My Hobby: Building, Then Drawing Gundams

Super-Deformed Senshi Neo-Zeong Gunpla, image courtesy of Bandai
Super-Deformed Senshi Neo-Zeong Gunpla, image courtesy of Bandai

Gundam model kits, or Gunpla, are buildable robots from the Gundam series of anime and games. I know absolutely nothing about the Gundam lore beyond the first ten episodes of Gundam Wing, and yet I love them to death.

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I’ve been making Gunpla for two years now, and I’ve been getting gradually better over the years. Regardless, I’m still pretty crap at it.

I always mess up cutting off a sprue, or the plastic bit connecting each piece to the kit, which leaves an ugly, bright splotch wherever it was cut. I cant afford to buy different topcoats (let alone ANY) which are necessary to hide the discolorations of the sprue. I dont have a real modeling knife with which to carve the pieces, so I’m left with one of my many multi-tool’s knifes, which are usually either too big or too dull to be used properly.

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I’m terrible at it, but I’ll be damned if I’m not good at being bad at it. I’ve learned different tricks with my terrible utensils to make the gunpla look better when finished.

I’ve learned scratching techniques which let me fade out the discoloration from the sprue, I’ve substituted a mechanical pencil for a lining pen (albeit it being too thick for the minuscule lines) and I use a black sharpie to color in dark spots on the gunpla.

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After I’m done with my pieces, I put them in different lighting to the same poses used in promotional photos for the piece, and draw them to my best ability in different settings.

When I’m done with a gunpla, then I get to sketching. Then inking. Then base colors. After all this, I end up with something that looks like this:

Out of my own incompetence, I forgot to save the initial sketch of this piece, so were skipping right to the base colors and head shading!
Out of my own incompetence, I forgot to save the initial sketch of this piece, so were skipping right to the base colors and head shading!
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I’m not the best artist, but I’ll be damned if i don’t like drawing them in my own, awkward, but nicely colored way.

A week after this sketch, I’m finished and I end up with this beast of a picture, entirely done in Photoshop with a Wacom Tablet:

Most of this is either traced, or copied from looking at the completed gunpla then copying what I saw onto the screen. None of this is really “original” beyond the planet in the background and the empty space behind it. All my coloring and lining to draw attention to edges is original though.
Most of this is either traced, or copied from looking at the completed gunpla then copying what I saw onto the screen. None of this is really “original” beyond the planet in the background and the empty space behind it. All my coloring and lining to draw attention to edges is original though.
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While I’m no pro, it was fun as hell to draw this. Next time I do it, I’ll make sure to document the process much more! I’m currently working on a drawing of an Astray Gundam Gold Frame MBF-Po1 inside of a hanger, with bits of the Gundam hanging off, and engineers on platforms working on it as the Gundam’s pilot sits on its shoulder. For reference, it looks something like this:

Best representative image I could find off of google Images
Best representative image I could find off of google Images
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Hope to show more in the future!


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To contact the author of this post, e-mail him at babrishamchian@gmail.com or tweet him @Geo_star101

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