Gilvader.modoki Ouroboros Spec. (WF Resin Kit)!

Gilvader.modoki is a fan-made resin kit, released at Wonder Festival in Japan! The kit is designed by Zoikino, who's website is one of the best resources in the Japanese fandom. It includes high quality photos of all new Zoid releases as well as coverage of Japan-exclusive events. If you've been following the Zoids Wild Zero series, you may also appreciate the episode summaries and thoughts expressed on their word press page (日記 on the menu). Zoikino also has a massive gallery (ギャラリー) of customs submitted by visitors from all over the world. If you have time, their site is excellent, even if you cannot read Japanese.

- Gilvader Modoki History

 Gilvader Modoki was designed as an April Fool's joke in 2012. Every year, Kino comes up with some amazing customs that match the current release theme. In the case of Gilvader, it was the D-Style series. The kit was later released as a fan-made resin kit at Wonder Festival 2013 (Winter), and again for the 2013 (Summer) event.

 Wonder Festival is an event in Japan where fans, hobbyists, and even companies come together to display and market kits and other goods. Fans can purchase a 1-day license to sell fan-made kits (which must first be approved) at the event. These kits are usually produced in low numbers, so they are quite rare. You can tell if a kit is officially approved by the official company logo on the box. In Gilvader's case, there is a TakaraTOMY sticker on the lower right.

- Packaging

 I've collected a few resin kits over the years, but honestly, Gilvader's is the nicest. It has a gloss cover around the box with a neat custom box art. Few kits seem to make custom box art. My Gilvader is from the second edition, which has Zoikino's 10th anniversary logo. At the time, I enjoyed collecting the 30th Anniversary Logo stickers from TakaraTomy, so this little detail was amusing.

 The interior was wrapped with a layer of bubble wrap, and inside was a paper insert with Zoikino's website link, photos of the finished kit, and beneath it a number of baggies. The baggies really surprised me. Each part of the Zoid is carefully sorted into a sealed bag, with a paper insert naming the parts (legs, etc.) and a printed picture of each one. This orderly packaging is rare, and it kept all of the pieces safe. Gilvader has some thin pieces (the horns, teeth, etc.) so this was appreciated.

- Kit Quality

 Gilvader is a very high quality resin kit. In the photos you can see some flash on the edges of the pieces, but if you have not seen many raw resin kits, this is on most Zoids resin kits. Including official ones released by larger companies. It is quick and easy to trim. The important part is that many resin kits have pits from air bubbles, etc. Gilvader is almost entirely free of these flaws. The casting is pretty solid~

 The fragile pieces were in surprisingly good shape, too. One tooth was chipped (I accidentally chipped another- Oops!) and one (vent?) on the leg armor had some chips. This may be due to storage, though. I decided to roll with a damaged look, so these pieces fit right in.

Side Note: I realized too late that the photos had what looked like red scratches on the canopy. This is not a flaw in the kit! Some of the red paper peeled off when I unpacked it. Living in Washington, the humidity is very high, so this comes down to storage conditions. It came off with some rubbing alcohol.

- Gilvader Ouroboros Spec.

- Lore

 Small enough to hide in the mountainous forests, the Ouroboros Spec. serves as an active sentinel of the Hippocrene Lake's ruin system. Although the sight of a Gilvader is cause for concern in most traveling pilots, even a small one, the Ouroboros is not centered around active combat. Instead, it's a mobile alarm, triggering lock downs in the living ruins at the first sight of an intruder. Supposedly, several individuals have gained access to this underground sanctuary, but the truth and the means of such stories are yet unknown.

Species: Wyvern-Dragon Hybrid (Dwarf Species, Solitary Behavior)
Territory: Hippocrene Lake (Western Continent)
Combat Motivation: Low (Evasive)
Pilot: Artificial Intelligence
- Commentary

 This kit was a lot of firsts for me. It's my first finished custom, and my first WF kit, both purchased and built. Even the first fan custom on this site! I purchased it all the way back in 2013. I was so excited to get a WF kit because it is such an inspiring event to watch unfold every year. However I had never finished a custom before, and resin kits are especially intimidating to a beginner like me. Most notably painting. I felt for years like paint had to be perfect, and that it was not worth touching a kit until I got a full blown air brush setup.

 Ever since Zoids Wild began, customizers from all over the world have shown up en masse to exhibit amazing customs. Through contests, social media; any means that they can. I never realized that hand painting (or dry brushing) could look so amazing. It was a big motivator to make that final leap to finish a kit.

- Custom Details

 Originally I had wanted to do black with blue secondary, and gold tertiary colors. However, a particular anime series I followed as a kid was recently revamped. A series that has to do with green eyed dragons, so I decided to change course and make the Ouroboros Spec. This also resolved an internal debate about whether to use the Gildragon or Gilvader horns. It was decided that both would be used! With Gilvader's horns being perfect for dragon whiskers.

 As my very first resin kit, and my first custom since I was a child, I made an embarrassing number of beginner mistakes. I'd like to discuss those in the sections below.

