Gundam Models refers to
plasticand non-plastic model kits depicting the mecha, vehicles and characters of the fictional Mobile Suit Gundamuniverse. These kits have become popular among animefans and model-lovers, especially in Japanand in other nearby Asian countries since 1980s. The popularity of Gundam models increased in 1990s with North Americaand Europebeing exposed to " Gundam" through television, videoand manga. These Gundam Models may also be called nihongo|Gunpla|ガンプラ| Ganpura, a portmanteauof "Gu"ndam "Pla"stic Model".
Plastic Gundam model kits are manufactured by
Bandaiin Japan (or China) which has an exclusive license in manufacturing and marketing them around the world, the first of them being sold in 1980 in Japan. These consist of several frames of injection molded styrene parts ("runners" or "sprues") which must be cut out of the frame before assembly. The majority of post-1990 models have snap-fit parts, with models prior to that requiring an adhesivesuch as plastic cement. Plastic Gundam models kits are typically supplied with stickers and sometimes decals to apply extra colors and markings as seen they are seen in popular media such as TV shows, movies, mangaor video games. Smaller or lower grade kits often require paint to give the model a finished appearance, due to colour discrepancies.
The kits range in different scales with the most popular scales being: 1:550 , 1:220, 1:144, 1:100 and 1:60, and more recently the 1:35 (UC HardGraph) line. Due to the varying sizes of the source designs, the actual sizes of these kits varies greatly, with some kits lalbeled 1/144 being as tall as some kits labeled 1/100 (while still being in scale to their fictional counterparts). Generally in real world terms, kits range from 4-5 inches for small scale models, 6-8 inches for mid scale models, and 12 inches for big scale models, although these sizes vary wildly from model to model. With a few exceptions, all currently-produced kits bear grade ratings that give a good idea about their final quality. The following lists the most well-known and common categories with
humanoiddesigns (very roughly) in their order of quality, from lowest to highest.
Please note that other categories, such as EX Model, do exist. They are simply not listed here. Additionally, Bandai often produces limited-run kits for special events such as
JAFCONor C3. These have different packaging, and usually only differ from their common counterparts in that they are metal-plated or made of translucent plastic.
Gunpla Scales and Grades
Not based on any particular scale, SD Gundam (
Super Deformed Gundam) features comically-proportioned models, the most noticeable features of which are their very large heads. These kits are often very easy to construct but offer very limited articulation and require paint and detailing to truly "finish" the kit. The most famous line is the BB Senshi ("SD GUNDAM BB Warriors" on Bandai's English page). Depending on the popularity of series, SD units may also be sold in separate product lines: For instance, " Superior Defender Gundam Force". There was another line called "Ganso SD Gundam" but has since been discontinued in the 1990s. Most kits of this line are from the Musha Gundamseries and the Knight Gundam series.
Bandai put the First "Speed Grade" Gundam Model kits into production in 2007. They are packaged in a bag, and come with minimal, pre-colored and painted pieces and a display stand. The kits are in the 1/200 scale. Lacking high mobility and detail, they are ideal for children. Unlike Bandai's other Model kits, the Speed Grade series of kits are made in China, not Japan. The plastic is cheaper, and of a less quality.
The very first kits have been running for 20 years (starting with RX-78-2 'Gundam') and are routinely re-released by Bandai. These kits, when completed, had a very poor range of motion which rendered them almost unposeable. In addition, adhesives and paint were necessities, not options. Although not called as such back then, these models were retroactively categorized as NG (No Grade), to differentiate it from FG (First Grade).
Limited Edition 1:144 scale
1:144 scale no-grade kits based on certain mobile suits and mobile armour in ' and ', as well as a single unit from '. These are called Limited Model (LM) kits since it consists of various mobile units and at least one support aircraft, aside from being produced in limited numbers only. These kits needed glue and paint to finish the model. Only known mobile units to have an LM kit are: OZ-06MS "Leo" OZ-012SMS "Taurus", DT-6800A "Daughtress", RMS-006G "Jenice Custom", GS-9900 "G-Falcon", and the RB-79K "Ball Kai"'.
