Like most people, I was drawn to Gundam Store and More by their low prices and their sometimes eclectic selection. Before last December, I would of given them a very high rating in terms of service. Yeah, they were often “out of stock” on the kits I wanted, but otherwise, they were a great store.
Then I tried to use their parts-replacement services on December 2nd, to get some missing poly-caps for an old model kit of mine. They sent me my shipment quickly, and I was very happy… until I opened the envelope with the parts inside. Instead of the two polycaps I requested, they had sent me two plastic pieces to a different kit, that I can’t identify. I immediately emailed them back, to let them know that they had sent me the wrong parts, expecting the same fast service that I had come to expect from them.
Flash forwards to today. I still have not received a single email, returned phone call, or chat notification from them, despite my many attempts to communicate with them. (I’ve been emailing them daily for about a week now, with no response.) If I had the money to waste, I would fly over to them, walk into the store, slap them around a bit and demand an answer. All I wanted were the parts I ordered… And now that money’s gone, and I don’t have anything to show for it.
A search on the internet has shown that this is not the first time this has happened. In fact, a lot of people have similar stories with this store. And let’s not even get into their “Gundam Club” scam. They promise to give you a HG and MG model kits, then send you kits from the 80s, (not technically HG kits) or v1 MGs. Basically they’re using their Gundam Club memberships offers as a way to offload their older model kits that they can no longer sell. Some people have even reported ordering specific model kits that they have listed on their “select one of these kits” but then they send them a completely different kit. (Imagine ordering a MG ReZEL kit, but receiving a MG Accguy 1.0 instead.)
This really saddens me, but I’ve come to a decision; I’m going to treat GSAM the same way I treat Wal-Mart; I’m never going to shop there again, unless I have absolutely no other option. And to be clear, in my entire life, I’ve only ever needed to buy something from Wal-Mart twice. I’d rather pay more money somewhere else than deal with Gundam Store and More again.
And I highly recommend that you do the same.
Well, everything has been “all set” for airbrushing for a while now… Just want to buy some paint for the Musai before I start. Yeah, flimsy excuse, I know… Gotta dust the models… So that’s where we are on that!
YouTube account for all to see. I’m doing this as a test-run for the tutorials I plan to do soon. Hopefully I’ll have worked out all the bugs and issues by the time I start the tutorials.
Anyways, I have 2 Zudah models. One is going to be a basic Zudah suit, proper colors, markings and everything. Not sure if I want to go Fresh, Used, Damaged or Destroyed with it, but I’m thinking either Fresh or Used. The other one, I’m going to take my time with. I’m going to do the best job I can with it, using the best of both kits to create my intended vision, which will be called “The Red Comet”. The idea is based on this image:
So, for The Red Comet, I will give the Zudah a coat of red paint, making it look like a Char Aznable suit! It will be the first non-cannon paint job on a model kit I do.
I’m REALLY looking forwards to it!
Other than that, I’ve been working really hard the last week or two. Plus side is that I’m going to have enough money to buy my first Perfect Grades; Gonna get myself a Strike and a Skygrasper. Looking forwards to purchasing those.
Oh, and I still haven’t gotten those spare parts from Gundam Store and More. Starting to get really pissed that they aren’t responding to my weekly emails. Gonna start emailing them daily starting Monday…
So here’s what happened during November:
I spent a lot of it working, waiting for a paycheck to come in so I could afford the final pieces to my v1 airbrush hardware setup. Sadly, I didn’t get that money until the 29th, so on December 1st, I went out and bought the final pieces to the puzzle. I present to you, for the first time EVER, my airbrushing setup:
As I explained in an earlier post, the air is pushed from my compressor into the T-Junction. The T-junction then feeds into the tank, and the regulator. The regulator is connected to my airbrush, and when not in use, acts like a stopper, feeding the full force of the compressed air into the line from the tank. When in use, the air from the compressor mixes with air from the tank to feed the airbrush. Whatever air isn’t needed flows back into the tank, although at a much slower rate. Once the tank is full, (or filled to the compressor’s maximum capacity) the compressor shuts off, and air flows from the tank, into the regulator, and then into the airbrush. Once the tank has fallen below the compressor’s threshold, (which takes a bit on a 5-gallon tank) the compressor activates, and fills the tank back up to it’s maximum before shutting off again.
The result is a nice, smooth amount of air flowing into my airbrush, reduced wear & tear on my compressor, and a heck of a lot less noise pollution.
