I’m tired, my eyes are sore and my fingers have black paint dots all over them. No, i’m not into weird sexy stuffs with pens, I’ve been building Gunpla.
The calm before the storm…
If you read my other article on the new Gundam Build Fighters Anime series, i made mention of my “hamfisted attempts” of building Gunpla in the past. I remember it was easier in those days. My deft hand-skills, minute brushstrokes and eagle eyesight would ensure that i wouldn’t go out of the lines, so to speak.
Some of my older Gunpla builds. The Ver Ka Wing Gundam is a fave 🙂
Cue forward half a decade, and place a bunch of plastic frames and Japanese instructions in front of me, and its a little hazy. Squinting as i fill in panel lines, the marker slipping and leaving unsightly streaks across my Gundams face, am i too old to be nerdy?! AIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!!!
So, with a bit of perseverance, and alot of cotton buds with rubbing alcohol, i got there, and im happy.
Now im certainly not saying im a god at making these things, quite the opposite actually, think The Incredible Hulk picking flowers, it doesn’t end well. But despite my “noobness” of Gunpla building, the most invigorating part is completing the model, sitting it up on the desk in front of you, looking deep and hard at the angular plastic and saying,
“Y’know what? That was alot of fun!”
One day i wanna build Gunpla this awesome…
Id always seen Gunpla models around my usual haunts in the bustling city of Melbourne, but was always intimidated by these complex looking mecha. My earlier attempts at model making as a child consisted of a Batman statue which i spilled glue on, a few shabbily painted World War 2 Messerschmidt’s and a train, which i never took out the box. So the idea of spending $40 upwards on a Gunpla never crossed my mind. I couldn’t bare to ruin such a thing of beauty.
Little did i know, Bandai make Model kits to suit beginners all the way to Genius, and the best part is…..they don’t need glue! Yes! All the parts snap snugly together without any forcing or swearing. Everything fits perfectly.
All the parts colored too, so if you’re so inclined, you can just assemble all the parts with no paint required, and they still look amazing. But when paint gets involved, that’s when the true magic happens. I currently am nowhere near the air brushing and paint stage, but i do like to use Gundam Markers to detail or color my models.
Markers are usually used to color in “panel lines” on the Mecha, giving it more detail and pizzazz. A “Panel Marker” usually comes in black, and is a very fine tipped pen, The standard markers come in a variety of colors ranging from red to yellow even to gold, and are used to cover larger areas on color, but also can be used for finer work as well.
You can pick these up from ebay really cheaply. I suggest initially grabbing a Panel Marker either black or gray, and if you want to grab any colors, the worlds your oyster. But id concentrate on the basic panel lines first.
Markers…make a huge difference.
Another item you’ll need is a fine pair of side cutters to remove parts off the frames, apparently nail clippers work great too. And if your pedantic, a small nail file, to file down the nubs the frame leaves on the parts, to add a more seamless look to the finished product.
Kits come in all shapes and sizes from 1/144 scale to the big 1/60 scale. I found the 1/100 kits were a good starting point, as they weren’t too small and fiddly and could be easily cleaned if a marker goes astray (Astray? get it? eh? Eh?).
If your really concerned about not being able to make one, try one of the SD (Super Deformed) Gundam range. I grabbed the one pictured here for $11 as a practice kit to get me going again, so if you stuff it up, all is not lost. Id rather build up my confidence on one of these cost effective little suckers than a $200 Perfect Grade Gundam Kit.
SD (Super Deformed) Gundams, for the fledgling builder. Note no panel markings yet…
So! What are you waiting for? You could be building one right now for around $25!
The main thing is to enjoy yourself, and dont rush. Time, patience and practice.