Ever since my marathon of all 25 episodes of Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans, I have been very excited to get my hands on a HG Gundam Barbatos model kit. When I initially saw the HG model from a friend prior to watching the series, I didn’t think much of the Gundam. After seeing it in action in the anime though, my opinion instantaneously changed. I have not been this excited about purchasing and building a new model in a very long time, and it is a great feeling.
As usual, but especially so for models from Tekketsu no Orphans, I took my time assembling just the frame first. In Tekketsu no Orphans, one of the key features of the mobile suits is the different types of frames they use, with the Gundams utilizing the Gundam frame. Mobile suits sharing the same or similar inner frames is not a new idea in Gundam, but Tekketsu no Orphans was certainly the first series to make it play such a key role in the setting of the universe.
The model kits were faithful to that design aspect of individual frames. Being a HG, the frame is not 100% complete and accurate, with certain parts omitted, but it is still quite impressive. I love how rugged and industrial but yet very humanoid the design looks.
So throughout the entire time I was building the frame, I have been aching to modify the parts: cutting this off, adding to here, doing this and that. This HG model kit has a lot of positive aspects, but it also has negative ones. The head in particular, I felt it could use more work to make it resemble the sharpness it had in the anime. I have been researching and reading online about modeling techniques, modifications, and what other modelers were doing to their own Gundam Barbatos. Finally, upon assembling the frame, and I just couldn’t resist any longer and started playing around with what I can do to the head.
Here is the first stage of my progress. I tried to document exactly what changes I made, but my work flow ended up being a lot of minor changes that I then continue to refine and add to. In conclusion, there was not a single piece I didn’t touch. Every part was modified in some way.
Further along, I applied surfacer while continuing to refine the shapes of the pieces into what I want them to be, based on what I thought were the best scenes from the anime. I even went as far as slicing off the eyes and cutting new ones from scratch.
Altogether, here is another stage of my progress where most of the parts were getting close to being finalized. Personally, I was extremely impressed at how amazing it looks, and equally as surprised and proud that I was the person who made this.
If my HG Gundam Exia renewal represented the height of my modeling skills as of 2015, then this HG Gundam Barbatos represents the height of my modeling skills as of 2016. It is quite a leap if I can say so myself.
Next, the pieces that were more or less final were painted so that I could see the head with the body as a whole. The blade antenna continues to get some refinements, and I used HIQ Part’s Blue Mirage Stickers for the eyes.
I did not like how the vent parts on the side of the face were so recessed in. To make it more like its appearance in the anime, I made some new pieces from scratch and fitted them into the side of the face. In one of the pictures above, you can see the difference between the modified and unmodified sides of the face.
Lastly, the most recent stage of progress after some more minor refinements. The modifications for the head are now 100% done and finished. Next will be modifications for the torso, including the neck. The challenge of how to handle the Gundam frame will come into play, with the biggest difficulty being the exposed fake pistons. Properly painting all of the pieces will be after the entire model is done being modified. The road to completion will be a long one.
From straight build to my modifications.