But November wasn’t all work and waiting…
I continued work on my old Epyon model kit. I’d started this a very long time ago, and since I was waiting for money to finish my airbrush setup, I figured I’d put together one of my oldest kits, as the last OOB build I would have. (Contests and tutorials aside.) I’m going to give it the same treatment I gave the NG Wing Gundam, so they’ll be brothers of sorts, but I ran into a problem; I was missing two very important pieces: The polycaps that connect the leg to the foot, and the leg to the body. I looked everywhere for them, even tried to scavenge equivalent parts from other kits, but I couldn’t find anything that fit. I don’t know where they went, but I knew I didn’t have the knowledge, the skill, or the parts to try and create some on my own. (Anyone want to point me to a tutorial or something on how I could learn to scratch-build polycaps?) So, once I was paid a few days ago, I decided to look into Part Replacement. My first stop was GG Infinite, but I quickly learned that not only were their replacement order system not operational, but it’d been down for months with no signs of returning. So, I started going down my store bookmarks, trying to find a place that would sell replacement parts to someone in the USA. I ended up on Gundam Store and More‘s website. I wasn’t quite sure what their system was, and when I read that it was a “pay now, then we’ll look for the part and mail it to you” system, I was hesitant to say the least. But they listed my model kit as one of the ones they had to scavenge, so I said what the hell, paid them, and hoped they had the parts. (They fully refund you if they don’t have the parts.) That evening I get a message saying my order has been processed and sent via USPS, along with a tracking number.
I was shocked! Pleased, but shocked! Will my polycaps get here in one piece? I’ll make a post on our Facebook page, and let you know how this turns out.
That sounds like a lot for one month, doesn’t it?
But wait, I’m not done!
I also spent November finishing my prep work on both HG Burning Gundam and the EX Musai!
My original plan was just to airbrush the HG Burning Gundam and be done with it. If my airbrushing ended up melting it, I wouldn’t care too much. Burning Gundam isn’t my favorite kit. But my airbrushing skills would be gained and I could move on to learning other skills (such as airbrushing transparent plastic with HG Unicorn Gundam), and maybe learning about putty. (Learning about Putty and working with Pla-plates was slated for MG Zeong.) Well, that didn’t work out… After I started sanding, gluing and removing the seam lines from Burning after my last airbrushing session, I noticed some rather bad seams that no amount of sanding would fix without removing a lot of the plastic. So, I broke out the putty and used it to fill in the holes. I learned about puttying two models early, but I think it was a good thing. By this point, I was do sooo-much with HG Burning, I figured, why not go all out, and fix these seam lines and over-sanded areas with putty? So, I finished that up, glued as much of the model parts together as I dared/could get away with, and re-skewered them.
So, then they sat, waiting for my airbrush setup to be finished. Then I happened to look at my overflowing backlog shelf, and made the decision to reduce the “in progress” section. So, I grabbed the Musai, glued her together, cleaned up what seam lines I could get to, (I don’t have the fine motor controls to properly remove a seam from a small 1/1700 scale spaceship) and skewered them. I still haven’t decided if I want to leave the transparent plastic transparent or not, but I need to make that decision soon, because if I do, I need to mask them before I prime it.
Musai is going to be primed, pre-shaded, (where possible) painted, then panel-washed to make all those lines stand out. Then, obviously, coated with Future and declared finished.
So that’s what happened in November. My PLAN for last weekend was to finish my setup then prime the models, but two days of shopping really drained me, so I’m going to put off priming Burning and the Musai until this weekend, but that’s when we’re going to go get our Christmas tree, so who knows…
That reminds me… I need to put up my Christmas Tree… Last year I had my HG Unicorn Gundam on the top of my tree. Might do the same thing this year and take a picture of it…
So, I got the new regulator and tank. I started tearing metal getting the regulator onto the compressor, and the right side up, so I don’t think I’ll be removing it anytime soon. Despite that, there’s a small leak, probably in-between the compressor and the regulator. If it was in the new tank, I would try to fix it, but with the compressor, I don’t think it’ll be much of an issue. Maybe an extra second or two of compressor run-time every minute or so. Not enough for me to try and end up stripping out the metal AGAIN. (Anyone know of a good outside sealant I can use to fix the leak?)