Primary: Jacquard's Lumiere Metallic Olive Green Acrylic Paint
Secondary: Basic Black Acrylics
Tertiary: Molotow Liquid Chrome Marker (multiple sizes)
Coating: Tamiya Gloss (used sparingly)

 The Molotow Liquid Chrome was left in tact on some pieces, but brushed on others to dull the shine. All silver 'paint chipping' was drybrushed immediately after applying.

- Beginner Problems

 First, the resin kit was scrubbed with warm, soapy water. Then I moved on to sanding. This was where I made my first mistake. I wasn't careful to sand in each and every little corner, and also used a sand paper grit that was too shallow. That meant that when I started painting, the paint acted almost hydrophobic. It ended in a lot of stripping, sanding, and repainting.

 This problem snowballed when I set my heart on a paint that didn't thin well. When trying to thin it with water, it was almost as if the yellow metallic pigments were separating from the green, and instead of a smooth green finish, I was getting weird streaks of gold. So, the affected pieces were stripped and I started again with unthinned paint.

Clear Pieces: Gilvader came with clear yellow parts. Originally, they were going to be ice blue. I clear coated them using Tamiya Gloss, which made them look like glass. An amazing difference! You can see the trimmed, glossed piece on the left, compared to the raw piece on the right. Since Ice Blue wouldn't be an option with this shade of yellow, I used a thin coat of the Lumiere green to tint their color. It matches the color of the Ouroboros much better now, albeit with some distinct brush strokes.

Paint Woes: After finishing the clear coat I painted the black parts. They looked great, but the black I chose was low quality, and chipped easily. Next time, I'll use better paint. For now, I tried clear coating with what I had on hand. This was yet another beginner mistake. I should have tested the clear coat on an inconsequential piece first, as it totally ruined the finish of the black. There were now hideous paint strokes all over it.

 This was a devastating setback because I had been so happy with it before, and couldn't go out for supplies. My sister was kind enough to let me use some of her supplies, notably Volks' ZM Shine Pearl Blue pigment. It helped buff out a bit of that texture, and added some extra color tint to the parts. This doesn't show up well in photos, but you can see it in the tail in the photo to the right.

Scratch Building: The one final beginner problem was that the resin for the underside of the wings had warped over time. This isn't uncommon in resin kits, but the density of the pieces made me nervous. I tried boiling them, both with natural cooling, and using ice water, but could not get the parts to stay straight. I don't have much experience with resin, so after realizing that the buzzsaws didn't need to be articulated, I took the easier route and constructed some new wing undersides using styrene. Unfortunately, I forgot to account for the placement of the cap, haha. So, the cap is offcenter. Still, it went well. The caps are from a ZW04 Scorpear, and coated with tamiya gloss to add extra shine.

 All in all, these things are part of the learning experience. I'll do better next time!

- Ouroboros Spec. Articulation

 Gilvader Modoki was designed to be glued together as an action figure. I started off wanting some basic movement for the legs, and maybe the head, and got a little carried away. Now the Ouroboros is fully articulated! I used some spare Revoltech joints for all of the articulation. These aren't the best weight-bearing joints, but Orbie comes in just under the weight limit, so it all went smoothly.

 Almost every single part of this Zoid is articulated. I left the canopy stationary because I wanted it to lay flat. Normally, when adding articulation to my WIP customs, I try to hide the joints. For Ouroboros I opted not to do this, to get more posability.

 The holes were all drilled using a Dremel 3000 with additional drill bits. With a proper mask and eye protection, of course. Having a dremel was essential to articulating the kit, though. It'll save you countless hours. The colored joints are temporary until I can obtain more black ones.

Points Of Articulation:
 - Jaw opens and closes
 - Head moves up and down
 - Neck moves up and down, and rotates 360 degrees
 - Legs bend outwards, and can rotate forwards and backwards
 - Paws bend up and down, and can swivel sideways
 - Wings bend up and down, and can lean forward and backwards
 - The buzzsaws on the back can spin
 - The tail moves up and down

- Final Thoughts

 Jumping into resin kits is scary. There are a lot of specifics about working with this material, being safe about it, and visualizing the final result. My biggest fear was that this would join the long list of unfinished projects I've got going on, but I was determined to complete it. Luckily, I already had all of the supplies I needed.

 There were a lot of mistakes made in the making of this kit, and please know that I do not explain them here as a dig at the kit! The kit is fantastic! But I wanted to provide a beginner's perspective. One of the things that really helped was seeing the WIPs of other people's customs. Seeing the raw material, before things receive that final coat of paint to make them beautiful. All customs start out this way, but it's so easy to forget that.

 Gilvader Modoki is the first kit I've painted in almost 20 years. While it suffered a bit from my lack of experience, I'm genuinely in love with this kit. I'm proud to have finished something, and if anyone has advice that may help me going forward, I'd be happy to hear it!

 This kit has given me motivation to continue with my other projects. It has removed a lot of hangups I had, and there is no better way to learn, than to do. I couldn't have had a better kit to start with. The casting was beautiful, and it's an adorable little Zoid. I look forward to entering the customizing game~