Do you like giant robots?
Do you perhaps like plastic models of giant robots?
If so, then then welcome to the second Gunpla & other plastic models thread! Many of us here are big fans of Gun
stic models and/or other scale models. In fact, here is just a sampling of the Gunpla built by forumers:@AtomicTofu
Perhaps you, dear reader, have never built an awesome plastic model of an equally awesome giant robot. (Or maybe you've built a few and are looking to take things to the next level.) Allow me then to provide some further information:CHOOSING YOUR MECHA MODEL: WHAT GRADE DO YOU WANT?
The official Gundam model kits made my Bandai are, for the most part, produced in three scales: 1/144th, 1/100th, and 1/60th size.
(I think the one on the far left is a capsule toy...)
There are numerous different types of models aimed at varying skill levels. Most models you find these are labelled as High Grade. But not to worry, new model-builder: there are kits of this grade aimed towards people looking for their first kit. They include, but are not limited to:HGUC RX-78-2 Gundam Revive Model KitBeginning J Gundam
I personally recommend you consider a 1/100th scale HG model, new kit-builder. Why? The parts are larger and thus usually easier to work with. The smaller 1/144th scale tend to be cheaper, though, so it's a matter of what you think is the best fit for your skill level and budget. Do not fret and remember to take your time and, if you run into a problem, ask for advice in this thread or search online. There are a variety of good guides out there. (Some of which I've linked later in this post.)
If you've built a few models by now I would suggest you look in to the next two more advanced grades of Gunpla: Master Grade and Real Grade. 1/100th scale Master Grade (MG) models are a step up in complexity from their 1/100th HG equivalents. They often feature articulated "skeletons" underneath their armor, more pieces, and a lot more range of movement. Of course, there is a greater cost to go along with this jump in quality and complexity. But if you're really enjoying building Gunpla, I recommend you treat yourself to a MG kit of your favorite mecha. (If there is such a model... but MG kits are becoming much more common as time goes on. So fear not, fan of obscure mecha!)
Real Grade (RG) kits are a lot like MG kits... except they are 1/144th scale! This means you are often dealing with nearly as many pieces as a MG kit, except all those pieces are smaller and thus more of a challenge to work with. The upside is I've seen RG kits often go for less than their MG kit equivalents. There is an increasing variety of RG kits available, and while I have yet to build one myself they do look and articulate better than 1/144th scale HG kits.
Then, of course, we come to the pinnacle of Gunpla kits: The Perfect Grade! These kits are 1/60th scale, and therefore pretty darn big! They have fully-articulated interior "skeletons", more moving parts than you can count, and often some metal parts (such as screws and bolts) for added stability and durability. They look amazing, take quite a bit of effort to build and (of course) cost quite a bit more than, say, a Master Grade kit of the same mecha. I salute you, brave model builder, if you have ever tackled a PG kit!
I should note there are "Super-Deformed" (SD) kits available as well: these are little mini kits of Gundam mecha squished and morphed to look, well, adorable. They are usually pretty cheap, have few parts, and have their own charm. (Think Hello Kitty does Gundam.) Some people recommend these as good starter kits, due to their simplicity and low cost. In my experience, however, they almost always need plenty of glue, which is a nice segue into...BUILDING YOUR GUNPLA: PAINT, GLUE, MARKERS, OH MY!
Back in the day Gundam models needed paint to look nice and glue to stay together. (Remember those old 1/144th scale model kits you could get at Toys 'R Us? I do. They were not very good, in retrospect...) These days, however, you can put together most HG kits with little to no glue. I do recommend using glue when possible, though. It makes your model less likely to shed a part. I personally use Model Master Liquid Cement
. You can use "glue anything" types of cement and glue, but usually modeling cement is cheaper and better-suited for the task at hand. Make sure to do your gluing in a well-ventilated area! And remember to stop if you ever feel woozy or get a headache. Model glue is not harmless stuff, and I always wear gloves & a respirator (I do my gluing right in front of an open window too) if I can.
