As part of the 「Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary Project」, Gundam was designed in the industrial design perspective into a Gunpla 「HG 1/144 Gundam G40（Industrial Design Ver.）」 with the theme " from anime to reality", and is scheduled for sale in December 2019. Other than the product, comments from the industrial designer who is involved in the project, KEN Okuyama, and and Director・Film Director, Kou Matsuo, were published.
「HG 1/144 Gundam G40（Industrial Design Ver.）」is a gunpla worked on by the world-renowned industrial designer Okuyama Kiyoyuki, owner of KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN, with the thought: “What will happen if you seriously research and design Gundam as a product?” in mind.
As it was designed from the industrial design perspective, the main camera on the head was made into a 「line shape」 allowing slight movements . The outline of the entire body gives off a three-dimensional and gentle feel such as the eye-catching body line of the chest unit.
A new joint had also been added to the forearm, assuming an “actual” MS's movement. In addition, the abdomen is a simple block-like structure, legs designed with emphasis on silhouette of movements, joints designed to not be restricted by the front armor even when the knee is bent, mechanisms and structures from a realistic perspective are incorporated everywhere.
When commercializing the product, Okuyama, the industrial designer commented “With the impression of sticking to human-like form and movements, it was a challenge to think about such a structure within the realms of reality. The design work mainly involved sources of movements, joints, and imagining how all the movements of 18m mobile suit can be actualized in reality".
Matsuo, director and film director of the 「Mobile Suit Gundam 40th Anniversary KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN Gunpla Project Special Movie」, where this Gunpla will appear, said that 「Our starting point is to〈reproduce RX-78-2 Gundam's movement the way how everyone remembers it with CG〉. Fortunately, Mr. Okuyama, a global industrial designer was invited to participate, and we were able to get a lot of unique ideas from designers that had worked on real products. 」
「HG 1/144 ガンダムG40（Industrial Design Ver.）」 is priced at 3,300 yen (10% tax included). Scheduled for release in December 2019.
＜Below contains the full commnetary＞
【Industrial Designer, Mr. KEN Okuyama】
「Lore of tradition and innovation」
After receiving the project offer and working on it, I was forced onto making a big choice right from the first step. Should we respect the original design or design it freely?
I myself came from the generation where I've watched the TV broadcast of the “First Gundam” in real time as well, that's why I was also against ruining the original design.
After meeting with director Matsuo Kou and the Sunrise staffs, I realized that my role in this project is different from Mr. Syd Mead, who built a new worldview in “Turn A Gundam”. So I decided to go back to square one on what to do, but in the perspective of a fan this time.
The most difficult part on 『Gundam G40』 is the 〈circumference of the waist〉. As Gunplas evolved, the hip armor that was integrated like<shorts> started to have a semi-flailing gimmick like a <skirt>, a dramatic expansion to the range of motion for the hip joint.
However, the looks when the front armor opens up had the dilemma of being far from the one seen in the 40-year-old show.
『Gundam G40』 was proposed to have a hip joint gimmick that allows it to trace the movements of an actual human while still using the <shorts>. The hip joint can be rotated, and the whole block can be moved downward, all because of the use of a spherical joint, along with a movable axis on the thigh which provides enough range of motion for the knees to reach the chest..
A biaxial structure was standardized in the Gundam as a result of allowing a wide range of movements for the elbow and knee joints. In order to stay faithful to the original concept design for Gundam's 40th anniversary, we have incorporated a drawer gimmick to re-establish the joints with a single axis structure.
In addition, 〈Hineri〉 was added to imitate human movements, and the entire body lines were also changed with the incorporation of〈Hineri〉.
「It was the same as the process of designing actual industrial products」
This time, with the impression of sticking to human-like form and movements, it was a challenge to think about such a structure within the realms of reality. The design work mainly involvedsources of movements, joints, and imagining how all the movements of an 18m mobile suit can be actualized in reality. For this reason, validation was performed while designing in 3D, following the same process of designing and manufacturing ordinary industrial products such as trains and cars.
There is one important thing that was not included in the final product, I was trying to configure the entire packaging based on the operation after I determined the size of the Core Fighter, assuming that a 170 cm person could fit in the cockpit, and how the Core Fighter fit in this 18m mobile suit. I really dug deep for the elements necessary to actualize that.
In terms of reality, not only the structure of each part, but also the maintenance method, internal panels, and the thickness of the armor were taken into consideration, giving it a realistic image when it was made into a product (Mobile Suits as industrial products) as much as possible within my capabilities. Nowadays, humanoid mechas are also being established as industrial products, so I think we could propose products that combines animation production and realistic industrial design with a wide movement range and joint structure of the limbs.
In the end it is only an output with a 1/144 scale, but the mechanism and form necessary to actually manufacture a 1/1 scale may not even be impossible for any industrial designer or Gundam fan with the help of hobby enthusiasts.
【Director・Film Director Mr. Matsuo Kou】
「Reenacting the beginning from memory」
The first thing I want to touch on is that our starting point is to 〈reproduce the movements of the RX-78-2 Gundam the way how everyone used to remember with CG〉. Fortunately, Mr. Okuyama, a global industrial designer, participated, and we got a lot of ideas only designers who work on real products may thought of. However, at the start of the project, my starting point was different from both Mr. Okuyama and the staff of the BANDAI SPIRITS Hobby Division.
You may think that CG can express anything, but the design of RX-78-2 Gundam is not suited for CG. It is very difficult to reproduce the complete silhouette of a drawing. Then, you may have thought of using the Gunpla gimmicks that are elaborately made with the latest technology for CG.
Even the latest Gunpla, which has a fairly high pose capability, doesn't actually take into account the 〈Hineri〉 that is essential for human movement. Therefore, making a CG with reference to a Gundam will only be an extension of the movements of plastic models and toys.
Gundam was a heroic character 40 years ago, a character more than a machine. We asked everyone who participated in the project to reset the Gunpla gimmicks that had been cultivated over the years in their heads in order to aim at the same direction as me.
The exterior of the rounded chest is a delicate line that is difficult to convey in the picture, and if it is a video, highlights and shadows will flow through the lighting. It has a design similar to a car fender, and this is the part that incorporates the experiences of Mr. Okuyama, who has worked on car designs previously.
Also, the shield that was recessed to draw a loose line on the left and right was what I requested from Mr. Okuyama. The taste of Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, which Mr. Okuyama worked on, is included as well. In terms of settings, dents were incorporated as to prevent reflection of an enemy mobile suit's bullet onto an ally mobile suit.
In the special movie, we aim to create a mix of the scenes we had done in the “First Gundam” 40 years ago and the battle scenes we made this time. Of course, Zaku II will definitely appear. The Zaku II is designed as an extension of a tank to battle against Gundam, which moves like a human. The contrast between a stylish Gundam and the weapon Zaku II is also one of the highlights. If you watched the video and thought that it was cool, please try building the G40 and enjoy giving it poses!
「HG 1/144 Gundam G40（Industrial Design Ver.) 」
Price: ¥ 3,300・10% Tax/ ¥ 3,000・Tax not included
Release Date: Scheduled in December 2019