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One of the things that separates great comic artists from merely good ones is the ability to apply screentone. By using sheets of flexible material that transfer ink to a flat surface, such as paper, a skilled artist can add texture and shadowing effects beyond those achievable with ordinary line art.

But while the technique is generally used to make a flat drawing look a three-dimensional object, it turns out the opposite is possible too, as demonstrated by these amazing photos of a model kit colored with screentone to look like exactly a 2-D manga sketch.

If this jump from anime art to a physical form and seemingly back to two dimensions feels familiar, you might be remembering Mumumuno53, whose incredible talents we showed off last year with his Gundam model that looked like it stepped right off of your TV screen. The skilled modeler is back again, this time with a muse that may not be as well-known to Japanese animation fans as Gundam, but still has quite the sci-fi pedigree.

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Foreign novels published in Japan often get new covers. When Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers was brought over, Kazutaka Miyatake, a mechanical designer whose resume includes contributions to Space Battleship Yamato, Macross Plus, Dirty Pair, and RayXephon, was commissioned to do the artwork.

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Miyatake’s design, often called the Studio Nue Powerd Suit or Mobile Infantry, became a cult favorite among fans of science fiction and anime, and was used in the later anime adaptation of Starship Troopers.

As with just about any bit of fictional military technology in Japan, the Powered Suit is popular with modelers. But rather than paint his in the conventional manner, Mumumuno53 decided to once again make it look like a 2-D drawing, and this time to do it in black and white.

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By applying screentone to the figure, Mumumuno53 recreated the feel of irregular, blurred pen and pencil strokes.

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In some of the pictures posted to his blog, the modeler has even included what look like handwritten annotations, further adding to the illusion that what you’re looking at is just a design sheet or sketchbook, and not a photo of something you can actually touch and pick up.

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We’d be completely fooled if it wasn’t for the photographs of Mumumuno53 holding and posing the suit, and also the few select angles from which the shadow it casts is visible.

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Additional proof that this is more than just a drawing comes when the model is reconfigured with its hatch opened, revealing its wearer who, of course, is similarly shaded.

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▼ Talk about craftsmanship! Even the interior edge of the hatch is detailed.

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Some may question the point in all this, though. After all, it does sort of beg an obvious question: If the eventual goal is to make something look like a drawing, why start with a model?

Of course, that obvious question has an equally obvious answer.

▼ Because it looks awesome.

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Related: Nijigen Mokei Mumumuno (Mumumuno53 blog)
Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: Nijigen Mokei Mumumuno (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Nijigen Mokei Mumumuno, Amazon Japan (edited by RocketNews24)