SciFi Japan

    How To Make a Monster!

    Mean, Green, Stompin` Machine! Author: CreatureScape If you are a novice at model building or need to look up any of the terms used in this article, you can click on this link to access CreatureScape`s Model Builders Dictionary Through most of Godzilla`s lengthy history, he was gray . . . not green . . . though few people (especially toy makers) realized that. However, in late 1999, Toho finally gave people a mean, green stompin` machine in GODZILLA MILLENNIUM, a.k.a. GODZILLA 2000. They also amped up the costume in general, giving big G a more draconian face, larger more jagged fins, and some impressive red radiation breath. All in all, this is the most menacing G-suit ever and the kit we are about to build, the huge 1:144 scale G2000 vinyl kit from KOC (Kingdom of Curiosity) is the first model of that suit ever made. Before we begin, there are a few things to note here. Because of the size of this kit and the large number of parts, it will take a couple days to build at least. And clear a little shelf space. This baby is about 2 feet long and 12 inches tall when completed (though KOC did make an 8 inch version as well). If you are ambitious, you might knock it out in a weekend, but I would tell you to expect a couple weeks of work . . . but it is worth it. Also, the kit is vinyl, which means some special building techniques, and this article is very much about how to manage that process. It is not hard, but there are some things that are critical to do.

    As with any kit, the pre-production phase begins by cleaning the parts in soapy water to release any oils or residue from the manufacturing process. Vinyl parts are hollow though, so make sure you let the water drain out fully before beginning. A great way to begin that process is by using a blow dryer or a heat tool (like an automotive heat gun or an embossing tool as seen to the right). It more or less can kill two birds with one stone because you need to heat the vinyl to cut it effectively (see below). The first time you work with a vinyl kit you may be surprised at how differently the material acts depending on the temperature. It is a really good idea to heat up the vinyl before cutting. For one thing, it greatly reduces the possibility of cutting yourself. There are a number of ways to do this, and with some kits, when I wash them in the prep stage, I use really hot water and cut it as I wash. However, when you have a kit with lot of pieces like this one, it is easier to use a hairdryer or heat gun. Be careful not to warp the plastic though, as that will really make a kit hard to do. Below, you can see the cutting process. In the case of the leg, there is a pre-formed cut line, but on the tail connection below there are some strange hard tags left from the molding process. You will find these on vinyl kits some times and they need to be cut for the parts to fit flush.

    To get back to temperature for a moment, since vinyl kits are made from a flexible material and they are hollow, you have to stuff or fill the kit in some way to maintain shape down the road. You can use all sorts of stuff, from plaster to injection insulation from a can, but my favorite thing to use is shredded paper. In the photo to the right, you can see how tightly I am stuffing the kit, using a bunch of shredded junk mail and a wooden skewer. It is a little messy, but a lot easier to clean up than other fillers. Plus, all the crap I get in the mailbox is put to good use!

    However, with the legs, I don`t want stuffed paper. Essentially, I want the feet to be heavier than the rest of the kit to help balance and ground it. For this job, I am using a product called "Durham`s Water Putty." It mixes like plaster, but it sets harder and is a lot easier to work with. It takes about 24 hours for it to really set, but when it is done, I can drive a screw through the bottom and anchor it to the base solidly. There is little worse for a modeler than to see a finished kit slowly keel over, so I prefer to screw in the feet if I can and this substance will let me do this without powdering or cracking inside.

    The parts of the kit snap together nicely and can be secured with a little superglue. The next step is to "seam" the kit . . . or more accurately, hide the seams of the kit. The best way to do that is to use a two part putty like Aves putty (which I am using here). Remember that skewer I used to fill the body with paper? Well, that is what I am using here to shape the putty into small ridges that correspond with the skin texture of the kit. I love skewers as tools because they are so versatile and the length makes it useful in many situations.

    Okay . . . now it is time to get to the paint, and with a kit that has over 50 parts and stands a foot tall and stretches nearly 2 feet long, there is a lot to paint. After priming the kit, I decided the best way to go was good old fashioned spray paint. I am using a basic green from Color Place paints to coat the body, and the eyeballs and claws are getting a coat of white. They won`t stay white . . . this is just a base color.

    Time to assemble the mouth. On this kit (and most Godzilla kits, in fact) the mouth comes in a few parts--roof, tongue and lower interior jaw. I have prepared the upper part by base coating it with Badger`s Rose Flesh, highlighting the roof with Createx Flesh (very light pink) and then, when it was dry, applying a coat of Badger`s Jezebel Pink and wiping off the upper details to reveal the lighter colors beneath. This gives Godzilla`s mouth the rather red tone he tends to have. The lower interior of the mouth and tongue are done the same way. His teeth are done by base painting them with Badger`s Bleached Bone and then applying a thin layer of Life Tone Yellow Oxide, a transparent color. Over that, I lightly brush on Americana`s Buttermilk. The technique, called drybrushing, is described below.

