Perfect Grade Unicorn Gundam: Build Progress Week 3

It’s been 21 days since we started, and the body of the Perfect Grade Unicorn Gundam is fully built!

After more than four years of putting it off, it’s unbelievable to see this much progress. It wasn’t easy—we put in about an hour every day to get to this point. Guess our friend and Gunpla 101 contributor Emily was right when she predicted this would take us about 22 hours!

Here are some reflections and lessons learned from our third week of PG building.

Testing the lights

Once I finished off the skirt armor, John was able to wire our half-finished model to the base and test out if the circuitry worked. I had gone to bed after a marathon building session, so I was shocked the next day when I stopped by the workbench and saw it assembled for the first time!

Once you’ve got this much built, you can see if the lights work or not, but if you haven’t used the LED accessory kit before you might be as confused as we were when it took two clicks to turn on the lights. Here’s what’s up: the first click lights up the visor only, and if your build doesn’t have a head yet nothing will happen! We did enjoy our spooky headless Gundam for a bit though—look how bright the lights shine, even in Unicorn mode!

The hardest part: the head

Out of every section of the PG Unicorn Gundam, the head has the fewest instructions. So why did so many veteran builders warn us to be careful while building it? Turns out it’s tricky when you go from working with the big parts of the legs and arms… to the microscopic pieces that make up the head. There was a nub on an under-gate that I couldn’t get with my nippers, and going at it with my X-Acto knife made me feel like I was seconds away from losing a finger!

It took until the head for me to break a piece, too! I’m lucky it didn’t happen sooner. The pieces of the head were just so small and fragile that after I put a piece on backward and pulled it off, it just snapped in half. Thank goodness for Tamiya Cement: it was fixed and dry in minutes.

The head was also the only part of the process where I was glad I can read a little Japanese. There are several steps where you can apply stickers (like on the visor), but if you do, the LED display won’t shine through the clear pieces. The Japanese text warns builders not to apply stickers if they are planning on using the LED kit. Just something to keep in mind.

What’s next?

The main kit is panel-lined and built, but it’s not time to relax yet! In the week ahead, I’m hoping to keep up the momentum as I build the backpack and weapons. After that, we’ll do a photo shoot showing the PG Unicorn in its three modes (you build it in Unicorn Mode, but all the parts for Destroy Mode and the even wilder Unchained Mode. As we go, I hope to also reinforce the shoulder sockets and hip sockets so they fit better. This is an apparently common complaint I’ve seen online, and we’re having difficulty with the left shoulder joint ourselves (though this is partly because I made a mistake early on not snapping it fully in place.)

Just a week ago it felt pretty touch and go with this model. I couldn’t look too far ahead in the manual because I was afraid I’d lose motivation if I saw how much there still was left to do! But now I feel confident that we’ll finish it up—and all in one month. Thanks for following along so far and I hope you’ll stick around for the grand finale photoshoot next week!

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