I found a cool image on Google of the model we're building, and immediately took it into Photoshop to start sending my friend some ideas around color-scheming. At this point, I knew he didn't like the mostly white canon color-scheme, and derided the "red booties" that were the feet. He had mentioned that he did like blue, so I thought I'd start him off with a blue scheme...
This was done by fully desaturating the original image, then sectioning off areas into different layers, then finally adjusting hue/saturation/brightness of individual layers.
I also sent him a red-gold scheme with black wings as a further example of what's possible. I hoped something in either of these two would spark some ideas.
He came back to me with the below image of a photoshopped military ship:
The point was the digital camouflage used, specifically. He wanted something like that, only used selectively instead of over the entire model. And for the wings, He asked if it would be possible to do them similar to a bird's, where the undersides tended to be lighter than the outsides, and the ends of long feathers were darker.
And so after some more Photoshoppery, I sent him this:
The color placement wouldn't be exactly like that, I told him. I had just sectioned it off already in Photoshop and this was meant to convey the idea and get sign-off. I'd be sending him pics along the way, and if things weren't going right, I'd just paint over the offending portions.
Needless to say, he liked it. So I immediately set about putting the thing together...
There's a cockpit! Why is there a cockpit or a pilot? As far as I know, this all seals up and you don't see it!
Yet there he is, glib mother-fucker that he is. Well, far be it for me to leave him in his white plastic.
Yes I painted him. And here's the proof. When my friend gets this in the mail, he'll be able to show it off to his friends and say "somewhere inside this thing is a cockpit with a little tiny pilot, and he's painted too!" and bask in their awe.
The model's default has you put a shiny metallic green sticker underneath a clear plastic dome for the large gem-like lens in the Gundam's chest. I decided to paint mine. The gem was large enough that my usual trick for gems wasn't enough, needed to do some wet-blending. I brushed on some varnish afterwards to give it a shine beyond the painted light-spots.
I'm using the lighter color from the digital camo to do the abdomen/undercarriage area. Weathering this thing makes me giddy; it's fun as shit. Paint chips and Forgeworld weathering powders make me happy inside.
More paint chips! Beat the shit out of it!
More grime! More dirt! There are areas that look like vents on the undersides of the dark blue section. Get the soot powder!
You can still see the pilot in there. Craziness.
The section that caps the top of the chest gem was one of the areas I had picked out for the digital camo. I think it came out rather well.
I'm super excited for the rest of this build, but I had to pull myself away from it at this point because my eyes were beginning to hurt.