Gundam model kits have exploded in popularity in recent years. These intricate plastic models allow hobbyists to assemble their own robots from the iconic Gundam anime franchise. The attention to detail and customization options make Gundam models an incredibly rewarding hobby.
However, the complex designs can also make Gundam models intimidating for beginners. With hundreds of tiny parts to assemble, it's easy to get overwhelmed. That's why having a solid step-by-step manual is so important when you're starting out.
In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to assemble your first Gundam model kit. We'll discuss the essential tools and equipment, choosing the right kit to start with, and take you through the full construction process step-by-step. We'll also provide plenty of tips to take your skills to the next level.
Let's get building!
What You Need to Start Building Gundam
While Gundam kits allow for incredible detail and customization, the basic tools needed are relatively simple:
Nippers or Side Cutters: Essential for removing parts from the plastic frames without damaging them.
Hobby Knife: For trimming excess plastic and mold lines after removing parts from the frames.
Sanding Sticks: Used to smooth over cut marks and seams between parts. Get a variety from coarse to extra fine grits.
You'll also need model cement to glue parts together, though many Gundam kits can snap together without glue. Acrylic paints, panel lining markers, decals, and topcoats will allow you to customize the look of your finished model.
When buying tools and supplies, read reviews and shop around. Higher quality materials can make the building process much easier for beginners.
Choosing the Right Gundam Model to Start With
With hundreds of Gundam kits to choose from, narrowing down your first build can be tricky. In general, here are some of the best options for beginners:
HG Gundam Kits: "High Grade" models offer lots of detail without being too complex. Great for starting out.
Entry Grade (EG) or First Grade (FG): The most beginner-friendly designs with easy snap-fit construction.
SD "Super Deformed" Kits: Chibi-style compact models are simpler to build.
Gundam Base Limited Models: Special simple designs created specifically for new builders.
The key things to look for are color-molded parts over stickers, low part counts, and straightforward assembly. Don't be afraid to ask more experienced Gundam builders for recommendations as well!
Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Gundam Model
Once you've got your tools, supplies, and chosen your first kit, it's time to start the build process! Follow these steps and you'll have an awesome Gundam model on your desk in no time:
Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials
Make sure you have all your necessary tools like nippers, hobby knife, sanding sticks, glue, etc. Also gather any paints or panel liners you'll use for customization later on. Clear off a workspace and get ready to build!
Step 2: Understand the Parts
Carefully remove parts from the plastic frames using your nippers. Trim off any excess plastic with your hobby knife. Take time to see how parts connect and fit together before cementing anything permanently.
Step 3: Start Assembling
Begin putting pieces together by snapping them into place. If needed, use small amounts of glue for more fragile joints. Take it slow and follow the instructions closely during this crucial stage.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
With the main assembly complete, it's time for finishing details. Panel line wash adds depth to recesses. Decals and stickers provide colorful insignia. Topcoats protect paint jobs and give a uniform sheen. Add your own creative flair!
Taking Your Gundam Model Building Skills to the Next Level
As you complete more builds, you'll pick up techniques for taking your Gundam models to the next level. Here are some tips:
Practice on Simple Kits First: Hone your skills on inexpensive, straightforward builds before tackling complex projects.
Experiment with Painting & Weathering: Try out custom color schemes, battle damage, rust, etc. Lots of room for creativity!
Join Online Communities: Connect with fellow Gundam modelers for tips, inspiration, or to show off your latest work!
Watch Tutorials: YouTubers like ZakuAurelius offer great airbrushing, lighting, and posing guides.
Take Your Time: Rushing leads to mistakes. Allow adequate drying time for paint and glue.
Invest in Quality Materials: Better nippers, paints, airbrushes, etc. can make all the difference.
Keep Learning: Read blogs, magazines, and manuals to stay updated on new techniques.
Don't be afraid to experiment and make mistakes on your path to Gundam greatness! It's all part of the learning process.
We've just scratched the surface of everything that goes into assembling and customizing Gundam models. But hopefully this guide has provided a useful introduction to this incredibly fun and rewarding hobby.
With some basic tools, patience, and practice, anyone can build spectacular Gundam kits. So what are you waiting for? Grab your nippers and start snapping together your first giant robot!