The advent of the Gundam Build Fighters (GBF) anime signaled a new era of possibilities along with a lucrative new Gunpla lineup from Bandai. A lot of older High Grade (HG) models were re-designed and re-released after the success of the show and this opened the doors to a lot of new Gunpla Builders.
In this column I will talk about the influence of the anime design on real world Gunpla Building. We will talk about the lore of the anime and also point out origins of the designs of the kits used and featured in the show. Now grab a cold beverage, two ice cubes (no more, no less), sit back and get ready for the Build Fighter Journal Entry 001: Sei Iori’s Build Strike Gundam!
Now let’s talk about anime for a bit. Sei Iori is a 14 year old die-hard Gundam fan whose parents (conveniently) own a Gunpla store in a small town.
He lives in a world where people can use their actual Gunpla kits and participate in fighting matches called “Gunpla Battles”. This is made possible through the application of “Plavsky Particles”. These particles are somewhat of a fictional energy source with which the “Gunpla Battle System” arena enables control and manipulation of the Plastic Gundam Kit by the individual participating in a match. It’s interesting (or more accurately, “convenient”) to note that the particles only affect the plastic from which the Gunpla is made from. The resulting technological breakthrough of the Gunpla Battle System popularized the hobby into a worldwide sport akin to Soccer or even Mixed Martial Arts.
Sei’s father, Takeshi got him into Gunpla at a very young age. It is also mentioned that Takeshi was one of the engineers responsible for developing the Plavsky Particle Battle System.
So the protagonist of this show is a 14 year old Master Gunpla Builder, and spends most of his time living and working in a Gunpla Shop and “pilots” moving plastic model robots! Now, who wouldn’t be jealous of that scenario?
Sei started off in the show with his custom built kit, the Build Strike Gundam. This is mostly a kit-bash of the Gundam from the Seed / Destiny line coupled with a series of scratch build and sculpting work. Parts from the Akatsuki and Freedom Gundam are also evident along with a little touch of the Strike Noir. In fact, Sei only changed a few parts from those kits.
Sei came up with the idea of customizing his own Gunpla from a base model and engineers it to create a better reaction with the “Plavsky Particle System”. Well, with a 14 year old kid playing with Quantum Particles from an unknown source… what could go wrong? It’s ok… we’ll run with it for now for the story’s sake.
Master Grade Build Strike Gundam
After all these modifications, the GAT-X105B/FB Build Strike Gundam/Full Package was born. In real life however, legendary Gundam designer Kunio Okawara designed this kit for the GBF line.
The Build Strike’s backpack is a modified version of the Akatsuki´s Gundam’s backpack. Okawara-san may have used the Force Impulse Gundam’s backpack for inspiration as well. The Build Strike’s backpack can also be used as a Support Fighter.
Akatsuki Gundam & Force Impulse Gundam
The overall look and proportions of the Build Strike were further modified. In October 2013, we finally had the finished product in our hands. Big thanks are owed to the start of the Bandai All Gundam Project which remodelled a whole bunch of old Gunpla that catered specifically to the Build Fighters line up of model kits. Regular series kits like the HGCE Aile Strike Gundam for example, was released in February 2014 and is also based on the mold of the HG Build Strike Gundam.
This Gundam was so popular, even NAOKI made one!
Later in the anime series, Sei Iori remodeled his original Build Strike design into the more powerful “Star Build Strike”. It incorporates a sleeker Design and more Particle Effect field manipulators all over the overhauled Gunpla kit.
In real life, the parts that were added by designer Kunio Okawara were all original and made entirely from scratch! Okawara-san used the Particle Effect Wings concept from his previous designs, the Strike Freedom and Destiny Gundam, and adapted it into his Star Build Strike Gundam which enabled “Ultimate Plavsky Particle Output” when translated into the anime.
Star Build Strike Gundam
Bandai then released the HG Star Build Strike Plavsky Wing version. But for the Power Gate Effect Parts you have to buy the Universe Booster separately (salute to Bandai for sneaky-smart business sense).
At this stage, another iconic feature was added in the anime: the RG System ( Radial General Purpose System). This allowed Sei to incorporate and manipulate the Plavsky Particles directly within the Gunpla Frame to ensure the perfect mobility and firepower of his signature Gunpla kit.
In Build Fighters are all Gunpla from the HG scale? The answer is no; the Build Strike Gundam as well as all the other Gunpla of Sei Iori are REAL GRADE Gunpla... That's why the added System is called RG System to elicit brand recall for the real-life “Real Grade” line of Gunpla kits from Bandai. Later Original Gunpla like the Build Burning and it's predecessor, the Star Burning Gundam are also Real Grade. Interesting fact, the last one was built around the inner frame of the RG MK - II.
The newly released “Build Strike Cosmos” is basically the same Gunpla as the GAT-X105B/ST Star Build Strike Gundam. Just for the anime series, the energy output was improved and instead of the signature “Absorb Shield” of the original, it had an improved “I-Field” ( Absorb Field) that can protect the kit from beam-attacks and absorb the energy in its own particle storage system located inside the inner-frame for the RG design.
Build Strike Cosmos
As we’ve already discussed, the Build Strike, Star Build Strike and the Build Strike Cosmos were all designed by famed mechanical designer, Kunio Okawara. If you follow his Work you may see what else he used in developing Gunpla for the Build Fighter line.
The iconic designs of the RX-78-2 Gundam (bottom) and MS-06S Zaku II (top) from the anime Mobile Suit Gundam by Okawara
The Build Strike Gundam is now considered by some as an Iconic design and it helped inspire a lot of people to try their hand in the hobby we all know as Gunpla.
(Next Build Fighter Journal Entry 002: The Burning Path)