Gundam Modeling Tutorial - Painting

Here is the real fun part - Painting. A lot of people actually don't do model because they don't like painting. The fact is that painting is one of the best parts in modeling. Why? Painting makes everything comes to life and you can let your imagination goes wild with the color scheme you used. This is especially true for Gunpla models. (For tanks and stuffs, you are "supposed" to refer to historic color ...)

Here are the basic steps to plan your painting process:


Clean part gives good painting result: Be patience on your construction, make sure every part is as good as you want it to be. Take the time to sand things down and clean up to prepare everything well for painting. Paint does not show up well if you have dirt on the surface.

Don't kill yourself: Paint is not exactly drinkable. So, breathing paint vapor into your lungs are not good for you. Enaml or acrytic, it will eventually kill you. So, if you air brush, you should wear a mask. Better yet, build some type of paint booth to do your paint job.

Pick the color: Pick your poison here. Plan your color scheme, imagine what it will looks like. You don't need to follow the original color scheme. Painting makes the model yours. After the color scheme, pick the type of paint you want to work with. Tamiya for acrytic, Mr Color for non acrytic, Testor, etc.


Basic Steps

I use the following guideline for painting.

  1. Prime your piece

  2. Preshadow with darker color (black / brown around the edges, etc.)

  3. Base coating with base color on the piece and avoid painting into the preshadowed color

  4. Post shadow the piece with (base coat color + one darker tune)

  5. Top coat


You have to do step 1 and 3 at the minimum. After that, you can add all the other optional steps as needed. So, you can do 1,3,4,5 or 1,3,5 or 1,2,3, or 1,2,3,4,5, etc. Experiment and have fun.


Let's go through some examples:

Here is my paint booth. Use it. If you don't have one yet and you air brush or use paint can, open the windows.

Let's do an example of Gundam Exia's head to illustrate the painting process. First, prepare the pieces.

Make sure they are all clean and sand down to your liking. Clean them with baby wipes to make sure there is no factory oil left in there.

Sand and clean one more time if necessary.

Start priming. Tamiya is still my fav.


It is now grey instead of white.

This example does not use preshadowing, so I skip ahead to base coat the head red.

And base coat the other parts white.

After that, I did my wash on panel lines. (Check this section for more details)

More panel lining.

I post shadow the part with Tamiya X-1 black.

Here they are. I am going for a darker Exia. This is how I like them this time. You can always paint over them to change the color if needed.

Add the stickers and transparent covers.

Now, going back to the center of the head. I will hand paint the eyes. You don't need to be a master to hand paint small areas. Just use enamel paint on top of acrytic (the base coat) when you hand paint small areas. If you mess up, just use enamel thinner to clean up the excess (out of line, whatever).

Do two coating will be good.

One more coating just to make sure it covers the red. Without priming, you have to do multiple coating of paint just to make sure.

Here. Done.

Put the pieces together.


Now, you can top coat the baby using "Top Coat" and call it a day. When you top coat, just make sure you spray at least 8 inches away from the parts and slide from left to right without pointing to the part to start with.

Here is a couple shoots in good lighting.

Just stick with the procedure, and flat color pieces will also turn out great.

You can paint metallic parts using the same procedure:

Here is an example. Pick the paints you want.

Get the bottles. Cheap plastic ones will do for acrytic.

I am doing a custom alumimum/dark copper this time for one of the color.

Prime the pieces.

If you are using Tamiya primer, just make sure you spray at least 8 inches away from the parts and slide from left to right without pointing to the part to start with. It will cover nicely just like this.

Back to my custom copper color. Just make sure you stir it nicely before painting or air brush.

Here. Base coated.

Next up is alumimum. Flat out alumimum will do.

Base coated.

Ar, I want to high light the cable on the side.

So, I prepare a wash with 7 parts thinner and 1 part enamel black.

Here, the black cables are high ligted.

Next, I will wash my copper pieces.

Here are some examples of the important of post shadowing. All you need to do for metallic color is to use some normal black color to spary on the edges to shadow the piece.

The part as a whole will look much better with post shadowing.

All the edges has some black shadowing now.

The finished product.

Painting is really a game of patience especially in doing Zaku tubes.

You have to prime, base coat and post shadowing many many pieces who looks the same.

Just keep at it and you will be reward with good looking model later.

Of course, you can hand paint your metallic piece as well.

My trusty Humbrol paint.

1 part of paint and 1 part of thinner.

Again, you can clean up with enamel thinner just on the areas you paint without affecting the base coat.

The end result ...