This is the SAFS Prototype. The design is a test bed AFS MkII used as a prototype study for the SAFS. It is similar to the Archelon but still has a direct viewing window. The design appears to be a refinement of a similar contributor design that appeared in Hobby Japan March 1984. I modified the base kit slightly by removing the main armament and giving it a second manipulator.
This is my first time attempting an overall metallic finish on a model. Because a metallic finish will show every speck and flaw, the build required a bit more cleanup and several rounds of primer and sanding.
After all the surface imperfections were worked out (seam lines, sink marks, etc.) I gave it a good base coat of Tamiya Gloss Black. I wanted to show a patchwork of panels for this prototype so used several different metallic paints from Alclad, Mr. Hobby and Tamiya. Plus I used a few patches of Bare Metal Foil Chrome.
At first I thought the model was going to be a challenge to weather so it took me a while to get to where I wanted to be. Ultimately I decided I needed to just ignore the metallic paint and weather this like I would a regular finish. I first applied a dark grey wash to accent all the panels. Next, I airbrushed a light dusting of Tamiya Deck Tan and Buff to provide the next steps something to grip to. The majority of the weathering is done with oil paints. They were either applied straight for the tube or applied as washes and filters.
The base is a simple cube made from styrene sheet and spray painted black. I wanted to keep the focus on the suit so I skipped any ground work.
I think the thing I learned from this is I should have started with a lighter metallic base. The final color got a little too dark.