Ever since Bandai started making new kits of some of their class mecha back in the nineties, builders have been looking for ways to add some of the MSV designs to the ranks. Bandai loves giving some of these designs the Master Grade treatment, but they go largely neglected on High Grades. So what do we do? Well, we kitbash, of course!
I always saw the GM Sniper Custom as one of the most popular designs from MSV, on the Feddie side, anyway, but it never seems to get any appreciation. The only poseable product it’s really gotten since the original kit was the GFF, and that thing’s kind of expensive. So, here’s a nicely-poseable GM Sniper Custom you can make for only about $20!
For this kitbash, you’ll need two things-the HGUC GM, and the MSV GM Sniper Custom. The GM is a pretty easy kit to get a hold of. The Sniper isn’t too hard, as it gets reissued every few years, but you won’t see it most places. There were two releases of the kit, one in MSV and one in Zeta. The only difference is the MSV kit was molded in white, and the Zeta kit molded in green. The Zeta kit also has different decals.
On the surface, this kitbash looked pretty tough when I first examined it, but once I got started it wasn’t so bad, really. It’s fairly straightforward and you don’t have to do too many heavy modifications, just a lot of cutting. I did all of this with my only tools being an exacto knife and my wire cutters. A dremel might make things easier, but it isn’t needed.
I started this project with the head. From now on I’m going to refer to the HGUC kit as the GM, and the MSV one as the Sniper. I assembled the GM’s head normally but I sanded down the sides to make them smoother. The Sniper’s scope comes in three pieces, but I made it into four by cutting off the tab that keeps the top and bottom connected. This let me plug it into the circular side pieces easier to look more natural on the head of the GM. The Sniper also has an antenna that goes on the head, but I moved that to the torso because I felt it didn’t look right on the GM’s base head.
The arms are the easiest part of the kit-they’re just the GM’s arms with the little saber thing added to it. All you need to do for that is cut off the peg and mount it to the arm. If you want to go the extra mile and give it a removable blade, cut the top off the saber of an HGUC RX-78 and mount it on the end.
The body isn’t too much of a challenge, either. Just put the vents from the Sniper over the vents of the GM. Putty over the front of the cockpit and sand it smooth. Cut some plastic from one of the runners into the shape of the extra armor bit on top of the cockpit since the piece from the Sniper is too big. I also opted to add the antenna to the torso because I felt it looked better there. The backpack just needed a bit of sanding to fit properly on the torso.
The extra armor plating on the skirt was cut from the skirt of the Sniper, sanding and grafted onto the GM. The piece on it but was the same story, but nothing had to be cut off.
The most complex part of all of this is the legs, but the method I found for it worked perfectly. Cut the circle parts off the legs of both kits and swap them. You don’t need to do anything special to these parts, just glue them on. Let them dry for a full day and they’ll be strong enough to work. This allows you to graft the GM’s joint system onto the Sniper legs. For the ankles, I chopped the shins of the GM down til they were an appropriate size and glued them into the Sniper’s legs. In retrospect I wish I made them a little further back so it would look better, but hey, it does the job. The feet came from the GM with the extra armor part omitted.
Surprisingly enough, the gun needs NO modification whatsoever! It fits perfectly into the hand of the GM, though it becomes a bit unwieldy. Of course, it always was…
For colors, I just went with a basic GM Sniper color scheme of olive drab, neutral gray and gunship gray. Because you can’t really repaint the visor while still keeping it clear, I left it the way it was to give it the look it had in Zeta Gundam. All the decals on this came with the kit.
In the end, I’d say this was a pretty fun kitbash. It wasn’t as hard as it seemed at first. Would I recommend it to newer kitbashers? Maybe. It’s a moderate-level kitbash, so I’d do it after some experience with simpler stuff like say, a Zaku Minelayer. But, it’s cheap, fun, and rewarding, and probably the only way to get a GM Sniper Custom at this scale without shelling out a ton of money!