Gunpla Build Report: EG 1/144 Nu Gundam

Welcome to a new kind of guest post that combines a Gunpla kit review with a highly personalized customization walkthrough. This week, Megaplamo shares his first time building a Gunpla from the Entry Grade line—and at the same time, a thorough account of his use of the Highlight Technique to airbrush paint it to perfection. 

Megaplamo’s EG 1/144 Nu Gundam

When I wrote the article on my favorite Gunpla/model-making books, I started thinking about my favorite model-making short-form content.

See also: Our Top 5 Books for Gunpla Builders

Hands down, it’s a type of content I would call “Build Reports.” These are like reviews, but they also walk you through the building and painting process of the author. I’ve learned a lot by reading the work of other builders, so I hope I can pass on some ideas of my own!

My first build report for Gunpla 101 is the ​​EG 1/144 Nu Gundam. I chose this kit because I haven’t built a Gundam in a while; I’ve spent most of my time on grunt suits and miniatures lately. I’ve even tried my hand at garage kits and casting figures in resin, so when I returned to the thing that started my love for this hobby, I wanted to challenge myself, use the skills I’ve gained, and maybe even gain a few new ones in the process.

I chose the EG Nu Gundam because it’s fairly cheap ($10-$15 at the time of this writing), it doesn’t take very long to build, and its quality color separation means that I don’t have to do a lot of masking. For those of you who have been keeping up with the releases, you know this kit has received amazing reviews. After working with it myself, I agree with the majority of them.  This gave me a chance to focus on what I wanted most out of this experience: To experiment with my workflow, start custom mixing colors, and most importantly, to practice my shading!


This kit features a “pop-out” runner system that is designed to make it easier for beginners who don’t have specialized tools like nippers. Even though I’m not a beginner and I did use nippers, I really liked this feature because there was less of a nub left behind to clean up, and it made for a faster build overall. 

There were hardly any “unacceptable” seam lines: most lined up in a way that weren’t noticeable except for one on the gun that I removed with Tamiya Surface Primer (See our article on Gunpla Primer 101 for details). I also appreciated that most of the parts were undergated or otherwise attached in a way that made the nub marks less noticeable. In addition to the standard part clean-up, I sharpened the V-Fin, sanded any uneven surfaces, then separated the parts by color, and put them on the Mr Almighty Clip.  Instead of using the $12 Mr Paint Station, I put them in a cardboard scratch pad for cats that I bought from Dollar Tree for $1.25. (Can you believe they charged me $1.25 at the dollar store!? What is this world coming to? Anyway, back on topic.)  At this point, I separated the joint parts from the rest of the kit because I wanted to paint them differently so the kit could remain poseable once painted. 

See also: Gunpla Primer 101

To save time, I also combined some parts into sub-assemblies (i.e. put the two halves of the shoulder pads together, combine the two halves of the torso) to save time and paint. The process took me roughly 2-3 hours.


I wanted to focus on shading for this build, but I also wanted to be mindful of my time so I could enter this kit in some upcoming contests before their deadlines came up. I went with a two-color shade using primers as the base coat. I applied a smooth layer of Mr. Surfacer Black on the parts that would end up blue, and Mr Surfacer Gray on the parts that would end up white using an Iwata CR Revolution airbrush with a .05 needle.  

See also: How To Choose The Best Airbrush For Gunpla

I sprayed my highlight color in the middle of the part and avoided the edges. This was my first time using this highlight method so I was worried I might make a mistake, but this was surprisingly easy with my GCS Creos Mr Procon Boy airbrush and a 0.3 needle. It does have a needle-locking feature, but I didn’t need it for this project.

Airbrushed lacquer colors 

Acrylic hand-painted colors

See also: Vallejo Mecha Paint Review: How Does It Measure Up For Gunpla?


White area

I started spraying Mr. Color White over the gray primer, only to find out there is hardly a difference between the two. I could barely see it. That’s not good because I wanted contrast! I resprayed all the parts primed in gray surfacer with a 50/50 mix of Mr Color Dark Grey and MS White. This created the perfect base to then spray Mr Color White

Like I said earlier this was the first time I tried this highlighting method, so I kept my paint thin and went slowly. Due to the nature of this style of painting, I often made a mistake by spraying too far away which created a rough gritty texture.

Thankfully, this can easily be fixed by lightly sanding with 1000-grit sandpaper (just enough to knock back the gritty parts) and then spraying a new layer of paint. Once I got the hang of it and moved my brush closer, it was smooth sailing. I also masked the inside parts of the shoulder pads and skirt armor so that it would stay black. This helps the armor look like it has some weight/depth.

Navy blue 

I really struggled with this one. I had to do some research by looking at model art from an old MG kit, looking at some anime screenshots, and even some official artwork. Based on all that, I honestly don’t think they use the same color every time. I finally settled on a custom mix of Titans Blue, Interior Blue, Midnight Blue, and White. I started off with a black base and then used my highlighting technique to spray Titans Blue. This ended up being too blue, so I then took my custom mixed and sprayed a filter coat over the Titans Blue and Black contrast. That did the trick. For those who don’t know, a filter coat is a thinner (1/2 paint to thinner) coat that is lightly sprayed over the original colors. This can help darken, filter, or blend in colors.


This was straightforward. I used Brown to provide a warm base followed by a highlight of Red Madder and finally another highlight of Red Madder mixed 50/50 with Gaia Pure Orange.


