Submitted By: Syd
As a child I would sit at my living room window on winter evenings watching the falling snow illuminated by the streetlights and hoping that it would continue to fall,accumulating enough that I would be able to wake up the next morning, run outside, and build myself a snowman. It would often snow, but having enough to build a real, proper snowman was a rare occurrence.
Now I am older, with other things occupying my time and thoughts. I don’t tend to stare out the window much anymore. However, thanks to Irisawa, I again have a chance to build a snowman! The 1/20 S.A.F.S Snowman Limited Edition to be exact.
The Maschinen Krieger line of kits are generally well-received by top modelers, however, as I mostly stick to Gundam models I hadn’t yet built a Ma.K. The Snowman kit seemed like a good place to start, and at 1/20 scale the kit is quite small yet the design is quite good without assembly being too difficult. The kit also came with water-slide decals, in abundance, which is a huge plus in my book. A runner of poly-caps for joints rounds out the box’s contents.
The manual is rather small with simple to follow pictorial instructions, and only minor explanations where necessary; a sign of a well-thought out design.
Only one section proved difficult and I actually had to assemble the section upside down to get it to go together properly.
At one point in the build I came across a section which required me to to drill holes in different sections of the kit such as where the nose fits. The manual explains you need a ピンバイス, or pin vise, which is basically a tiny drill. Lucky enough for me, I already had a set.
This kit comes with a head which you can use if you decide to display your Snowman with the hatch open. This means that Wave also designed the kit to have an opening hatch, although the pieces are quite small and the assembly seems weak. Care should be taken when opening and closing the hatch and for this reason I decided to just go with the hatch-closed.
With the assembly of the body portion of the kit complete it starts to look like a snowman. The nose is a dead give-away.
The pack on the back of this armored suit is made of some very small pieces, yet the fitting was excellent and assembly was really easy, however, there was one section where the pieces didn’t fit properly leaving a gap, possibly because I drilled the hole in an incorrect place. I eventually was able to get past this by using cement as a final touch.
The legs and feet, like the body, assemble quite easily and the fit of the pieces, once cleaned up is nice and tight.
I was rather surprised at the design of the arms. The upper arm joins with the lower arm via a poly-cap and peg. While this means that removing the lower arm is easy should you wish to do so, it does leave open the possibility that the lower arm could fall off with too much use or age. The fingers also seem to fit rather loosely with the possibility the hand could come apart at any time. Model cement was used to remedy this.
The test build took only a couple of hours and once assembled the overall look was very pleasing to the eye. But with the test build finished it was time to think about what would be cemented, what would be painted, and how.
There was only one seam that bothered me enough that I felt the need to do something about it and this was on the feet. The feet assemble in halves but that line in the middle seems out of sorts with the kind of suit this is supposed to be.
With that out of the way, the Snowman was taken apart and the parts cleaned-up in preparation for painting. As I wanted to give this kit the weathered-look you can see on the product page, I used various files from my file set (HSGTT-16) to create gauges at different angles all over the kit. Special attention was given to the knees and body.
After the a coat of light gray followed by a top-coat of gloss, I sat down to conquer the decals. Decals are the favorite part of a build for me, and I probably spend more time doing it than I should due to me being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to decal placement. Oh no! That decal is 0.02 mm out of alignment!
Most definitely, it is a snowman. These kinds of decals are worrisome for me. Long and slender, there is always a risk of tearing. Once I had it where I wanted it to go I lightly brushed some Mark Softer (GNZMS-231) and left it.
As this kit is not molded in color apart from an orange nose, I needed something to get the copper effect on the piping on the rear of the suit. For that I picked up some Metallic Copper enamel, however the enamel would not go on the plastic very well so I had to prime beforehand. The final result was more than acceptable.
After all decals were applied the pieces were given another coat of gloss top-coat. It was then I dry-brushed on a black enamel, letting it sit for some time, before using enamel thinner and a cotton swab to remove the excess leaving the Snowman looking grungy. I regret that I don’t have any pictures of this process, but due to my hands being completed covered in black enamel, I didn’t dare touch my camera. A final flat top-coat was given and then final assembly completed.
For someone inexperienced in Ma.K. kits, this piece is probably a good place to start. It’s a snap fit kit which requires slight painting and the results are great. You don’t have to be a top-modeler to achieve more than satisfactory results with this model. After building this kit I am going to be looking more closely at the other kits in the Wave Maschinen Krieger line.