Trends & Guides

Beginner Tips for Choosing and Building Gundam Model Kits

16 October 2017 | Jonathan So

Gundam is one of the most recognisable franchises in anime, with a history spanning close to 40 years. The popularity of the Gundam television series has spawned a flurry of merchandise that includes OVAs, films, video games, toys, and many more.

Building Gundam model kits have become an increasingly popular pastime amongst Hong-Kongites. You might think that these robot figurines Assembling a Gundam kit might seem overwhelming if you are just getting your feet wet. Hence, here are some useful tips to get you started to make your model-building experience a lot more enjoyable.

Choosing Your First Gundam Model Kit

Gundam model sets are typically classified in two ways – by size and grade. Size, or scale, refers to how large the model will be once it is built. Most Gundam sets found today are available in three scales which are 1/60, 1/100, and 1/144. The scale is based on the measurement based on the size of a “real” mobile suit, if it is existed, with 1/60 being the biggest and 1/144 the smallest.

On the other hand, grade, or difficulty, indicates how complicated the assembling process will be. Bandai provides a wide array of Gundam models that are available across different difficulty levels – from the easiest Super Deformed (SD) grade to Perfect Grade (PG) that is the most challenging to assemble. If you are new to Gundam-building, the rule of thumb to remember is that the higher the grade, the more intricate, and more expensive the model will be.

Since you are new to the hobby, you might assume that you should start from SD models. However, it is advisable to start out with medium-grade models such as those labelled HG (High Grade), as they offer beginners a good “feel” of building Gundam models without being too challenging that it can be a turn-off.

For beginners, a 1/144 High Grade model should be your first kit as they are usually inexpensive. Moreover, Bandai manufactures more of them than any other size or difficulty, so it is highly possible that for you to find your favourite Gundam model in this form.

Building Your First Gundam Model

One thing you will notice when you purchase a Gundam model kit is that the instructions are entirely in Japanese. Don’t worry, you do not have to understand Japanese to build these models as the manual consists of images with hardly any words to guide you. all you need to build the Gundam model is to duplicate what is shown in the images with the parts you have. If you look deeper at the instructions, you will notice that each separate part has a label which follows this format: alphabet then number (i.e. H24 or G9). This enables you to identify the right pieces for each part.

Before you begin building, you should have a proper workstation set up. Nothing too fancy, just a clean space and open desk will do. An open desk allows you to lay out your kit entirely and prevents any pieces from going missing. You will also need some tools to build Gundam models more effectively. The two main tools that are usually used are:

Clippers – Clippers not only prevent you from tearing your fingertips, it also prevents pieces from breaking if you detach them from the frame.

Filers – Filers enable you to remove extra plastic parts on the pieces without damaging them.

As you start building, use the clippers to cut the pieces out of their respective frames. Make sure that you do not cut too deeply into the parts as you might unintentionally damage them instead of removing unwanted parts. The manual will usually take you building from limb to limb, followed by weapon system, and putting the individual parts together to complete the model. The last process is attaching the stickers and decals. Once you are done putting on the stickers and decals, then congratulations, you have officially completed your first Gundam model!

Building Higher Difficulty Models

Only you know best when you are ready to move on to more complex models. You can start trying out higher difficulty models when you find yourself able to assemble High Grades together more quickly than you used to.

Building Gundam models is a great hobby as it imparts many positive values such as patience, attention to fine details, determination, etc. There is also an indescribable sense of satisfaction when you have successfully assembled a Gundam model.

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