1/144 Scale HGUC “Hot Rod” Zeong
In Progress Page
I created this picture in Corel Photo-Paint. It’s actually made like the model, with a transparent red layer over silver and gold. The picture is butt-ugly, but it proved the concept, and that’s the point. By the way, the original scan is from the HGUC manual, which has white lineart on a black background. I just reversed the color, and voila!
I started with the basics. Here’s a picture of all the mechanical details after initial painting. The nozzles and fingertips got a bit of gold for that burnt metal look (another Fitchenfoo idea). All the steely covered mechanicals also got a black sludge wash.
To make the flame effect, I first sprayed Tamiya Gold Leaf (every time I paint something gold, I swear I’ll never do it again!!!). Then I sprayed a “dark gold” made from Gold Leaf and Gunmetal (something like 80/20 or 70/30, I never measure it). I used the dark gold to build up a gradient that would (I hoped) give the flames some depth. I drew and cut out my flames with Tamiya masking tape (it took the better part of a week, a piece of flooring tile as a cutting board and about 10 X-Acto blades) and positioned my flame masks on the arms, head and skirt. I then sprayed Tamiya Chrome Silver. Over all of that I put a bunch of coats of Tamiya Clear Red until I had a desired shade of red that was RED (with only 2 or 3 coats it looks orange), but not so dark that it totally obscured the flames I had spent so many hours on.
This was all first tested on a pair of 1/100-scale Tamiya German WWII fighters. I took in-prog pictures of them, but not the Zeong. The larger Me-262 was used to simply test the contrast of the three colors. The smaller Me-163 was used to test the actual flames. The top and bottom each got a different version of the flames with the gradients reversed to see which looked better, a dark flame base with light tips or vice versa. While I like the subtlety of the light gold flame tips melting into the silver, they were invisible from more than a foot away. I decided to go with the dark-tipped flames instead.
The Finishing Touches
The black on the Zeong has a bit of gunmetal mixed in and a good coat of Future over it to bring it in line with the “bling” factor of the red parts. For the mono-eye I airbrushed a little circle with chrome silver and sprayed Apple Barrel Colors Neon Pink (a poster paint available at Michael’s) thinned (a lot) with 91% alcohol over it. Being very thin you have to spray a bit and blow it dry, then repeat about 15 times to slowly build up the pink without runs or drips (it only takes about 2 minutes). I use this color for all my mono eyes and pink lens effects. My Rapidograph Koh-I-noor technical pen was used for the panel lines on the red and black. The decals are from the Models4U “Ultimate UC” decal sheet.
Well, my flames turned what was supposed to be an easy HGUC kit into another tough build. It was supposed to be sort of a break after my Corsair… In some places, the flames don’t show a good gradient (like on the back of the skirt), but in others they do (like on the front of the skirt and the arms). While it was hard enough cutting out flame segments and placing them around the skirt, it probably would have been worth the extra effort to paint the parts silver first, and mask the outsides of the flames. This would have let me do a much better job of creating a gradient in the shape of the actual flames.
However, when I look at the pictures, I’m very happy with my Zeong. It’s definitely a unique piece and about 100 times cooler than the stock blue Zeong (IMHO). I do kind of wish I had spent all this effort on a cooler mech than the Zeong, but then again, the Zeong needs all the help it can get!
Click the picture link below to see the completed model.
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