This is sort of an introductory overview of Gundam building, with my most recent kit, so I won’t got into a great amount of detail on the build process so much as some pointers, and background on the hobby. I’ll save the more detailed stuff for later posts.
I’ve been building Gundam models for years, and ever since I saw 08th MS team this kit has been on the top of my wish list of builds. I like to buy my Gundams from local shops, or conventions rather than ordering them online so it took me some time to nab this one. Known as Gunpla in Japan, and to more serious hobbyists, these kits are scale models based on mecha (called Mobile Suits) from the wildly popular and extensive Gundam anime universes. They come in various grades and scales, and for the most part are pre-painted and entirely glue-free. Some of the more dedicated hobbyists, however, do paint the kits to various degrees, and even customize, modify, and scratch-build their own kits.
The RX-79 EZ8 kit is based on a ground type variation of the RX79 mobile suit featured in Gundam: The 08th MS team series, that’s one of my particular favorites. The MG (Master Grade) kit that I built is a 1/100th scale and features more parts, and more detail than most of the smaller kits. I like this size because it’s detailed, with a lot of parts, without being as expensive as the larger Perfect Grade kits, and taking up less space. The kit itself had all parts well placed and easy to find, with none missing and no damage to any of the trees. It’s definitely in line with the quality I’ve come to expect over the years from Bandai. I’d definitely recommend this kit, or another one of its size if you’re looking to get into Gunpla. Overall the kit took roughly 3 hours to complete without doing any of the custom painting or lining that is common among more dedicated builders. I haven’t yet found a method I like to do the line work, which highlights the separations in the panels of armor and access ports.
The tools I’ve found useful are pictured here, and it’s a toolkit you can put together fairly cheap. Indispensable are the sharp wire cutters. You want a pair found at most hobby shops, not the kind used to cut electrical wire. Get the sharpest and finest looking cutters you can find, you’ll be glad you did. Obviously a sharp razor or X-Acto knife for trimming flash. Small scissors are useful for cutting decals or rub-on’s from the rest to make them easier to handle. Again, the sharper and finer the blade the better. Forceps/tweezers are great for holding all types of decals for placement, and I recommend those with a flat tip rather than pointed. Some kits have transfer decals, rub-ons, whatever you want to call them, and I have found by far the easiest way to transfer them is with a pencil. I like the generic Bic mechanical only because that’s all I have in the way of pencils other than my good ones for art. Finally the small black wedge, that came with a kit I’ve long forgotten (and unfortunately not with every kit) has been a great tool for separating parts I put together out of order. It never fails, I did it on this one, you miss a step, snap two pieces together without putting in a piece that goes inside, now you have to separate them without breaking the pegs. DO NOT use anything metal, or harder than the plastic parts. This little wedge is the same hardness of the Gunpla plastic, so when used carefully will separate pieces without damaging them, just take your time.
Like all import kits the majority of the instructions and literature are in Japanese, but the detail on the instructions is good enough to follow despite that and the decals are simply a matter of matching the Japanese characters in the instructions to the decal sheet. I think you’ll find the kit fun and a little challenging. We’ll be covering more builds, and perhaps featuring some older kits I’ve done, and a custom job I have planned on a Custom Gouf. Stay tuned.
Photos by Julie Bierschbach, see her work at artfullydistracted.com