We are finally doing it. After four years, we are building our Perfect Grade Unicorn Gundam.
Back in February 2015, John and I splurged on this massive kit (and its accessory LED unit) at Katsucon, as documented in this old Instagram post.
Buying it was one thing, but every time we thought about actually building it, we hesitated.
“Let’s build a few more Master Grades to get ready,” I’d say. And then entire years would go by where I didn’t think about the giant undertaking still sitting in the closet.
Everything changed this year when we found out I was pregnant. Our little Gundam pilot arrives in September, so the clock on our extra free time is ticking! That was finally the push we needed. So I finally wrapped up my MG Sinanju (review coming soon), and at long last, we opened the gigantic PG Unicorn box.
— Lauren (@laureninspace) May 6, 2019
Here are some of the highlights and lessons learned from our first week of building.
PG Tip #1: Pace Yourself
According to our friend and Gunpla 101 contributor Emily, a PG Unicorn requires about 22 hours of work. She should know: she’s built multiple PGs! So based on Emily’s observation, we’re planning to devote an hour a day to Gunpla building and knock this thing out in four weeks.
Now you’d think that having two people working on the kit would make it go faster, and you’d be wrong. Instead of dividing up the work (for example, me building a leg while John works on the torso), it’s taking our combined brainpower to make sure everything is constructed the right way. I thought the difference between an MG and a PG would be like the difference between an HG and an MG—and I was wrong! It’s less of a step up in difficulty than a flying leap.
One major resource we’ve relied on is the Hobbylink PG Unicorn buildalong. Each video is nearly an hour long, underlining just how lengthy an undertaking any PG build is! Hence why we’re not exceeding an hour a day: weary building just leads to more mistakes.
RIP God Hands
While I was working on the PG Unicorn’s feet, we had an unexpected casualty: our God Hand nipper. I was not clipping a particularly thick sprue either (though to be totally honest, I don’t baby my God Hands as much as recommended). Instead of the plastic snap I was expecting, I heard a metallic clatter, and the next thing I knew my God Hands were in two pieces!
I’ve had my God Hands since 2016, back when they first started retailing for $50 instead of even more! I’ve built more than 15 kits with them including two Master Grades and 10 Petitgguys. But lately, I’ve noticed they’ve been tarnished a dark gray and then this happened. When I tweeted about my experience: the thinner blade snapping after a couple of years of use, I learned that this isn’t completely uncommon. Something to keep in mind if you buy God Hands—they do have an expiration date. It’s fitting that Gundam Unicorn, which is basically the Deus ex Machina of the Universal Century, was the one to symbolically take down “God.”
The Wiring Song And Dance
What you might not know about John is he’s also an accomplished electrician. He’s restored dozens of retro video games and consoles. He has fixed faulty wiring in our new home. So when John said he’d be in charge of assembling the PG Unicorn’s LED kit, it made perfect sense.
What he didn’t expect is that wiring the LED kit would be less like an electrical project and more like sewing. “You have to thread the wire through all these parts, and sometimes it needs to make a sharp turn you’re not expecting. I had to use the tweezers to pull it through different parts of the torso, all the while going very slowly so it didn’t break,” he said.
John’s not too stressed about it though. Just half an hour after a recent tense building session, he was already chanting “Banshee! Banshee!” encouraging me to buy another PG.
The accessory LED kit retails for an additional $90 on top of whatever hundreds you spend to get the PG itself, but we’re still happy we sprung for it even with this additional difficulty. If we do it right, the whole thing will light up! I even saw an impressive mod on Facebook where somebody configured the LED kit into rainbow mode with an Arduino.
Anyway, time to get back to my daily hour of PG Unicorn building! Stay tuned for the second update next week.