The novel coronavirus has upended lives across the globe. We’re all finding ways to cope with the chaos and anxiety this pandemic has caused, some more creative than others. Without making light of the situation, we acknowledge that Gunpla 101 contributor Doug Wilder has found a particularly Gunpla-minded way to cope with this difficult time. Here’s his tutorial on how to convert a simple Haro into a coronavirus model, in his own words:
“How are you doing dealing with the quarantine, Doug?”
“Oh you know, finding ways to be creative with Gunpla I have.”
These unusual circumstances have led to one of my most unusual custom builds—Corona Haro, a Haro that’s modded to look like the coronavirus under a microscope. If you’re interested in building one of your own to pass those long quarantine hours, I’m sharing my materials and process below. Stay safe, stay indoors, and have fun!
- Haropla kit. I was lucky enough to get a Gundam Base Tokyo exclusive white Haro when I visited in February, so I had a nice clean white Haropla to work with. The Mobile Haropla kit also comes with a whitish Haro body. If you don’t want to purchase one of these, you can always just take any Haropla and paint it white.
- Gray panel line marker. This is optional, you don’t have to panel line if you don’t want.
- Gunpla nippers. Here are some of Gunpla 101’s favorites.
- A basic metal file. I still use the one that came with my Mr. Hobby basic toolset.
- Extra sprues from any Gunpla kit. Red sprues if you have them, but you can also use any other color and some red paint. I used my red Gundam marker.
- Gel super glue. I used the Loctite-brand superglue gel. A gel is much more useful than a regular super glue because it has more weight to it. It won’t slide off of Haro’s round body as you put down your pieces. Just make sure to review the label and make sure it won’t expand too much once it dries
- Gloves (If you are painting the pieces.)
- A small paper bowl, paper plate or disposable tray, like the ones that come when you buy meat. Make sure to wash it well and dry it before use!
- If your Haropla shell pieces aren’t white, you’ll need to first cut them out of the sprues with nipples, file them down to remove the nubs, and paint the kit white. If you want to color Haro’s eyes, this is the time to do that as well. [Here are some of Gunpla 101’s tips for painting Gunpla.] Let the painted kit dry overnight.
- Assemble Haro in ball mode. Don’t worry about the arms and legs unless you want to.
- If you want to panel line, do it now!
- Take your old sprues and look for sections that are totally round. Be mindful that some sprue sections have flat sides or marks from the way the mold works. You want to find sections that are entirely cylindrical. Cut out pieces that are roughly 1” long at most. (Don’t worry about perfection; you will be cutting them again.) There is no set number here and you do not need to be precise. I initially had seven of these pieces when I made my Corona Haro but ended up wanting a few more.
- Trim the pieces so each one is roughly a little more than 1/4” long. Be sure to make as neat a cut as possible. They should be close to a uniform size now, but given that you’re turning your Haro into an unwieldy organic virus, you don’t need to be exact.
- Take the pieces you’ve just cut out and file the edges down to flat surfaces. They don’t need to be perfectly smooth on both ends. On the adhesion side, you’ll want a little bit of roughness for the super glue to attach to.
- If your pieces aren’t red, now is the time to paint them. Because of the small size and round shape, I highly recommend using gloves while painting the pieces. You should let them dry in a paper plate, bowl, or Styrofoam tray so they don’t roll away. You may need to apply an extra coat to touch up some areas once the first coat dries.
- Once you’ve got your pieces ready, you can begin gluing them onto your Haro. Add a VERY small dab of super glue gel to one end of a spike, and apply it to the Haro, holding it in place for about 30 seconds. Be careful not to let it slide, as the super glue can make the paint run a little.
- Take another “spike” and repeat the process. Keep adding more spikes. You will most likely have more spikes then you need, but they are easy to make and it’s good to have a bunch to choose from. You may wish to take a break and let the glue set on a few spikes before adding more.
- If you’re trying to figure out where to put the spikes, here’s the method I used. I found that starting off by giving my Haropla a straight line from just above the eyes and moving backward, almost like a mohawk hairstyle. From there, I just started moving the Haro around while it was on its stand in my hands, looking for areas on the Haro body that seemed emptier than others. Just keep in mind that you don’t want it to look too busy. You still need to see the Haro underneath.
Finish gluing your spikes, and get ready to photograph your hard work! You now have a tiny quarantine buddy to remind you why you’re staying indoors as you help to flatten the curve.
While these directions are for making a Haropla look like the images for Covid-19, you can always use different colors to make your own custom virus Haro. Haropla are pretty inexpensive and come in a variety of colors, lending themselves to customization and experimenting with new ideas, so be creative, have fun!
Doug Wilder is a long time Gundam fan who recently came back to the Gunpla hobby after his self-control was broken by the release of the Master Grade Deep Striker. When not hosting panels about Gundam and other giant robot anime series at conventions Doug can be found on the AnimeCons TV podcast.