Metal Gear Rex

3D PrintingFebruary 2021

Metal Gear?

In September 2020 I sprung for Kotobukiya’s Metal Gear Rex plastic model kit. I’m a big fan of the series and you just can’t beat the look of that hulking animal-like mecha menacing a tiny Solid Snake.

I had already gotten started painting some Warhammer 40k miniatures and had built several Gundam kits with basic panel lining. However, for Rex I wanted to really take it to the next level which meant getting an airbrush and learning a bunch of new techniques.

I followed Otaku Builder’s approach to the Metal Gear kit pretty closely. His techniques produce a sophisticated end result but are surprisingly accessible for a newbie.


I cracked open the kit in January 2020.

The site of a big ol’ box full of sprues always makes me giddy. It reminds me of putting together Revell models as a kid.

I threw together a quick light box to airbrush into which helped quite a bit and cost basically nothing.

The painting technique I used starts with a neutral primer layer (grey, in this case) then adds darker pre-shading patches to the model (I used a flat black for this). Finally a top coat in the final model color goes over the whole thing. The top layer allows the pre-shading to show through. This gives a lot of depth to the final model color.

I started slow, going page by page spraying an initial coat of primer and then air brushing parts in batches.

Once I had all of the main parts painted with base coat, pre-shading, and top coat I did a test fit of the whole model. This included testing the fit of the wiring for the lights.

Next, I applied a camouflage pattern to the whole model. I used a bunch of tape roughly following the camo pattern shown in the painting guide in the instruction book.

I painted the tiny little Snake and Gray Fox. This was very fun.

Finally, I did a relatively gentle weathering pass across the whole model. I focused on small rust streaks, some metal wear on hard edges, and a little bit of dirt.


I finished painting in February 2021, so, all told, it took almost six months of work off and on to complete the project.

The final model came out great. I, naturally, learned a ton about how to paint a model with this technique and I’m excited to take what I learned and do a better (and faster) job on the next one!