I don’t usually write, so this may be a bit awkward at first, but I wanted to introduce you to a passion of mine, and that is Gunpla. For those out there that don’t know, Gunpla is Gundam Plastic Model Kit shortened. They come in multiple grades and prices, with the cheapest being the 1/144 scale No Grade kits, while the most expensive and detailed coming in around $200 for the cheapest Perfect Grade kits that are nearly 20 years old. Most of the time they are made using ABS plastic, with some rubber for connecting joints. Most also come with foil stickers for the shinier bits, though some builders prefer painting above any kind of decals or stickers. That is just the tip of the tower, with resin mold kits available for those with the patience and skill for such techniques.
As far as the grades go, most start out with 1/144 scale High Grade. Simple, quick to assemble, and with basic details molded into the plastic. Most HG kits come in around $15, though at the extreme end is one that costs nearly $300. The kits are hollow, with little in the way of internals, and only basic gimmicks and articulation. There are exceptions of course, such as the HG Gundam Barbatos, which has an entire internal frame structure, being as most of the visible on-screen Gundam is bare frame with little armor. Most gimmicks are done with parts forming, or just moving pieces around to achieve the desired look, and for the most part is done well enough without impacting basic articulation.
Mast Grade kits are the next step up, being done in 1/100 scale, with much more detail and overall parts count, and a higher price to match. Even the oldest 20 year old kits still sell for around $40, and most others selling for around $60. Exclusive kits start to come in the MG line as well, being known as P‑Bandai, and start around $120, though mostly they are recolors or slight variations of the original kit. In this line internal frames are normal, with varying levels of complexity and detail. The outer armor is detailed, with most coming from panel lines molded into the plastic, with little need to paint for on-screen accuracy. Foil stickers are still commonly used, though not to the extent of HG kits. With the MG line, gimmicks are built in, with sliding mechanisms, hinges, and small gears.
Also in the 1/100 scale are No Grade kits. Basically, they are just bigger HG kits, albeit with some extra features not usually found in either MG or HG. Some have a very basic inner frame, while others are hollow; some use built in gimmicks while others use parts forming. Most of the No Grade kits are for mobile suits that have enough popularity to call for the higher price tag that comes with the larger scale, but not popular enough to warrant the cost of the extra detail and inner frame of a MG. These kits can range anywhere from $30 – 100 depending on the overall size, with most falling around the $35 mark. No Grade kits also come in the 1/144 scale, though they have not been made in that scale for a few years as the process for making the HG kits has advanced enough to lower production costs and consumer prices to such a point that they would essentially cost the same, for lower detail.
The last grade in this piece is Perfect Grade, and they are as the name implies, the best Gunpla you can buy. They are in 1/60 scale, and have intricate details on even the smallest, most hidden parts. Pistons work as actual pistons, tiny details are molded in, and the internal frame is — quite frankly — ridiculously complex. Nuts and bolts are not unusual to see on internal pieces, piping is common, and LED lights are commonly used to light up cameras and other glowing pieces. The PG line is the smallest, with few mobile suits deemed worthy enough of the cost of developing such an intricate kit. Like all other grades, they are snap fit, sometimes with screws to hold heavier pieces. With such an intricate build, individual fingers are posable, armor is removable without taking parts of inner frame off with it, and even the cockpits are in full detail. However, unlike the other grades, painting is almost never needed as all parts are molded in correct color. These kits are at the high-end of pricing, even for the oldest kits, coming in at around $130 for the cheapest 20-year-old PG, and nearly $500 for the newest. Complexity plays a large role in cost, as the simple no frills PG kits have far fewer parts comparatively.
That sums up the basics of Gunpla, but there is still far more to go into, with resin molds, custom builds, and more for anyone interested. The popularity of Gunpla may not seem like much in the United States, but abroad is a completely different story with competitions like the Gundam Builders World Cup taking place in China, the Phillipines, and Japan. In those competitions the customization of kits of all scales would make you think they are merely statues, unable to move, but they can move and are often posed differently in order to impress judges.
As far as things go, that’s what I’ll be talking about mainly around here. Gunpla news, reviews, and whatever else comes to mind with model kits in general. I’m a massive weeb, and you can simply call me GundamArashi, as that is where you can find me most places. Writing this has been a pleasure — an odd one at that at school never really instilled a need to write. I hope to write more for you all, and hope you are inclined to give Gunpla a look!
Latest posts by GundamArashi (see all)
- An Introduction to Gunpla — September 20, 2016