CHARMANDER

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Hello! Jetto Hobby here, taking a short break from my last gunpla project Custom Build SDCS Freedom, I present you a cute little Charmander! The model is designed by the very talented Patrick Li, he has done a lot of 3D models ranging from Studio Ghibli, Naruto, Pokemon, etc., be sure to check him out if you’re into 3D printing!

I have packaged everything nicely into a short 6-minute video here. If you like my other videos, then I assure you this will be a very enjoyable 6 minutes experience.

Read Time: 5 minutes

Disclosure: Hyperlinks in this blog post may include Amazon Affiliate Links, which will bring you directly to the product sites. It will not mark up any of the prices, but if you do purchase items through my links, I will earn a tiny commission from it. This is one of the ways you can support me if you’d like to! :D

Now let’s take a general look at what I’ve done to this little Charmander.

  1. Custom part separation
  2. Part preparation
  3. Scribing
  4. Primary assembly
  5. Color mixing
  6. Gradient painting
  7. Hand painting

CUSTOM PART SEPARATION

The original model was designed to print in a single piece, it is free and can be downloaded here! However, based on my 3D printing experience, the printers that I am using: Flash Forge Finder and the Creality Ender 3, both of these printers are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers. When FDM printers print overhangs more than 60°, it does not have enough support from the previous layer which will cause ugly overhangs. Hence the reason why I do my own part separation using Blender, it allows me to print the model in parts and assemble them later.

PART PREPARATION

My 3D printers were not perfectly tuned, so most of the parts printed fresh off the printers ended up with some artifacts. The filaments I used were eSun PLA PRO (Grey). Since it was PLA, large artifacts can be easily removed with an Exacto Knife. Once all the artifacts were removed, the surface can be sanded down with Sand Papers, ideally you want to wet sand the parts to speed up the whole process.


The parts were printed at 0.08mm per layer so most of the layers line can easily be sanded away using 240-400 grit sandpapers, achieving super smooth to touch finish. But not all parts are perfect, we can definitely still see some unavoidable gaps caused by overhangs in the tongue of the Charmander. So in this project, I have introduced a replacement for wood filler for filling gaps, an easily obtainable cyanoacrylate glue or known as CA glue, Gorilla Super Glue. Apply droplets of the glue directly on the gaps and use a toothpick to apply evenly. CA glue dries hard and can be sanded easily, it also does an amazing job in leveling itself into crevices.

Since CA glue dries transparent, sometimes it can be hard to tell if the gaps are filled. So what we can do is scratch the surface lightly with our fingernails, if there are still gaps/layer lines/ridges we can easily feel it.

Scribing

A wise man (Studio G) once said, scribing would make details pop. And yes it does! I used Tamiya Scriber II to lightly go over the edges for a few times to get a clean line. Once that is done, you’ll immediately notice the difference.

PRIMARY ASSEMBLY

Once the part preparation for all the parts are done, we can start assembling them together. This process is super easy, just use the same old CA glue you’re using and put them together. The only extra step we need to do after assembling is filling the joint gaps, which can be achieved by repeating the same method as before.

Once you’re done with filling all the joint gaps. Hit it with a Filling and Sandable Primer! This way if we see any imperfection on the surface, we can easily sand them down and prime again.

COLOR SCHEME

Here comes the main part of the blog, the secret to my color mixes! If you’re gonna paint a Charmander in the future, be sure to bookmark this page or start taking notes! I went with gradient painting on this project to give it more depth, hence the different shades of the mixes.

I used Color Mixer on Android to mix the colors virtually, this gives me a general guideline on the ratio before the actual mix. Of course, the App does not give you the 100% accuracy on the mix result, so that’s why there are still trials and errors.

Skin:

Orange (Preshade) 

15 Yellow : 4 White : 1 Red

Deep Saffron (Main) 

20 Yellow : 4 White : 1 Red 

Very Light Tangelo (Highlight) 

25 Yellow : 9 White : 1 Red

Belly:

Light French Beige (Preshade) 

35 White : 10 Yellow : 1 Black

Flavescent (Main)

6 White: 1 Yellow 

Tongue:

Persian Red (Preshade)

30 White : 4 Red : 1 Black

Congo Pink (Main) 

15 White : 2 Red

Eye:

Dark Slate Gray

4 Blue : 4 Green : 1 White : 1 Black

All the mentioned paint mixes were done using GPaint! Use coupon code: JETTOHOBBY for 5% discount! Although the GPaint were pre-thinned, I personally like to use Mr. Leveling Thinner to thin them down a little more.

GRADIENT PAINTING

My way of gradient painting is as simple as laying down the pre-shades before spraying on the main color. As for the skin, I put on the highlight after pre-shading and main color, spray over areas where it should appear brighter, as if light is coming from above. 

The Tail Fire gradient color of the Charmander was actually quite easy. I sprayed on the GPaint Yellow as the base paint then carefully and selectively add GPaint Red over some areas. If you accidentally went overboard with the Red, you can kinda recover the Yellow by selectively adding Yellow back on areas where you want the Yellow to show more. I have also added Mr. Hobby Super Clear all over the Tail Fire to make it shine!

HAND PAINTING

The underside of the upper jaw is a little tricky to mask (p.s. I’m just lazy XD), so I have decided to hand paint it. The color was not exactly black, it was a mix of 50% Vallejo Model Air Black and 50% Vallejo Model Air White, and it was thinned down with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner. I personally think that the greyish tone gave it a little more natural look. I used the same mix to go over the outlines of the teeth and tongue to make them stand out more!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I did not mention previously but I did use GPaint Black on the Eye Black, and GPaint White on the Eye White, Teeth and Toes. The overall project was not flawless, I have made mistakes and I’m glad I did as I have learned so much from it. Painting a whole model like this is so different from painting gunpla and I highly recommend everyone to try something like this at least once to get a different experience of model building. I hope you enjoy reading my work so far! If you like it, stay tuned for more blog posts about 3D printed and painted projects and more Gunpla stuff! 

BEFORE YOU GO

Please do come over to my YouTube Channel to check what I’ve built so far! I am constantly improving my filming and editing techniques to make somewhat cinematic content for my viewers to have an enjoyable experience. If you like what I’ve done so far, why not follow me on Facebook and Instagram while you’re at it :D 

See you there!

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