Now we come to painting. There are some excellent guides on painting & detailing Gunpla which I will include below. Generally speaking you have three types of painting you can do: spray painting (with "rattle cans" as they are often called), by-hand painting using various brushes, and finally airbrushing. I personally stick to acrylic paints since they are water-based and thus easy to thin. They are also the least toxic, but still use them with caution! Warning: some paints will react badly with the plastic used to make Gunpla, degrading the integrity! Right now I stick to rattle cans and hand painting. I use the former outside on newspaper or some other surface I don't care about getting paint on. The latter I use in front of a window, and mostly just use for touch-ups, small pieces, and details.
Now there are two ways to paint pieces of your model... in the molding cradle and after you take them out. Really, I highly recommend you cut pieces out of their cradle, sand them, and maybe even glue a few together before painting. It might mean you have to paint one or two pieces at a time but I've found the end result looks so much nicer. Painting pieces in the molding cradle means saving time but cutting corners with the end product. Besides, you're going to be painting individual pieces if your ever upgrade to an Airbrush...
Airbrushing is something I would love to get in to. I've never done it so take my advice with a grain of salt, folks. Unlike the other kinds of painting it requires a higher initial investment. Namely, putting down a chunk of change ($200... ish) for a mini compressor and an airbrush. You can go crazy and easily spend $1,000 or more, but most advice I've received recommends going for a middle-range compressor and brush. The two major types of brush are gravity-feed (or top-feed) and bottom-feed. Each has their own unique advantages and quirks, so I really recommend you do your research first. If all else fails maybe you can borrow one from a friend and see how you like using it. Airbrushing often produced some truly impressive and beautiful paint jobs.
Panel lining is a popular way to make your model (not just Gunpla) look better. However, some find it frustrating or even confusing. How do you get those thin lines full of ink or paint? How do you clean up errors? Well, first see if you can't pick up some Gundam Markers
. Yes, they are expensive but the fine-tipped ones are actually pretty darn good for doing panel lines and subtle details. Practice on one model, or maybe on a spare part. Some folks say you can panel line without doing any painting at all, but I find the ink tends to stick a bit better sometimes if there is a paint coat below it. You are going to want to use a clear topcoat as a sealant anyways. As for undoing mistakes... Make sure to let the ink or paint dry before handling a piece! That's good general advice, really. And I've found a white plastic eraser actually removes the ink from a Gundam Marker! (The super-fine tip type, or the fine-tip type... not the actual paint Markers...) I use a Pentel Hi-Polymer eraser
Now, with all that being said about painting... most MG and PG models need no painting, really, save for perhaps a topcoat to deal in panel lines and other details. These days Gunpla model pieces are molded in show-accurate colors, even the HG kits.ONLINE GUNPLA RESOURCES
Here is an assortment of tutorials and how-to blog posts I've found useful:A Comparison of HG, MG, RG and PG models of the same mecha.
In this case, a Zaku II.Gundam Modeling 101
(...and 102 is linked at the bottom of the article.)Building for Beginners: tips and tricks.A truly extensive guide
with multiple sections devoted to everything from selecting a model to detailing battle damage.A very nice general Gunpla building, painting & detailing guide.
(No, I have no idea why he's not wearing a shirt in that one picture...)
I make no promises my advice -or the advice given in the links above- are "Gunpla gospel." Do your research, practice, and go with what feels like it'd be the most fun for you! After all, this hobby is supposed to be fun!THIS THREAD IS FOR ALL KINDS OF SCALE MODELS
Now... if you've read all this and are thinking, "gee, building models sure looks like fun... but I don't really like Gundam mecha." Well, why not build a Zoid model
...Or Poe's X-Wing Fighter
...Or a Russian T-34/76 Tank
Whatever your passion, I am sure there is a model out there for you! In fact, feel free to talk about whatever models you are working on in this thread. I've found good advice can apply to almost any kind of model. Please, feel free to share your advice, questions, works-in-progress and finished models here.