When I started this build I thought I would be able to smash it out in a couple of months, grab some attention for the site and move on.
Boy was I wrong.
With much of the tedium out of the way (see Inside Out Modeling from Part 3) it was time to get to the part that build that I had been really looking forward to from the start. Getting that Cannon Fodder Brown paint on.
The Paint Journey
Back in around 2005 I painted a 1/72 Hasegawa VF-1 Battroid kit as a Cannon Fodder (CF) Brown VF-1A. For that kit I used the recommended paint mix of 60% Gunze Hobby Color H1 White and 40% H43 Wood Brown. The made a great CF brown and I planned on using the same this time around but. But things didn't plan out that way.
2005 era 1/72 Hasegawa VF-1A Battroid. Sadly this kit did not survive the great shelf fall of 2012.
Stocks of Tamiya and Gunze have been hard to get thanks to the sudden uptake of the hobby and the delays in the Japanese supply chain - my LHS and even online such as BNA Model World had zero available. I could get H37 but not H1 and none of the Mr. Color equivalents. Eventually I hedged my bets and bought some Hobby Color H37 Wood Brown and the lightest grey I could find - H315 Gray FS16440 figuring that the very light grey would be close enough as I was planning on some heavy handed weathering anyway.
Old Gunze Aqueous Hobby Color label (and formula) on the left, new version on the right.
Things really didn't go to plan. The short version is that Gunze changed the formula of their aqueous range and in the case of Wood Brown also changed the colour to a much paler shade. I did have a bottle of the old formulation on hand but that didn't play well with the new formula Gray and separated in the jar.
The old formula is a much darker shade than the new.
I know Gunze is a popular range but for some reason I just could not get it to lay down smoothly regardless of what I mixed it with. In the end (after stripping the fuselage in a bath of isopropyl alcohol) I just mixed up a custom batch of Tamiya acrylic which turned out quite nicely after using all of the latest suite of tonal variation techniques.
By this time I was seven months into the build and things really started to grind to a halt. In it had gotten so bad that I was even choosing to rip out weeds in the garden then sit down and face this thing. I started to hate the whole project and as time dragged on it was only sheer willpower that kept me at it.
A lot of that was due to the angst of wanting to finish the kit to a very high standard. But I don't build enough to have cultivated those skills where painting and weathering came easily. I just never got into a flow state and even stalled a few times completely stumped with what to do next. Fortunately I got some good feedback from a couple of well known members of the Scale Modelers Critique Group which helped with a few issues. Particularly with regard to weathering the FAST pack Fighting Kite.
But in the end I got there. Just after I finished I read Spencer Pollard's Stop Competing With Yourself article and it really resonated. Maybe if I had taken that approach from the start I would have enjoyed myself more.
One last thought; Hasegawa's 1/48 scale version of the VF-1 is a far better kit than the 1/72 offering, of that there is no doubt. But the VF-1 design is just such a bastard of a thing that you end up with whole swag of modules and sub assemblies that each need seams attending to. There is a lot of work there no matter what - next time I'll pick something easy...