Gunpla Build - SD F-Kunoichi Kai (Build)

It’s time to put my ninja skills to the test. Let’s look at the runners:

I’m of two minds here. My brain says that this is quite a large and impressive spread for an SD Gundam1. Even if you were to exclude the Cross Silhouette frame, you’re still left with four runners, one of which has quite a few clear parts.

For the sake of comparison, remember that the SD Astray I built back in October only came with this many parts:

But my heart thinks that it still isn’t “enough” given how intricate and detailed the final model is supposed to be.

So then my brain kicks in again and says “Well yeah, that’s the case with every SD. Most of that detail is painted on. You know that, so why are you always surprised every time it happens?”

Whatever. It’s more parts than usual, but still not “enough” to free us from painting and other color correction. When you get right down to it, none of this is surprising.

Let’s zoom in on a few items of note:

Here are the two different SD frames. The one on top is the frame, while on the bottom we have the Cross Silhouette frame. Obviously you’d expect the CS frame to have more parts, but we’ll go into greater detail later on about the ways in which they differ.

Now let’s look at the decal sheet:

Those three red decals in the bottom right corner are actually for use with the spare GM head that comes with the CS frame. I always assumed that that was something of a throwaway part (unless you wanted to build and display the frame on its own for some reason), so I’m very surprised to see that this kit lets you decorate it.

Elsewhere we see:

  • Four different kinds of eyes. Unfortunately the finished model only has room for two, but it’s nice to have the options.
  • Decals for the shoulders that spell out “F” and “91” in a very fancy font. I love that they included these.
  • A whole bunch of color correcting decals (though as we will see, it is not a COMPLETE set of color correcting decals)

Sticker Plan

Prior to the build (even during the early phases), I went back and forth on whether to use all, some, or none of the color correcting decals. In the end, I decided to use a few, but not nearly as much as I usually do. Hopefully it will be clear why I chose to use the ones I did.


This kit has a surprising number of weapons, so it’s easiest to just cover them all at once.

First, we have the VSBR Kunai:

This is the only one of three places on the model where I used any of the gold decals. I just didn’t think it made sense for weapons to be covered in fancy, ornamental gold paint. Plus, these are big decals, and I didn’t feel like painting such a large surface area.

As you can see, the handles can be configured in two different positions depending on if it’s being used for shooting or melee combat.

But wait, there’s more! You can detach the handles and add these beam effect parts to turn them into smaller Beam Kunai:

If that’s not your speed, you can attach those same beam effect parts to the F91’s Beam Shield emitter to make a Beam Shuriken:

This is the second place where I used a gold decal, though as you can see I messed up the bottom tip, thus forcing me to use some gold paint to fix it up. I also painted the sides of the emitter in gold and black, like it’s supposed to.

We have one final weapon - a simple short sword:

This gets stored on the rear skirt armor, though I discovered that it’s an extremely tight fit. Tight enough that I know for certain that some of this paint will scrape off. At first I thought that maybe the blade wasn’t supposed to be painted, but I found at least one photo on the box that shows that it is. I may just not put it back there.

All in all, this would be an incredible number of accessories for High Grade, let alone an SD. I’m impressed.

Tale of the Tape

Let's talk about that Tamiya tape I bought.

In my admittedly brief time using it so far, I do believe that it is in fact better than blue painter's tape, which seems to make it easier to move around and "mold" around curved surfaces. The roll of tape is also much less wide, which makes it easier to fit into smaller spaces without having to cut it up.

Lastly, it seems to be even gentler on painted surfaces than even painter's tape is.

Having said all that, it doesn't necessarily make the masking process easier. It still requires patience and precision, and there was at least once instance in which paint leaked under the tape. In other words, it doesn't make up for a lack of skill.


The feet are made out of three parts - a purple “upper”, a frame part, and a gold sole:

A bit of her chainmail undersuit peeks through the foot, though you’ll have to paint that yourself if you want it to be color accurate, as there are no decals to use there.

Let’s throw the ankle guards on now:

These come with gold decals if you wish to use them.

These look like they’re on some kind of hinge, but they actually plug into the foot and lock into place.

Comapring to the SD Frame

So what’s different between using the standard SD frame and the Cross Silhouette frame? In the case of the feet, absolutely nothing. They use the same exact frame part.

About Masking

Prior to the build, my plan was to do masking in two phases.

Phase One would involve masking all the sections that I wanted to paint gold before applying clear coat. Clear coat results in an uneven finish, which isn't noticeable on its own, but is extremelynoticeable underneath the smooth, shiny, paint that comes out metallic Gundam Markers. Keeping those parts of the plastic smooth and polished leads to a better looking paint job.

Phase 2 would involve removing that tape and then masking the parts that were clear coated, to keep the gold paint from running and dripping into places it doesn't belong.

During the build, I was able to use the fine tip of the Gundam Marker to do some precision painting, such that the Phase 2 masking wasn't necessary. True, there were a handful of times where I dripped paint, but I was able to fix them using a combination of this paint erasing Gundam Marker, and a Clear Matte Coat marker:

As for the Phase 1 masking, I came up with alternate, unorthodox idea - where possible, I planned on using the color correcting gold decals, rather than the Tamiya tape, for the purposes of masking. I wasn't confident that I could properly mask some of these areas; meanwhile, the pre-shaped decals would result in a perfect masking.

