(Fang of the Sun) Dougram +++ 1:72 Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" (revamped Takara kit/Revell re-boxing)
The kit (and its revival):
This is another model of an 1:72 Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" (there’s already one in my mecha collection), but it's not an original Takara kit, but rather comes from the Revell re-boxing in the mid Eighties among their Robotech line. It was there part of a kit set, called "Armored Combat Team", and came together with a wheeled vehicle set.
However, this model was originally not built and painted by me. It's rather a generous donation from a good friend who made an attempt into mecha when these kits were distributed. It was built roundabout 30 years(!!!) ago and, AFAIK, never 100% finished; for instance, the hoses around the neck were never mounted, and the handgun had never been never painted.
As the only one of its kind it never found a true place in my friend’s model kit collection, and after some years of disregard it even got damaged: the delicate hip joint got broken, the Roundfacer lost one of its legs. In this sorry status the model rested in a dark corner, collected dust...
...until it was given to me many years ago, unfortunately after I had already gone through my hot mecha phase in the Nineties, in which I resurrected many of my own builds for a second life. So the Roundfacer lay (again) around in my spare parts deposit for some more years, until I finally decided to tackle and revamp it in early 2018. Inspiration strikes in unexpected occasions.
At first I thought that I could just repair the leg and add some parts in order to finish the model, but this plan was soon foiled. However, the biggest issue remained the broken attachment point for the left leg - and it turned out to be more severe than first expected. Initially I tried to mend the problem with a metal pin reinforcement, so that the original pintle could be re-attached again. But then the right leg came off, too, and the whole joint turned out to have become so brittle (it literally fell apart) that it had to be replaced completely!
So I scratched a completely new hip joint and a sturdy attachment construction from styrene profiles and plastic-coated steel wire, which would allow a similar range of movement as the original construction, even though not as flexible - but the Roundfacer would be displayed anyway.
The rest of the kit was otherwise in good shape, and the joints free from paint for high movability. I made some changes and improvements, though. This included the cleaning of the seams on both legs (PSR) and the addition of some surface details with IP profile material. This meant that the original paintwork would have at least party to be renewed, but fortunalety I knew the paints and respective tones my friend had used when he had built the kit.
Another challenge were the characteristic hoses that lay around the Roundfacer's neck like a scarf. They had to be scratched, and this was done with short pieces cut off of a 3mm styrene tube which were threaded onto a wobbly mech hose - which is actually Xmas decoration material. But thanks to the material's rather fluid consistency the hoses remain very flexible and can sit tightly along the head.
The original missile launcher was refitted, even though it had to be fixed since the original attachment construction had also fallen victim to the styrene's brittleness over the ages. The handgun - while complete and available - was replaced by the weapon from a H-102 Bushman, which looks a bit more beefy.
I was not certain whether I would re-paint the Roundfacer, which would have meant stripping it off of of its original enamels - but I eventually rejected this for two reasons: First of all I thought and still think that the brittle material of the finished kit made any surgery or chemical intervention hazardous. Esp. the joints were delicate, the loss of the hip joint was already trouble enough. And then I liked the fictional scheme the Roundfacer had been given, a kind of winter camouflage in black and light grey, separated by thin white lines. I simply wanted to keep the original concept, since it looks pretty unusual - and also in order to honor my friend's original approach.
So, instead of a new or additional layer of paint I limited my work to the areas with PSR and added details, and the original (and highly translucent!) decals had to go, too.
The original colors are Humbrol 64 (Light Sea Grey), 33 (Flatblack) and 34 (Flat White). For the repairs the same tones were used, just the pure black (which had suffered in the meantime) was replaced by Revell 6 (Tar Black). The result is pretty good, you hardly recognize the touch-ups.
In order to take the model a step further I also did some thorough weathering, at first with a dark grey acrylic wash, which was also texturized with vertical brush streaks along the flanks, and some later dry-brushing on the edges, emphasizing the robot's shape and details.
The new markings were puzzled together from various sheets, including some Dougram models.
For an even more unique look, and in order to hide some flaws, I decided to add a thin coat of snow – also in line with the small base I created for display (an somewhat in order to justify/explain the paint scheme).