If there’s one thing I love, it’s a mech with a cannon on its shoulder. If there’s one on each shoulder, that’s even better! That having been said, I’m a very lucky modeller, because there are quite a good number of such mecha to be found in kit form! However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t mecha out there that couldn’t benefit from the ADDITION of over-the-shoulder cannons, now does it?
One prime example is the RMS-179 GM II. The GM II, is, as its name implies, a beefed up version of the standard Federation MS from the One Year War, the ubiquitous RGM-79 GM. Just like its predecessor, the GM II is a fairly plain mobile suit, without much flare or style. It is there to be blown up en masse, and it does a great job of that. However, that’s about all it can do.
The HGUC GM II is a great kit, but in its basic form, it just looks too plain and cannon-foddery for my taste. Then, one day when I was looking through my stash I got an idea! The D-50C Loto kit can be equipped with a four-barrel cannon pod on its shoulder. Since there are two Lotos in the box, this means I get two cannon pods.
It’s important to realize that one of my all-time favour mecha is the F-71 Guncannon from Gundam F-91. I have always loved its business-like appearance and massive four-barrelled autocannons. My brother has the old 1/100 F-71 kit, but in all honesty it is no longer as good a kit as it once was, and I wanted something in 1/144. So, you can probably guess how my brain started to turn when I saw a GM and some four-barreled cannon pods…
The GM II is a nice kit by any definition. It is a simple mech, but since it’s a very modern kit, the colour separation and part separation is extremely good. All the joints and other ‘mechanical’ bits are moulded in dark grey, and there’s no build around anywhere.
The kit fits together well, and comes with a beam rifle, a shield and a beam sabre. The rifle itself isn’t much to write home about, being the same kind of gun the Nemo uses. The shield is a standard Federation shield, complete with gaudy cross, and the beam sabre is a bit unusual in that it is moulded in yellow.
The visor on the head is clear green, and there is some ‘face’ detailing in behind the visor. Unfortunately, because it is directly based on the GM I, the GM II’s head is very round and blank looking. I know some people like that for cannon fodder suits, but I think the GM II’s visor is very stunned looking and lends an air of incompetence to the suit. Whether or not this is desired was beside the point for me. I don’t like that style of head and visor, but if you do, you’re in luck, because it is beautifully rendered.
Typical of all HGUCs, the GM II is a snap-fit kit. In the old days, this was a problem since location pins were not always perfect. This problem appears to have been corrected a while ago, and the GM II, like most newer HGUCs fits together awesomely, even without much glue!
The first, and most obvious, modification to the GM II are the four-barrel cannon pods on the mech’s shoulders. As mentioned, these came from the HGUC D-50C Loto twin set. I used them exactly as they come; the pods are beautiful and don’t need any modification. That’s not quite the same for their mountings, though. The pods are supposed to be built around their mounting, so as to allow for elevation. I modified the mounts though; I cut them into a “C” shape so I could just clip them in afterwards, and I filed down the ball joint at the base so the mounts would fit on the GM II.
Getting the pods to fit was a bit more complicated than I thought. I was hoping they’d just attach to the MS’ backpack, but the GM II’s pack is too narrow to support the cannons without them looking goofy. In order to get the spacing right, I had to add mounting points on the sides of the backpack. I did this with some square cross-section styrene tube. The hole in the tube fit the filed- down mounting on the cannons perfectly.
Of course, to get this to fit, I had to move the beam sabre holder. I decided that it would make sense to have the holder on the side skirt armour. Thankfully, it is a separate piece, so I just cut the mounting tab off and glued it to the side skirt. It fit with no problem.
The armament was the next item to get changed. I don’t like the Federation “cross” shields; they are big and clunky, and the cross doesn’t really serve any useful function. Thankfully, I had a spare “flat” shield from the RGM-79C from Gundam 0083 hanging around, so I used it. I also used its machine cannon, instead of the GM II’s beam rifle. It seemed to me to make more sense that a small, light defensive weapon would be carried by such a heavily armed suit; after all, it already has the long-range heavy stuff covered!
The last thing that needed work was the head. Like I said, I can’t stand the stunned look of the GM II. So, I instead took one of the spare RGM-79G GM Heads from my Gundam The Ground war RX-79 set. The neck polycap is the same on both heads, and the new head fit perfectly between the cannon pods! It’s a much nicer looking head, too, with a much more F-71-ish vibe.
Painting and Finishing:
I wanted to do this kit to represent a transitional machine; what would have come before the F-71, but would have been used by the same units doing the same job. Thus, I decided that a light green and red colour scheme would be the most appropriate.
The paint is all Testors Model Master Acrylic, and was hand painted over WalMart Colourplace Grey Primer. The red is MMA Guards Red, and he green is a mix of Light Grey, Green and a bit of Flat White. Thanks to being based on Light Grey, the green paint went on very easily and sanded nicely. The MMA Greys are some of the nicest performing paints I’ve ever used, and this was no exception.
As always, I picked out the thrusters with Jet Exhaust and orange on the inside, and all the mechanical parts and rifle were washed with Baddab Black from Citadel. I did the barrels on the cannon pods in Jet Exhaust, and the exhaust plates in Steel.
I finished the mech with Future first, so I could outline it more easily, and then flatted it with Delta Ceramcoat Matte Varnish. I adjusted it with a bit of Future to get a satin finish, and then stuck it all together. As with most new HGUC kits, the only problem was that I had to scrape paint off the various attachment pins, since the fit was too tight once the paint was on there. Sometimes, I think the Bandai kits are TOO precise!
The GM II is a great kit of a very pedestrian machine; a lot like having a Monet painting of a 1989 Ford Escort. It is simple and fun to put together, though, and its fairly modest piece count means that there’s not a lot of chopping and sanding to do.
While I don’t personally like the design much, it’s a fun one to customize. Its ability to act as a canvas for a modeller’s imagination is a feature not to be overlooked. It shares some parts with the slightly older HGUC GM III, so there are extra possibilities there. I can’t believe this wasn’t more capitalized upon in the various Build Fighters series!
Fun and easy, what more could you want?