Gunpla Doujin: Universal Century 0087

Despite barely touching the subject, search engine referrals for terms like “doujin” and “doujinshi” regularly redirect visitors to Zimmerit. While most of these visitors are no doubt looking for, ahem, material other than what Zimmerit is offering, we figured it was time to remedy our lack of vintage doujin coverage.

Published while Zeta Gundam was still on the air, Universal Century 0087 was a model kit doujinshi for fans of the Gundam sequel. Produced by a group calling themselves “Studio Mk-0,” the doujin featured black and white photos of members’ kits, how-to articles on customizing existing Gundam kits or scratch building your own, and a single anime-related article titled “You can do it, Jerid!”

In lieu of photos, the how-to articles in Universal Century 0087 relied heavily on illustrated schematics to show where and how to modify your kits.

While the focus of Universal Century 0087 was on regular Bandai kits rather than garage kits, it’s clear that the target audience was the sort that might soon move on to garage kits or at the very least were taking their modeling a step beyond “snap n’ play.” These were modelers who weren’t content to build off-the-shelf kits and instead designed their own modifications to increase the detail and accuracy of Bandai’s plamo. The same sort of modeler had been targeted by Bandai when it launched its B-Club enthusiast label shortly before Universal Century 0087 was first published.

The first eight pages of the 50-page book were filled with photos of member’s kits, including many of the customized designs later detailed in subsequent articles. Unfortunately, because the photos were in black and white and no doubt shot with a regular 35mm camera, the quality and detail is lacking. However, if there was any question as to the group’s dedication to detail, it’s summarily answered by the detailed (almost obsessive) hand-drawn schematics found accompanying each article.

How-to articles weren’t simple building guides but instead featured detailed schematics showing how to improve existing Bandai kits by shaving, slicing, and stretching pieces for a more screen accurate appearance. One article even provided step-by-step instructions for scratch building your own Dodai Kai, the hoverboard-like booster craft used extensively by AEUG forces. Another provided a similar guide to scratch building a 1/100 scale Nemo, the diminutive green grunt unit. 

These how-to articles mirrored what you’d see in contemporary model magazines as articles on how to improve the lackluster off-the-shelf kits of the day were commonplace in period hobby magazines. B-Club even plugged Universal Century 0087 in an early issue, praising it for many things including its “readability” thanks to typeset text — apparently a rarity in doujin back then.

As is often the case with subjects like this, there’s little information online about Universal Century 0087 or the circle that created it. As such it’s hard to know how long the circle stayed around or how many books they published beyond this one (which is referred to as “No. 1” on the cover). At the very least we can confirm they published one follow-up book in 1986, From Anno Domini 1996, another model kit doujin this time focused on Blue Comet SPT Layzner.