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[Questions] 1st Time Model Builder


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Hello MW Forums!

As the thread title suggests, I have never built a model before and I am here to humbly request for some help. Because frankly, I have no idea where else to ask. To add to the challenge, my first model will be a Variable-Fighter. Bandai 1:72 VF-27 Lucifer to be exact. So yeah. An inexperienced person trying to build a complex kit: something is bound to go wrong. That is why I am seeking the wise model builders of this forum to aid me through my first journey.

But that doesn't mean that I didn't do some research of my own. I've read MechTech’s Beginner’s Model Building, a good overall tutorial to understand the basics. I've also read/saw Jarrod’s fantastic review of his VF-25. I plan to transform my VF-27 frequently and treat it more like a toy than a model. So although I aspire to have the skills to create such detailed work like Jarrod’s, right now I just want to add enough details on my first model so it doesn't look like a cheap plastic toy.

To begin with, I have 3 main questions:

1) Like the other VF-25 kits, the VF-27 model kit comes with both decals and stickers. Would stickers suffice or should I just take the time and effort of adding the decals? From what I gathered, the stickers are meant to be used for inexperienced modelers like myself. If I were to use stickers, I fear that they will eventually peel off after many transformations. I could try adding a top coat to seal the stickers, but then I worry about accidentally sealing the model in place with the sealant. One more thing, is it obvious that stickers are, well, stickers compared to decals from a distance? Although the picture is blurry, a stickered VF-27 doesn't look that bad:

VF-27%20-%20Large%2010.JPGOn the other hand, I fear if I chose to use the decals I will mess-up a few of them due to my inexperience. But there has to be a first time for everything. Do decals wear off easily over time? In the end, which one should I use as a first-time modeler?

2) Another question, how do you create crisp black lines for detailing seen in Jarrod’s VF-25 model? I did a little research and found some Gundam ink pens that are used to fill in the indents of their models, and any excess are wiped away. Which begs the question, how well does the ink stay if it can be simply wiped away? Is there another method for adding the lines?

3) Lastly, although the VF-27 model doesn't need paint (except the pilots), are there places or pieces of the model that you would recommend, or essential, to paint? A review from HobbyLink painted some ‘innards’ of the VF-27 with gunmetal. Simple, but effective at emphasizing the piece:PICT4793-1024x551.jpg


In general, what should I be aware of when building the model? What must I do and what newbie mistakes should I avoid doing? Gah, I have so many questions! I know most of my questions should really be based on my preference, but I really don’t want to screw-up my first model. Call me a wimp, but I am not diverting from the instruction manual without any help. My kit won’t be arriving for another week, so I appreciate and any tips and tricks, even insults, that you would like to share before I begin my endeavor.


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Welcome to MW Koteng! I'm glad the tutorial was helpful. I have not built this kit myself, so I'll help you with what I know. First off, before you apply decals or stickers, make sure the surface is totally clean. Decals are THIN - thinner than cling wrap! If you're going to transform your model a lot, your fingers are going to take them off. With a good couple layers of clear coat, they will survive better, but if any comes in contact with other parts, the friction will break through that fast (voice of experience). The stickers should stick well if the surface is clean and then the stickers burnished down with something smooth. The topside of your finger nail going middle, toward the edges of the sticker is the cheapest tool. My children's Legos have stickers and they hold up well. They know daddy gets the Isopropyl out and cleans the part, then applies the sticker.

The panel lining (question two) works because the pigment is actually below the surface of the model and the excess rubs off the surface. Same goes when its in recessed areas like corners. The markers will work and there are various washes on the market that you just apply and wipe off as well.

Finally, there might be some who would accuse you of smoking crack for taking on such a tough and costly kit as a newbie :) I would reccomend getting a cheap snap together kit at your local hobby shop or Michael's and mess with some of the above techniques on it. You will already have some experience and one kit built under your belt. As always, we'll all help you out as we can. I'm sure someone who has actually built this will follow this up to help you! Happy building! - MT

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Thanks MechTech for replying! It seems not a lot of people here are too keen on replying to newbie questions. :unsure:

Oh well, thanks for the tips. Thankfully, Bandai's 1:72 VFs are all snap together. Still, I will take your advice and purchase a simply snap together model this weekend to mess around with and practice applying decals.

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One thing with any of the Bandai 1/72 VF kits is that it's not really meant to be played with as a toy. The transformation is just so you can change and display the varies configuration from time to time. There are a lot of small fragile pieces involved in the transformation and they will wear out or break overtime.

That said. Taking on a VF-27 as your first model is a pretty big risk. I consider myself a fairly experinced model maker and it took me a bit to figure out how some of the pieces goes together and interact with others. You should look at the translated manual here and refer to it often while you are building this kit if you still wants to give it a try.


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I have not built a any of the Frontier bandai kits but from what I gather, if you want to go full modelling on it, it will be a pain.

To answer your questions

1. If you clean the surface and apply the stickers properly and give the model respect, the sticker will be fine. If you want to use the waterslide decals, for best results you can use a decal softener and setter, if you find it difficult to get these, you can use plain old white vinegar. Why do you need a decal softener/setter?, well, let's say your adding a decal in a recessed or contoured area, if you just apply the decal with water, the decal will be essentially on top but will not take the shape of the area, if you apply with a softener/setter, the decal will take that shape making it look much much better. I use white vinegar with great results. Decals are much much fragile than stickers, so you rub them against an edge, they could chip unless you clear coated them.

2. Already answered, it's called panel lining, you can also search numerous tutorials in youtube, they are very clear and easy to follow. You must do a gloss coat first, the idea is that the gloss will help the wash to flow easily trough the lines and the coat protects your paint job/decals underneath.

3. A lot of modeller like to do a dry test fit before fully assembling, basically is just seeing what part goes where, can you help you decide what part to paint first, what part needs filling, sanding, etc., because doing it with the kit already assembly would be much more difficult or even impossible.

Hope this help, the main key for this is patience.

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There are far superior modelers than I that have already responded here, but I'll just add this:

As a first time modeler, do not start with this kit.

I understand your reasons and I have been there myself. Don't do it. It's just going to be frustrating. And if it all does come together the way you want it, its life as a toy will be measured in days, not years.

By way of example, I built models all my life. Decided I wanted to build a flying balsawood craft for a change. "How hard could it be?" I thought. So I jumped into the deep end to build something really cool and difficult instead of starting simple. Had such a bad experience I never went back.

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I've never built this kit, but take the advice of guys on here bro....it sounds like you REALLY need to start off with something simple. Some models go together well, some don't. Please don't waste your time and money on something you will get frustrated with and fling it against the wall. Ask me how I know.... :lol::lol::lol:

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