Gunpla (and other plastic models)


They’re pretty much one of the larger FigureRise kits in terms of detail and poseability. Simple ball-and-socket or peg joint for the shoulders, semi-hollow legs so they can’t take too much force when posing, but they aren’t just gonna shatter on ya.

You’ll get a few fixed-position hands, weapons, & a base. Any fine details, you’re kind of expected to make yourself. They aren’t going to be a showstopper unless you put some serious work into them, but for the price they’re reeeeeally nice. I’ve built a few Star Wars kits that I’ve since given away, but I still have a Kamen Rider FigureRise that should give you a good idea of where the worst seam lines and certain problem areas are:

Scarf was detailed with a black wash, belt studs were detailed with a touch of red acrylic.


Depends on what you want to do paint-wise, really. Are you looking to fully recolor a kit, or do some fine detailing?

Spraycan Painting

For recolors, you might want to go with spraycans. Tamiya Fine Surface Primer (white or gray depending on the final color you want) is an A-okay primer. Sands down nicely, gets into panel lines without filling them as long as you’re doing a couple of thin coats, just solid stuff all-around. Then for paints, nearly any acrylic spray paint works fine as long as you pay attention to the ingredients in it. But for simplicity’s sake, Testor’s Model Masters or Tamiya’s TS series work great and have a wide variety of colors available.

V this section also applies to miniature painting V

Hand Painting

For detailing, I use pretty much any acrylic paint I can get my hands on. This is what I have in my bin right now, I’ll vouch for each and every one of these brands and colors.

If you’re just interesting in detailing the panel lines, which is the absolute easiest way to make your model pop, the bottom-right of the picture is what you want. Washes are your friend, always and forever. You can make your own, but both Games Workshop and Vallejo make great earthtone washes, and some colored (blue/green/red). Slosh some onto a piece, grab a bit of paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol & wipe off the excess, and you’re done! Super old before-and-after, more recent kits are going to have a much more dramatic change:

For other detailing purposes (or a general process for painting miniatures), you’ll want a small coat of primer (I use thinned-down Vallejo surface primer, shown above). Let that dry for about 30 minutes and start applying your base color in thin coats. You’ll want your paint to be the consistency of milk. It’ll take a while to build up layers, but you get a much more even final coat, and better/more dramatic color transitions. Work up to the lightest accent color and do any highlighting like edges or paint scuffs, and drybrushing here. Finally, you’ll want some sort of varnish, or your paint is going to start peeling and chipping. Vallejo’s matte/gloss varnishes are awesome brush-ons, but Testor’s Dullcote is going to be much faster, less stressful, and the stuff is tough as nails if you apply it properly. Let that cure for a day or so, depending on the size of the piece.

All of the yellow facial areas and black bits on this God Gundam except for the front of the ankle pieces were painted and then given a brush-on matte varnish.

Aaaaannnd this li’l Amuro from an ancient RX-78 Master Grade was the cause of many hours of eye strain, but i’m still super satisfied with how it turned out.


when i was a kiddo i used to build model airplanes. recently i’ve thought of getting back into modelling as a hobby. i like the idea of turning on some music and quietly focusing on a thing for a while. preferably a thing without a screen attached to it. a couple weeks ago i randomly picked up my first gunpla - it is labeled as “HG BUILD FIGHTERS GM / GM GUNPLA MAFIA’S MOBILE SUIT”

HG 1/144 GM / GM

so, yeah, whatever all that means. i just picked it because it looked relatively simple. i hope it works out well. i’ll let you all know how it goes.


HG means High Grade. Grades are the sizes in Gundamn kits.
Build Fighters is the TV series it’s from.
GM Gunpla Mafia is a group of characters in that show that all uses GMs.
a GM is a type of mobile suit in the general Gundam fiction.

I hope you have fun getting back into building!


GMs are GREAT starter kits, hope you enjoy it!

Since you said you’ve had experience with models in the past, if you liked building that kit but you found that it was too easy, you could easily jump up to a Master Grade. They’re a fair bit larger with a much higher part count, and waaay more detail than a High Grade. If you’re into the style of that GM, the GM Sniper II is a fairly recent kit that’s just fantastic in nearly every sense. Pretty cheap, too.


here’s my GM! apologies for the blurry picture.

done! had a couple of minor troubles but was able to throw it together. i think it’s beautiful. love how articulated it is, all the soft plastic joints etc… fun exercise, i’ll probably do another. thanks for the words of encouragement. :smile: i admit it’s a little smaller than i though it’d be. might try to find something slightly larger scale next time, i dunno.

i’m not nearly as deep into gundam as most of y’all, i’ve only seen 08th MS team and Wing, i might try to find something from one of those shows to do next.


