By Eli Steenput - images & text © 2001
I don't consider myself much of a modeler, but I really like Miyazaki Hayao's Kaze no Tani no Nausicaš manga, so I simply couldn't resist the Tsukuda Nausicaš kits. I got this kit from HobbyLink Japan.
Image: Front view, Nausicaa and Omu
Image: Nausicaa, front
Image: Nausicaa's blood-spattered dress
Image: Nausicaa, with Omu
The kit has about 6 parts for Nausicaš and for the ohmu 7 body parts, 14 transparent eyes, and some 52 little legs... There are also parts for the squirrel Teto, the big machine gun that figures somewhere in the episode, and 2 harpoon-like things. The kit represents the end of the movie, or the start of the story in the graphic novel, where Nausicaš attempts to save a baby ohmu (giant insect, yes they grow even bigger than this) that was wounded by some people so as to enrage a herd of the insects into trampling some other people.
Nausicaš appears dressed as in the manga (in the movie they left out the fringes on her dress, probably too expensive to animate), with an (optional) belt pouch (not present in the movie) and big knife (in both books and movie she lost hers by this point). Her face seems a bit too chubby, but other details are nicely done.
The construction of this kit is almost trivial after cleanup. The major body parts come together easily, with only some gaps to fill. I did hollow out the segment edges a little. The legs can be put 'in any order you like' so this too is simple. The eye positioning is clearly marked in the instructions. You could decide to leave the ohmu like that and pretend it's a 1/144 adult, but since I wanted to recreate the famous rescue scene, I had to add the wounds. On this point the kit is a little disappointing; there are only 2 'harpoons' included while my references show at least seven, along with other minor bleeding impacts. So I marked he impact spots based on the manga, dropped a few that seemed excessive, drilled holes in the body and stuck bits of sprue, toothpicks, and even one of the provided harpoons in them. The ones with 'eyes' I formed from sprue, and added bits of dental tape to represent the attached lines.
Nausicaš herself was also straightforward. I discarded the knife but added the belt pouch, on which I filled the hollow back as I suspected it might show otherwise. The 2 parts for Teto required some filler, but that pretty much sums up construction.
The instructions say: 'for painting, use package illustration and color photos as reference.' Well, the color photos contradict the illustration almost completely. So I followed my own idea of what the colors should be. I wanted the ohmu to look as much as possible like a magnificent glittering insect. I choose green as its main color, based on plenty of references (the only occasion we see a gray-like ohmu as in the completed model shown on the box, is in an otherwise off-color flashback sequence in the movie involving a much smaller insect), and also for best contrast with the red eyes.
I painted the body satin leaf green, mixed with metallic green towards the outer edge of each segment, and with gold towards the inner edge (the gold was inspired by the ohmu's 'golden feelers'. The legs were leaf green with metallic green ends and gold at the joints. These were mostly painted on the sprue. Almost all paints used were from Revell, and applied by brush.
The position for the eyes I painted gold, and the inside of the eyes was covered with red drawing ink from Rotring. This makes them seem to glow. They were glued on with thinned white glue. An unforeseen and unfortunate reaction seems to have developed over time between the ink and the glue, as if the ink is "drawing away" a little from the glue. It's only noticeable on three of the eyes and if you look real carefully though.
For the blood, I first let a thinned water-based silver paint trickle down from each 'wound' to establish a natural-looking flow as well as provide a base for the glossy night blue.
For Nausicaš I choose an apparently somewhat unusual paint scheme. In the story, when she arrives to rescue the ohmu, she is wearing a pinkish dress, which during the event is dyed blue by the ohmu's blood, and this fact becomes a major plot element later on. However, this color switch is not handled very satisfactorily in any color illustration I have seen so far; one moment her dress is completely pink, the next it's completely blue (yet without turning Nausicaš herself into a smurf in the process). I opted to show Nausicaš halfway through the process, which I think emphasizes the cruel bloodiness of the situation. For the rest I followed the book over the movie, so Nausicaš herself is not wounded, and she carries her belt pouch.
(The base for this model is a painted bit of foam as used for dried flower arranging. I'll probably add more detail to it later, such as the shore of the acid lake...)
A very easy, very cheap, yet versatile, and above all a very fun kit!
This page copyright © 2001 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 13 December 2001.