Here at Gunpla 101, we’ve published a lot of Gunpla building tutorials, but none quite like this one. Cross has developed a strategy to re-create a much-memed photo of a Gunpla model that appeared to be breaded and fried in oil. However, no cooking experience is necessary to create this hobby-friendly lookalike. Read on to see how they did it:
If you spend a lot of time on social media, you’ve likely seen the infamous “deep-fried Gundam” image or some variant thereof. Let me refresh your memory:
I don’t know where this image comes from, but I found it intriguing and horrifying at the same time. So much so that I found myself thinking, “What if I could have one of my own, perhaps inconspicuously displayed on a table to surprise my guests with?” And more importantly, “What if I could make one without wasting any actual food?” One thing led to another, and my Gundam Nugget tutorial was born. Now without further ado, let’s get to cooking!
- A model of your choice to sacrifice
- PVA glue
- Parchment paper
- A rolling pin or a glass jar
- A toothbrush for creating “meat” texture
- Sifted fine sawdust
- Joint compound (you may also use filler, spackle, or drywall compound)
- Air-dry clay (in this instance I used paper clay)
- Water for the clay
- Acrylic paints: scarlet or similar red, lemon yellow, white, burnt umber, yellow ochre. Student grade will do.
- A glossy or shiny topcoat (such as Mod Podge) you can brush on
Mix the “batter”
Prepare a work surface with parchment paper or a similar non-stick surface. To create the “batter,” start by rolling out a sheet of air-dry clay with a rolling pin or a wide glass jar. Wetting the clay will prevent it from sticking to your tools and surfaces. The thickness of the clay will depend on how much of the shape of the model you want to preserve: the thicker the clay, the less the final product will retain its original shape and detail. I personally find a thickness of 2-3mm to be ideal.
After you have rolled out your clay, it’s time to lay that over your model. I used an old SD Gundam GP03S. You can sand the surface of the kit with sandpaper to help the clay cling to it. I took off the head and wrapped the clay around it, gently pressing into the face so the contour is a little bit more recognizable.
I left the bottom cavity of the head uncovered to make room for “meat” later, to give the impression of a nugget cut open. Seal any edges and smooth out imperfections by wetting a finger and running it over the surface, but you do not have to be perfect with this. For larger gaps, take a small scrap of clay, wet it so that it is thinner but still a workable consistency, and apply that onto your surface.
Roll on the “breading”
After the paper clay has fully cured (ie. hardened all the way through, which may take days or weeks depending on your climate), it is now ready to accept the “breading.” Apply a generous amount of undiluted PVA glue onto the clay, then flock it with your sawdust, either by sprinkling it on (which is what I did) or dipping it into the sawdust. If this layer looks too thin for your liking, allow it to dry thoroughly before repeating the process. After you are satisfied with how it’s looking, let the final layer of sawdust and glue dry again, then apply a 1:1 mix of PVA glue and water to seal it all in. Spraying on this mixture would be ideal but you can also use a pipette to drip it on. Here’s what my faux nugget looked like at this stage of the process. Sorry for the low resolution; I lost the original image:
“Bake” to a golden brown
After it’s cured (and rock-hard), it’s time to add color. With the cheapest student-grade acrylic paints I could find, I whipped up a dark orangey color with scarlet, lemon yellow, and a dash of white and gently applied it with a soft paintbrush. Do not be alarmed if some clumping happens or if the color looks a bit dull at this point. Let it cure.
Patch up imperfections (optional)
There was some unsightly pitting on the model, which I filled in some places with a ready-mixed joint compound. Joint compound is the stuff used to eliminate blemishes for walls and it can be found at most hardware stores. Depending on how your “breading” turned out, this step may not be necessary, but I think it helps with the look of the final product. I lost the original image for this one too, sorry!
“Fry” the nugget
After curing, it’s time to make it look truly “fried.” Using yellow ochre acrylic paint, I laid the paint down throughout, then lightly brushed burnt umber on raised areas. Wet blending really helps with creating smooth transitions of colors, but by no means do you need to be perfect with this. Looking up reference images of fried chicken is highly recommended.
Add “oil” and “meat”
After you are satisfied with the colors and the model has cured, seal it with a glossy topcoat of your choice. I used decoupage topcoat because the finish looked sufficiently greasy, as if it had really been fried in oil.
Next, it’s time to sculpt the “meat” in the neck cavity. Stuff it with paper clay and be sure to blend it into the edge of the rest of your nugget. Wet the clay with your finger, then drag a toothbrush across the surface to create the texture of the meat. If need be, blend in the edges with more paint. Seal the “meat” with more topcoat, and the final product should look something like this:
Repeat the entire process with as many parts as your heart desires. Plate it up to be extra fancy, and you are done! In the lead image, I made the greens out of cut-up haran (which you might know as the fake grass you find in your take-out sushi). The sauces are made from generic acrylic paint straight out of the tube.
If you are particularly successful in your attempt, guests may ask if your fried Gundam nugget is edible. Enjoy your newfound cooking skills, and happy model making!
Cross dabbles in way too many hobbies and has been doing Gunpla for 15 years. They can be found occasionally drawing, playing video games, and retweeting cool things on Twitter @kinecticharvest.