Ask Gunpla 101: Getting back into Gunpla, Conversion Kits, and Twitter

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Ask Gunpla 101 is our new monthly advice column in which we take questions and share them for our readers (with the asker’s permission, of course)! Do you have any questions for Gunpla 101? Be sure to contact us by using our form, visiting Lauren’s ask.fm account, or emailing us at [email protected].

How difficult/costly is it for you to obtain Gunpla? —anonymous Ask.fm question

I buy mostly High Grade Gunpla, which cost around $20 each. I buy them on Amazon Prime so I don’t pay for shipping. My most expensive sprees are at anime conventions, where I throw caution to the wind and buy a bunch at once because they’re all there and they’re all awesome.

On the other hand, John and I run a site dedicated to Gunpla, so I buy items specifically for tutorials and I’d estimate that last year, John and I spent a combined $500 on Gunpla and Gunpla tools.

It also helps to research when Gunpla are coming out, and buy them while they’re common. For example, I bought Pink Beargguy for around $20 when it first came out, and now it’s about $100.

Just a few days ago, my cousin decided to give me an old Gunpla he didn’t get around to making. It’s called the MBF-PO2 Gundam Astray Red Frame. It mentions it is “Gundam Seed-No. 10.” I’m not so sure what that means. If it helps, it was made in 2004 and was piloted by Lowe Gule. If you could give me any info on what grade it is, I would be more than happy! —Ryan

Thanks for writing, and we did our best to ID your Gunpla! We used the 2013 Gunpla Catalog to figure it out.

Since this was made in 2004 and says “Gundam Seed-No. 10” on the box, we think it can only be from the Gundam Seed 1/100 series released that same year. Is this what it looks like? And is this the box? (Note: Ryan confirmed this is the model and box.)

1/100 refers to its scale. Usually, 1/100 models are Master Grade, but this is not a Master Grade. Our best guess is that it is a High Grade model that has been scaled up to a larger size so you can better see the details. However, since it’s from 2004, Bandai wasn’t labeling upscale High Grades as such.

Your model differentiates from the norm because now Bandai names the grade on the front of the box all of the time. That makes it pretty special and unique! We hope you enjoy it =)

I started building Gunpla when i was 12 and i got to build three High Grade, one Real Grade, and one Master before I stopped due to financial problems. I’m 21 now and the question is how easy do you think it would be getting back into building Gunpla? If I do start building again what model do you recommend I start with? —Alexander

Thank you so much for contacting us through Gunpla 101! That is really impressive that you were building models when you were only 12!

Our advice is that building Gunpla isn’t like riding a bike. Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you’ll always have the muscle memory for it—since the models are always changing! Not just in make, but in quality. Gunpla today is distinctly different than Gunpla as little as five years ago.

I would buy an HG you’re interested in, which should be easy since there are more HG model selections than any other grade, and get to work. Monitor how long it takes you. Are there any parts you got really stuck on? Depending on your experience, I would either do another HG or move up to MG right away. Stay away from Real Grade at first. They look deceptively easy since they’re the same scale as High Grade, but they include internal skeletons and smaller parts, kind of like a scaled down Master Grade.

We don’t think there’s a specific model that’s best for beginners. I find that I am better at building Gunpla and pay more attention to it when it’s a model I really love, so I advise you to find your favorite and build that one. Best of luck!

Hello. I’m getting into Gunpla and I would like to know about resin kits, or more specifically, conversion kits. There is a conversion kit to turn the Real Grade Zephyranthes into the RX-78GP00 Gundam “Blossom.” I really want this but I don’t know anything about resin kits and the site selling it is called Taobao and I don’t trust chinese sites, even if its the best selling chinese  web marketplace. I really want it because I love the design of the blossom. —Chris

Chris, as you know, conversion kits are a type of resin kit that you add to a standard Bandai Gunpla to transform it into another Gunpla model, sometimes changing it into an official design that doesn’t exist as a kit yet, and sometimes changing it into a fan design that may never be made into an official Gunpla. (For example, a model from Gunpla fan-made doujinshi Gundam Sentinel was made into a Gunpla!) Since conversion kits are not Bandai products, they are not official and therefore it can be tricky to make sure you’re buying quality.

Taobao is hit or miss. It’s kind of like a Chinese Ebay, maybe, where there are a lot of different sellers, and these sellers all differ in quality. So it’s not Taobao you need to worry about; it’s the individual seller you want to buy from. So I would check out the seller. Has he or she made a lot of sales? Are there any reviews on the sales page? When you Google the seller’s name do any warning signs come up?

This tutorial has a good process for figuring out if the resin kit you got was quality or not. And if it isn’t, just don’t buy from that seller again!

Are you guys on Twitter? —Skye

Lauren is @laureninspace on Twitter. However, the best way to follow both John and I for Gunpla tweets and updates for this blog is @Gunpla101. Hope to connect with you soon!

GAT-X105 Strike Gundam photo by Harumi Ueda

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