Makery : Scale Modeling :

Ayanami Rei

While living in Nagoya, Japan in 1996, I spent quite a few afternoons browsing the local model shops (for anyone who is interested in Japanese models, I strongly recommend a trip to Japan sometime in you life— you will be astounded). Like most people who watched the series Neon Genesis Evangelion, I was hooked on the characters, and when I saw this kit of Rei and Asuka, I couldn\'t resist. It stayed in a box of things brought back from Japan for several years, but I finally pulled it out and started working on it

Inside the box were a number of large chunks of vinyl to build the two characters, two wooden bases, and a single sheet of instructions in Japanese. The molding seemed pretty decent, though I don't have much experience with vinyl, so I'm not sure what to expect. There were some slight deformities (but nothing that couldn't be corrected with a little hot water), and the surface finish was excellent, with only some minor pinhole bubbles in a small area.

The model itself, however, is very exaggerated, especially in the proportions of the arms and legs. Rei, it seems, has legs that are three times as long as her torso. Clearly, I was going to have to do some modifications to make her look right. Luckily, thanks to the Eva Entry Plug suit design, there is very little detail on the character's legs and arms, so shortening them is a matter of cutting several short sections out of the limbs and re-sculpting the contours. I shortened her legs by approximately one inch and one of her arms about about one-half of an inch to match the shorter one. Of course, the pleasure is in the building, right? So I figured that while I was chopping up her arms and legs, I might as well reposition her pose to something a little more appealing. With careful planning and careful cutting with a #11, I got the model to begin to approximate the pose depicted in a poster that I really like. Various bits of Super Sculpy provided structure to hold the adjusted limbs in their new pose. New hands would be required, so I sculpted them out of Super Sculpy.

As the legs came together, I filled them with Plaster of Paris to provide hardness and weight. Even without the modifications, the fit of the parts was not great, so some filling and filing was required-especially at the ankles and hips.

I built the figure from foot to torso, leaving the arms and head off. Since the seams at the shoulders are different colors than the base color, I decided to base-coat and detail the body and legs separately from the arms and then join and putty the painted parts afterwards.

Since this is my first experience with Vinyl, I decided to play it safe and use water-based paint. I used Liquitex Medium Viscosity color with airbrush thinner medium of the same brand. I generally liked working with this paint, though it's not quite as smooth as I'd like for brush application. It airbrushes beautifully, dries fast to a nice matte finish, and cleans so effortlessly, I was smiling during cleanup! The box has several full-color photographs of the finished model to use as a painting guide, as well as some close-ups for the details. The is your primary color guide, since even if you can read the painting instructions, they just say "black," "white," "blue," and so on.

Painting the head was a little awkward, since the face is sandwiched between two halves of her hair with an ugly seam to fill. I airbrushed the skin tone on the face and hand-painted the eyes with a 10/0 brush. Since this is an anime figure, I didn't want to exaggerate the facial dimensions, so I kept the skin to one tone and left other facial details the skin tone.

After brush painting the inner surfaces of the hanging hair strands, I glued the hair pieces around her finished face and puttied and sanded the seam and painted the hair.

The finished arms were glued and puttied in the under-arm area, then the joints painted black. In the final figure,most of the shoulder details on her uniform are scratchbuilt, and I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.

After putting so much work into the figure, I didn't want to use the little wooden base that came with the kit. I wanted something more serious that would help to capture the harsh drama of the series and the melancholy mood of the character. Using a square scrap of sheet metal, I built up a large base with the metal surface on top. I scribed panel lines into the steel sheet and then weathered by brushing salt-water over the metal (causing instant staining) and sanding the surface with a 600 grit sandpaper that I had used to smooth the black-lacquered wooden base. This caused the fine black dust to settle into the scribed lines and make them stand out nicely.

Using an image of the NERV logo (with its caustically ironic slogan) that I got from the web, I traced the logo in Adobe Illustrator, enlarged it to approximately eight inches in diameter, and then laser-printed it onto clear decal sheet to place on the metal floor.