Twelve hours later, I came back and took a look at what the PSI was. Tank A had dropped to 29 PSI. It had lost half of it’s charge. Calculating that out, it’s losing about 2 & 1/2 PSI an hour. So what did Tank B read? A near as I could tell, it read about 56 PSI. In twelve hours, it had only lost 2 PSI. That’s 1/6th a PSI per hour. In my mind, that’s a much more acceptable rate of loss.
So now I’m left with the question of what to do about Tank A? I could try to locate the source of the leak so I can fix it. I could sell it, as is, on eBay. Or I could just give it away, say to Goodwill or someone else who might want it or be able to fix it. Or I could just recycle it, and be done with it. I’m still not sure.
Final note, I’ve posted many images of my hardware, tools and setups. Expect more as time progresses.
First of all, I’ve uploaded images from my October Backlog. New this month: three additional Mechanical Chain Bases, two 1/144th scale Zudahs, and 4 bottles of Alclad II primer.
So, why haven’t I done any airbrushing lately? Sadly, I’ve been having some hardware issues. Basically, the panel that displays the pressure on the regulator that’s attached to my compressor is bent. That prevents the needle from moving, which means the regulator is useless as I don’t know how much pressure is being let through. I’m pretty sure I wasted over half of my bottle of primer because my PSI was too high when I was airbrushing earlier. To help alleviate this issue, I bought an air tank, some adapters, hoses and a second regulator to make it easy for me to airbrush.
Well… It didn’t work out like that. It seems that I didn’t know how to set it up, so I bought what I thought I needed, based on what another modeler talked about when describing his setup. But there was one thing he talked about that neither I nor the guy at Harbor Freight understood; Using a single hose to both deposit air into, and remove air from the tank. It wasn’t until I had spent all my money on hoses and adapters (that I would have needed anyways) that I realized the physics of what he did. He had his compressor attached to a manifold (it’s like a T-junction, but with a shut-off valve) which was also connected to the tank and the regulator. From the regulator, he then had another manifold that connected to his airbrush, with a port open to attach other things. Now, what both I and the guy at Harbor Freight didn’t understand, was that the compressor generates a constant amount of pressure. If that pressure ever drops below the compressor’s regulator threshold (say 40 or 50 PSI), it turns on until that pressure is met. Now, when connected to the air tank, any drop in pressure would activate the compressor and fill the tank. If the airbrush was being used at this time, (usually at 15 to 30 PSI) the air would come from the compressor and the tank. What isn’t used would flow back into the tank until the compressor reached 50 PSI again.
Yeah, it sounds confusing to me too, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to work in my head. I might draw a diagram and record a video when I finally get it working, demonstrating what I just outlined.
There were other issues that stopped me from getting my ideal setup going… For one, there’s a small plastic turn-knob that lets the air flow in and out of the tank. After 2 days, it cracked. If I don’t twist it hard, it shouldn’t break anytime soon. But there’s yet another issue with the tank; It leaks. After finally managing to get quick-connectors on the tank and hoses, (with sealant tape) I noticed something… After filling it with my compressor (hard to do, since the “quick and easy fill valve” requires an air chuck, which is the same kind of connector used to fill car tires. In the end, I switched out adapters on the main valve, opened it up, and filled it that way, similar to what I described above but without the manifold) I’d let it sit for an hour or more, and I’d notice a considerable loss of PSI. After doing this two or three times, I figured out that it was losing about 3-4 PSI an hour. I highly doubt that this is a common issue with air tanks like this, since they’re designed to be filled and used for emergency air filling, days, if not weeks later.
I’ve already contacted the companies about both the regulator and the tank. The new regulator’s already been shipped, so I’ll be taking off the one that’s currently on the compressor and using it for parts or other uses. I think my replacement tank’s been shipped, but the email I got was a bit vague… If it did ship (free of charge, mind you, despite that the company’s policy is that I would have to pay for shipping to and from the company) I should get a tracking number by tomorrow.
Hopefully by my next paycheck I can get additional adapters and have my new air tank setup fully configured, and ready to paint. However, I need to double-check that I have enough paint and I’ll probably need to spend some money buying new paints. I (like an idiot) bought a bunch of the wrong paints in preparation. I didn’t know that it’s better to paint with glossy paint, then matte it later, so a lot of my current paints are “flat” colors… Yay…
I’m also going to place my first pre-order; Master Grade Nu Gundam.
Model Kits: $774.09
Cost: $611.14, Shipping: $162.95
Kit Parts: $101.53
Cost: $96.33, Shipping: $5.20
Cost $287.27, Shipping: $46.44
Cost $365.29, Shipping:$77.44