Do you like giant robots?
Do you perhaps like plastic models of giant robots?
If so, welcome one and all to the third thread on building Gunpla (Gun
stic models), other models, and related hobbies! Many of us here love our model-building. In fact, here is just a sampling of the models built by forumers:
Since this is the third of these threads, I'll keep the OP a bit shorter. Suffice to say if you have questions about which models to pick up if you're new to the hobbym ask away! We're friendly folks here. If you are an experienced model-builder and want an interesting challenge, we here have suggestions for you as well. Want to take your model-crafting to the next level? Here are some tips from yours truly:
Most modern gunpla kits don't need glue. You can use some here and there as needed, but if you're worried about the gross (and potentially dangerous) fumes, worry not. You can put together most HG (High Grade) and MG (Master Grade) kits without glue.
Next up is painting. 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 airbrushing. However, many modern gunpla kits don't need any painting at all: they're molded with show-accurate colors. You may want to hit your model with some topcoat, though. If you do want to paint, I personally recommend to acrylic paints since they are water-based and thus easy to thin. They are also the least toxic (still use them with caution!). Also note: some paints will react badly with the plastic used to make Gunpla and other models. Do your research before spending a lot of money on paint.
There are two ways to paint pieces of your model: in the molding cradle and after you take them out. I highly recommend you cut pieces out of their cradle, sand them, and maybe assemble some parts 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. Yes, after all this time I've not been able to try it. Yet! So take my advice with a grain of salt. 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.
Panel lining is a popular way to make your model 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 pick up some Gundam Markers, aka Gundam pens. The fine-tipped ones are very 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 also probably going to want to di a clear topcoat as a sealant over the panel lining, by the way. As for undoing mistakes; I've found a white plastic eraser actually removes the ink from a Gundam Marker! (The ink types, not the actual paint Markers.) I use a Pentel Hi-Polymer eraser. If you mess up with paint let it dry first, then work on a correction. You'll make less of a mess that way.
Gunpla Modeling 101
A Layman's Gunpla Guide
Building for beginners