Turn A Gundam Designs Could Be Worse

Updated on February 19, 2018
Mamerto profile image

Mamerto Adan is a feature writer back in college for a school paper. Science is one of his many interests, and his favorite topic.

I don’t want to be hard on the Turn A Gundam series (or ∀ Gundam). After all, they are no Seed Destiny and it is far better than G Reco. I have to admit that the suits are a bit, well, unique to be fair. Sure, other Gundam timelines had unusual suits to boast. Just look at the unconventional Mechas of Gundam 00. And the mechanical designs of Iron Blooded Orphans don’t look like anything that came before them. Nevertheless, they are still likeable. The suits of the Turn A Gundam need some getting used to and fans complain that it’s too ugly to be likeable. I kind of agree with them though. The head of the Turn A lead suit looks like an upturned Gundam face. And this is the first time I saw a mustache on a mecha.

But do you know that it could have been worse?

They hired famed Hollywood design and futurist Syd Mead, and his designs made Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomiko insane. If you happen to see his initial designs, you will be shocked and amazed all the same. I got to admit, they are ingenious though. They would be great designs if the show was not Gundam. They just don't fit. Just look below and see for yourself.

Some Mobile Suits That Stayed Ugly

Before these suits got out, they must first undergo some clean-up. Again, Syd Mead was tasked to come up with the designs for this series. To anyone not familiar, Syd Mead is a famed futurist and designer. His works could be seen in science fiction films like Aliens, Blade Runner, and Tron. Though critically acclaimed and a legend, I have a feeling that he was the wrong person for the job. Not that he is not good, but anime is a different beast that requires a more oriental approach. Hence, don’t be surprised if some of the creatures here are as weird as they could get. Now most of the designs undergo some clean-up. We will get to that later. But even with clean-up we got these.

JMA-0530 Walking Dome "WaDom"
JMA-0530 Walking Dome "WaDom"

Yes, the Walking Dome. We are used to sleek and flashy mobile weapons that we are surprised to see an aborted fetus flying in the show. Then there is the odd Bellona, the ugliest mobile worker in the Gundam universe, and how about the malformed Flat?

MRC-C03 Bellona (left) and FLAT-L06D FLAT (right)
MRC-C03 Bellona (left) and FLAT-L06D FLAT (right)

Some Really Good Looking Sketches

To be honest not all suits are bad. We got some nice looking designs that deserve a place in anyone’s display shelf. Despite having a terrible name, I found the SUMO to be cool. In fact it is one of the best looking mobile suit in the series. It receives less recognition than it deserves and I just wished they release its MG version. This one is like a gold colored Zaku. I’m not being sarcastic here, I mean just check below:


The Cannon Illefuto is not that great looking as the SUMO, but at least it has better design than most of its uglier cousins in the show. Somehow it seems to be the Correct Century version of a GM. It had the GM visor though I felt it must be a mutated version. Now see for yourself and tell us what you think:

SPA-51 Cannon Illefuto
SPA-51 Cannon Illefuto

And between the System Turn A Gundam and the Turn X, the Turn X is flashier.

CONCEPT-X 6-1-2 Turn X
CONCEPT-X 6-1-2 Turn X

Syd Mead’s Original Designs

Now we will see Syd Mead’s original concept for the Turn A suits. The Walking Dome and Flat had been bad enough. In fact I’m planning to create a list with them as number one. I cannot find what the Walking Dome initially looked like, but this is how Mead sketched the Flat:

Not so pretty actually.
Not so pretty actually.

I know it barely changed but if this one came out, the already ugly Flat will look uglier. It is too squat and clumsy looking. When compared side by side with cooler suits like the Graze from the Iron Blooded Orphans, it will surely win the Ugly Awards contest. I don’t want to troll Syd Mead and his designs but those are just few of his sketches. While searching the net I found this:

What the...
What the...

I’m not sure what it is supposed to be. It’s like a SUMO, or a ZAKU missed a leg day and got drunk in the process. With deeper research it turns out to be the earlier form of the Bandit; a mobile suit with a nice name but a not so nice appearance.

Syd Mead’s Original Turn A Gundam

Not everyone loves the Turn A Gundam. Again like what I said it requires getting used to. For me it is neither ugly nor good looking. The design seems neutral to me though I thought that the wings looked good on it. But wait till you see how Syd Mead first designed the titular mobile suit:

Man this is shocking.
Man this is shocking.

Your eyes are not fooling you. For Syd Mead this is a Gundam. Like me you probably thought is that a Gundam? It is missing some key elements like a V fin. What’s more it looks too chubby to be a lead mobile suit. Okay I’ll be straight on this one. It looks ugly. Imagine how the fans and future fans will react if this one came out instead of the one we are familiar with today. I could see a potential drop of kit sales and interests will fade. We got to thank Hajime Katoki and the others for correcting the designs and although the final Turn A suit may not be perfect, it is way better than what Syd Mead came up with. And did we saw Kunio Okarawa's recent redesign of this suit? It looks like the Turn A had a major makeover:

That's more like-it
That's more like-it


I will keep stressing that Syd Mead is not a terrible artist. The man is a legend, but then designing a mecha meant for a non-western animation might be a bit inappropriate for this talent. In the end we ended up with unique, and often-times ugly suits yet we must give credits to Mead for helping bring this Gundam series to life. Turn A Gundam is not a bad anime after all, and we need to thank the man going by the name Syd Mead for bringing it to the fans.

The Turn A Gundam might not be too pretty, but still a classic mecha series.

Questions & Answers

  • Isn't it possible Syd Mead was being sarcastic when he was involved with Gundam?

    Well, I don't see him as being sarcastic. I think he was just unfamiliar with the traditional Gundam design. Nevertheless, those ugly suits just carved itself a name in the Pantheon of Gundam greats.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 days ago

      wtf those are so creative and unique

    • profile image


      12 days ago

      I wholeheartedly disagree with basically everything in this article. Mead's designs are perfect for a time period thats supposed to be far, far in the future from UC. The WaDom and FLAT look awesome and that Turn-A redesign looks like some forgettable AGE garbage.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      The thing is, even UC features the weirdest looking mechas. I don't think Syd Mead's creation will look to out of place when you put them side by side with the likes of Acguy, Z'gok, Big Zam (inspiration of WaDom I suppose), or even Asshimar.

      When I was a kid I hated Turn-A's moustache with a passion, but as I grow older and learn about different sci-fi visual styles around the world, I grow to appreciate the unique flair of Turn-A and Turn-X. That said, I agree that Mead's original draft for Turn-A is horrendous.

      Also I personally dislike the basic Graze design, so plain and forgettable. Equipped with Dainsleif though, now that's an iconic mobile suit!

    • profile image

      Cristian Darstar 

      5 months ago

      Though I think your taste in art and mech design is..well, not the best, I will say I enjoyed reading your your article, and I am happy for the research you did. I had no idea about the history of those designs. And I’ll state my bias here, a mobile Flat, was my first ever gunpla kit. I was 13 :)

    • Mamerto profile imageAUTHOR

      Mamerto Adan 

      6 months ago from Cabuyao

      I'm sorry also dop, for trolls have no place in my comment section.

    • profile image

      Turn A is hideous 

      11 months ago

      Syd Mead is useless, his designs are butt ugly. He should have known his limitations and politely bowed out. Peak boomerism.

    • Mamerto profile imageAUTHOR

      Mamerto Adan 

      2 years ago from Cabuyao

      Okay, if you reach this far just to say how my article offended you, let me say thank you first hahaha!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)