This page will serve as the gallery for all four of the Wolfgar Team's Zaku II units. Saki's Zaku was the first to be built, while the subsequent three belong to Ray, Lester, and Hagar.
These models mark the beginning of my ongoing (and perhaps never-to-be-finished) project of building the Wolfgar Team and Gundam Pixie in 1/100 Master Grade. The options are limited when it comes to the Pixie and Efreet, but nevertheless, the Zakus are within reach, so let this be the first step.
If you have no idea what I'm going on about, you can read up on
Cross Dimension 0079 here.
The Minovsky ultracompact fusion reactor which makes all mobile suit technology in the Universal Century possible. This lovely bit of detail becomes completely hidden within the Zaku's waist, but I know I sleep better knowing it's in there.
Tamiya magic. The little weathering compact works pretty much like makeup… Not that I, uh, know anything about that sort of thing.
Saki's Zaku, complete.
The heart decal on the right shoulder is the badge of the Albatross Team, the task force stationed at the Federation's Gobi base, who were responsible for assembling the Gundam Pixie and delivering the new unit to White Base (notably they never completed that second task). What's this mark doing on Saki's Zaku? The answer will have to wait, but has something to do with another project I'm slowly working on.
Rear view. Saki's unit is distinguished by sawed-off shoulder spikes. The fancy-shmancy light-curing modeling putty I foolishly chose to tidy up the spikes after chopping them down didn't work exactly as I'd hoped, resulting in the ends being a bit rough.
This ground type Zaku kit varies from Char's Zaku (and the visually identical F-type, which will appear below) most notably in that it lacks the small vernier thrusters in the legs, and has smaller boosters in the backpack (which is evidently called a "ransel," by the way).
A closer look at the battered shield, my first (deliberate) attempt at battle damage properly so-called. The weathering kit does a nice job.
Saki ponders her next move.
If there's any model it's worth making four or five times, it's this ver. 2.0 Zaku II. (We'll see if I still think so by the end of this project.) The expressiveness and poseability of each individual unit leads one to be excited about the interaction between a group of them — that is, I'm betting a bunch of them will look excellent together.
One reason I gave up and decided to build all four Wolfgar Zakus was to have a chance to give Saki the "giant bazooka" included with the new ver. 2.0 F-type kit. Now she has the bazooka she deserves.
The squad's battered F-type belongs to Martin Hagar, longtime friend of Wolfgar's captain, Henry Boone, pilot of the Efreet.
Saki's Zaku got a light dusting compared to the sand and mud on this one.
While the flamethrower remains in the works, Hagar's machine is on its feet and prepared to do some damage.
Meanwhile, Saki's secret weapon is finally revealed — a pair of beam sabers! What a curious accessory for an early Zeon suit to come by…
Not to be shown up by the squad's freshest member, Hagar rests an arm on his heat hawk, pretending not to show off his flamethrower (which has a mysterious resemblance to a Zaku I machinegun with the back half of a Zaku bazooka stuck to the side of it).
I'd like to do a better flamethrower, perhaps with a backback tank, but for now this will stand in well enough.
Whose idea was it to bring a flamethrower into the desert, anyway?
Decided to prepare all the parts in need of painting beforehand, rather than in batches as I went along.
And a few weeks later, voila, Lester's lefty Zaku is complete.
As Hagar's, Lester's machine is much more heavily dirtied up than Saki's. Maybe she's just more fastidious.
Rear view of Lester's suit. Plenty of ammunition on hand, or rather, on skirt.
Go team Zaku!
Saki disapproves of the boys' hi-fivery.
Lester basks in some rare pacific northwest sunlight.
The partial Wolfgar Team carefully surveys the house in Portland.
No sooner have Saki, Hagar, and Lester struggled out of their stifling boxes than they've found a playmate.
Hagar takes a very direct approach…
… While Saki and Lester hang back and provide ranged support.
Meanwhile, work begins on Ray's Zaku Cannon (three years after I left Taiwan days before the kit's release date). Once again I decided to clip out and prepare all the pieces to be painted at once. Here they're separated by the colors they're to be painted.
Instead of handle each piece with pliers and clumsily try to put them down loose, I stuck all of them on skewers with a little tacky putty. Worked very, very well. Will be my standard procedure from here on.
Stuck the pointy ends of the skewers into my trusty Zeeks pizza box to dry, resulting in this forest of Zaku parts.
The torso, definitely a bit different from the standard Zaku. At this point not certain how I feel about the red parts, but they'll be relatively easy to recolor later if I decide to do so.
Whether because of my poor spraying technique or the relatively low temperature outside while I was painting, the paint bubbled on the surface of several parts. Normally I'd need to sand that down and repaint, but in this case I've salvaged the situation by using rust-colored weathering compound. I find the effect exactly reminiscent of rust coming up from underneath paint.
At first I figured these nicely detailed 180mm shells would be completely invisible within the backpack-mounted cannon…
…But as it turns out they're at least partially visible in the hinged breech of the cannon.
The completed backpack, with 180mm cannon and smoke discharger tubes.
The finished arms. Borrowed some spare parts to replace the variations of the shoulder armor and shield with standard Zaku II parts. Since of course in the game Ray Hamilton's Zaku looks like a normal one, my intention with this model is to keep it as much looking like a standard Zaku II as possible. So far the colors and normal shoulder parts seem to be doing the trick.
Did decide to recolor the formerly red chest piece, but leaving the vents be for now.
A close-up of the excellent Zaku II ver. 2.0 ankle for those who haven't seen it before. The piston in front and the double piston in the back are working mechanisms.
The completed right leg, before weathering. An excellent range of bend in knee, ankle, and foot, as we've seen before. The additional armor on the cannon type's shins would seem to make kneeling easier.
The back of the leg, after weathering. Made sure to add some extra grunge below those vents.
Front view. Fortunately I had enough spare Zaku parts to put together a standard Zaku II head.
Rear view. As the spare magazine suggests, Ray will carry a Zaku machinegun as well. Maybe in
he never ran out of ammo, but leaving him with a cannon that's clearly only got seven shells seems a little silly. Cross Dimension
Ray's weapons loadout is complete with a heat hawk, one-handed Zaku machinegun, and more extra 100mm ammunition.
Since Lester relies on the plain old Zaku machinegun, I figured he may as well double up. A second gun and a heat hawk complete his armament. At some point I might try to find a way to attach even more spare ammo drums to his skirt armor.
Hagar's flamethrower finally comes to fruition. Careful observers will notice it's just slightly modified from one of the so-called big guns included with the Zaku cannon type.
Where the magazine for the big gun would've been loaded, I instead rigged up a hose to connect the flamethrower to its backpack unit. I had hoped to add some sort of tank to the left side, but didn't have any suitable spare parts handy. Unfortunately I also don't have any good way to attach this backback to the suit, so it's just precariously balanced on the rear skirt weapons rack.
Meanwhile, Hagar has also traded in his normal heat hawk for a big old-school one. Made sense considering his former position and in light of his fondness for choppin'.
The completed Wolfgar Zakus (now in widescreen) under the beating desert sun.