A few details were added to the cockpit area, I scribed a little circle using the sharpend end of a brass tube, drilled a few rivets or something with a pin vice, and added a few home-made minus molds.
These are pretty easy to make: sharpen the end of a brass tube of the appropriate diameter, then press and rotate it into a piece of thin sheet plastic to cut out a little disk. Then heat the tip of a small flathead screwdriver, push it into the center of the disk to make the "minus", and after it cools sand away the plastic that gets pushed out by the hot screwdriver. I also added some greebles to the inside of the cockpit hatch with bits of plastic and stretched sprue. I decided to leave out the pilot figure, the poor little dude looks rather stiff.
The lower (white) section of the chest has little resemblance to the original design. I considered a lot of ways of rebuilding this to get it to look right, and ended up not going to far, but getting the basic look right (check out the Gundam Weapons-Nu Gundam book for a really impressive rebuild of this part). Unfortunately, I didn't take any before pictures, but basically I cut away the angled parts on either side of the cockpit, then used a triangular piece of sheet plastic to rebuild it, leaving space under the new part. I also added a thin sheet of plastic to the upper flat section, giving the illusion of a segmented part, sort of like the RX-78's core fighter.
For ease of painting, I cut away the pins that would sandwitch this part in the upper black section, then put some plastic scrap on top of the abdomen so you can take apart the two sections (the scrap extended the white part so it hits the cylinder in the center of the black part, making things fit together properly).
I backed the skirt armors with sheet plastic (didn't bother detailing them...maybe next time), and attached the side skirts with spring instead of the kit supplied hinge. Something didn't look quite right about the groin when compared to the line art. After some consideration, it became clear that the problem was that the crotch just wasn't beefy enough! It seems that these guys always look better with plenty of....uhh....well....I used sheet plastic to build this part up, extending the groin area forward, and changing the shape a bit. I failed to solve the problem with this kit standing up straight with the funnels on his back (not being aware of the problem until he was assembled!), but in retrospect I could have fixed this here. If you were to glue the metal hip peg assembly in place so it couldn't rotate, the problem would probably be solved, with little affect on the articulation.
The shoulder joints were a simple peg/polycap assembly, preventing any movement forward or backward (one of the best ways to get a badass pose from a Gundam is to splay the shoulders back!). A simple metal part with the pin attached to the torso, with the polycap in the shoulder ball. I replaced this with a double ball joint assembly. First, I cut a hole in the side of the torso, which is backed by a piece of sheet plastic detailed with some simple greebles. The plastic sheet has a hole to accomodate the ball joints, which are held in place by a brass tube connected to the screw housing in the center of the torso.
The peg was sawed off of the metal part, and a ball joint was attached in it's place. I also attached the female section of the first ball joint to the back of the metal part. This enables the metal part (I guess it's the "clavicle"?) to move forward/back/up/down. The female part of the second ball joint replaces the original polycap in the ball at the upper arm. The range of motion is now greatly improved, and cool poses can be had.
The yellow verniers on the shoulders were ugly on the original kit, the lower vernier sat flush agains a wall of plastic. I cut this away, glued a sheet of plastic resting on the inside of the vernier, then glued the vernier back on. I also used some little strips of plastic to make the yellow/black square in each vernier, which were originally represented by a simple sticker. I also added a section of a cable tie to the bottom of the new vernier housing, representing a vent.
A few other modifications were made to the arms. The elbows were originally exposed polycaps. I used a slice of plastic tubing to encase the polycap. The wrist joints (polycap/peg) were replaced with ball joints. I also added some little round molds on the sides of the forarms, covering up the molded circular indentations on the original kit.
The legs got some extra detail and new hip joints. Again, the original hips were peg/polycap joints, which didn't allow the legs to rotate outward. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a Gundam with stiff hips, feet pointed straight forward, so these had to go. I used the existing polycap and a few little leftover polycaps from other kits to build a joint that would allow the legs to rotate in any direction (basically the same range of motion you'd get from a ball joint, but without the looseness ball joints often give you). See diagram at right.
Now off you go to check out the Nu Gundam gallery!