“The Pinnacle of One Hundred” – Tomino’s message for the Turn A Gundam MG Release

The Turn A Gundam was selected by fan poll in 2007 to have the honor of being the 100th release of the Master Grade line of Gundam model kits. It was released in August of 2007. The booklet includes a message by Turn A Gundam‘s director, Yoshiyuki Tomino. Below is a translation.

Yoshiyuki Tomino’s message for the MG Turn A Gundam release.

The market exists due to the fans. Gundam model kits have created a mountain of miniature history, and it also has a legacy of continuing to overcome said mountain. I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone involved in allowing the Turn A Gundam to be added to the lineup of Master Grade models, and I’d like to extend a special thanks to those who have bought it.

I was stunned when I saw a plastic model imported from the United States over fifty years ago. By then, I had drawn a three-view plan of my own original aircraft and had even built a solid model out of it. I carved the wings and body from the firewood we used to boil the bath, and I attached celluloid board to the original wooden model. I then soaked it in boiling water to mold the canopy and painted it silver. However, I couldn’t carve the propellers properly. Even though it was simply an aircraft from my own imagination, I felt that that at the very least the propellers needed to look real, but I couldn’t even draw a cross-sectional view of them.

After that, I tried to make an F-86 but was frustrated at my inability to generate a three-plan view from a cross-sectional view of the actual aircraft. Just like with the propellers, I was reminded of my lack of knowledge of replicating a realistic machine and at my inability to put together a blueprint.

I had just begun working in the anime industry when Japanese models surpassed those made in America. I soon realized that good models could also be made from the robot anime genre. It reminded me of the model I had made of an original plane that never existed. In reality, however, Bandai model kits were initially limited to the “Chogokin” series. And although they eventually modeled the Gundam, it was during a time when model kits created by toy manufacturers followed a different set of standards. Still, it was exciting to see fictional models as easy-to-assemble products. They’re much more accurate than if I had attempted to make them on my own, and they hold great significance as miniature models. I was frustrated that they couldn’t compete with the well-made train models from overseas, but it has been a joyous experience to see the continued history of models from my works evolve and eventually overcome this gap.

The reason I brought the Turn A model into the Gundam series was because of a memory from my first year in junior high school. I felt that simply having an original design was not enough, and that it was necessary to introduce a sense of realism. Those were the directions I gave Mr. Syd Mead. He was like a god to me, so I was prepared to accept anything he proposed. It’s a pity that his designs received a lot of negative feedback, because I still feel to this day that his work was not in vain.

Industrial design embodies the philosophy that purpose-of-use determines the form of the object. That’s what we call “realism”. The antenna was designed as a mustache to reduce the overall surface area, and the cockpit was positioned so as to not interfere with the entry and exit of the pilot. In order to function reliably, the structure must be simple. So the Turn A is simple, but it is still “realistic”. That’s why I didn’t make it more character-like.

These days reality has again entered an era where fiction has become real and bipedal robots can actually walk, so we can foresee that the Turn A model has brought something to life. The fact that this sculptural statement has been reproduced with the engineering of a Master Grade model is a milestone in the history of miniature modeling. In addition, it was the younger generation who pushed for the Turn A to be a milestone position in this series, so I am grateful for this project and its commercialization. Thank you very much.

Translation and editing by Feez and Gen.

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