Gundam No Paint Method Ikimasu!

When I first started out gunpla one my greatest fear was actually painting the whole kit. Not only was paint expensive, but the time and skill to do it right daunted me. Further more, sometimes I am just bloody lazy lol ^^. Nevertheless I found this very old article by Danny Choo called the no paint method.  Sometimes when there isn’t the urge to paint I’ll just use this method but modified to through my experience.

Reading the article, the key thing is the sanding and how it will help to get rid of the shine. So I tried on sanding on the various parts first. Lets start with red.

RX7801This is the original red colored waist part.

RX7804After sanding with 600 grit, followed by 1000 grit and lastly 1200 grit sandpaper we will get a nice looking matt red by eliminating the plastic shine.

RX7805One problem I find with the no paint method is that after sanding, panel lining will result in smudges as the surfaces are no longer glossy. So instead I will panel line the parts first.

RX7806Followed by the sanding.

RX7807One point to note, I find that for white colored parts, sanding with 600 grit is actually very nice, no need to go to a higher grit. Give a very flat looking white ^^ (wee no need to paint white!! Toughest color to handle!)

RX7811Seam lines must also be dealt with for the kit. Left side, seamlines glued and sanded with 600 grit ^^. Right side, unsanded.

RX7809Putting my RX78 all together(okay its just the upper half for now….) Now the only spots where I painted are the vulcans on the head. The blue part was sanded from 600 to 1200 grit. Interestingly, the yellow orange parts are sanded with just grit 600. :D

Summary

  1. Eliminate the seam lines
  2. Panel line
  3. Sand parts from 600 to 1200 (red, blue, grey), 600 only (White, yellow, orange)
  4. Use a toothbrush to brush out the dust (best is to do outdoors!)

Hope you guys find this useful. The next part after all this sanding is the weathering which I won’t cover. (Probably in another post if possible) One point to note however that this method might not be suitable for those who want to put decals.  I seldom decal me kits so the surfaces being rough, the decals will not adhere properly onto the surface. Then again, hope this will provide another alternative when you build your kits.

Update : 09/03/10

So after all that sanding this is how the kit will turn out after a nice coat of top coat

Till then! Happy building!

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45 thoughts on “Gundam No Paint Method Ikimasu!

  1. This quite helpful indeed (as I’m too lazy to paint/paint is $$$$/terrible hand stability).
    Hmm… Maybe I’ll do this when (whenever that is) I get a new kit.

    • Ah glad you found it useful. You are right about the $$$….if you add all the paint + brushes its quite a fair bit of money just to do up a kit. Furthermore if you it various kits each with their own unique color scheme….

  2. >>One problem I find with the no paint method is that after sanding, panel lining will result in smudges as the surfaces are no longer glossy.

    Learned this the hard way. >_> Luckily, it was only a HG that was affected, but still.

    I should probably try this some day – looks like a decent way to eliminate plastic shine for people with no space. XD

    • I had that problem the last time so if you noticed I actually panel lined first before the sanding. This will help to avoid the smudges :D

      I know how it feels….and worse still mine was an MG….

      Not only does it eliminate plastic shine, you can skip the top coat! (save more money $$$$ :D)

  3. lol this is pretty much what i did with my WZC but a more lazy version XD if i read this first it would have saved me tons of time in experimentation… also explains why so many decals came loose LOL

    i always work with a “no paint” mind set, nice find ^^

    • Lol haha hi five ^^ Yep chubbybots Gundam no paint version L. (lazy haha). No wonder your decals came loose earlier on, thought you only sanded the edges XD. I had this article in mind to write in my draft box for about 2 weeks already. Just nice tako chan was doing her RX78 so I figured just take my half build RX78 and do a little lazy version guide haha ^^.

      Actually working with no paint mindset forces you to find other interesting methods of making nice gunpla :D

      • lol Ver. L is special edition :P very good guide, actually seeing all the RX78 makes me wanna finally get one too… maybe you can have your RX78 vs tako-chans’s lol or do a collab “all RX78 vs dai Gojira!” lolol

        ya for WZC i sanded the edges at first then found it better to do the whole thing on the white parts, on the red and blue some is sanded lightly all over and other only the edge. mainly because lazy mode lol no paint mindset forces you to use some creativity indeed!

    • I also started out with gundam markers! Sometimes just too lazy to mix and get the right paint! If you are trying out this method just try it on one piece of sprue and see if you like it ^^

  4. good tips there.. haha.. although i tend not to sandpaper them if im not painting.. cos im scare that the surface will be unevenly sanded.. esp rounded surface.. jus use a modelling knife to cut cleanly and your fingernail removing white nubs tips.. very good combi! lolx.

    yups.. jus finished cleaning up the nubs on tako’s RX-78-2.. haha. but i din sand them.. maybe i’ll try them on another kit.. =D and you’re 100% on no paint mindset forces you to think out of the box.. ^^ thanks again for the tips!

    • Ah I remember having that fear of sanding the kit. My first ‘victim’ was my 1/144 virtue…back that I thought 400 grit was the smoothest lol!!! Learned a lot from that epic failure! (maybe i’ll show you guys on a separate post on that!) For round surface try sanding in one direction, it will work better. I did that for the red part you saw in this guide.

