Dorvack +++ 1:24 PAC-48G "Doldian" Powered Armor suit (Aoshima kit) - WiP
Every now and then I feel a dire urge to tackle one of the Dorvack PA kits from the pile, and in early 2021 it was about time to build the next one. This one is canonical, and close to the OOB offering, even though it is not an original kit but rather a re-release (2008) from Aoshima’s PAC-48 twin combo kit. The PAC-48C “Doldian” is a bit obscure, though, because I have never seen this type (or better: its armament) in the OAV. It’s probably the usual alternative to the canonical model variants from the series.
Even though the Dorvack PAs are rather simple kits, they need some skill because the parts do not fit THAT well. However, you have to keep in mind that the molds were created in the early 80ies, as a quick merchandising shot for a new "Real Robot" TV series that were all the rage in Japan at that time, even though the series eventually flopped. The designs are also older than Yokoyama Kow's Ma.K./ZbV3000/Maschinenkrieger stuff, which they actually inspired!
The kit and its assembly:
Since I lacked an “authentic” PAC-48G in my collection, I decided to build the kit only with little modifications/improvements and stick to the OOB livery. As such, the only physical mods include slightly twisted legs (feet canted outwards for a more natural stance) and left arm, and I added some jet nozzles inside of the jump jet exhausts on the back. Fine plastic mesh was added to the gun and to the air intake on the back, in an attempt to hide the lack of depth in the orifices behind it.
To my surprise, the body parts of the kit were molded in an almost translucent, deep purple styrene with added mica pigments!? Weird. The kit went together quite well, but I have enough experience with these PAs to avoid the biggest troubles. For instance, I expanded the joints were plastic hits plastic, and the lower leg construction of the PAC-48, with its integral stabilizer jets on the heels, just does not fit properly.
Painting and markings:
The paint scheme is OOB, and I was lucky to have an original Gunze Sangyo PAC-48G kit and its instructions at hand, because they are better illustrated than the Aoshima documentation. For instance, the Aoshima painting instructions lack a rear view and respective details. The old document also shows better the different shades of metallic grey in which the model is to be painted, and lacks the fact that the helmet, the gun and a small cap/bulge on top of the air intake are in a slightly darker tone than the overall hull of this PA.
The basic overall tone became Humbrol 53 (Gun Metal; OOB this is a mix of silver and steel), a simple but suitable solution, after considering some other tones at hand, including car paints. The previously mentioned, darker sections on the gun and the hull were painted with a 3:1 mix of Humbrol 53 and 22 (Gloss Black), for a subtle difference.
Other hull sections like the upper legs and right arm were painted with Revell 09 (Anthracite), a very dark grey. The original instructions suggest something close to German WWII Panzergrau. The helmet’s front half was painted with Humbrol 19 (Gloss Red), the jump jet nozzle fairing became orange (Humbrol 18, originally it is supposed to be fluorescent orange, but found that rather cheesy) and the smaller veneer jet nozzles were painted with Revell 310 (Lufthansa Yellow). The “chest box” became bright white, a good contrast to the dull rest of this PA.
Deviating slightly from the original, I painted the ball joints on the arms and knees in Revell 91 (Iron Metallic), which is slightly brighter than Humbrol 53. Originally they are supposed to be painted matt dark grey, too, but IMHO this does not make them look like joints at all?
Another personal change is the visor slit’s design; the original PAC-48G features an opaque black surface with a silver/steel frame on the red helmet background, but I changed this into a black frame with a chrome PET foil inlay, with an OOB decal on top. The foil insert was also a cheap trick to hide the recessed seam of the hull halves that runs right down the visor slit, making it hard to sand it away or use putty.
As per usual, the kit received a black ink wash for weathering and some dry-brushing for light effects and panel shading. I also gave the metallic surfaces a treatment with grinded graphite, enhancing the metallic shine and giving the model a noticeably worn look that adds some seriousness to the colorful PA - after all, it is a piece of military equipment, fighting an alien invasion! Once the kit had been prepared this far, decals were added. All stencils and markings come from the PAC-48G's OOB sheet, which is quite exhaustive for such a small model.
After some more detail painting work the PA was sealed with matt acrylic varnish, and I gave the model a dusting with grey-brown mineral artist pigments, simulating dust in general and mud crusts around the feet in specific.
Another member for the growing Dorvack PA family, there are already more than 20 of them in the collection! The PAC-48G was still missing, and it was a quick build, but while the kit itself went together with relatively few problems, but I did not change much and could concentrate on the inherent flaws. It did not end up 100% authentic, and - in hindsight - the Gun Metal as basic color unfortunately turned out to be a little too dark and dull for the model, the Doldian does not look too spectacular in this rather greyish livery.