It was a brilliant plan, except for one problem. Somehow, after top coating, the decals proved to be extremely sticky. They got torn up and mutilated as I removed them, and they all left lots of sticky adhesive on the plastic. I tried my best to wipe it all off with a combination of rubbing alcohol and water, but I couldn't get it all off. If you look really closely, you can see some rough spots on some of the gold trim on the finished model.

I'm not really sure what happened here. I've not only applied, but then removed decals without them tearing or leaving behind adhesive residue. Maybe the clear coat caused it, or maybe it's just because they sat overnight and actually, well, adhered.

Whatever the reason, it was a valuable lesson learned; use the tape that's designed for masking.


This is a clever way to hide a seamline - from the front, we’ve got purple armor, while in the rear we get more of that chainmail undersuit:

The change in texture, as well as the difference in thickness, makes it look like there’s no seam at all.

A few notes:

  • This is the third place where I used a gold decal, particularly for those two triangle at the front of the legs
  • There are four circular openings in the front where you can see the undersuit. The kit has decals for these if you want to use them
  • I had to very carefully apply gold trim around the outer perimeter of the armor

Comapring to the SD Frame

This is where we see our first difference between the standard and CS frames:

CS frame on the left, standard frame on the right

The standard SD frame is just one part. Meanwhile the CS frame has a working knee joint, as well as an upper leg that shows off more of the undersuit.

Lower Torso

The kit comes with decals for the gold trim on the front skirts, but not for the rear skirts.

Rear Skirt pictured at top, front skirt pictured below

As is typical of an SD Gundam, none of the skirts can move around. Not a complaint, just an observation.

Comparing to the SD Frame

Here are the two frame parts:

CS frame to the left, standard frame to the right

The CS frame is shaped like most Hight Grades, with a standard ball joint that plugs into the hip socket. Meanwhile, on the standard frame, the legs plug in directly into the bottom of the frame, thus providing very little in the way of articulation.


This is interesting - the F-Kunoichi Kai eschews most of the chest frame pieces, regardless of which frame you use. Instead, the chest is assembled similar to a High Grade, with a ball joint (for the neck) and two socket joints (for the arms) sandwiched between the front and back halves of the torso:

Here we can see a bit of the undersuit, as well as those two very prominent Gundam Boobs. Atop of this we add another part that shows yet more of the undersuit:

And then two pieces of outer armor:

There are two belt buckle-shaped gold parts on the purple armor. The kit includes decals for these if you so desire.

Things are looking good so far, but there’s more work to be done. We have to attach the Beam Scarf, which is made out of two parts:

We also have to attach the backpack:

The backpack is made out of one big part; thankfully, it’s large enough that it’s easy to paint the thrusters in their proper color.

(The last bit is to attach the VSBR Kunai, though I don’t have a photo of that)

Comparing to the SD Frame

Like I said, it uses the same parts regardless of which frame you use.


Pretty simple: the frame is sandwiched between two halves of outer armor:

Order matters here; one of the armor pieces has a hole in it for the shield emitter, so you’ll want that to be on the left arm.

In terms of color correction, there are decals for the thick gold trim on each arm.

Let’s look at the hands. The kit only comes with a single pair, and they’re in an interesting shape:

They’re shaped so that they can hold onto stuff, but also shaped with the fingers pointing out for doing cool ninja poses. It’s a pretty clever idea.

Finally, we add the shoulders:

Unlike most High Grades, the shoulders are each made out of a single part, which is nice. They were also by far the hardest parts to paint, just due to the shape of the trim (though if you want to use decals for the trim, they are included).

Comparing to the SD Frame

Both frames use the same kinds of parts for the shoulders, but not for the arms themselves. Like with the legs, the CS frame uses two parts to create an elbow joint, whereas the SD frame uses a single part, where the elbow is set at a pre-bent angle:

The head is very intricate, and also very clever.

First off, the “mouth” area is reversible, with the standard Gundam face guard on one side, and the ninja mask on the other:

The same is true for the eyes, which is a standard feature for Cross Silhouette kits:

One thing I learned is that even a thin layer of clear coat can create enough surface tension to make the eye part extremely difficult to pop off (in case you want to flip them around). I had to use some rubbing alcohol to strip away as much of it as I could, which seemed to help a little bit.

Next up, we add this nifty little “underhelmet”, which is a perfectly valid way to display the model:

The instruction manual describes this as “Casual Mode” or something like that.

Finally, we have the “real” helmet, which is extremely intricate all on its own:

I’m not going to go into the gory details of the assembly, but here are a few notes:

  • While the V-Fin is molded in gold plastic, all of the other gold trim and coloring has to be painted; there are no gold decals for the head.
  • The undersuit peeking through the top of the helmet is a separate part, which is super nice

Here now is the complete and assembled head:

And what a beauty she is.

Before we wrap up, here’s the fully decorated, optional GM head:

I guess this nice to have, but I don’t really see myself playing around with it.

Comparing to the SD Frame

The head is the same regardless of what frame you use.


Here now is the completed F-Kunoichi Kai:

  1. My brain also says “you should expect it to have a lot of parts, considering it costs more than a regular SD kit” [return]