Intro into Gunpla (Gundam Model Building)


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Article written by Benjamin D.

I am a big fan of the world of Gundam. The first Anime came out in 1979 and marked a turning point in the way robots were used in Japanese animation. You can say that Gundam itself was the original “mech” and paved the way for every video game, Anime, cartoon, and movie featuring a piloted giant robot. The Gundam world itself is quite complicated and runs through multiple variations of time lines and alternate worlds, but the theme and narrative usually remain the same. is a perfect place to start to learn more about the world of Gundam especially for those that are new to it.

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The coolest thing about Gundam are the robots themselves. The special robots are usually called Gundams and are the best of the best. Each looking totally different from all the other mechs in the show. What makes this show even cooler is the fact that you can build these robots through model kits produced by Bandai. Gundam model kit building is commonly referred to as “Gunpla” and has been around since 1980 or so. There are literally hundreds of different kits around in many variations. These kits have come a long way since then and are now made from high quality plastic that are snap-fit rather than cement and glue. These kits come in different grades of quality, with the more popular being High Grade (HG), Master Grade (MG), Perfect Grade (PG), Real Grade (RG) and Super Deformed (SD). HG is more like the “normal” kits and come in 1/144 or 1/100 sizes. MGs are of higher quality and can be more expensive but also more detailed. MG can take quite a while to build, include more intricate parts, and only come in 1/100. PG is 1/60 sized and is probably the hardest and most complicated with some parts requiring screws and LED’s. RG is my favorite as they are a perfect combination of both the MG and PG lines and have an inner skeletal frame for better posing. Lastly there is SD. These are mini (chibi) versions of the robot Gundams with big heads… think kidrobot toy versions. No matter which kit you choose, each is highly detailed and won’t disappoint when completed.

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Oh, the choices!

Putting together a model kit is pretty straight forward. The instructions are in Japanese, but don’t worry as long as you can follow pictures you’ll be fine. Everything is numbered and lettered in English and the pictures are pretty straight forward as far as showing what to do next. All the pieces are placed together on sheets of plastic labeled in a letter or letter/number combo. The individual pieces are numbered on the sheets and follow accordingly with the instructions to make it easier to know what piece is for which part of the build. For example, when the instructions ask for part C7, you would find the sheet labeled C and pull out piece number 7. Sometimes pulling out the pieces can be hard. Which is why the two best tools I use for taking out the pieces are side cutters (to cut the pieces off easier) and a hobby knife (to smooth off the piece). Each of these tools are sharp and dangerous so be careful and stay safe overall!!! Here’s an example of what the plastic sheet and model pieces look like:

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Overall, take your time and enjoy your Gunpla build. Some of these model kits can take up to a few hours to build. You can even go further by painting more onto you model or adding graphics and damage splashes on them. They even make customizable kits for the models that add to the flair of the unit and make it even more unique. Your creativity is your boundary on these kits. I love to display mine and pose them in battle positions using Gunpla stands or hangers to make them seem like they are flying. It’s up to you what you wanna do with them, which makes it such an exciting thing to see what other people have done with their builds! Use the internet to do a search and you will find tons and tons of ideas for builds out there. I hope I’ve sparked an interest for you and introduced you to a new hobby! Hope to see your builds sometime! Stay tuned as I try and bring to you some of my future builds on here on Nerdlocker!

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