Neo Zeon Mobile Suit Nightingale – A Big Red One
After my last Gundam build, I was asked to build another Mobile Suit. This one belongs to the opposing Neo Zeon side and the appearance of this “Nightingale” couldn’t be more different than the classic Unicorn Gundam look. To start with, The Nightingale is red like a lobster, and many of the sections do resemble the carapace exoskeleton of a crustacean. There are no straight lines found on the main armor section of the Mobile Suit, as they are all curved shells. The machinery sections of this behemoth are hidden under those shells, as we will see many thrusters tucked here and there. The small head section resembles a fox perched on the main torso. All in all, this mobile suit that was piloted by Char Aznable is wildly alien-looking, and the effect is rounded off with a fluorescent green light sabre. There are two “funnel units” spread out behind the torso, also crammed with thrusters and also strange missile pods.
This Master Grade 1/100 scale Mobile Suit kit from Bandai is almost as massive as the previous one. It certainly rivals the Unicorn Gundam is sheer size. The kit comes with Italian Red, Deep Yellow, Gunship Grey plastic parts. It does not have the extensive LED lighting option, although one can insert an LED standalone unit in the torso under the “head” sensor station.
Construction starts with the pair of feet. Building the parts are pretty straight forward and most of the time is used up trimming the parts after snipping off the sprue. I do not repaint the colored sections as they are not standard colors. Instead, I use Tamiya Hull Red + Black (70:30) wash to go over the red sections to stain and bring out the features, wiping off the excess with a paper towel. Note the first of many thruster units tucked beneath the main armor.
The massive tail (large enough to be its own kit) covers a pair of fuel tanks. These two I wash with Tamiya NATO Black XF-69 to bring out the segment lines.
Next came the tail armor, the latter looking like a gigantic lobster with the pair of rocket thrusters for eyes.
The massive tail is attached to the lower torso, and has to be supported by its own skid unit.
Next came this large frontal section that looked like a phallic symbol, and side skirt armor.
The upper torso is a strange ship-like shape. Here you can see that I have applied a Tamiya XF-1 Black for the dark grey sections, and NATO Black XF69 for the thruster yellow sections.
The “head” sensor housing resembles a large red fox or squirrel with a helmet. Inside this unit, there is a clear plastic section with a single “eye” characteristic of Zeon mobile suits.
The “head” unit is attached to the upper torso, and three more fuel cells are added (sticking like arrows to the back). The red sticker bands are applied to the tanks prior to their attachment to the torso.
The arms have light grey “accordion” sections that I weathered with NATO Black wash. They also come with little removable rectangular panels for inserting the shield attachment. Careful not to glue those down.
The largest sections are yet to come. These two gigantic wing-like funnels are crammed with thrusters and attach to two large ports in the upper torso.
Prior to attaching the stickers (these kits do not use water decals, but fine stickers), I built the shield unit and the light saber. They were being test fitted here.
The stickers are now carefully applied to the sections. As mentioned in my previous Gundam post, these stickers have to be applied after ink wash of the parts to prevent the wash from forming “boxes” around the sticker edges.
Lastly, I painted NATO Black paint chip around the edges where high movement and scrapping would happen. These covered the lower edges of the leg armor, feet sections, and the arm panels as well.