Introduced in 1999, these kits feature plastic internal joints that doesn't require polycaps. Initially only three model kits are only produced (RX-78-2 "Gundam", MS-06 "Zaku II Mass-Production Type", and MS-06S "Zaku II Commander Type" (Char Aznable Custom)), however this line is re-introduced in mid-2007 to accommodate the four Gundams from "
Mobile Suit Gundam 00". The first FGs contain integrated joints and are all colored in their pre-domintant color (painting is required), while the latest doesn't require nippers to remove parts from their specific gates, are multi-colored and includes polycaps for joints.
High Grade 1:144 scale
Later the quality of the molding improved and HG (High Grade) level kits were introduced in 1990, started from the titular mobile suits of the first 4 tv-series. These kits feature some sort of an "internal frame" (for the first two kits) and provide better range of motion and were more poseable. It would later lend its name to the more advanced High Grade Universal Century, and more recently High Grade Gundam 00.
High Grade Universal Century(HGUC)
1:144 kits based on models seen in U.C. (
Universal Century) productions, the first of which were released in May 1999. The HGUC line represented the chance to release many upgraded designs for the first time in kit form with modern injection moulding technology. These are of good quality, and new designs plus model improvements continue to be introduced into this line even today. This grade is largely considered to be the rightful heir of the original HG line. Until now, all unit from the HGUC series are mobile suits before U.C.0093 and over 50% of the units are from the One Year War (including variations).
High Grade Fighting Action
1:144 kits based on the models seen in the OVA and movie "". It is called "Fighting Action" since their respective models include certain parts (usually additional chest parts depicted bending forward) to recreate their "signature" action poses depicted at their respective box arts.
High Grade Gundam SEED
1:144 kits based on the models seen in the C.E. productions, mainly "
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED", " Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray", " Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny", and " Mobile Suit Gundam SEED C.E. 73 Stargazer". They are considered equivalent in quality to earlier HGUC models.
High Grade Gundam SEED MSV
Same as the kits from the High Grade Gundam SEED line, now based from the mobile suits from "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED MSV".
High Grade Gundam 00
1:144 kits based on the units in "
Mobile Suit Gundam 00", currently about 20 units have been announced to be released in this series. Unlike HG Gundam SEED, more advanced skills which has been previously applied on recent models in High Grade Universal Century has been used.
Just like the 1:144 scale model kits, these kits started about the same time with the very first 1:144 model kits, again starting from RX-78-2 "Gundam". "Generic" 1:100 kits may also be called "No-Grade" (NG 1:100)" to differentiate from other specific 1:100 kits.
High Grade 1:100 scale
1:100 kits, MG (Master Grade) models were first introduced in the summer of 1995, designed and made to higher standards than most other models. Appropriately, these take much longer to construct and are often much more expensive than their lower-grade counterparts. MG models are very presentable even straight from the box, but like previous grades can be improved through further detailing and painting. A notable design difference from lower grades is that MG models are supported by a detailed
endoskeletonof sorts (known as the "inner frame system"), which most if not all external features attach onto; in comparison, most lower grade models simply support their own weight as is. Some require screws and usually come with decals.
The vast majority of MG offerings are from
Gundam, with the rest coming from Patlaborand Dunbine. As the MG line has become a symbol of Gunpla, Bandai released another lineup called Real Robot Revolution (R3), for the non-Gundam type real robots like "Layzner" and "L-Gaim", made using their experience in MG model production.
Master Grade Crystal Model
1:100 Master Grade kits that wholly consists of clear parts (except the polycaps and certain components such as mesh tubes, screws, etc.), hence the name Crystal Model. First appeared in October 1996, only 3 types of kits were produced. They are RX-78-2 "Gundam", MS-06F/J "Zaku II Mass-Production Type", and MS-06S "Zaku II Commander Type" (Char Aznable custom). Note that these kits are the crystal version of their respective MG version 1.0 models.
