Monday, 13 May 2013

My Latest Project - Nausicaa on Kai

I'm currently working on a kit I bought from Japan via Amazon a few weeks back. It arrived pretty quick too, top marks to the sender Japan Import, and in very good condition. It's a 1:20 scale Bandai model of Nausicaa, the main character in Hayao Miyazaki's manga and rather truncated anime, 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind', a story set in a distant future following a great ecological disaster. The manga is a pretty good read, though as Japanese graphic novels read right to left, reading books 'backwards' takes some getting used to.

Anyhow, to the model, it is one of several kits in the series and in this Nausicaa is depicted riding Kai a 'horse claw', a sort of beefy futuristic ostrich. The others models show her riding her glider, rescuing a baby ohmu (think about a gigantic, wise woodlouse and you're getting the idea) and flying her gunship fighter plane. I chose this one because I felt it was more animated than the others - and because, what the hell, she's riding an ostrich!

The kit as can be seen comes on several colour-coded sprues and its relatively few parts seems to have been designed to snap together rather easily all of which suggests that the kit is aimed mainly at younger model makers. The colour and black and white instructions are in Japanese, but the pictures make assembly pretty clear. Certainly what assembly I have done so far has been trouble free, having already partially assembled and painted Nausicaa and Kai, prior to glueing the two of them together for the final painting. The seams were nothing to write home about and were easily sanded back and only a little filling was needed, mostly between Kai's legs, while a little feather detail that was worn away was quickly restored with a pyrogravure.

My main gripe about the kit is that it is very cartoony in style and is obviously modelled on Nausicaa as depicted in Miyazaki's anime. I've tackled a few Japanese models in the past and have happily painted them up cartoon style, but I'm looking to give this model a slightly more realistic look as far as I can, with shading and a more restrained colour scheme than the one suggested in the instructions. The figure comes with two sets of anime-style eye decals, but I may throw these and stick to painting the eyes in myself.

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