To paint yellow, I actually started with a Pure Orange for the base, then worked my way up to Character Yellow (which looks orange to me, idk) and used a final highlight of Yellow. When I first started painting, I would use colors like black and white to make my main color darker or lighter but as I have gained experience, I realize it’s better to work up from colors closer to my main color on the color wheel. This keeps my main color, yellow, more vibrant whereas black or white would make it dull or wash it out.


For the eyes and sensors, I wanted to make them stand out and look somewhat realistic. I decided to go with a candy coat and started with silver and sprayed Tamiya Clear Green. It turned out really cool! However, it was too dark for the eyes. I decided to go back and repaint the eyes with Vallejo Fluorescent Green and that’s what it needed. Since Gundam eyes sit under a visor/helmet, I think neon or fluorescent colors will always be a good option so they can stand out. As a side note, this kit had a separate eyepiece which made them very easy to paint. I hope Bandai keeps doing this!


I used Silver for the large booster because I wanted it to have a smoother metallic look. I hand-painted the smaller ones. More on that later.

I used silver spray paint on the foot boosters. I later had to come back and paint over the orange part and clean up some masking mistakes.

Gray for the joints 

I did a 50/50 mix of Mr Color Phantom Gray and MS White. I did not prime these parts because I wanted the paint layer to be thin to avoid inhibiting their movement. 

Hand-painted parts 

There were a few parts that were too small to airbrush so I did my best to try and match the colors to their spray painted counterparts. I think you can get by with going a little brighter so that they pop out. When cleaning up my mistakes I found that Vallejo Mecha actually matched a lot of the Mr Color paints. It’s still not my favorite, but it’s nice to know this is an option. 

It’s hard to get a smooth coat with a paintbrush, but the key is to go slowly and give everything time to dry a little before adding the next layer. If you leave behind a few brush strokes that’s ok because a matt clear coat will cover most of them. The hardest part of this process was painting the small yellow stripe on the circular part of the backpack. I tried to avoid it, but it was in all the artwork and previous versions of this kit so I had to! Overall, it turned out really well and adds some asymmetrical interest to the backpack colors

Hand-painted details
The dreaded yellow stripe on the backpack.


Through this process, one of the challenges was making sure that as I built up my highlights on each part, they matched each other. This could get tricky with all the different pieces. On page 80 of Handbook of Gunpla Modeling by Ken-Ichi Nomoto, during his work on a MG, he puts the parts back on the frame to make sure they look good together. Since I was working on an EG that did not have a frame, I checked the arms and legs next to each other to make sure they were the same brightness. I would also check symmetrical parts. This could be a bit time-consuming, and I realized that with this style there is going to be a natural level of variation, so I just made sure it looked good to the eye and moved on.

Here I am comparing the shading on the parts to see if they look right in the context of the whole kit.

Sometimes, I found myself obsessing a little too much over perfecting the kit. It helped to slow down, have a time limit on my session, and remember that I’m doing this for fun.

I put down a gloss top coat and proceeded to the next steps.

Panel lines

I used Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color to panel line the parts: brown for the reds and yellows, and a custom mixed dark gray for the white areas and black on the blue parts. Why would I customize the mix for the white parts? To get a deeper contrast. The standard gray panel line paint is too light and didn’t stand out against my cool white/gray surface. 

In this step, I ran into some issues with the small side pieces of the skirt cracking. Enamel paint and thinner can make parts brittle, but it’s hard to tell sometimes if it will damage them. According to the Handbook of Gunpla Modeling, small parts with tight connections are most at risk for cracking or breaking and that’s exactly what happened here, even with several layers of paint to protect it. Next time, I may line these parts individually or use ink or oils to be safe. Luckily, I was able to save the piece with some plastic cement and a new coat of paint.

Before moving on to the next steps, I hit a little snag in the assembling process. The top and bottom of the chest were not connecting properly due to too much paint on the little grooves on the front and back. I had to sand it down before I could get a clean connection. Luckily, the parts I had to sand were not visible once everything connected.



This kit came with several stickers and to be honest, I can’t get stickers to look right or satisfactory to my eye. I was able to find some water slides online in 1/144 scale and used all of the main symbols and a few extra “caution” and “warning” labels to add some interest, although I chose to keep it minimal. The main symbol is very asymmetrical and it took me a few tries to line up the placing like the image on the box. (Which is another reason I love waterslides!)

Final top coat

You probably noticed that I used all kinds of different paints with different textures. That means I definitely needed a good top coat to blend it all together.

For the final top coat/clear coat I used Mr Super Smooth. This top coat lives up to its name. It’s a flat coat but it dries smooth like a gloss coat. It’s supposed to be possible to panel line over it, but I haven’t had a chance to try yet. It’s a pretty tough coat and they advertise that you can use it for just top-coating Gunpla that you intend to pose. I wanted to be able to pose this painted kit so I went with it. It does seem pretty durable so far, I haven’t noticed any major scratches. One interesting aspect is that the finish looks different depending on how you spray it. A wet coat looks like satin, and a mist coat looks flat/matte.

It’s all coming together!


With this build of the EG 1/144 Nu Gundam, I was able to learn a lot, challenge myself, and have fun. I love the ‘80s design and Char’s Counterattack is one of my favorite Gundam stories, so I’m happy to have a completed model of the main mobile suit. This build was easy but satisfying, and made the painting process even better! This kit turned out so well that I decided to enter it at my local Hobby Town Gunpla Builders World Cup and I placed 3rd! I really feel like I leveled up! Overall I’d recommend this kit to a beginner just starting out, or a more advanced builder looking to experiment without breaking the bank.

See also: How To Find And Enter Gunpla Competitions

Here it is at my local HobbyTown GBWC. I highly recommend entering one of these events!

Here is the final result. Thank you for reading!

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