Gundam 20th Anniversary Edition
In line with the celebration of "Mobile Suit Gundams 20th anniversary,
Bandaiproduced metallic plating versions of certain MG kits. First produced in July 1998, it only features 6 mobile suits in " Mobile Suit Gundam", ', and " Mobile Suit Z Gundam". These mobile suits are: RX-78-2 "Gundam" (ver. 1.0), MS-06F/J "Zaku II Mass-Production Type" (ver. 1.0), MS-06S "Zaku II Commander Type" (Char Aznable custom) (ver. 1.0), RX-78GP01Fb "Gundam GP01 'Zephyrantes' Full-vernian Type", RX-78GP02A "Gundam GP02A 'Physalis'", and MSZ-006 "Zeta Gundam" (ver. 1.0). Aside from metallic-plated parts (except the polycaps and other related parts), these kits also featured unpainted figures of their respective pilots (except for the Zaku II F/J which featured a generic Zeon pilot figure).
Master Grade 10th Anniversary Model
In line with the 10th anniversary of the Master Grade line, Bandai produced another kit of RX-78-2 "Gundam" (ver. 1.0), this time in predominant red and white colors and with new sets of marking decals which commemorates the E.F.S.F.'s victory over
Zeonin the One Year War. According to the data from the kit, this Gundam is remade from RGM-79 "GM" (since the original RX-78 was destroyed in that war) and used in official ceremonies only.
Master Grade "One Year War" Versions
After Bandai produced the MG kit of the "One Year War" PS2 game version of the RX-78-2 "Gundam", they also produced 3 more kits of that same version. They are MS-06F/J "Zaku II Mass-Production Type", MS-07B "Gouf", MS-09 "Dom", MS-14S "Gelgoog Commander Type" (Char Aznable custom), and RX-78-2 "Gundam" (in its original anime colors). Note that their construction is entirely different from their respective previous versions.
Master Grade "Hyper-Mode" Version
This line includes the GF13-017NJII "God Gundam" and the GF13-001NHII "Master Gundam". All frames and body are painted with shining gold and certain parts are coated in gold chrome.
Master Grade "Extra-Finish" Version
The kits in this line includes "extra-finish" metallic (chrome) coating parts on the outside. Only kits are the ZGMF-X10A "Freedom Gundam" and YMS-15 "Gyan".
Master Grade "Full-Burst Mode"
This line include the ZGMF-X20A "Strike Freedom Gundam". All visible gold joint parts are painted with chrome gold plating. It also includes "special effect parts" for the DRAGOON system, a clear blue "Action Base 01" stand (aside from the standard stand), and a plastic poster.
Master Grade "Extreme-Blast Mode"
This line include the ZGMF-X42S "Destiny Gundam". All silver joint parts that are visible are coated with chrome silver. The kit also includes the pink wings from the "Wings of Light" System, 1/20 clear figure of Shinn Asuka and Kira Yamato, and "special effect parts" such as the beam in the palm beam cannon, and action parts for throwing the beam boomerang.
High Grade EX
1:60 kits from various eras. These kits are enhanced High Grade models with extra details and LED
gimmicks. These models are known for having ridiculous amounts of panel line detail, more so than the Real Detail line and even several Perfect Grade kits. Only 3 HGEX kits have been made to date: the LM314V21 "Victory 2 Gundam", GF13-017NJ "Shining Gundam", and GF13-017NJII "God Gundam".
1:60 kits based on designs seen in the "
Gundam SEED", " Gundam SEED Destiny", and the " Gundam 00" series. Although much larger than most of their brethren, Real Detail designs are functionally scaled-up HG models with slightly-improved detail and enhanced poseability.
Real Detail "Lighting Edition"
1:60 Real Detail kits with embedded lighting. Only applies to 1:60 scale ZGMF-X20A "Strike Freedom Gundam".
