Grobberhund

The Grosserhund first appeared in the July 1985 issue of Hobby Japan. It is an unmanned humanoid type bipedal unit armed with an up-armed laser similar to the Gustav, and two PanzerScreck missiles. The GH was quite a kit bash using a multitude of out of production and hard to find donor kits, including several 1/20 Nitto SF3D kits; Hornisse, SAFS, Raccoon, Gustav, Krachenvogal,  AFS and a PKA, plus about a dozen other miscellaneous military and anime donor kits. I‘ve always though the GH was a great design but it never received much attention. I was gathering donor kits to make my own, but then Katoo-san, Rainbow Egg, announced a release. I missed out on the WonderFest release and initial mail order convinced I was going to scratch build my own. I soon realized I still lacked many of the donor kits and once the second round of mail order kits was announced, I plunked down my money for the full resin kit. The kit itself is gorgeous.

Kit Build:

Once I sorted out the parts and made sure everything was there, I soaked the parts overnight in Simple Green degreaser and gave them a good scrub with a toothbrush and warm water. This should have cut through the mold release. Nope, the surface was still slick. So next I wiped the parts with lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol using cotton buds. I figured nothing could withstand this. Nope, the parts were still slick and stunk like bug spray. A post on the internet yielded a tip to soak the parts in white vinegar. The acid must have cut through what ever it was, because after a good wash and scrub under warm water, the parts were no longer slick and felt clean. So, white vinegar is something to keep in mind as a cleaner for resin parts.

The instructions are very clear, however I didn’t really stick to them once I was familiar with the overall assembly. As designed, the kit offers a pretty static pose for the GH. I see it as a very purposeful killing machine and wanted to convey by having the GH aiming at some off scene target. I replaced or added to many of the joints either polycaps or ball and socket joints to allow more flexibility imposing and allowing me to modify the pose until satisfied. This included neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, waist and ankle joints. The two knee joints were merely glued in place since the design of the joints didn’t allow for a great deal of flexibility. I also ground off and removed two of the rear hip armor plates since they limited how the torso was positioned.

Painting:

Around the time I was considering what to paint it, the MIG Productions forums was having a Color Modulation contest as a way to promote their latest DVD and help promote the whole “Color Modulation” concept. Basically Color Modulation is a method of painting a model to accent with simulated highlights and shadows with paint. Broad highlights and shadows are airbrushed with translucent paints and details are picked out with a brush. The philosophy is similar to how figure painters paint in highlights and shadows to accent folds of fabric of facial features. I liked the effect on the examples of armor models I had seen and thought it would be worth a try to see how the technique would work on something with more complex and organic lines than the slab side armor examples.

The model was of course fully primered and prepped before I started painting. I first mixed up a jar of custom Dark Yellow as a base color. The base color was a mixture of Tamiya Ark Yellow, White, DeckTan and Clear. To this I mixed three steps of shades and four steps of tints. I added Flat Brown to create the shades which were cooled with the addition of Flat Blue. The darkest shadows looked like Flat Earth. The highlights were created with the addition of Flat White and were warmed with the addition of Gloss Yellow. The final highlight was very creamy and white.

I first airbrushed the shadow areas like the backside of the leg, underside of the arm and laser arm and insides of armor plates and torso, working progressively darker. The effect helped accent the shadow lines of the pieces, especially the knee armor plates. I then airbrushed the base color to fill in the upper areas and blend in with the shadows. I then began the highlights. These required some selective masking to help keep the effect defined to particular panels and joints. While very effective in person, it was not as noticeable in photos posted on the web. It was not until I picked out individual details with custom mixes of Vallejo Model Color that details started to pop.

It was around this time that I decided the upper arm mechanicals needed to be another color to help them stand out more as the detail on them was being lost among the armor plates and hoses. The arms were hand painted with Vallejo German Gray as a base color and highlights were hand painted with the base color mixed with white.

Weathering:

The model was given a coat of Tamiya Clear mixed with their Lacquer Thinner for acrylics. The clear airbrushed very nicely and dried to the touch very quickly.

