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Hello! Please introduce yourself

I’m GunplaMark, a software developer and Gunpla builder, and the creator of I’m from the United States but spent much of my childhood in Thailand and South Korea, where I developed a love for mecha anime. I remember as a child watching Mazinger Z and the original Mobile Suit Gundam on television in Thailand. The shows were in Japanese with subtitles in Thai, and even though I could not understand Japanese or read Thai I would spend hours watching those giant robots. I was a bit older when my family moved to South Korea, and we lived near a small hobby shop that I visited often. I’d save up my money until I could buy a kit, then spend hours looking through all the choices at the hobby shop to pick just the right kit to build. Back in those days I built some military aircraft in addition to the very early Gunpla kits, and I did a little bit of hand painting but not many other modifications. Sadly, most of those early builds were given away to friends or thrown away when my family moved back to the US.

After leaving Asia, I went through a long period of not building any model kits at all. I was busy with college, starting a career and a family, and it was harder to find time to build. It was also harder to find kits. We moved to Florida, where I still live today, and I began working at a small web development consultancy. Then, about 8 years ago, my family was spending the day at Disney World and ended up sheltering from a rainstorm in the Japan gift shop at EPCOT. They had a small display of Gunpla in that gift shop, and I told my wife that I used to build those when I was younger. She suggested that I buy one and build it, so I chose the least expensive kit they had. It was an SD Wing Gundam, and I enjoyed building it so much that I was immediately pulled back into the hobby.

The biggest difference for me between building Gunpla as a kid and then later as an adult is that now I had the resources to buy some better tools. It wasn’t long before I had a spray booth, high quality sanding tools, and a set of scribing chisels. The first fully painted kit I built during this time was the MG Hi-Nu Ver.Ka. I airbrushed it with acrylic paints that had a metallic sheen and decided to pair the purple and gold color scheme with a custom printed decal showing the logo of my local soccer team, Orlando City. I still had a lot to learn back then, and now when I look at that completed build I realize how much I’ve improved.

Over the next several years I spent hours watching YouTube videos from top builders and practicing my building and detailing techniques. I tried various techniques and styles, from highly weathered builds to super clean, and decided that my preferred style is a clean build with added detail through the use of custom panel lines and color separation. I also tried to find a place online where I could share photo galleries of my builds, and when I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I decided to create it. In the spring of 2020 I launched, a website designed to be a virtual display cabinet for not just me, but all Gunpla builders. In the two years that it’s been running, it’s grown into a community of over 1000 builders who have shared photos of so many amazing works. I’m inspired and challenged every day when I log on to Gunpla Gallery and see the new builds that have been shared there.

Tell us about your favorite gundam project you have worked on so far?

My enjoyment of a build is both in the process and the final result, and I’ve had several favorites in that regard. If I had to pick just one favorite build, it would be my MG Wing Zero Ver.Ka because of the personal, emotional significance that it holds for me. I hadn’t originally planned to build this kit when I did, but I ended up dropping all my other projects for a month and spending all my available time working on it. Why would I do this? For a friend.

MG Wing Zero Ver.Ka

My friend Theo was a young man in his early 20s, but I had known him since he was a teenager. Soon after we first met, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and had a long, hard battle with many challenges and setbacks that he was able to overcome. He beat the cancer, but the battle left him with some ongoing physical challenges. He became a gifted graphic designer and artist, and he was also a fellow Gunpla builder. Shortly after Gunpla Gallery launched, I gave him a SD Zeta Gundam customized with the Gunpla Gallery logo and encouraged him to share one of his builds on the website. He never had the time to post one of his builds. Theo contracted Covid near the end of 2020 and passed away in February 2021.

SD Zeta Gundam

So, during the month of March 2021 I built the Wing Gundam in honor of Theo. I applied my signature style, with some added scribed detail and a pastel-inspired color scheme that remains faithful to the original scheme but is also something I think Theo would have chosen. This build turned out to be my most ambitious one so far when it came to the timeline. Usually I don’t put a time deadline on my projects, but I decided to use this build as an opportunity to raise some donations for Theo’s family. Other members of the Gunpla Gallery community joined in and we raised money for every build that was shared on the website during that month. It was a rewarding way to honor my friend, but also quite emotionally and physically draining given the number of hours that I put into the project in such a short time.