      Maybe try on chibi kero’s zaku lol! :D

  5. painting’s kind of scary since it might not turn out as you expect it to but once you get the hang of it, the result will be awesome. but you’re right, sanding makes your build shiny and with right panel lining, it’ll be just as awesome.

    • Haha I was hoping it will look matt not shiny!! With panel lining and a bit of paint on some small parts will really make a difference! Do you paint your macross kits?

      • just selected parts. kinda scared to paint everything since im using water slide decals ^_^

        and sorry, you’re right it should look matte… or.. i dunno the word exactly but it’ll look smooth and clean with the sanding technique XD

        • Haha its okay ^^

          I haven’t really gone into a macross kit. Currently I have snap fitted Ozma’s unit and its sticking in its box. I suck quite badly at decals!! and macross kits requires all the decals to really look nice!

  6. yes!!! i am reading it, and i didn’t see it wrongly. NO PAINT! hahaha. looks good.
    i wish i can… OKIE, no, since i have decided to paint mine, i must press on!!! (a lot of self brain-washing..)

    thanks for the post man, next kit, i can try this!! yay.

    • Ah tako chan! Yep no paint :D Thanks for the compliments.

      Nah go ahead and paint it! Must definitely press on (but if all else fails I am sure Ren will be more than happy to help you paint! haha..ren promote you again!!)

      Can try on your keroro kits :D Looking forward to them!

    • And no problem dude ^^ Glad to be of help. You can get all of them either at hobby arts or M workshop at sunshine plaza. Awesome place to check out!

  7. let me think…

    btw i bought Dom tropper for $9 and Launcher strike for $5.I also register for speed building at chinatown OG.There are some other gunplas for sale like MG Prefect Gundam for $56+ and 1/100 Launcher/Sword Strike for $30.

  8. Pingback: RX 78 Wip Phase 1 « The Toy Room

  9. Hi, thank you for the great tips!
    I’m now experimenting on sanding the Infinite Justice. Sanding on white surface is fine but when I did it on a colored surface, e.g. pink or grey, the smudges is very visible. Can this be covered during top coating?

    And one more thing, is applying cement really makes the seamline disappear?

    • Ah for colored parts you might want to sand up to higher grit like 1000 above. If you can get those sanding sponges, it will make your work a whole lot easier! After the top coat the smudges won’t be that visible ^^.

      As for seamlines, if you do it correctly, you should be able to get rid of the seam line. However, if there are still small holes, you’ll will have to use putty to cover it up.

      • Hmm yeah, I’m using the 1000 grit sandpaper, I think I need 1200 for a smoother finish. I’ll tried to get the sponge, thank you! I find sanding with sandpaper is quite difficult as I can end up sanding on wrong place… :(

        One more question, for the red waist part (on your tutorial picture), did you sand the whole piece? Because sanding only on the nub mark will leave only that part matte.

        For seamline, I have tried using cement last night for the shield, and I love it! When I sand it down, the seamline disappeared. Do you usually smoothen the seamline using sandpaper or hobby knife?

        And if I use putty, do I have to paint it ?

        Sorry for having lots of questions… :)

        • Ah I did sand the entire piece for the red waist ^^. I usually use a sand paper to sand down after removing the seamline. Most of the time for white pieces you don’t have to paint it. But for colored pieces sometimes with the seamline removal, it will cause some discoloration so you might have to paint it.

  10. what’s the difference with just putting top coat without the sanding or anything?

    i usually built gunplas the way it is, with just lining, and it doesn’t look that great. now i have some kotobukiya muv luv kits, and I barely touch it because i don’t want to have bad results by building it the way it is with only lining.. Still, I don’t have experience in painting.

    • If you don’t sand, the nub marks will still be visible even after you top coat ^^.

      The only way you can get experience in painting is to start! Of course its heartbreaking when you ruin a kit but its part of the process. I screwed up my hg 1/144 destiny as my first trial for modding and hand painting but I learned tons.

      • Thanks for the reply! Can you tell me what I did wrong? At first I cut the part from the runner, leaving large gate intact, then I cut the rest of the gate as flat to the part as i could (seen this tutorial on a video about gunpla anniversary), then I sand it with a 1200grit sandpaper but most of the time can mot get the nip marks off. And I’m afraidmto sand more as I think it will ruin the parts..

        And a question, when sanding to remove nip marks, do you sand the whole part or just the nip marks area? I mean, if you sand the whole area, what if the part is a huge flat shield or something like that?

        • Hmm grit 1200 is mainly for polishing up the surface. It is unable to remove the nub marks. You’ll need to start from 400, to 600 and 1000 and finally to 1200. I know some people do it up to 1500 haha..but 1200 should be more than sufficient. For me i’ll usually sand the whole piece if not the sanded area will be slightly whiter.

          but a tip though, usually i’ll just use 400, 600 grit on the nub mark area and then followed by 1000 to 1200 for the whole piece to save time. Once you top coat everything should look nice and matt ^^

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