The fabrication of complex-shaped alumina ceramics following a new near-net shape technique based on hydrolysis induced aqueous gelcasting (GCHAS) is reported in this paper. Aqueous suspension containing 50 vol.% solids loading was prepared by dispersing alumina in an aqueous solution of methacrylamide and methlynebisacrylamide (17 wt.% in 6:1) using polycarboxylic acid as dispersing agent. Consolidation was accomplished by adding a polymerization initiator, a catalyst and AlN powder (4 wt.%). For comparison purposes, alumina ceramics were also consolidated by aqueous gelcasting (GC) and by hydrolysis assisted solidification (HAS) from the same concentrated suspensions, and by conventional dry pressing (DP) from freeze dried granules prepared from the same suspensions by freeze granulation. Among the four shaping techniques used, GCHAS was found to be best for consolidating near-net shape alumina components like thin wall radomes with the highest green strength ever reported for alumina ceramics. Green samples were sintered for 2 h at 1600 °C and then characterized for microstructure and mechanical properties. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and Techna Group S.r.l.