Well, my old-man brain sort of forgot that I had already posted on the Gundam here. Haha, it was one of my very first posts.
Oh well, I suppose a refresher wouldn’t hurt. After all the first post was really about the Leopard itself and not the 1/144th kit. You’ll have to indulge me on this post, I’m going to get a bit nostalgic…
So here we are – the 1/144 Gundam Leopard kit. These kits were the old, pre-HG kits that were designed basically as snap together, action kits. You could easily build this into an action figure instead of building it as an actual scale model (then again, a lot of people seem to build Gunpla kits as action figures anyway).
When I was in very early high school, a classmate of mine brought an old Hobby Japan issue to school and was reading it in the seat next to me. The cover featured (as most of them do) a Gundam kit (I believe it might have been the Wing Gundam). I asked him about it and he started telling me his limited knowledge of the Gundam Universe. He didn’t know much (and he admitted to having the magazine only for the nude girl resin kits featured in the ads section, haha) but what he told me about perked my interest. That each “robot” was piloted by a human and that there were several different series. I took a trip to my local hobby store that weekend and lo and behold, he had a small selection of Gunpla kits. I reached for the Leopard here and that was the beginning of my new life as a Gunpla Enthusiast. I brought the little guy home, unsealed the cellophane wrap and opened the box:
Now, keep in mind, at the time, I knew absolutely no Japanese. Not a single Kanji or Kana. But oddly enough, what I was looking at didn’t seem foreign to me. But from what I could discern, the Gundam Leopard was PACKED full of weapons and the guy (actually I wasn’t sure if he was a guy at that time, sorry Roibei!) in the corner was the pilot. But luckily, the instructions were easy to follow:
So I got to work. I honestly remember just ripping the parts off the runners.
I didn’t even own a cutter yet. In fact, I owned nothing. I just bought the kit and that was it. So, needless to say, there were a lot of terrible, jagged nub marks. But when I was done, about an hour later (I tried taking my time, lol) I was happy to have a small green robot (from Japan!). I was hooked. The next weekend, I begged and pleaded with my parents to take me back to the hobby store, which they did (reluctantly) and sure enough, the store had the 1/144th Gundam Leopard Destroy!
Well, I picked him up immediately. The store owner actually suggested I look at the Gundam Markers he was carrying too. He said they help detail the kits a lot better. So I picked up a fine tip marker with the Leopard Destroy and brought them home. Now I had no idea what the Destroy was. I remember assuming it was the “enemy” of the Leopard but I was kind of confused when Roibei showed up on the instructions again. No matter. I got to work ripping the parts off again (arrgh!) and this time used the Gundam Marker to do the detailing. Now if you’ve never tried this, it turns out just using your thumb to wipe off the excess ink works great on a gunpla kit that has no paint on it. So I also detailed the Leopard as well. While they both lacked any detail in color, the marker did help a lot, especially with the face vent details and panels lines. So I was totally hooked at this point, and even displayed the two “robots” fighting one another! (again, no idea what I was dealing with).
From that point on, I’ve spent a staggering amount of time devoted to the pursuit of knowledge regarding the Mobile Suit Gundam Universe. In fact, I learned my early Japanese lessons from SD Gundam G Generation on PlayStation 1. Eventually, after tracking down a subtitled complete series of Gundam X, I learned that the Leopard and Leopard Destroy are not, in fact, “enemies”, but the same machine. The Destroy is just the upgraded and repaired Leopard after Roibei goes ape sh*t on a massive Mobile Armor, wrecking the Leopard in the process.
Somewhere along the line, I got rid of my early Gunpla Kits, which is a shame, seems I had the 1/144th X Divider, and 1/100th X and Virsago as well as the two 1/144 leopards. I also had the 1/100th Wing Zero and Epyon. I wish I would have kept them. I could do some awesome things with those kits now.
Luckily, about 8 years ago, I also picked up the 1/100th Leopard Destroy, painted it (by hand back then, and quite badly if I may say so) – and held onto it. I found it in my “spares bin” the other day when cleaning and I’m trilled because after reading the Gundam X manga Under the Moonlight which takes place 7 years after Gundam X, I have some great ideas for the Leopard. I already have it disassembled and will be using a multitude of ideas including possibly using the GP02’s bazooka for a main weapon (non-atomic of course). It’ll be a while before I even get to this, but first things first, I’ll have to strip the paint. Looks like a soak in some 409 is in store for the Leopard Destroy.
As for the 1/144th Leopard, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. I may not build it. I feel like perhaps it would be best to just keep it sealed in the box as a memorial to this hobby of mine. What do you guys think?
Until next time, thanks for letting me ramble about my memories!
p.s. – GP01 is coming along and almost done. Just need to finish the color detailing, then its on to the panel lining.