The Best Gunpla Kits for Beginners

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!

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  • I think what makes a modelers’ first kits not great looking is how does the modeler think about models. As time passes and the builder gets experienced he starts ‘thinking as a modeler’. For example, when he was building his first kit, he was so excited and didn’t care about nub marks and seam lines, or if a dark gray is not the same as black, but when the modeler has more than twenty, fifty or a hundred completed kits on his shelf, seams or nub marks are something like a horrible mistake that he MUST fix.

  • Nicholas Garza
    January 25, 2015 10:08 pm

    This. Is. So. True. The first kit that I ever assembled was an HG 144 Sinanju. I adored that gundam in the show, so I had to have it. It turned out ok, but it wasn’t to good. Never the less, about a month later I get another HG 144, this time the Strike Rouge. This one turned out well, as I tested out using water decals on it. My most recent build was a huge step up: a 144 Real Grade Strike Freedom. It seemed daunting to me, but a few days later, as I stared at my finished Gunpla, I felt nothing but accomplishment. It may have had a few stress marks on it but I wasn’t worried about that. What makes me smile when I think back to those 3 is that not in a single build did I have the right tools. I had no clippers, no knifes, all I had was an unused nail clipper, a small kitchen knife and a whole lot of determination. My point is, never think youre unable to build Gunpla. If you devote yourself to it, the finished product will be all worth while.

  • Taylor Drake
    March 1, 2015 5:15 pm

    I know the internet can give people unreal expectations of what can really be done and sometimes you see your own work and look down on it because you could do better!

    But you should do the best you can on every kit. Build lots of kits! The only way to get better is do it! Try new things, experiment, have fun…

    I just, JUST figured out that if you use Silver and then a transparent green, you can make eyes and head cameras look like stickers without stickers and I’ve been modeling for a few years now, with plenty of past Gunpla Experience…

    I love modeling and sometimes I feel bad that I can’t do some crazy airbrush shading, or super custom colors, but I’m happy every time I finish something because I usually learn something too.

    It’s very true. Keep building and trying people!

    Below, a Cosmic Nobel Gundam for my SO that took me 2 tries and several color combos and techniques to get right. Super fun!

    • @Taylor, what a creative build! I would love more photos if you have them – I’m trying to figure out the paint job. You can email us at [email protected].

    • OMG, silver & transparent green! You’re a lifesaver, been looking all over the internet to find out how to do it, and then when I least expect it the answer arrives! Just about done on my first Gunpla, and this site is great.
      Thanks Taylor!

  • Hey and my first Kit was the HGAC XXXG-01W Wing Gundam. Which I’m SOO Proud of as my first Gundam kit

  • My first one was a Z’gok RG

  • I liked the RG series better than HG

  • I finished my very first gunpla the HG Wing Gundam Zero Honoo Friday Night and it turned out great. Excepted for the strain mark on the back of the left shoulder where I tried snapping it together. Other than that, it turned out great from out of the box assembly along with panel lining. Here’s a couple of pictures.

  • Help! Foolishly bought a Master Grade Gunpla with ABSOLUTELY no experience! It’s the Dark Matter PPGN-001 Model..looks great, but even though I am experienced in PC building, I am not sure if it will be easy

    • @disqus_pmBe1RZ0tT:disqus it happens! You can set it aside while you build a high grade first to get your feet wet, or if you’re feeling patient and brave you can take the plunge. Good luck! We’re rooting for you.

      • Actually, its pretty easy IMO…it has taken three days, but I believe its because Its my first gunpla… I’ll upload pictures as soon as its finished!

  • Hey guys! here is my Exia Dark Matter Master Grade build! Any tips?

    • its scratched up pretty badly, but its pretty good for your first kit, try painting the scratched parts, and smoothen the surface with light sand paper… here is my first kit… finished in a day…lol, its an MG Astray Red Frame Kai

  • After 15 years, I am starting on a new kit – the MG RX-83. I’m struggling a bit on removing the nubs (sliced off some plastic using my hobby knife) and sanding (I only have 600 and 1000 grit), but I am enjoying paneling a lot using Gundam markers. 🙂 I have only done the 2 guns so far (see photo) but I am enjoying it a lot – flaws and all.

    • DONE! Here he is in all his topcoated glory. Tallgeese and Shin Musha are up next. 🙂 Made a bunch of errors, but not bad for my first kit. 🙂

  • So I just finished my first gunpla. Sadly I don’t have any markers yet. But I’m planning to buy this with my next kit.
    Even without the markings, I’m still happy with the result.

    This is the HG XXXG-00W0 WING GUNDAM ZERO

  • : its not how we built our kit and produce it to the perfect level . For me gunpla its just a hobby . But that’s not what i felt when my first “love at first sight kit” (PG Unicorn) . I’ve seen people assemble them , put some color scheme and display onto the shelf . Jealousy was there , craving was there and most of all motivation was there for me to feel . “Its not perfection that counts – its how you care about your kits and further improve them” , this is how my first love to gunpla was inevitable .
    To begginers out there , its okay if you ruin your first model , like in the article wrote “superglu solves your mistake ” . Yes, my first model was ruin a bit by bit, it hurts soo much but then i solved it, repair its part and continue paint it until i’m the one who could put it onto the shelf. People Say i’m a “gunpla groupie” , actually i’m a gunpla builder .

