Do you have a passion for collecting Gundam model kits? If so, we want to be your resource on how to start! We will discuss the basics of what is needed to get started and provide tips for finding the best deals. Let’s jump into it!
Table of Contents
What is a Gundam Model Kit?
A Gundam model kit is a toy that typically consists of plastic, Styrofoam, or both. Model kits are used as toys to create models of robots from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam.
Why People Love Collecting Gundam Model Kits
If you enjoy constructing models, then you may enjoy collecting Gundam model kits.
The best part about these kits is that they are all different from one another and some have a little more detail than others.
Some people love the feeling of accomplishment after finishing whichever kit they’re currently working on.
No matter what your reason for enjoying collecting Gundam model kits – whether it be the sense of victory or the ability to create something entirely new with your own two hands- there’s no denying this hobby has its perks!
How to Start Collecting Gundam Model Kits
The basics of what is needed for starting to collect Gundam model kits.
A place to store your collection
The best option for storing your kit is to have a place designated to this hobby. A good place would be a room, cabinet, or shelf that can be seen and accessed easily. It’s also important that the area is properly ventilated so there is not too much dust accumulation.
A supply of tools and materials
One of the most important tools you will need for construction is a hobby knife. Tools are usually easy to find at your local craft store and vary in price depending on the difficulty level. A basic kit will contain a hobby knife, sandpaper, and small brushes.
It is required to habe storage containers or binders with dividers for storing pieces by type – like heads, arms, etc.
A container for your construction materials can be as simple as a shoe box or as fancy as an ornate chest. The size is up to you and the most important thing to look out for is that it is airtight so your Styrofoam doesn’t end up smelling like mice!
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start getting your kit!
Gather Your Materials
You will need a gluing gun and glue sticks for assembling kits.
You’ll also want paint if you’re planning on painting the pieces as well.
Lastly, you’ll need some sort of container or binder with dividers to store your pieces.
You should also keep some sort of reference materials handy to help with identification, like a Gundam encyclopedia or blog posts on the internet!
If you’re new to collecting these kits, then it is recommended that you do not buy any kits until after you have assembled at least one kit and learned how they work.
Once you have learned the basics, then it’s time to go hunting for deals! Look online and in your local area.
There are plenty of places that sell Gundam model kits at a discounted price. The best deals are usually found on clearance or in bargain stores.
When hunting for these kits, it is important to remember that you can always negotiate the price. This is a great way to build your collection affordably and quickly!
Learn How to Assemble Kits
Now comes the fun part- assembling kit pieces together. You’ll need some form of adhesive like glue or hot glue (depending on what type of material) as well as paint if you want to paint the piece after assembling them.
Instructions should be included with each kit, but there is also typically an assembly guide available online too.
The best way learn how these models work is by piecing one together yourself first before diving into any more expensive purchases.
Common Gunpla Terms
- Kit: A Gunpla kit is a set of pre-painted parts made by Bandai that comes in an box.
- Builder: A person who builds models from kits or scratch using pieces called “parts.”
- Part: Any single, individual piece used to assemble.
- Runners: The plastic sticks with the parts molded onto them; basically the sprues.
- Trees: The set of runner parts molded onto a single flat sheet when they’re not in runners form.
- Sprues: A tree-like structure with many identical shapes, typically arranged so the same part appears on every layer. These are commonly used for plastic models to make molding and production easier and cheaper.
- Nubs: The small plastic pieces at the end of a runner that are used to attach parts together.
- Nubmarks: A set of nub marks and corresponding holes on tree or sprues that indicate where part should be placed when assembling kit; they’re often molded into one side of runners, trees, or sprues.
- Gates: A plastic gate on runners that the nubs of parts attach to; they’re used as guides during assembly and ensure proper orientation for pieces with small, hard-to-see details or features.
- Undegate: Used in a kit’s instructions, this refers to gates which must be cut away from runner before assembly.
- PlaMo: A slang word meaning “plastic model.” The term is typically used for Gunpla, but it can also be applied to other plastic models like Gundam or Star Wars figures.
- GunPla: Another name (or acronym) for a Japanese-style hobby of building and painting guntanks from Gundam.
- Resin Kit: A type of Gunpla kit that’s made from a material called “resin” and has different properties than typical plastic models (more on this in the next section).
- GunPla Resin Conversion: This is when you take an existing, non-resin kit and convert it into a resin model.
- OOTB: Short for “out of the box.” This term refers to kits that come pre-painted and with all parts molded in. It’s a common way to buy Gunpla, but obviously not ideal for those who want to paint their own model or customize it in anyway.
- Straight Build: A type of Gunpla where you don’t use any paints or glue–everything is assembled straight from the runners.
- OBB: Acronym meaning “Out-of-the-box build” which refers to when someone assembles an OOTB kit without painting anything on it (or adding decals).