On top of this clear finish I applied the decals and sealed them with another coat of clear. To help blend some of the “modulation” I first applied a series of dots of oils paints to add some fading and variety to the surface. I applied cooler color oils to the shadow areas and panel edges and warmer lighter colors to panel centers and upper surfaces. The effect was subtle, but it helped to blend the colors and create a good basis for the weathering to follow.

I created a general purpose wash of Burnt Sienna and Black mixed with Turpenoid. This was used to accent various panel lines and create some general grime on the highly detailed areas like the shoulders and engine area. Next, I thinned Tamiya Smoke and airbrushed post shaded to define the curves better. Some areas received filters of either Burnt Sienna or bright green to help break up the monotone scheme.

To represent fine chips in the paint, I mixed custom colors of Vallejo and applied these with a 2/0 brush. I first laid down lighter version of the base color for surface scrapes, and then followed these with a dark brown to represent exposed metal. I also used a small piece of packing foam dabbed into the dark brown to create the worm off paint effect on the feet and edges of the armor plates and especially the engine.

The rust streaks were created by applying small dots of Burnt Sienna to selected paint chips and pulling the paint down with a larger brush just humid with thinner. I used small amounts of Burnt Umber oil paint from the tube and scrubbed and feathered the paint around the mechanical joints around the edges of the armor pieces to help them visually pop.

SAFS Wreckage:

To add something a little different, I added a burnt out hulk of a SAFS Raccoon. I chopped up a SAFS torso from the spares and opened the rear to add engine detail. The engine is a few bits form the spare box and I didn’t need to be too detailed since it was going to be burned out and mostly hidden.

To achieve the burnt out and pealed paint, I first painted the parts, torso, hatch, silencer with various oranges, light and dark grey, yellows, greens, even blues. This was very random but kept dark around the edges and lighter towards the middle of surfaces. Once this had dried, I applied two coats of Tre Somme Ultra Fine hair spray and let dry. I then airbrushed the base green and applied a lighter coat over that. Once that had dried sufficiently, I took the parts to the kitchen sink and gently scrubbed the surface with an old paint brush under warm water.  This softened the hairspray and I was able to scrub off the green to expose the rust underneath. It really is as easy as I described it. Basecoat, hairspray, top coat, scrub. The parts were given a good coat of PollyScale Matt and set aside to be used later.

Base:

The base for the display is a 4 inch PVC end cap painted with Sophisticated Finishes Rust Antiquing Set. It is available as a two part kit which contains an acrylic paint with iron particles suspended in the binder and an agent to oxidize the iron to cause the rust. The paint applies like really thick craft paint and once dry, various applications of the agent can be applied to vary the rust textures. The process is slow and continues for a few days after the paint has dried, so it is better to wait a while before handling it. I didn’t want the rust to leach or bleed on anything else, so I gave it a couple of coats of a matt clear urethane from a spray can. The effect was then adjusted with some post-shading of thinned black paint with an airbrush and scrubbing MIG pigments Light and Standard Rust into the finish.

The terrain is a mixture of Matt Gel Medium mixed with sand, root debris, small gravel and dried herbs and MIG Pigments Dry Mud and Light Dust. Adding the pigments to the acrylic gel eliminates the need to paint later on. The burnt-out SAFS torso and hatch was pressed into the gel along with a few rocks. I used an old brush to sculpt the terrain around the rocks and torso. I then glued the remaining parts with MGM. The grass is WoodlandScenics Field Grass Harvest Gold and Natural Straw blended, glued and trimmed to height.

The nearly finished model was secured to the base by drilling a couple of holes into the groundwork and secured with MGM. Pigments were applied around the feet and terrain to blend it in.

The small tree is a piece of root from an evergreen shrub that was dug out of the front flower bed which yielded a grocery bag full of roots. The leaves are the same hole punch I used before for the Berndt, but this time I wanted to experiment with paper. A trip to the craft store yielded a few sheets of green card stock paper. To add variety to the leaves, I applied random dabs of Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, red and dark green oil paints to the paper. Once this was dry, I punched out the leaves and scored the fold for the main vein. For some variety I glued on a few real leaves from the yard and around the base for fallen leaves.

The Grosserhund turned out to be quite a project and because of the resin issues, I didn’t think it was ever going to get started.