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Guide to Gundam model kits

Guide to Gundam model kits

-Written by: Jenny Lau

At RightStuf Anime a common sight to see are cubicles decorated with anime figures and posters. Every time I pass by Jocelyn’s desk I often stare and marvel at her assembled Gundam model kits. 

It got me wondering if someone like me, with no building experience, could tackle one of these? I was up for the challenge and decided to purchase my first Gundam Model Kit.

This is what I got: Gaeon 1/144 High Grade

Of course, I selected this kit based on some advice. Jocelyn had sat me down earlier that week to give me Gundam Building pointers.

Jocelyn explained the first thing to know about building Gundams are the Grades and Scales. Understanding these two terms helps to pick your model kit.

Scales: How the actual model measures up to an actual Gundam

  • 1/144: The smallest scale (5 or 6 inches tall)
  • 1/100: Mid-Range (7.5 inches tall)
  • 1/60: This is where the Gundam models start feeling about life size like in the picture below

The best scale for a beginner to start at is the 1/144. Jocelyn suggested completing this Gundam kit first before moving onto other scales.

Grades: The quality of the parts and level of mastery it takes to complete

  • High Grade - Molded in colors which don’t require painting. This grade is best for beginners.
  • Real Grade - The same scale as their High Grade counterparts (1/144), but they have a little more detail. These come with an inner frame (sort of like a skeleton) that you can layer under the armor and external parts. This makes the Gundam model flexible to do different poses.
  • Master Grade - These are sophisticated in detail and the majority come with a skeleton frame. An individual should build a few Gundam 1/144 model kits before purchasing a Master Grade.
  • Perfect Grade - Intricate detail, the most expensive, and great for anyone that wants a challenge!

Jocelyn suggested I buy a tool kit to help with my first model. However, instead of purchasing one, I used what I already had: a box cutter, eyebrow tweezer, nail file, and a side cutter.

When I first opened my box, I was surprised to find that the Guide Book (instruction manual) was in JAPANESE!! My eyes had to be the size of saucers because Jocelyn chuckled, but reassured me that I didn’t need to know how to read the manual. All I had to do was to follow the letters and numbers in the guide book in order to find and cut the pieces for assembly.

Before cutting my first Gundam piece out, Jocelyn had a few more pointers

  • Do not mix Gundam pieces from the same grade and scale. Your Gundam Model Kit is unique to itself!
  • Do not use glue to build your model kit! Glue can ruin your Gundam joints and will cause it to lose flexibility for poses
  • You can build your model kit with a partner! This is a fun activity for children and parents and it’s a great way to introduce someone to modeling! Jocelyn says she got into modeling because of her grandfather
  • You are going to make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. Gundam model kits take time to master. For example, you might cut a piece too short or chisel the sides that leave stress marks

Remember to have fun building your Gundam Model!

Jocelyn told me, “There is something about using your own hands to create. Every piece I cut and snap together is thrilling for me to watch. When my Gundam Model kit is completed, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I did something on my own.” After I spoke with Jocelyn, I hoped to feel the same way after completing my model kit. With a little help from my boyfriend, I tackled the challenge!

Time-lapse Video of Me Building a Gundam Model Kit

After completing my Gundam Model kit, it now sits next to my computer as reminder to myself that I did it! I feel proud of the fact I tried something new. Every time I look at my OWN Gundam figure, I quietly say to myself “You Go Girl.”

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