- Kitbash: When one person combines two different models together into a single kit by carefully cutting away the nubs and attaching them to one another.
- WIP: Short for “work in progress.” It’s common practice among Gunpla builders to share pictures of their projects as they go along, so this is used when someone posts a picture on social media or elsewhere while still working on the kit.
- PVC: A type of plastic model that typically has detail stickers instead of molded details like OOTB kits do. This term can also refer to other types of models made from different materials like styrene (which are often referred to by acronyms). For example, PS stands for polystyrene which refers specifically to styrene-based models; ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is a type of styrene-based plastic.
- PS: Acronym meaning polystyrene models; these are typically made from sheets into various shapes before being cut out with tiny cuts around perimeter lines so you can bend it into shape without breaking it. ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is a type of styrene-based plastic.
- ABS: Acronym meaning acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is a type of styrene-based plastic.
Toos & Techniques
- Side Cutter: A cutting tool that typically has a long, straight edge and is used for trimming away parts from runners.
- Hobby Knife: A small craft knife used to cut plastic models or strip-away tape in preparation for painting them.
- Markers: The most common types of markers are those made by Sharpie; these have an opaque tip instead of the typical felt marker (i.e., pens) which can sometimes be transparent when applied on certain surfaces. These work best for drawing clean lines where you want your paintjob to look uniform and not like someone was using different colors all over the place–usually this means they’re drawn on top of previously painted areas before applying any additional coats so they don’t get covered up later down the line.
- Sandingboard: A board with sandpaper on it, usually used for creating uniform surfaces when painting or applying decals by rubbing the surface of a model against them.
- Putty/Cement: Putty is an adhesive that typically comes in thin tubes and can be applied onto areas before attaching pieces together (to make up for any gaps). Cement is another type of adhesive but tends to come in thicker tins; both materials are generally best reserved for projects where there are more gaps than usual and the model will be painted over before decaling.
- Dremel: A small, handheld tool with a rotary cutting attachment that can be used for sanding or sculpting away parts from models–it’s typically best reserved for extra-detailed projects where there are nubs left on pieces after they’re cut out of their runners/mold to help add some detail back in that might have been lost through the process (i.e., panel lining).
- Pin Vise: This is just a little cylindrical tube made out of metal; it has a tiny drill bit attached to one end which you can use for drilling holes into plastic models (especially if they don’t come pre-drilled) or adding extra detailing.
- Grit: This refers to the type of sandpaper you’re using (i.e., coarse, fine). It’s generally best reserved for projects that need serious work done with nubs left over from cutting out pieces and/or pre-drilled holes where needed–you’ll want your paintjob later on to look pretty uniform when it’s all said and done so you don’t end up with huge gaps in places that make no sense; this is especially true if there are decals planned for application after everything dries–if there are weird misalignments in the parts they won’t line up properly! The grit used will depend on what needs the most attention–coarse usually works well for nubs and holes, while finer grit is better for smoothing out whole surfaces or fixing minor imperfections.
- Decals: These are stickers that come in sheets with a clear plastic film on the back of them–one side will have an image printed onto it (usually this is just one character/symbol) whereas the other side will be filled with adhesive material so you can stick them to your model later without any fuss.
- Waterslide Decals: These decal sheets usually come pre-cut into various shapes before being applied as needed; they’re generally used when there’s more than one sticker found on each sheet because their shape makes them easy to line up quickly since there aren’t random bits of paper flopping around to deal with.
- Rub-On: These decals look just like regular paper which is then soaked in water before being rubbed onto the surface of your model–they’re mostly used for small, one-character stickers that can’t be found on any other type of sheet but they do have a tendency to curl up if you don’t apply enough pressure when rubbing them on or let too much time pass between coats (since it’s always best not to touch wet surfaces).
- Drytransfer Decal: A transfer made out of special dry plastic sheets; these are applied by using an inkjet printer and letting them air dry after applying glue over their design so they adhere properly without getting ruined as soon as someone brushes against them. They’re often used for detailed decals that need to be mirrored or positioned in specific ways–they can also come pre-printed on a clear plastic film which is then applied with glue.
- Panel Line: These are grooves found on the surface of models and usually act as an outline of where pieces will go together if they’re meant to match up; sometimes there’s only one panel line per part, but other times (especially when you find two) it acts as a dividing point between different sections like the side skirts from Gundam ZZ would have had them.
- Panel Lining: This refers to adding accent lines in places that don’t already have them because your model has been cut out into symmetrical shapes so you’ll want some kind of distinction in the design; a common place for these to be found is around vents or the front of thrusters.
- Progressive Sanding: This refers to sanding in a series of progressively finer grits until you’ve reached the desired level of smoothness; this is typically done after all other detailing has been completed and it’s mostly used when there are wide surfaces that need smoothing out.
