I recently bought a couple of model kits off of eBay. I bought Evangelion Unit-01 Perfect Grade, and as a lark I got Evangelion Unit-04. I'd resisted this model because it is, in essence, a recolour of Evangelion Unit-03. But this puts me one step closer to a complete set, so I went for it.

Like all the other LM-HG Evangelion models, the instructions are entirely in Japanese. I don't actually speak much Japanese, but these instructions are so well designed that for the most part, you don't NEED to speak much Japanese to build the model. The parts are numbered with Roman characters and Arabic numerals, and the diagrams are crystal clear.

This model is pretty much pre-painted except for the details. I made a trip out to Comex Hobby to get my supplies (sorry for not buying it in your store, guys!), and picked up most of the required paints. I'm partial to the Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Hobby Color, but since Comex seems to have stopped carrying a lot of the colours, I'm going to experiment with Tamiyas.

Using the handy-dandy list of Gunze paints in Japanese that has served me well over the years (and that I am in the process of converting into an Edict file), I translated the list of paints as follows:

  1. Monza Red - Red Madder (Gunze H86)
  2. Azuki Iro - Russet (Gunze H33)
    • Medium Blue - Intermediate Blue (Gunze H56) 80%
    • White (Gunze H1) 20%
  3. White (Gunze H1)
    • Navy Blue (Gunze H54) 50%
    • Midnight Blue (Gunze H55) 50%
  4. Black (Gunze H2)
  5. Dark Gray - Field Gray (1) (Gunze H32)
  6. Olive Gray - Field Gray (2) (Gunze H48)

As you can (maybe) see in this picture of the unpacked model, many of the armour sprues are silver painted, saving a lot of painting. Unlike some of the other Evangelion LM-HG models, the colour used is actually pretty good. It still remains to be seen how paint for details like the chest (colour A) will stick to the silver paint, or if it will have to be carefully stripped off. If that's the case, this project will be a massive pain in the posterior.

This kit includes self adhesive stickers for those disinclined to painting (which don't look too good, in my rarely humble opinion) as well as water applied decals for the lettering on the arms and head. Also included are a trio of unscaled figurines. All of the LM-HG models include them, and this one comes with both Asuka and Rei as young girls, and Asuka's toy monkey as well. I haven't had much luck with these figures before, but if they turn out this time I may go over my old collection.

The first thing I'm going to do (after buying the model and the supplies, smart aleck) is paint as much as I can while the model is still on the sprues. This will reduce the likelyhood that I get fingerprints in the paint. There are a number of parts on which this won't work, like the shins, but some items (like the black shoulder panels moulded in black) are ideal for it. I start with the white, because I am eager to try out the Tamiya paint, and especially because I want to see how the paint goes over the chromed finish. As it turns out, the paint has no apparent problems setting on the chromed sprue. The Tamiya paint says to give it an hour before applying a second coat, but I gave it 75 minutes. The paint doesn't stick as well as it does on bare styrene, but a good sealant (or careful storage) should do the trick. Scraping or sanding the chrome off isn't an option, due to the detailed areas that need removal (and my laziness). On the upside, the ease with which paint is removed from the chrome is a sloppy painter's dream come true. Just scrape it off with a fingernail or toothpick. My thumbnail doubles as a slotted screwdriver, and it did no noticable damage to the silver paint.

Speaking of toothpicks, I would like to recommend that anyone as unsteady with a brush as I am pick up a box. Not only are they great for stirring paints, I find they're well suited to fine detail work. They're no substitute for skill, but they seem to pick up the perfect amount of paint, and they're pretty much disposable (or, at least, you can sand the paint off of them instead of cleaning them like a brush ^^). For even finer detail, pins are excellent.

As I start assembly of the legs and feet, I noticed a fairly critical problem (to me, at least). Where the sprues connected to the silver parts, there is (of course!) no silver paint. Craptastic. Well, pencil "Silver (H8)" onto your paint list, boys and girl, and grab yourself some sandpaper and putty. Finishing ain't always easy.