Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gunpla Design and Production

Today we pay a visit to Bandai's factories in Shizuoka Japan to take a look at how all the Gunplas we have been assembling are designed and produced.

Video clip from Youtube. If you can't see anything, follow this link to Youtube.

And here are some screen shots:

The two hosts for the show: Japanese comedian Osamu Wakai in Amuro Ray's uniform, but I don't know the person in Char's costume.
The person in red outfit in the middle is the leader of the Development & Marketing department. I thought I saw him somewhere on Dengeki magazine once, but just can't remember who he is...

Bandai's staff members have military style ranking XD The person in the middle of the group photo is Hirofumi Kishiyama, the sub-leader of the department. If you like transformable MGs like Zeta Ver. 1.0 and 2.0, you'll have to thank him for his design for the transformation gimmicks.
On the right is a very sci-fi door design in Bandai's office :-)

The massive design team! And their work at that time was
MG Strike Noir! Wuhhuh :-D
Although they use primarily computer-assisted-drawing (CAD), their still base their designs on hand-drawn sketches from artists, say, for MG Strike Noir, BEE-Craft.

This is the rapid-prototyper, as introduced to me by my friend Chong. It works like a printer, by it "prints" the material of the prototype layers by layers until it forms the 3D shape as designed.
As you can see from the video, Bandai's prototype is super-close to the finalized model.

Metal molding. Bandai staff do the touch-up on each mold after they come out from the machines, and they work tirelessly using microscope to fine tune the lines and details. I-Chi-Ban-yo!!

As caption says, "Bandai features the only technology in the world to mold four colors onto one single part." Cool! That technique was used a lot for Silhouette Formula 91 models.
Each metal mold is worth a few million yen! Plus, the company still preserves the mold for the first 1/144 Gundam model, which should be regarded as a relic in the Gunpla world today.

380 million Gunplas developed so far! o_0 And the unmanned transport vehicle in Zaku's paint scheme in the factory XD
It seems like the factory is operated completely by machines!

Laser beam is used to cleanup the molds for extremely tiny parts, like the 1/100 scale figures for MGs, as well as this one, 1/1700 scale Gundam GP01 for Ex-Model Albion. It looks very detailed even under microscopic scrutiny. Wow!

Biggest vs smallest: HY2M 1/12 scale RX-78-2 and the tiny GP01 we saw just now.

Awesome beyond words~