Ever since the creation of plastic (well, maybe a bunch after), people have molded it to look like other things; cars, boats, airplane. All that jazz.
Then at some point, giant robots got mainstream. Like, very mainstream. This is partially due to a show called “Mobile Suit Gundam“. And from that, as time went on, Gunpla was born.
Gunpla is a portmanteau of “Gundam plastic model”. While they have been in circulation since the 80’s, they only really hit their stride in the 90’s and beyond. They gained much popularity in their ease of creation; they do not require glue nor paint (older ones might need some paint touch ups for some effects/parts), and just snap together. They are easy to make and almost anyone can make one; but those of skill can create things which are no less than works of art.
Now you are probably asking; what’s he going on about? Why the sudden talk of this “Gunpla” thing? Well, I intend to do reviews on kits that I’ve picked up! I look up for reviews on kits I’m interested in, and found that a lot in my style are lacking; they are all painted professionally, or the “review” is simply a string of pictures showing various poses. Yes, we know its pretty; but how much articulation does it have? How many goodies are with it? What are pros and cons of the kit itself, in terms of quality, accessories, and just level of fun to make it? I wanted to make more for those who seek such reviews.
Before I go further, I want to mention the different scales present in Gunpla.
Yes, that’s a £10 bill for size comparison. Yes, it is accurate.
The bottom of it cut off, but they read: 1/144, 1/100, 1/220, HG, MG, PG, HGUC
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kit of this size. They are tiny, and probably were only around when Gunpla first started rolling out. Size probably prevents most of the details as well… I don’t think it really “counts” for many in the Gunpla community.
High Grade: 1/144
The HG kits are the smallest of the “serious” kits. Debuting in 1990, they have enough detail in them to tell individual panels and whatnot, though are still a decent size; they stand around 12cm (5″) average. They are also the most popular of the sizes, and have well over 100 kits; if there’s a mobile suit that shows up, it probably has a HG kit. While geared towards beginners, they are loved by all alike. Their customization (at least with newer kits) is top-notch; mix and matching kits together is a breeze. Most of my reviews will be HG kits.
HGUC is the same as HG, just with the Universal Century tag on it. This is mostly for telling the difference between mobile suits that show up all over the timeline. The HGUC line is also newer and more advanced. Most HG kits will have the HGUC tag to them, they came out in 1999.
Master Grade: 1/100
Released in 1995 and getting a bit bigger, the Master Grade kits have more detail, and many more parts. They usually have some gimmicks such as opening hatches, additional articulation, and special details that the HG kits are simply too small to show. Most of these average about 18cm (7 1/2″) in height, and are geared towards more advanced builders. The amount of poses you can do with these exceeds that of the HGs, despite being larger. This is largely due to how the kits are designed. The MGs typically have a “base layer” of plastic, then the “outer layer” on top. The outer layer can usually slide or adjust, allowing maximum articulation.
Real Grade: 1/144
Real Grade kits are the newest line of Gunpla, coming out in 2010 as part of the “Gundam 30th Anniversary“. There are roughly 20 kits of these, mostly the titular suits from the show. They are an in-between of HG and MG; they are the size of HG kits, but have quality similar to that of the MG line.
Perfect Grade: 1/60
The Perfect Grade kits are essentially the Gunpla endgame, in terms of size and out-of-the-box quality. They are big (usually around a foot tall), have a LOT of parts (some metal, even), and possess an insane amount of detailing that puts the other kit sizes to shame. Of course, they are also much more expensive; an HG kit is usually about ¥15,000 (about $15) and up, MG’s starting around ¥50,000 ($50), and PG kits being at least ¥150,000 ($150!). That’s a lot for a bunch of plastic! Though they are truly works of art once they are completed.
The only exception I can think of off the top of my head for not following the size rule is the HG Neo Zeong from Gundam Unicorn. Here is a picture of it in the back of a car!
Yeah, it’s kinda big. Its also well over $200, so unless you mail me one, don’t expect a review of it anytime soon.
Here it is beside an HG Unicorn Gundam, for size comparison. I don’t even know where I would put the damn thing.
Though the kits do not have painting or gluing to be completed, there is one technique that I do use; panel lining. As the name may imply, it is done by lining the panels (or lines) within a kit. While it adds a large amount of time to the construction of the kit, I think its payout speaks for itself. Here are two shots of the same kit (HG Double X Gundam), the top having no panel lining done, and the bottom with it.
The bottom also has some hatches closed; though the HG kits have -less- gimmicks, it doesn’t mean they are absent of them.
As you can imagine, all my further kits will be panel lined. Any “special details” that I lined intentionally will be notated.
I just thought this was funny; couldn’t resist.
I hope that this has been a good basis for some terms that will be used in articles; I intend to link back to this so I don’t have to state it in every review.
I hope that I can show people the joys of Gunpla, as well as provide solid reviews for those looking for “mostly out-of-the-box” information. Please look forward to my first review!