    Next, we have to apply the bottom section. As you will notice in the photo, there is a coating of Apple Craft Dolphin Gray along the back. This acts as a primer to stabilize the color and allows me to paint a layer of Jezebel Pink in the background. I then glue the tongue to the lower jaw with super glue, and then fix the lower jaw to the body. Once that is secure, you can press in a thin line of putty with the end of a paint brush. Prime it with light gray and spray in a light coat of green that matches the original spray paint . . . in this case, Badger`s Reading Green.

    The most dramatic update of the Godzilla design was probably the fins, which became much more spiky and aggressive looking. There are a lot of these (about 45) and they have to be done in stages. With a kit this size, that takes a while and because some of the larger ones are hollow, you really need to stuff the fins with shredded paper as well. In the photo to the right, you can see I have left the fins right on the vinyl sprue. This makes it easier to hold during painting. Over the base green coat, I apply a layer of FW Inks` Cool Gray to the edges with an Iwata HP-B airbrush shooting about about 10-12 psi. You have to go at all angles to do this, so again, be prepared for this to take a while.

    Of course a second big difference between G2000 fins and all the rest is the purply-pink color to the larger fins. Fortunately, Createx makes the perfect shade--Transparent Fuchsia. Go lightly and carefully around all the edges, but really it is only some of the fins that get this treatment. The smaller ones on the tail don`t, though I suppose you could paint it right before a blast of fire! In fact, as you will recall, the kit is cast in glow in the dark vinyl and at one point I considered inserting high intensity red LEDs into the fins for that effect, but then I came to my senses.

    When all the fins are done and ready to go on the kit, you will want a couple of reference pictures. Each fin is numbered and corresponds to a slot on the body, but the instructions themselves do not tell you which direction to point the fins and it is a little counter-intuitive. As a general rule, they point forward. Also, around the edges of some of the fins, you will probably want to apply a two part putty like the one referenced above in the initial assembly. In the places where this was necessary, I carefully primed the area with a light gray paint and sprayed over it with Badger`s Reading Green. You will also want to do the center spikes first, touching up these as you go and repainting anywhere you need to before proceeding to the outer ones. I recommend you do this like spark plugs--one at a time in order of the numbers. And, one little note here: while this particular kit has a nice system for marking the fins (L11 = left side, slot 11; C3 = center, 3rd slot, etc.), a few of the numbers are out of order on the sprue. I panicked for about ten minutes thinking I had lost a fin until I methodically inspected the numbers on the sprue.

    In this picture, you may have also noted that Godzilla`s skin is showing some more color and depth at this point. This is a result of a technique called "drybrushing." Choosing a much lighter color, Plaid Craft Paint`s Leaf Green, I use drybrushing to bring out the details. If you look at the paint brush, it does not look like there is any paint on it . . . but there is. To drybrush, dip the tip of a flat brush into your color of choice and pull all the visible paint off with a rag. Then, in short strokes, drag the brush across the surface detail and it will bring out the dimensionality of the kit. Next, it is time for a layer of Dulcote, a product from Testors that will seal the paint on the kit. There is more to do, but it is a good idea to protect your work at major stages. Let this dry (about 10-20 minutes) before proceeding and never, ever allow Dulcote to dry in the sun. It will turn milky.

    Godzilla`s eyes show a lot of white as a general rule and in the case of G2000, he has a fairly realistic brown color to his orbs. The way to do this is in stages. First, base coat the eyes in a cream color and when that is dry, fill in a solid black oval for the iris. Once that is dry, you can fill white in to the edges as seen to the right. Essentially, you are painting concentric circles, which is not that difficult if you have a little patience. And if you mess up, no big deal. Just re-do it. The more kits you do, the more you learn to relax about the eyes, which gives you a steadier hand and thus, fewer re-dos.

    In the center, I first paint a dark brown color and then on top of that, a coat of Terra Cotta from Applebarrel paints. I dot in a pupil with a toothpick and then make a thin mix of Future Floor Wax and transparent Light Brown from Createx. Using the other end of the tooth pick, I gently streak on the mixture and let it dry. This gives the illusion of some depth. Then, when I am satisfied with both sides, I dot the pupil one more time and coat the eyes several times with Future floor wax for a glossy sheen. The same is done for the mouth as well.

    At this point, I start working on the claws and teeth. I brush a thin coat of Yellow Oxide transparent paint from Lifetone on to the claws and teeth as you can see in the picture above left. This gives them a weather yellow look and creeps into the recesses of the claws. Next (above right) I go back over the claws and teeth by drybrushing Americana`s Light Buttermilk across the surface and put a thick layer of Future floor wax for a soft sheen. I think that gives a very convincing look to them overall.

    The last thing I do is spray the skin of the kit with Lifetone`s Dark Green Transparent. In the picture to the right, you`ll see the difference it makes by comparing the sprayed section with the unsprayed. It is subtle, but it adds depth and I am able to avoid a giant oil wash . . . which would be messy and time consuming with this behemoth kit! So that is it. I may go back and construct a base for this kit, but it is designed to stand alone and really, with a big kit like this, it is better to avoid bases if you have limited shelf space . . . and I`m sure we all do!

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