Up close with Shin Musha Gundam

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If you don’t think Gunpla can be beautiful, you haven’t met Shin Musha. Gold chromed with bright cherry red, this Master Grade Gundam is a futuristic take on samurai armor.


I first saw a picture of Shin Musha, complete with katana and folding screen, on Tumblr and immediately thought it was a custom build. But as it turns out, anyone who can snap together a Master Grade can put together this model. (Although, some of the custom builds of Shin Musha are truly breathtaking.)


Since I’m definitely not up to the task, but still wanted this model in my home, I decided to buy it for John for Christmas. (At $100, it’s a big ticket item that’s really best for special occasions, but if you don’t care about all the accessories, there’s also a $70 model.) Luckily, he was just as happy to see it as I was!


In my close-up shots, you can see the extra attention John gave to this build. He drew in the red grooves with a brown GM03 Gundam marker, and in the white with a gray GM02. The reason you’d use different markers on different colors of plastic is because it creates a more realistic shadowing effect. After the panel lining, he swiped over the thick lines with a cotton swab. Now they’re so faint, it looks like part of the armor. This is a technique called panel lining, and it adds detail and contrast to Gunpla without you actually having to paint anything.


This has definitely been John’s most time-intensive build, and it has inspired me to put more craftsmanship into my Gunpla. I’ve been nervous about using the markers ever since they came out so badly on my first Gunpla, but it’s been literal years since then.

This is sort of an unusual post for Otaku Journalist, but John and I are always working on geeky projects at home these days, most lately DIY builds with Raspberry Pi. If our projects are something you’d like to hear more about on the blog, let me know!

Like Gunpla? Click the image below to visit my new blog, Gunpla 101


  • Zoe Le Loir

    Wow! I am not into Gundam, but I have to say that those photos are beautiful and show true dedication, hard work and a talent in the craft.

    I would love to read about the DIY builds you are doing with Rasberry Pi units. I’ve thought on and off about buying one, but not sure what I do with it currently as I’ve yet to come up with a project idea.

    • http://www.otakujournalist.com Lauren Orsini

      @Zoe, Raspberry Pi is soooo cool! I started working with them because I thought it’d be a good tutorial for my day job, but now I just want to build more things =)

      • Zoe Le Loir

        Neat, Lauren! I would love to see a post about some of the things you two have done with them.

        Hope you will be able to use all of that for a tutorial too. That would be neat.

  • Kira Chan

    That is amazing work!!! this makes me think that i should try to panel the line for my next Master Grade.

  • ImperiousKory

    That looks way nicer than mine.

    But really it looks like this