During the course of every man’s life they have built a toy model, every little boy has to some degree be it an Air Plane, Tank or one of the multitudes in between. There is a vast sea of choices available to any would be model builder but none more so exciting to us here at J-Curi than Gunpla.
Gunpla, a Japanese portmanteau of ‘Gundam’ and ‘plastic model’, is exactly what it means plastic models of the various Mobile Suits found within the Gundam Universe. For those unfamiliar with Gundam it is a mecha meta-series first created back in 1979 and currently spans across 8 distinct timelines where each of the series title characters pilot a giant mobile suit referred to as Gundam.
Gunpla models are injection-molded Polystyrene with snap fit parts for easy assembly compared to those of yesteryear that required adhesives to build. Models come in various sizes ranging from 1:144 (approx. 13cm tall) to 1:60 (approx. 30cm tall) although larger version can be found they tend to be special editions and command a high price tag. With each size scale of model there is a grade applied to it with 1:144 being High Grade, 1:100 Master Grade and 1:60 Perfect Grade.
The great thing about Gunpla is that you don’t have to be an amazing artist when it comes to the painting as each model comes with coloured parts designed so you have a complete model when finished, although if you happen to be pretty handy with a paint brush then you can give your model a much higher finish and even customise it in your own style. Everyone that builds Gunpla has their favourite grades for me I prefer 1:100 master grades because of the greater detail compared to that of a 1:144 high grade model, although they do cost quite a bit more and require a lot more space to display them. I also can’t resist those funny little Super Deformed (SD) Gunpla.
Gunpla doesn’t stop there though as Sunrise in 2010 released a 3 episode OVA called Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G, which was all about building and customising your own Gunpla to use for battle in an arcade machine (I only wish this was reality). What is reality though is an actual 1:1 full scale RX-78-2 Gundam that was built and can be seen in Japan as a tourist attraction.
If you love gunpla then I urge you to try your hand at PaperCraft, a quick google search will turn up some amazing looking PaperCraft Gundam models quite a few with guides on how to make them too.
As fans of Gunpla we at J-Curi would like to hear your thoughts on Gunpla, your favourite model kits, which scales do you prefer and where do you buy your kits from? Comment below.
Wondering where you can buy Gunpla? Looking to buy your first model kit? Here are a few places I recommend to get you started.
Dedicated UK based companies:
Hobby Link Japan
Co-Written by Terry Hobden