Estimated read time: 8 Minutes
Watch my cinematic build process here:
In this article, I will cover the following:
- Why WeGo?
- The Kit Bash
- Color Schemes
- The Beauty of Age
A few months ago, I discovered a builder on Instagram that inspired me because everything he was making looked like something I would love to build as well. Two of his masterpieces are a couple of Hasegawa Mechatro WeGos. These cute little humanoid mechas are the invention of Japanese designer, Kazushi Kobayashi, who was inspired by Japanese car designs from the ‘70s that were round and bubble-like, mixed with the cuteness of plush toys. They’re adorable and you know you want one.
What really caught my attention, was the fact that these cute little mechas are meant to be piloted by children. They’re too small to fit a full grown adult in them, and children would use them to move about their town… go to school… go to their friends… etc, and I thought that was great.
For a long time, I’ve had a diorama idea in my head of a world of decay… a dystopian world, if you will, something out of the Terminator movie series… in which resources are depleted, the earth is sick and not growing anything anymore… and children, being the symbol of purity, strength, and hope for humanity, are left to fend for themselves. In this diorama, the story is that no matter how bad things get in the world, love, friendship and hope will always prevail. The WeGo was the perfect package to deliver this message, so I immediately ordered one.
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THE KIT BASH
Kit bashing can be a little daunting at first. I spent at least two days with a bowl of bits on my bench and absolutely no building. I was just staring at this bowl of bits trying to figure out what to do… what pieces to use… what things would look cool, what things would be too over the top… and thus, slowly, I began dry fitting parts to the WeGo… then ideas started pouring into my head and I suddenly began to cut things, create fittings for different elements… cementing things to the WeGo… and finally I came up with a simple, yet, in my opinion, well done piece of kit bashing that is by any standards the work of a rookie… which is what I am. It’s not overly complicated but it is nice.
I used two flap wings from my Mustang project and I fit them to a Zaku II ammunition magazine I had left over from the previous project… I had other bits and pieces that I used such as bolts and hoses and random bits… once you start laying pieces down, the ideas just flow and you end up with something amazing.
One quick note on water decals - I highly recommend you invest in water decal sheets. They’re inexpensive and they’re a fantastic way to take your model to the next level. This is something I am just now realizing, and from this point forward, you will be seeing me use decals on every project. It is amazing how much dimension and realism they add to your project, and don’t be afraid to over use them… the more, the merrier… within reason, of course.
I wanted WeGo to look like a working machine. Something out of a construction zone, perhaps? But I also wanted him to look like a warrior. I chose a deep yellow, almost orange color for his arms and legs, and a desaturated green for his main body. These colors were brought together during weathering, and it gave it a less “classy”, more gritty look, fit for a dystopian environment.
I used a really great app I discovered called “Trycolors”, which allows you to take a picture from your device and pick a color from it. Then, it creates a mix based on what colors of paint you have available, and it spits out a mixture in percentages or units per color, which combined, creates the end color you’ve selected.
I mainly used Mr. Color paints for this project. I come from an acrylic world, but the downsides of it have led me to become more interested in using lacquers. This is the second project where my main colors are lacquer based and secondary colors are acrylic. The shiny, factory-like finish you get from Mr. Hobby is absolutely fantastic.
I primed the entire thing with Mr. Hobby 1500 surfacer. I then proceeded to paint all parts with my mixed paints. I wasn’t super happy with the tone on my deep yellow, but just around this time I had received my new order of GPaints. I decided to give them a go, and I painted GPaint yellow on top of my Mr. Color mixture. GPaint provides a stunning matte finish that happily reminds me of Vallejo Air finishes… except these are lacquers. I didn’t paint all the corresponding yellow parts with it, only a few, because I also realized that there would be some contrast with my original yellow mix, which I welcomed. Secondly, I also wanted to try the Dark Iron color from GPaint for the frame of the WeGo… and by golly, what an amazing color this is. It has a high-tech feel to it, like a modern cast carbon steel type finish you’d expect on electric cars or space ships… it gave the WeGo exactly the look that I had hoped it would.
And so, in one evening, I was able to paint all the parts and get them ready for assembly, decals, and weathering the next day.
THE BEAUTY OF AGE
This is, perhaps, the most enjoyable part of the process for me. The weathering. A bit over a year ago, and before I got into this hobby, I stumbled upon a build video by Luca Zampriolo, aka. KALLAMITY, and I was blown away by his weathering skills… I had never seen anything like it previously, and I was bewitched by it… I wanted to learn how to do that. Long story short, and several disasters later, I finally began to understand a compelling weathering process. I learned that the key to good weathering is randomness. Make things chaotic, asymmetrical, out of order, and unexpected.
In this project, I utilized several products that allowed me to create something compelling.
Washes - so I’m one of those folks who bought a set of Army Painter paints on Amazon for $93 when I first got started. These paints are great, especially for hand painting. One of the items is a set of washes. They’re a bit thick for mere washes, but they’re manageable, and in this project I utilized the black wash for the entire model. You apply it with a brush, and as soon as you’re done, you wipe it off. The dark fluid will stay in all the recesses of your surface, and depending on how long you let it sit, it will also create grimmy stains on it.
You can also make your own washes with inks and even oil paint, or you can buy pre-made ones from Tamiya and other brands. I simply used what I had at hand, and it worked well!
Pigments - If you want to provide texture to your model, then pigments are a fantastic way to do it. Pigments from Vallejo apply with a wet brush, and you can mix different shades of them to create unique tones depending on what you’re wanting to accomplish. There is smoke black for engine grime… there is light rust, dark rust, earth brown, light dust, etc. If you want to make rust look realistic, you gotta use pigments.
I also made a pigment wash to use on different parts of the WeGo, namely the exposed frame areas like arms, legs, and undercarriage. Applying it like paint made these parts look like rusted metal, because pigment washes dry to a chalky texture.
Acrylics - I used a couple of colors from the Vallejo Air range to create chipping and to add dimension to it. I used a dark brown for the chipping itself, and a light rust color to paint inside the chips to make them 3-dimensional. It is recommended to use acrylics on top of lacquers in case you want to dilute or “erase” a mistake on your project. Because acrylic is water based, it’s a lot easier to rub off the project without damaging the lacquer base underneath. If you were doing it in reverse, you’d have a serious problem in your hands. Always start with the strongest product as a base and work your way up to the weakest. So, in this order, lacquers - enamels - acrylics, you have the safest path to success.
I am overwhelmed with the response I’ve had with this project. It has been liked and shared more than any other project I’ve done in the past, even getting a compliment from sensei Lincoln Wright from Paint on Plastic himself!
I am excited to now be working on the actual diorama where this little WeGo will reside permanently. It is dystopian, it is gritty, it is dirty… and it’s coming January 29th, so stay tuned!