Get Amongst Japan’s Gunpla Craze and Check out How to Build Your Own!

  • OTAKU
  • CULTURE
  • Gundam Plastic Models (Gunpla) for beginners can seem so difficult to create because of its intricate designs and details. However, every gunpla hobbyist started from the beginning too, with no clue on how to build one.

    A model kit comes with a manual in Japanese. I’m a foreigner who has been living in Japan for years already but have not learned how to speak fluently nor read/write Japanese. So, what I’m basically saying is that you don’t have to know Japanese (Nihongo) to understand the manual. However, of course, it would make the process easier if you did know.

    So here are some helpful tips to get you started.

    Grade and Scale

    gunpla-instructions

    Author’s photo
    • HG (1/44): High-Grade models are usually 1/144 in a scale model of the actual size portrayed in the anime. These are approximately 13cm tall and contain less intricate designs and details.
    • RG (1/144): Real Grade models are basically more detailed model versions of the HG with the same size and affordability but have the advanced inner frame of the MG and massive part counts of the PG.
    • MG (1/100): Master Grades are aprroximately up to 20cm tall with a more detailed inner frame and are designed to look great as it is, once assembled.
    • PG (1/60): Perfect Grades are designed for high-end users. Approximately 30cm tall, these model kits contain more or less 600 parts. But rest assured its manual itself is still as easy to follow as those of other grades. Some model kits only indicate “1/60” in the box.

    Others like MSM (Mega Size Models) are 1/48 in scale and SD (Super-Deformed) which are the miniature type models with larger heads in proportion to their bodies (think of it as the wiggling bubble head of the gundam models). NG or No Grade is a term given by most hobbyists to the model kits that do not indicate their actual grade and scale.

    What is inside the model kit?

    gunpla-box

    Author’s photo

    The box is illustrated normally with a cover image of the gundam character in action.

    The Runners:

    gunpla-runners

    Author’s photo

    The trays of parts are commonly called “runners” or “gates”. Gunpla design are mostly snap-fit but others need glue to stick together but very minimal.

    The Stickers:

    gunpla-stickers

    Author’s photo

    Stickers are provided to give your gundam a more realistic or close-to-the-anime portrayal.

    The Decals

    gunpla-decals

    Author’s photo

    Decals are basically stickers on special paper to help transfer onto another surface. There are two types: the wet (water slides) and dry (rub-on) decals.

    • The wet decals basically work like a temporary tattoo wherein you have to wet it first then slide the design on the surface.
    • The dry decals (sample picture) on the other hand works by rubbing it on the surface to transfer the design.

    The manual contains step-by-step instructions with a detailed illustration of each part, making it easier to understand even if you don’t understand what is being written.

    So these are some useful tips for beginners to start with so what are you waiting for? Go and grab one, get hooked up and make it a hobby!

    Related Articles:
    Enjoy Your Coffee in a Spaceship – Gundam Cafe
    Gundam, the guardian of Tokyo