Gunpla Build - High Grade GM Custom Part Final

This has been a fun experience overall, but it’s taken me so long to build, write about, and photograph this model kit. Which is why I’m happy to be finally closing the book on it.

At last, here now is the finished GM Custom:


I’m not actually going to go into the gory details. We know where it excels, namely in its feet, and in its double jointed left hand. The rest of the articulation is just … fine. It’s an eleven year old kit, which was long enough ago that it lacks the modern niceties that come with the advent of things like polycap-less builds and partial inner frames.

For example, the knees and elbows bend well enough, but have very obvious limitations. The head can barely move up and down. Most frustrating of all is that the legs cannot rotate inward or outward; any fancy footwork is going to be done with the feet, and nothing but the feet1.

Ironically, I had an easier time posing this model than others I’ve recently built. When you have a super articulated model, you can fall into the trap described by Mr. Malcom here:

On the other hand, when you’re more restricted, you’re more focused on just getting the good poses to even work.

It also helps that the GM Custom is just really photogenic:

I don’t know if it’s the face, or its proportions, or what, but the GM Custom always looks on point.

It even manages to look great without its shield, which is no easy thing. Many mobile suits (especially GM’s) look slight without their shield to give them some much needed bulk.

But that’s not a problem for the GM Custom and its hefty armor.

Now, how about that double jointed hand? Does it really help out? Not as much as it could, through no fault of its own.

The GM Custom has the same problem as the Revive Zaku and so many other models, in that its right trigger finger hand likes to pop apart all the time. So yes, the double jointed left hand makes some poses easier, but any time it saves you is then spent getting the trigger hand to stay in place.

Still, it’s not just a matter of saving time. It’s also about simply making them work. And in this regard, it does indeed help a lot.

As you can see, I have the left hand wrapped around the rifle. This is something you can’t easily do with a standard, rigid hand, and it makes simple poses like these ones far more difficult than they should be (it’s not a matter of function, but form. The gun will lift away from the left hand, so it no longer looks like it’s gripping it).

You can even use the hand to have a bit of fun:

Even when you aren’t using the double jointed hand, the model is generally very good at firing poses. The gun is so thin and narrow that it doesn’t get in the way.

Things get trickier with poses where it is holding the gun, but not actively firing it. The magazine on the back of the rifle will bump up against the arm and cause all sorts of problems.

It’s just hard to get it at a good angle.

There is one firing pose where the gun is a problem, namely it’s most iconic pose:

But it’s not a problem with the magazine, but the entire rifle. It’s the wrong one! In this scene, the GM Custom is using the same bullpup rifle as the GM Command and the GM Sniper II. Thankfully, I have a few of those lying around:

Much better.

Technically speaking, I think I took fewer action shots of the GM Custom than other models, but it doesn’t feel like it. Normally I take close to 100 photos and trash at least half of them. In this case, I took about half as many, and trashed less than 10. It felt like matter what I did with this thing, it ended up looking great.

And it was a quick shoot too! Sometimes I have to spend a few minutes making adjustments, just to get the model to look “cool”. But not this time.


Let’s wrap up with some comparisons. First off, the GM Command:

I knew the GM Custom was bulkier, but I had no idea it was taller. It really does look like the guy who went to the gy to bulk up. The poor GM Command looks that much more wimpy.

(Side note - I just realized that the shields are not 100% the same! The GM Custom’s shield lacks the two cutouts on the sides. I think it looks better that way).

I suppose the GM Cold Districts is just as wimpy in comparison, but it’s got that gorgeous color scheme, so I feel like it holds its own here.

And now we get to my favorite photo - my two favorite GM’s:

Looking at this shot, If I had to pick between the two, I …. wouldn’t do it, because I don’t have to! Despite what the internet tells you, you don’t always have to pick a superlative among things you like. Sometimes you can just like them both equally.

Anyway, the GM Sniper II is the only one of the bunch that’s the same height (which is probably a coincidence, but I like to think that all the coolest GM just happen to be taller). And I think they’re cool in different ways. The GM Custom is big and tough, while the Sniper is streamlined and tactical. Put them together and they’re quite the pair.

And now we get to the most important comparison:

I think they look much more alike from the back from the front, but from any angle there is no mistaking that these two are related. And I think that’s really cool. The original GM was designed to be a less cool version of the Gundam, but I feel like the GM Custom is equally cool next to the Alex. They both have their own subtle qualities that the other doesn’t.


The High Grade GM Custom finds itself in a weird middle ground. It doesn’t feel quite as premium as a Gundam, but it feels far less basic than a GM. The decal sheet is generous and respectful to the lore (we’ll just forget that Anaheim Electronics sticker). The seven different holding hands ensure that every pose looks right. And the fact that it compares to well to the Alex indirectly proves that the GM Custom has a level of detail that goes above and beyond other GM’s.

BUT. It’s articulation is still (mostly) limited, it’s rifle takes a “form over function” approach, and the trigger finger hand is a time bomb. These are all hallmarks of older, High Grade GM’s2, and they’re certainly not negligible problems here. But they also don’t ruin the experience, nor do they compromise its poseability. In fact, despite the flaws, I think this is the most poseable GM I own.

Which is why I believe that if you’re looking for a GM to put on your shelf, put the GM Custom straight near the top of the list. It’s a darn good kit, better than I originally assumed. A pleasant surprise all around.

  1. I guess the legs rotate a tiny bit, as far as the hip socket will allow them. It’s not nothing, but it’s not nearly as much range as I’d like. [return]
  2. Actually, the trigger finger hand is a still a problem to this day. [return]