GM Cannon II (1/144)

I bought this kit to practice building and painting resin kits. Now I had heard before that B-Club's offerings had some variation in them, quality-wise. What I did not realise is that this was not only a comment on the lackluster accuracy of some kits (bad sculpts), but also on the quality of the kits themselves. This kit certainly is at the lower end of the B-Club spectrum, if not the lowest end. The kit's resin has a very rough surface, with lots of dimples and air bubbles. Some parts have massive seams, likely caused by misaligned molds or molds with one half smaller than the other. Other parts have horrible fit. Thankfully, warping is fairly limited. The kit is also molded in some weird grey resin that is very greasy. Of course, comparing the kit's sculpt to the line art (e.g. the one on MAHQ) will show there are several parts that are the wrong shape.

I started off by washing and wet-sanding the parts, but after the first application of Mr. Surfacer and some Tamiya putty to fill the (numerous holes) the Mr. Surfacer just flaked off. The resin was very greasy and apparently washing it once was not enough to remove the mold release agent. Washing it another time had the same result. At this point I put the kit on hold for a few months.

After my positive experience with home-made resin parts, I decided to give it another try, starting with a thorough cleaning session. Firstly, I scrubbed off as much of the Mr. Surfacer as possible. Then I wet-sanded the parts a first time, taking care to remove as many of the molding lines as possible. The parts were then left to soak in tub with water and a lot of dish washing soap (extra-strong) for four to six days (!). After that, they were thoroughly washed under running water and wet-sanded again. Some parts had to take a second bath, as they were still greasy after all that (whatever B-Club used as a mold release agent sucks...). Then the part were left to dry. Once dry, Mr. Dissolved Putty was applied to fill the smaller dimples. This was done twice, with wet-sanding in between. Mr. Surfacer 1000 was applied, some of which flaked off some parts again (Aaaaargh! - more wet-sanding). This was repeated until all parts were more or less okay. More wet-sanding followed, then I pinned the kit and glued the small parts in place. Here it appeared that the sculpt of the kit complicated assembly a little bit, as the lower legs are so wide that they hit each other if placement of the pins in hips, knees and ankles is not carefully thought out. I also decided to give it a slightly more dynamic pose than what was suggested in the instructions. This step was followed by another layer of Mr. Surfacer 1000. Then it was time for painting.

For the paint scheme, I went with the AEUG colors, with the forest green replaced by a more subdued Tamiya XF-22 RLM Grey. The light grey colors were painted with Tamiya XF-12 J.N. Grey, except for the top of the feet and most of the backpack, which were done in XF-53 Neutral Grey with a tinge of flat aluminium. The joints and the outside of the verniers were done in XF-84 Dark Iron, the vernier edges in pink-red, the beam cannons, handgun and part of the backpack in XF-56 Metallic Grey, and chest intakes and head details in orange-yellow. Flat black was used for detailing. I still experienced some flaking on some places, right down to the resin :( Those parts were fixed. Then the kit was glued together using superglue.

My feelings on this kit are mixed. On one hand, I've managed to finish the kit and it was a good learning experience, and I'm quite happy with the result. On the other hand, if all Optima B-Club kits are like this one, they are better avoided...