Some people will tell you that Gunpla is all about perfection. Striving for the most perfect detailing possible. Gunpla can be about that if you want. But there’s no point if there’s no love in it.
I get a lot of emails with questions like, “Am I ready for a Real Grade? I’m just a beginner, but there’s a kit I really want to build. I just don’t want to butcher it.”
I look at that email, and then glance over to my Gundam Unicorn Destroy Mode with a titanium finish. It was my first High Grade model ever. Titanium finish models are rarer and nicer than regular ones, and any wrong move will scratch that glossy shine.
I guess you could say I DID butcher this model. It’s certainly scratched. In two places, it’s held together with superglue where my amateur sidecutting made the connections weak. But I love it. I don’t look at it and remember “ruining” a Gunpla that I could do a better job of now, even though I could. I remember a younger version of me excitedly building a Gunpla she loved.
Listen, when you’re a beginner, it’s inevitable that you’ll make some rookie mistakes. That doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to “inferior” models until you feel advanced enough to try one you love. The key is choosing Gunpla models that you love from the beginning, and not worrying about the little things. Even if the one you’re dying to build is slightly more difficult than your skill level, your love for that Gundam model will make it easier for you to motivate and challenge yourself.
This one is one of John’s first Gunpla, a Zeta 2005 special edition.
“You can see it’s not perfectly put together, but it was one of my first Gunpla because it was a model I loved, and that made it worth doing,” he says. “Some sites might tell you to start with the easiest possible Gunpla you can find so you don’t ‘mess one up’ during your first try, but that’s not our philosophy. There’s no point if you’re not having fun building a model you’re crazy about.”
Still want some “sensible” advice? Then start with a High Grade. High Grade is great because it’s the most common grade in existence and there are a ton to choose from no matter which series you’re looking to build from. We doubt you’ll have trouble finding one you like. They’re a little less detailed, but with a little bit of care in construction you can make them look really nice.
As you keep building Gunpla, you really will get better. But if you don’t start with Gunpla models you love, you’ll never stay motivated to progress far enough to get to that point.
Gunpla is a learning experience. Don’t expect the first Gunpla you build to be perfect, and don’t give up if it isn’t. As my superglued first Gundam Unicorn model shows, mistakes can be fixed, no matter how big!