"Good Guys Wear White Hats"...or....."Why Are Gundams Painted In Red, White & Blue"

Have you ever wondered why Gundams are painted in what I call “Shoot Me Dead Red, White and Blue” paint jobs, and not camouflaged or painted “Zeon Green” like their Zeon counterparts?
I got to ask this question directly to a friend of mine (Scott Frazier) who used to work in the anime industry years ago*, and he told me “it’s because good guys in the old Western movies used to wear white hats and the bad guys wore black hats”.
When the creators of MSG were deciding on what color(s) to paint the mobile suits, someone (I think it may have been Yoshiyuki Tamino himself?) wanted some way of instantly identifying the “bad” guys from the “good” guys, and remembered that in the old Western movies and TV shows that the hero good guy wore a white hat to identify himself to the audience as the good guy, while the villain bad guy always wore a black hat to identify himself as the bad guy.
So, there you have it. The REAL reason Gundams wear bright colors (esp. white): They are the GOOD GUYS and don’t need to hide it from the evil BAD GUYS! :slight_smile: And the creators of the series needed a simple way to tell everyone in the audience that the Gundam was the good guy that they needed to root for!

“Good Guys Wear White Hats” (GGWWH) - Part 2
Even in today’s world of hi-tech weapons and electronic warfare, identifying friends from foes is just as confusing and complicated as it has always been. During the Christian Crusades, Christian knights wore a cross on their backs to
distinguish themselves from the Islamic soldiers. During WW2 Japanese Zeros and Allied Mustangs looked almost identical to each other head on, so the Japanese took to painting the leading edges of the Zero wings yellow so J
Japanese pilots could tell the difference & not shoot at each other in head-on passes. And of course, today’s modern aircraft all carry IFF (identification friend or foe) transponders to tell everyone who they are. So the good guys STILL wear white hats (sort of).

GGWWH - Part 3
At the beginning of Zeta Gundam, the Zeta MS is painted in a lovely Midnight Blue or blue/black paint scheme that I loved (Yeah!), only to end up later in the standard Gundam “Shoot Me Dead R/W/B” paint scheme (Boo!).
I loved the story on Gundam 08th MS, but Shiro taking that WHITE Gundam into a GREEN jungle drove me NUTS! He was not asking to be shot (by green Zeons), he was BEGGING! "Here I am! See, See! I’m the guy in the WHITE Mobile Suit! Shoot me! Shoot Me, Now! I’mbeggingyouohpleaseshootmenow!!!

The next time you watch Gundam 0083 Stardust Memory, pay attention to the color schemes of the Zeon suits in episode four. Some are green, some are brown, and one of them is brown and green. They’ve taken two different battle-damaged MS’s…one green, one brown…and mated the two together to make one suit. Very realistic. AND I LOVE IT!!

Gundam Souder actually gives an explanation for the Gundam colors. If I remember correctly the reason behind the Gundam colors is because the toy company wanted to make it more appealing towards children and for it to stand out because it is the “hero” of the story. Tamino however always say the humble Zaku has the underlying protagonist of the story.

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Yep and, in fact, this was even played for laughs in a manga showing how Gundam came to be from the creators’ point-of-view.

However, if one is looking for an in-universe explanation, then the reason was that these colors were never for combat but for testing and parade reasons. There is even real-life precedent for these kind of colors on military vehicles. Take a look at this:


This is the YF-16, the prototype to the modern F-16 Fighting Falcon. These colors were utilized for the purposes of testing and evaluation, something that would have done for the RX-78-2 Gundam if not for Char’s interference (or his devilish luck).

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Yes, I understand that. But that does not explain why Gundams are never camoflaged in Gundam 08th MS team.
As I noted in my post, that white paint job in a green jungle is isn’t just ASKING to be shot, it’s BEGGING FOR IT!!!

If Gundam is supposed to take place in the “real” world, then why would you want to go into battle in a paint job that says, “here I am, come shot me!”?

I was talking to an A-10 pilot once, and he was telling me how he and another pilot were practicing their trade over the forest of Germany during some war game exercises. Their A-10’s were painted green which made them visually difficult to spot, but the “intercepting” aircraft were able to spot them because of the sun glinting off of their white helmets, AND (get this) the heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles were getting a lock-on to them too, from the HEAT that was coming off of their helmets! The back of their heads were being targeted by heat-seeking missiles!!
The guy told me that the very first thing they did when they got back to base was to head over to the base PX where they grabbed the cheapest spray can of green paint they could find and sprayed it on their helmets.
So, $10.oo dollars worth of green paint from a spray can no longer made the back of their heads targets waiting to get shot off by heat-seeking missiles.
But, i’m thinking that the creators of the anime were still thinking in terms of identifying the good guy gundams from the evil bad guy Zakus.

Partially. It was mostly the toy sponsors behind the show that wanted the Gundam painted colorfully so that it could be marketed easily and toys of it could be sold to a younger audience. Yoshiyuki Tomino, the lead creator, always had envisioned the Gundam to be painted in a flat gray like the RX-78-3 Gundam G-3. But once it was realized that those colors became iconic (after the rerun and compilation films), Bandai and Sunrise just stuck with them. In reality, the RX-79(G) Ground Gundam should have been painted in a jungle camouflage (or a desert one in that one episode of 08th MS Team) but those colors have become so iconic that a Gundam isn’t a Gundam without its traditional white and blue with red accents color scheme.

Yep because its so iconic that’s the reason why a in every gundam series you see a gundam in that color scheme.

Part of the reason is to not get blown to pieces by allies. The trickiness of a black Gundam like “The Banshee” is it is hard to see in Space. When you group up with mobile suites, you don’t want to be mistaken for an enemy, a la friendly fire.

Also lets not forget Sinjaru is crimson which really says, “I’m here.” But even Samurai often wore bright red armor, it was to strike fear into enemy’s hearts. Sometimes being in plain sight has an advantage.