- Buffing: This is another technique for finishing off your model–you’ll want to use some kind of wax or polish (something along the lines of carnauba, rubbing compound, or toothpaste) which will create an even gloss finish like what you’d find on a new paint job. It should be noted that models with clear parts won’t have any difference as a result since they’re already fully reflective from their original state!
- Rubbing: A process where thin layers of paint are applied over the surface of an older layer in order to blend together any harsh edges that may have been created from mistakes or other flaws; this can often create a sense of depth given how it’s shading darker on top and gradually lightening towards the bottom.
- Pre-shade: This is when you apply black paint (or some kind of dark color) underneath certain areas so they’ll be easier to see later–examples might include panel lines, vents, symbols/stencils, etc.; priming helps with this process too since it’ll make these marks stand out more against your base coat.
- Post-shade: A technique whereby gray paints will be used for painting small details like nubs while white paint is used for large areas like the top of a thruster or the front of an armor plate.
- Wash: This refers to thinning down your paint with various solutions so it’ll cover more surface area without being too transparent–examples might include water, ink, alcohol, turpentine, etc.; this technique can create different effects depending on what color you end up using and how much time has passed between coats (since wet surfaces are always best not touched).
- Panel Line Wash: A process which combines panel lining with washes by applying light colors around them; usually these should be in darker shades but there’s no set rule since they’re just meant to accentuate whatever line has been drawn beforehand. Sometimes clear decal paper will be used for this instead of paint since it’ll show up better against dark colors.
- Spot Wash: A technique which places thin washes in specific areas where you want to bring out certain details–examples might include panel lines, vents, symbols/stencils, etc.; sometimes these are created using clear decal paper so they’re not as noticeable while other times they can just blend together with your base coat and create a more subtle effect.
- Reverse Wash: This is when the darkest parts of an area get given lighter shades (or vice versa) because there’s multiple layers that need some extra attention; examples would include painting black onto white or gray onto black depending on what color scheme you plan to use.
- Mod: A shortening of “modification” which can mean just about anything regarding your model; this includes changes to the shape, body panels (like swapping out an arm for one from another kit), or even painting different symbols/stencils onto it.
- Weathering: This is a technique that involves adding various textures and wear-and-tear marks into your paint job so it looks more realistic–examples might include dust, grime, rust streaks, etc.; you don’t have to be too detailed with these since they should only show up in specific areas like where parts may see higher amounts of movement or debris. It’s also important not to overdo them because no matter how good you think something may look, it’ll always stand out more if you let some of the original color show through.
- Scribing: This is when you use a scribe or other sharp tool to carve into your model’s surface in order to create panel lines and various details–sometimes these can be made with decal paper too so they’re not as noticeable but this will depend on what type of paint job technique people are using; most often these markings should follow patterns which might differ depending on whether someone was doing repairs or building something from scratch (because there may have been different techniques used).
- Scribing Tool: A device that allows anyone to make their own marks by pressing against plastic models–many times this acts like an extension for one’s fingers because all you need to do is hold it against the surface you want to mark and then drag your fingernail down; these are available in a number of sizes but usually have different shapes depending on what they’re meant for (such as lines, circles, squares/rectangles).
- Scratchbuild: A technique where you create something from scratch instead of using an already-made model–examples might include creating a kit by painting over pre-existing parts or making any kind of alternate armor that doesn’t exist yet.
- Plaplates: These refer to small plastic plates which can be used when building models like Gundam kits so that joints will fit together better–these should press firmly into place so there’s little chance they’ll fall out during the build process but they should also be easy to remove when you’re done so you don’t damage your model.
- HIP: Stands for High Impact Plastic. Similar to Plaplates.
- Drybrushing: A technique that involves using dry paint over wet which usually creates more subtle effects–it can be used alone or combined with other techniques like washes and panel lines. It may seem strange at first since this type of painting is supposed to mimic an object seen through a thin layer of dust, rain, etc., without actually being dirty.
- Battle Damage: It’s easy to tell when something is damaged in battle by looking at the wear-and-tear marks–examples can include dents, scratches, dirt/grime buildup (usually around joints and other moving parts), etc.
So What Have We Learned?
We’ve learned the basics of how to start collecting Gundam model kits.
- Take your time learning everything you need before grabbing any new pieces while on a budget.
- Search for deals online and locally, as they can be found anywhere.
- Read instructions thoroughly and watch videos that may help with assembly if needed.
Some people love creating models and others enjoy being able to create something entirely new by their own hand. No matter what your reason is for enjoying these kits, it’s easy to see why this hobby has its perks!
It’s important when starting out not only have a place for storage but also necessary tools like paint or other materials. Taking the time to learn about assembling Kits will give you more confidence in building them too!