Gaijin Gunpla

I’ve done it. I’ve completed what I set out to do back in May when Busterbeam threw down the Gauntlet on GAF. I took this massive Perfect Grade Strike Freedom kit and turned it into an expression of my wishes to encourage the people of Touhoku who experienced one of the worst natural disasters on record.

It wasn’t an easy journey, and I just made it in time. On the way I had a lot of setbacks and frustrations, but I kept pushing forward and was able to achieve what I set out to do. It’s that feeling that I want rouse and encourage the people of Touhoku. Keep pressing forward. You’ll get there. You can do it. Courage.

Like some kind of marathon this build has left me exhausted. Both physically (from a lot of late nights spent working on the tiniest of things), to emotionally (having to my focus on something so unpleasant for such an extended period of time). I read an article in one of the newspapers here not long ago which discussed how many people are experiencing sympathy overload, an exhaustion that sets in when feeling sympathy towards something so deeply for so long. The disaster happened almost six months ago now. And I’ve been focusing on this project for three and a half months. That’s a long time. And I think it has affected me. But I am grateful that I spent these last three months in the comfort of my home working on projects that I enjoy. The people of Touhoku don’t have those kind of luxuries right now and might not for a long time.

東北の皆さん, Courage!

September 1st is the deadline and I am saving the big picture shots for that day, but I will include some shots in this post showing little things I have done with this kit. If I’ve done this properly, my goal of lifting some spirits will be achieved.

One of the first shots I took was at an angle trying to get a glimpse of the pipes I had masked and painted silver. No such luck.


Here’s the head. I’ve used some of the stickers that came with the kit to add some details to the sides of the kit, but not the front.

Another sticker I thought worked well. The red lines up perfectly.


The view looking up at the backpack when the wings are down. You can see some gold in there.


Another sticker I thought didn’t hurt the final result. It also adds some character to the suit, reminding me that it is a giant machine.


Here are the side guns extended to show off the silver part that was masked and painted. There are quite a few stickers on these guns as well. I should mention here that I haven’t yet done anything with the rifles. I just don’t feel they are necessary to the final look.


Opened up the cockpit and remembered that I didn’t paint the pilot. Oh well.

And I’ll talk about the diorama a bit now. I wanted it to look like the Gundam stood there and faced the tsunami head on. There is a tree in Miyagi that survived the tsunami and now stands alone on the shoreline. The people are using it as a symbol of hope and inspiration in the uncertain future. I wanted Courage to have that effect too.

I used three types of putty on the diorama. The first stage was to use epoxy putty and place it around the feet (I masked the feet first to save the paint) and also used it to hold the green Mazda in place and hold it together after it exploded when I dropped a rock on it trying to ‘damage’ it.

The second putty was the Tamiya basic putty. It went on pretty smoothly but, possibly due to my home made base not being even, started to warp and lift off the pla plate. In areas where it lifted or cracked severely I used White Putty. Then I painted over it with Humbrol Black Green enamel.


I crushed this 1/60 scale Tomica and placed it on the collapsed roof of a house.


The idea behind this scene is that the car got carried along by the waves and smashed into the legs of the Strike Freedom where it came to rest.


This house was destroyed by the waves. The dark brown pieces are meant to be bricks, but I don’t know if I pulled that off. I wanted to have more debris but it was very difficult to find anything in 1/60 scale. You can see where I missed painting some of the putty.

Here it is with the LED on.

And a shot I really like for some reason.

And here he is being prepped for the photo shoot. I have to be careful when handling this thing. So many things could go wrong.

The other participants in the Gauntlet of the Apocalypse are all nearing the end of their builds, aside from two who have been generously given extensions due to familial reasons. Lupes has posted his wrap up on his site and his kit looks gorgeous. Lupes was constantly putting up pictures of the progress on his build and I’ve been able to watch this thing take shape starting long ago. The result is fantastic and possibly his best work ever.

Busterbeam from Plamo Addiction is in a race against the clock and it will come down to the wire. Will our fearless leader pull it off? Will he be able to withstand the heckling he will receive if he doesn’t?

Shaid‘s sexy beast should be done in time. I hope so anyway. That thing is looking awesome.

Kman’s is looking great. Another smashing white paint scheme.

And we gotta mention the guy who was at the finish line before the race even started, Falldog. His paint job is probably the most ambitious of the lot and it will be interesting to see his and Buster’s Black Beauties side by side once they are finished.

I’m glad to have been able to participate in this group build. And I’m even more glad to be able to be finished.

Categories: Builds, Courage

12 Responses so far.

  1. sniperaven says:

    it turned out nice, i’m glad it did, Good Job Syd!!! >_<

  2. rafren says:

    Sexy. Good job, Syd! 😀

  3. Mike says:

    Looks pretty slick, great work Syd !

  4. Jeff says:

    Very nicely done! Out of all the participants yours seems to have the most meaning to it.

  5. Tom says:

    Nice work Syd! Especially the base. It looks almost like the scenes we saw half a year ago. Ever though of making a diorama with other kits?

  6. I think the diorama could use some brown paint smudges, it almost looks like asphalt. Can’t wait for the big shoot. Usually I see custom gunpla just repaints, no matter how impressive, but this is so much more than that, I’m glad I’ve been following it’s making.

  7. Kjasi says:

    Wow! Looks amazing! Congratulations! I look forwards to seeing the Big Picture!

  8. Busterbeam says:

    Congrats buddy you made it! And you sure did finish in style! Superior work man. Really impressed.

  9. Shaomu/Nyanerius says:

    It’s not often one sees such an inspiring gundam dio’. Simple dioramas rarely have such a strong message, too. Fantastic work; just because I predicted it when the Gauntlet was first announced, doesn’t mean I wasn’t surprised about it all. The moment I saw it I got this image of your Strike Courage bracing itself head-on for a tidal wave with its back to the camera.

  10. Dennis says:

    Very Nice, guess I should stop procrastinating and start my PGSF 🙂

    • Same XD
      As soon as I finish this HMM Zoids kit (Blade Liger Mirage) I got because Syd said they were good too (I was on the fence before, with no “personal opinion” reviews to be found). Not Gunpla good, true, but the nostalgia helps (I had a building toy of this mecha as a kid). Also got a Saber Tiger Gold that’s still in box.
      Though since it’s PG-like, I’ll take on a simpler kit inbetween the two 😛 Though my backlog aside from these is gone. Need MOAR! I’ll probably go with MG Strike Gundam.

  11. Mark Mahon says:

    Brilliant piece. The car swept into the feet seems very poignant and works really well I thought.

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