Gunpla Build - High Grade Byarlant Custom (Photos)

I suppose it goes without saying, but the Byarlant Custom is a big boy:

Though perhaps it’s not big in the way I expected.

To be clear, it is very big. But it’s not quite as tall as I thought it would be. On the other hand, it’s far, far wider than I expected. It’s about as wide as three standard Hight Grades placed side by side, which is both really crazy and really uncommon.

Let’s do some size comparisons. Here it is next to Gramps:

There’s less than a head’s difference in height between their, well, heads, which doesn’t seem that impressive. But then you discover that the Byarlant is wider than Gramps is tall …

That’s just nuts.

Here it is next to the miniature Victory Gundam:

The height difference here is obviously more pronounced, but I still think the Victory isn’t quite as tiny looking here as I anticipated.

But then you discover that the Victory is shorter than one of the Byarlant Custom’s arms:

This photo makes it look like they’re about the same height, but that’s due to the angle. From a more head-on angle, the arm is clearly a bit taller

Again, that is nuts.

Lastly, here it is next to another big boy, the Messer:

The Messer has a slight height advantage, but the Byarlant is still wider:

The lesson here is that the Byarlant Custom is large, but in a somewhat unconventional way. It’s something I couldn’t quite appreciate without the help of these size comparisons, but now that I see it, I’m impressed.

Build Observations

Considering its age (this is a 12 year old kit), the Byarlant Custom doesn’t have a ton of seamlines. The main three are on the propellant tanks, along the sides of the legs, and along the top of the shoulders.

The latter of these is basically invisible, and while the former two aren’t, they’re only really visible from certain angles. I could have easily sanded them all down, but it didn’t seem necessary this time.

On a similar note, this kit doesn’t require a ton of color correction, at least if you use all the provided decals. And what painting it does require can be safely ignored if you so choose. Even the (partial) lack of color correction on the inside of the shoulder thrusters isn’t a dealbreaker if you’re just going to prop this up on the shelf.

Let’s put it this way - I’ve built far newer kits that required far more elbow grease to get them looking good, so props to the Byarlant Custom for making it relatively easy in comparison.

My third observation is that, while this certainly isn’t on the level of a Master Grade, it feels a bit more intricate than a standard High Grade. There’s a level of color separation, and a level of inner framing that you don’t typically see (or at least didn’t see much back in 2012).

I imagine that this both was and wasn’t intentional. I don’t think the engineers went out of their way to make this more special than other High Grades, but I do think that its extra large size mandated some of the inner framing (and simply made some of the color separation easier to pull off).

Now here’s my final (and hottest) take - despite all the colors, and despite the inner framing, and despite being intricate in some places, it still doesn’t feel much more complex than a standard High Grade. My theory is that this is because other factors - such as the level of surface detail, and the level of parts separation - is on par for the HG line. That’s not a knock against it (I didn’t, and wouldn’t, expect it to look like anything else), just an observation.

Gimmicks and Articulation

I’m not going to test all of the articulation; this model is just too big and unwieldy to do complicated action poses. But I do want to highlight some of the gimmicks.

First, these thrusters can open and close:

Moving up a bit, the sandwich thrusters have a bit of range, and the propellant tanks have a lot:

The shoulder thrusters can rotate, and even move up above the shoulder:

And of course the claws open and close:

Lastly, the Mega Particle Cannon has a bit of give and play:

It’s all impressive, but it also feels largely academic. I just don’t see these gimmicks - these little bits of articulation - making a huge difference in regards to the presentation of the model. For example, it’s going to look like it’s flying (and/or attacking) regardless of whether or not the thrusters in the back are opened up.

On a related note, this model isn’t really poseable in the same way as a “regular” Gunpla, and not just because it barely fits in my lightbox:

In my opinion the Byarlant Custom doesn’t look all that impressive when you have it square in the frame of the photo, like this:

Or this:

This one’s a little better, when it’s zoomed out a bit, and the Action Base is raised high:

But what you really need to do is zoom out even further:

Up there on the bookshelf, now it looks like it’s really flying (to say nothing of the fact that immediately catches the eye when you walk into the room). And that’s when the Byarlant Custom becomes something different than usual. I’ve never built a kit that looks quite like this when propped up on an Action Base. It’s quite a sight.


I don’t have anything else to say about this one. It’s a very impressive kit, but it’s also very much a display piece. Put it up in a good spot, with a good Action Base, and just leave it alone. It’ll do all the talking.