MG Wing Zero Ver.Ka

I am extremely pleased with the final result. It sits in a prominent place in my display cabinet, and I remember Theo whenever I see it. I haven’t had a chance to do this yet, but eventually I plan to give it to Theo’s family, maybe in exchange for one of his builds that they have kept.

Describe your process when starting a new project

I always start each project with a snap build. My creative process is very tactile, and I need to be able to hold the mobile suit in my hands before I’m able to plan modifications, color scheme, and any other details. After the snap build, I spray a light primer coat over the entire mobile suit to give me a blank canvas to work from. I plan panel lines and other custom details just by doodling with pencil directly on the primed parts. Sometimes I’ll take photos of the primed kit and bring them into Photoshop to test out color schemes, but more often I just envision a color scheme in my head and go with it.

For inspiration when planning a build, I think the most important thing for me is to give it time. After I’ve snap built the kit, I often set it aside for days or even weeks. During that time my imagination works in the background to come up with ideas. I’m always looking at other builders’ work online (YouTube, Gunpla Gallery, Twitter, Instagram, etc) and that helps to spark ideas. Sometimes I write ideas down on paper, but more often I just trust that my brain will filter out and remember the best ones. Eventually, I end up with a concept that I’m excited about, and that’s when I know it’s time to proceed.

Once all the planning is complete, I disassemble the kit, make the needed modifications, sand and prime the individual parts to prepare for painting. My painting style typically requires a lot of masking, often 3 or 4 layers on the same piece to get all the colors in place. After painting I apply a panel line wash, decals, and then topcoat. I typically use a super matte topcoat, but for a few of my builds I’ve gone the opposite way and finished them with a glossy shine.

Who do you follow on social media?

There are many builders I follow on social media who post exceptional, inspiring photos of their work. I’ll list three of my favorites here, and I’ve chosen these three because specific aspects of their work inspire me.

When it comes to panel line design, the first place I look is to the work of Colony Drop (@dropcolony on Twitter and Instagram). He puts so much thought into creating panel designs that are not only beautiful, but also make sense from a functional standpoint. I always imagine new ideas and learn new scribing techniques just from studying his work.

When it comes to overall kit aesthetic, I’m inspired by Miniaturite (@miniaturite on Twitter and Instagram). His completed builds strike the perfect balance between simplicity and detail, with everything flowing together to create a beautiful display piece. There’s also something special about the way he photographs his builds that makes the completed piece look huge and imposing, as a mobile suit should be.

For the intricacies of airbrushing technique, I’m inspired by Jenic (@mission9588 on Instagram, JENIC on YouTube). His paint finishes are so perfect, and I’ve rewatched his videos countless times as I continue to work on my own airbrush technique.

Your next gunpla project? (or current)

MG Dynames

I’m excited to be starting my customization of the MG Virtue very soon. Two of my favorite completed builds are the MG Dynames and Kyrios, and I need to complete Virtue and Exia so I can display the whole team together. I’ve had the MG Virtue snap built for many months, but I was waiting for a display stand that allows me to display the Virtue’s outer armor being purged and the Gundam Nadleeh inside. This finally arrived recently, so now I’m ready to detail and paint this project.

MG Kyrios

It’ll be done in a similar style to my other builds from this series, since I want it to look like they were all designed and built together at the same facility. If you look closely at the completed Dynames and Kyrios, you’ll see certain details and themes that are shared by both of those mobile suits. My goal with Virtue is to study and remember all those choices I made when building those Gundams, and apply the same design principles again.

I’ll be starting the project in August and hope to have it completed within two or three months. I’ll be posting work in progress photos on my social media accounts (@gunplamark everywhere) and, as always, a large photo gallery when it’s completed at

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