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February 10, 2004

The Soltic Blues

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 2:34 pm

For about five years now I’ve been acquiring incomplete 1/72 Dual Model Dougrams and Soltics. I really didn’t know why, it was just sort of a compulsion I had. Whenever I found one of these half-naked beauties online or in a store and the price was right, I had no choice but to take them home with me.

One day, as I was about to store the seventh Soltic, skeletonized and ensconced in a Ziploc freezer bag, I checked the other ones. I realized I had enough parts to make two complete toys. The gears started turning…

I was going to turn these Soltics into Korchima Specials. But unlike Drifand’s awesome custom jobs, I didn’t want them to look like finished model kits with flat finishes and panel lines, I wanted them to look like toys, as if Takara cast them in blue styrene.

I always have half-assed ideas for making custom toys floating around in my head. Unfortunately, I have none of the skill, patience or equipment to actually pull them off, so I recuit others to do the dirty work. As with the bare metal Robocon, I would get by with the help of my friends.

The unlucky victim this time around was model master Jim Walsh, of the UNSC Shipworks (also known as “Jim’s Kitchen Table”). After getting some advice on paints, I hit the hobby store and agonized over the rack of Testors Model Master paints for about twenty minutes. Insignia Blue? French Blue? Royal Blue? I had no idea which one would be closest to what I was trying to accomplish, since I didn’t have the 1/144 Korchima Special to compare against the color chart. Eventually I settled on nice generic Dark Blue.

The next step was to disassemble the parts and deterimine which ones would be painted. The guideline I set from the outset was that only items painted or cast in green plastic would be painted. Masking the parts, as Jim explained, would be the most time-consuming part of the process. He showed me a neat little trick where you can apply Elmer’s Glue to things to mask areas like the chest vents and cockpits, simply peeling it off later.

One physical change would be made to the mechs: the addition of a forearm-mounted laser. All I needed to accomplish this was a Dougram forearm with its laser, which was mounted on a Soltic upper arm. Not exactly “anime-accurate”, but this is probably how a toy company that hated making new molds would handle it. At the very least, it’s how a lazy hobbyist would handle it. And yes, I know, Dougram purists, the Korchima Special also has a backpack unit that the laser plugs into. I thought about this, but then realized I didn’t plan on displaying them with their asses to the world.

Afterwards, the parts were mounted on punji sticks, the paint was mixed, and over the course of the following two weeks Jim blasted them with three coats of blue and two coats of clear gloss finish. Here is the end result. See how they’re nice and shiny like toys? You don’t? Okay, maybe I’ll subcontract out the photography next time along with everything else.

I’m really happy with them, although there are a couple of pieces I still need. Won’t you please give?


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