Lookin’ good!

And yeah, High Grades are deceptively small for the size of box they come in.

If you haven’t found it already, is the best place to check out kits both before & after building.
Options up at the top are:
HG - 1/144 scale
RG - 1/144 scale, but pretty much Master Grade complexity and detail (these look incredible but have a lot of tiny fiddly pieces)
MG - 1/100 scale, more complex/detailed than HG
PG - 1/60 scale, pretty big, pretty expensive, pretty freakin’ neat
SD - small-body-big-head, really cheap and cute
SEED/00/AGE/BF/IBO - 1/144 and 1/100 (but not classified as MG) scales, series with a large enough number of kits to justify their own separate pages


awesome! so much stuff. thanks again for all the help.


I don’t know how this happened but somehow I got REALLY excited about building Gunpla. I did a bunch of youtubing and research and ended up getting the GM Ground Type C HGUC model. It’s an out of box build with a couple of stickers, panel lining, and a matte top coat. It’s my first Gunpla and first plastic model kit in oh… 20 years. I’m quite happy with the result and I look forward to building more.


I really like crafting, and I’d like to get into plastic model kits, but honestly a lot of the gunpla aesthetic kinda leaves me cold. They’re kinda pointy and hard-looking, which I know is the idea, but my general aesthetic is a lot softer and warmer. Does anyone have any suggestings for non-traditional model kits that don’t have the militaristic vibe of a lot of kits? Most of the ones I’ve seen have been for gunpla or for military vehicles, and I am just profoundly uninterested in bringing that into my life.


Well, Bandai also has lines of kits for One Piece and Dragon Ball, if you’re into either of those. There’s also the FigureRise Bust series if you’re into Love Live or Miku.

Kotobukiya made kits of the Tachikoma from GitS, but they’re pretty expensive nowadays.

What about a Mechatro WeGo kit? They’re like the polar opposite of pointy and hard-looking.


If you like cars there’s a ton of those kits.

It’s more expensive but Lego are still pretty awesome and there’s a ton of things you can do with them.


Not really soft and warm but Bandai also has a very good line of Star Wars plastic kits


Yeah, I did end up buying the 1/12 stormtrooper and it was awesome. Great posability, very detailed and you can hardly make out the seams because of the way the kit is designed.

Excuse the poor photo, it’s the only one I have on hand.


I bought the BB8/R2D2 kit when TFA came out and only just got around to building R2…still need to put decals on and do panel lining.


Anyone have any recommendations for markers for doing panel lining and are there any kits that make a good first candidate for trying it on?


Markerwise, the normal Gundam Markers are totally fine and easy to clean up, or you could try something like a Flory Wash (or other pigment wash like Vallejo’s Game Color Washes). Slapping that on with a fine paintbrush and doing a once-over with an alcohol-soaked paper towel is how I line most of my kits. Cheap, easy, flows right into the cracks.

A good kit, though… Are you looking for a High Grade, or something more detailed? Because the MG Freedom 2.0 has a ridiculous amount of lining areas that’d be perfect for that.


Thanks for the tips! Yeah so far I’ve done just HG’s but wouldn’t mind maybe trying an MG.


Second on Gundam Markers for panel lining and the Freedom 2.0.

I really want to pick up the Freedom 2.0 but unfortunately I have 3 un - opened Master Grades so I can’t justify the cost!


I just finished snapping together The HG 1/144 IBO Astaroth Origin. This is a really cool kit with lots of detail and posing options. This will also be my first attempt at fully painting a model. Unfortunately there are quite a few seam lines that need fixing so I’ve got my work cut out for me before I get the paints out.


Despite being into Gundam for years, I’ve only recently started getting into Gunpla. I’ve only done a couple out of the box HG builds so far (an GM and a Build Strike) and just got some Gundam Markers so I can start with that. I feel like my biggest challenge so far has been stickers…even with tweezers and trying to be very careful I have a hard time getting some of the smaller ones on properly (and getting them to stay). Any advice for that?