1:60 kits, PG (Perfect Grade) kits are unmatched in sheer quality. First released in late 1998, these are made of even higher quality plastic and
metalcomponents than the MG kits. These kits include parts that have to be secured with screws, and often require some minor wiring for small LEDs. The market for the Perfect Grade models is limited due to their high cost, often topping $150. Highly complex design makes PG models a true challenge and their construction can take a few days. This line also includes optional parts for certain kits (particularly for RX-78-2 "Gundam", MS-06 "Zaku II Mass-Production Type", and MS-06S "Zaku II Commander Type" (Char Aznable custom)) which includes clear armor parts, additional weapons, and light-up beam saber.
The Skygrasper from Gundam SEED is the only non-humanoid mobile weapon in this line, which had sold on its own and as a set with the Strike Rouge.
HY2M "Glorious Series"
1:60 kits from the MS of the Zeon Faction. These kits include multiple embedded LED lighting located on various parts on the body. The only kits released so far are the 1:60 scale of MS-07B "Gouf", MS-09R "Rick-Dom", and MS-09RS "Rick-Dom Commander Type" (Char Aznable custom).
This scale of model is designed for large mobile armours and battle ships in the "Gundam Collection" line, which the line's ordinary mobile suits are figures, not models. Only extremely large mobile armour needs assembly and can be counted in this line.
This line includes the Big-Zam from Mobile Suit Gundam, RX-78GP03D "Gundam GP03 'Dendrobium'", AMA-002 "Neue Ziel" (both
mobile armorin a boxset) in Gundam 0083, NZ-000 "Quin Mantha" in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and NZ-333 "α Azieru" in Char's Counterattack.
However, the three semi-assembled battleship in Gundam Collection Line, which are the
White Baseand Musaifrom Mobile Suit Gundam, and Ptolemaios from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, are usually not counted.
High Grade Mechanics
This line was reserved for huge mobile units, as their size in the fiction is such that normal Gundam model scaling would leave them too big for conventional display. As an example, one of the units in this line is the , whose 1:144
HGUCcounterpart has a gross length of over 1 m. This line's only models are the aforementioned "Dendrobium" , the and the MA-06 "Val-Walo" , all of which are come from the production. The series would later be succeeded by the Gundam Collection series.
Unlike most of the other lines mentioned,
Universal CenturyHardGraph does not primarily center around the mechaof the Gundam universe. Rather, it centers on military things on a more conventional scale such as land vehicles. However, some kits do include detailed to-scale mecha parts which are particularly useful for the creation of dioramas. For instance, the "Anti-MS Squad" kit includes an articulated lower Gundam arm.
Another high-detail line from Bandai, in scales of 1:144 and 1:100 (non-humanoid units like aircraft) and 1:1600/1:1700 (spaceships), ranging from the Universal Century to Cosmic Era productions. This series is not Gundam-exclusive, having models from other series like some of the
jet aircraftfrom Sentō Yōsei Yukikazeand at least one aircraft from Ace Combat 5.
Bandaihas also released some Gundam garage kitunder their branch, B-club. These models are composed of unpainted resinwith no decals provided, often needing modification by the modeler due to the inherent properties of the manufacturing process. While comparably more expensive (some surpassing $400) compared to plastic kits, they offer an unparalleled level of detail for the dedicated and experienced model builder.
A few select kits have also appeared manufactured from metal. These kits are offered by several different manufacturers and most commonly will result in a finished model of about MG level.
These types of models (real detail) usually take days to build
For display only
For trade shows and toy fairs, Bandai displays some extreme large model in 1:6 or 1:12 scale. True to the scaling, some of these models are well over 5 feet (1.50 m) tall. Although most of these are one off promotional models used for display purposes, Bandai has produced a few of these for commercial purposes under their HY2M line. Notably, these are MS-06S "Zaku II Commander Type" (Char Aznable custom), which is now out of production, and the RX-78-2 "Gundam". These generally retail for approximately $2,000 and are intended to be sold primarily to store owners as display fronts.
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