Trust You: The Making of a PG Gundam 00 Diorama

Tutorials

We loved Emily’s gorgeous mesa diorama, which she showed us how to build in an earlier Gunpla 101 tutorial. This time, she shows us the making of her most ambitious build yet based on a scene from the second Gundam 00 ending sequence, “Trust You.” Read on to discover how she built this tournament-level display from start to finish.

This is a build that I have wanted to do for years.

Long before I had seen Gundam 00 in its entirety, I was already captivated by a beautiful scene from it: the 00 destroyed and covered in flowers. At the end of last year, I had major surgery and needed to take several months off work. I figured that this would be the perfect time frame to be able to finally do this project.

I purchased the Perfect Grade Gundam 00 from a local shop and spent a few days building it in early January. I also purchased a resin armor upgrade kit from an only somewhat shady website. This kit adds additional details to the armor pieces that I could have done with scribbling and putty-work, but without as much work.

Resin kit leg and regular PG leg side by side.

You always want to be careful when working with resin kits. Make sure to wear a dust mask at the very least when you sand/file it. Because I didn’t know what type of resin was used, or if anything else was used in their mixing equipment I also wore gloves and made sure to give everything a good wash while working with it.

In the artwork my build is based on, the Gundam’s right arm is destroyed. To recreate the effect, I took a handsaw and dremel to the kit and sliced the forearm in half. I also cut off the left side’s GN driver and damaged part of the right shoulder and GN Driver holder.

Testing the pose of the PG/resin composite.

While I was testing the pose I wanted the kit to be in, I also decided to remove part of the left leg and further damage the left arm.

To create the exposed cables, I opened a broken USB charging cable and simply cut the interior wires to the length I wanted and then glued them in place. The fatter cables came from the USB cable insulation.

USB cables glued to the arms.

After that, I was ready to begin painting. I left the kit mostly intact, but separated it at its main connections (arms, legs, foot, chest, waist, head) and primed those separately in black. Once they were dry, I put everything back together, and into its pose. I then gave it a zenithal highlight (similar to the Black and White Technique) with a gray primer to give a basis for highlights when I started painting.

Painting started by airbrushing all of the areas that need it with white, as it’s a color that doesn’t hand brush well. The rest of the kit was then hand-brushed using a variety of Secret Weapon Miniatures and Army Painter paints.

Once all of the base coats were down, I started the weathering process. I used Secret Weapon Miniatures’ washes to dirty it up. Basically I just brushed some on, then took it back off with a moist cotton swab.

Painting, followed by washing.

Next came the base. I got a wood shelf from Home Depot and cut it to the size I wanted, and then took some foam insulation board and cut it to sit on top of the wood. I drew out where I wanted my water features to be placed on the wood and foam and placed the kit on top of it to make sure I had everything the right shape and size. Once I was satisfied with their placements, I cut holes in the foam for those features. I then affixed the foam to the wood using wood glue, including a generous amount around the largest hole to make sure that my water effects did not leak out.

To create natural-looking banks for the ponds I used Drywall Joint Compound and mixed a bit of Secret Weapon Miniatures’ weathering pigments into it, and then used my fingers to sculpt the terrain. This technique has the added bonus that should the compound break or crack at any point – it will do so in a mud brown color, making it unnoticeable. I poured pigment fixer into a spray bottle and soaked the base with it, sealing it for the first time. Once it dried, I brushed additional shades of brown on top, and then some greens on top of that. By mixing both colors, you get more natural colors for both mud and grass. I then hit it again with the pigment fixer spray bottle. Next, I glued the Gundam to the base in its final resting place. I took some more of my drywall compound and pigment mixture and sculpted small banks of mud around the legs and foot of the 00, giving it the look of having recessed into the ground a bit.

I then took those same pigment colors and applied them to the Gundam, giving the look that dirt, grime, and mold had gathered onto it for some time. Another round of pigment fixer—I honestly went through a few bottles of it.

Next up was Setsuna, the pilot, I drilled a small hole into his leg and then cut a length of metal wire (paper clip) and inserted that into the hole. This (pinning) will keep him in place while transporting the model. He would eventually be glued into this location, but I kept him removable while I continued to work on the project.

After that came flower time. I got several baggies worth of scale flowers from a model train company and mixed up a few ounces of them into a cup. I sprayed the Gundam with pigment fixer, and while it was still wet, I dumped flowers all over it. This didn’t quite hold them all in place, but gave it good starting point. After that round dried I added more flowers along with vines using a mixture of PVA Glue (Elmer’s white) and water to secure them.

I created the transparent pond water with resin. Because of my easy access to a resin casting facility (AKA my backyard) I mixed up some black pigment and resin and then brushed it onto the sides of the base, sealing them and giving them a nice look. Once that was in place I used a Woodland Scenic ‘Deep Water’ kit to start creating the bane of my existence… the larger pond. This material takes 24hrs to dry, dries clear, and honestly should have been wonderful as it was. Except that the table I put the project on to do the initial pour wasn’t level, so the water level was at an angle once it dried. I used the entire kit on this first pour, and would need a second… but the hobby shop was out of them. I unfortunately had to go with a bottle of ‘Realistic Water‘ to do the rest of the water effects. Realistic Water is fine for small amounts of water effects, but it as it cures it shrinks a little which is very noticeable when used for larger bodies of water. You also can’t pour as deep of a layer as with the Deep Water kit or else it won’t cure or won’t cure correctly/clear. I didn’t have any other options so I ended up doing several layers of Realistic Water on top of the original pour. It shrank and gave the water an uneven surface. I’m now working on fixing this, but I don’t know that I really will be able to.

The one benefit of Realistic Water is that it dries much more quickly, which allowed me to put a few small fish into the pond.

To finish the base, I used grass tufts from Army Painter. I used a lot of them, in several colors. They were easily placed with tweezers and PVA. I also added several small critters to the base, hidden in the grass.

At this point, I ran out of time and had to pack the project up and ship it to Chicago for the Crystal Brush competition. I did a little bit of last-minute detailing on the panel lines while in Chicago, but nothing major.

I didn’t make the cut at Crystal Brush, but apparently, I came pretty close. Next up for this model is the Gundam World Builder’s Cup at Anime Expo, so wish me luck!

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