shaped shield on the right shoulder was a hollow hunk of undetailed plastic that attached to the shoulder via a simple peg. I also didn't have quite the right crossection. It was a straight 90 degree angle, but the lineart shows a different shape. So I made a cut in the corner, bent it to the right angle, and backed the inside with plastic sheet, scribing a few lines and adding a couple of little round bits of plastic. I constructed a simple ball joint made from a bead and regular polycap. A slice of plastic tubing was cut to fit around the polycap to hide it.
The arm mounted shield had a terrible joint design, which also didn't fit my new elbows. I built a new mount that both matched the lineart and allowed it to rotate properly, using an odd H shaped polycap from an old Orguss kit, and some plastic sheet. Unfortunately, paint doesn't stick to the polycap, so it gets a repaint every so often. ;) After the model was finished, it occured to me that a magnet would have worked well for this joint. Oh well...I added some details inside this shield as well.
I also cut out the original attachments for the spiked shoulder shield and attached it with a small ball joint, taking the opportunity to add reinforcing detail to the inside (painted red, like the skirts).

That's about it for the construction. I did scribe light lines around the major "armor panels", and drill some small rivets here and there...I'm sure there were some other details I've forgotten about, but that covers the bulk of the work. Here are pictures of the model before painting:.

Everything was primed with enamel, then painted with Testors Model Master acrylics. I don't remember the exact colors, but basically the greens were based on an olive drab, and the yellow for the cables was yellow with some green and a drop or two of red. I didn't use any decals on this kit, as I really enjoyed the clean "cell animation" look. I did preshade with darker shades of the base colors to add depth to the paint job.

There you have it. On my old site this was the most popular article, hope you enjoyed. No go check out the gallery!

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