    P/S : my first model was (MG) MSN-06S Sinanju OVA ver . Add me on facebook need gunpla buddies

  • Stone Alexander Robles
    November 21, 2015 3:40 pm

    Honest to god, I am really scared when it comes to even High Grades. Why? Because I’ve never Gunpla’d before. You can thank Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn for making me really interested in the franchise (and for being a great game in general), but I’m scared that I won’t have any idea on what to do once I get the kit. I know, follow the instructions and all, but let me reiterate; I have not Gunpla’d in my life.

    It helps that the High-Master grades on Amazon aren’t too pricey (20-30 bucks new from what I see), but I’m afraid I’ll just lose that one part needed to finish the darn thing and be left with a sad incomplete model. Or I won’t have that one tool I need to safely remove the part so I can put everything together.

    • i8u2manytimes
      April 12, 2017 4:31 am

      I felt the same way as well, when I first started. When the rg astray red frame was announced my friend showed it to me and I fell in love. Since it wasn’t released yet and I didn’t understand that the rg and mg kit were different, I started with both the sengoku astray and the astray red frame kai. I watched a lot of videos to try and understand what needed to be done. In the end it was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. Just get nippers and a knife and you should be fine to start off

      • i8u2manytimes
        April 12, 2017 4:36 am

        Also for making sure you don’t lose pieces, always keep pieces on the runner at all times except when you are using it, be on a nice clean desk with a cutting mat on top, make a nice neat pile of runners (I do it in alphabetical order) and any parts I accidentally cut off or pieces like the finished foot go back into the box.

      • What master grades did you put together? Quite curious.

        • i8u2manytimes
          April 25, 2017 9:23 pm

          My first build was the sengoku astray, then astray red frame, build strike, exia repair, full armour unicorn ver ka, kimaris trooper (dosen’t really count), astray noir, freedom 2.0 with effect parts, 00 quanta, I might post a few photos if I remember

  • I’m new to Gunpla though have built six HG and one MG. I want to build a RG but i’m scared since my hands shake badly when handling small pieces. I think I’ve become a better builder than when I started. I’ve made mistakes in all my builds. So maybe I’m not cut-out to be a great modeler though I can still Gunpla. I can muck things up and still have fun.

  • This was my first RG kit. Though I’ve built my fair share of 1/144 HG gunplas in the past, that was over 15yrs ago, and I remember that I tend to mess those up real bad. As the years went by, I thought I grew out of it. But recently, I saw a suggested post in FB related to gunpla and I suddenly had this itchy sensation that I just had to scratch. So I went to the local toy store, and got this – the aile strike gundam. Looking at the box, I realized that this kit is more complicated than what I built when I was a kid, but I bought it anyway.

    I do believe that it doesn’t really matter whether you’re experienced or not, or maybe it does but only to some degree as to being familiar with what to do when it comes to snap kits. PATIENCE is the key. being too meticulous tend to drag a lot of beginners down, but in my case, knowing that this kit could look as best as it could really motivated me to finish this kit, not to mention I really had a lot of fun building it. And when I finally finished it (took me about 24hrs total), WOW! I couldn’t believe this was my work. Considering all I did was put together what was only included in the box.

    It’s not exactly the best work, but it’s MY work, and I’m really proud of it. MY patience really paid off. And now, I’m off to buy another one! WEEEEEE!

  • Epic Silver174
    January 27, 2016 12:36 am

    I have built some gunpla, and i know i have mistakes like what to use to cut the parts.

  • I don’t actually really know anything about Gundam…at all…but I REALLY like the designs of the mechas (they are mechas, aren’t they?) and very much want to try buying and building one. Or more. (But I should really start with just one……)
    Is it a bad idea to get into it just because I like the way they look?

    • That’s what I’m about do! I really love the way they look. I also like that you can customize them too (when you get good at them). Just the fun of making one really makes me want to get a perfect grade (the highest tier of gunplas).

    • Hi Harris. It is totally not a bad idea to get into this just because of the way the kits look. I personally at the time of this comment have only seen 2 gundam anime, but have built at least 1 kit from each anime because of the designs. In fact it wasnt until I heard about build fighters before I considered watching any of the show and even though I enjoyed it, I still put kits together that speak to me in terms of design. Like the beargguy kits or the psyco thunderbolt Zaku. If you like the look of a kit, Go for it.

    • i8u2manytimes
      April 12, 2017 4:27 am

      I started getting into gundam because of the model kits. I started when the rg astray kit was announced. My friends showed it to me and it lit a fire in my hobbyist heart. Without seeing the anime or any of the materials, I bought both the sengoku astray and the astray red frame kai, finished building it and now have a reasonable collection. I definitely recommend starting there if that is what started you on this journey

  • Hey everyone. I need some recommendations for most challenging RG gundam. I love astray red frame, zeta and OO Raiser. Is it challenging enough? (i am a beginner an i love challenge)

    • Hi Erick, great to hear your getting into the RG scene. The biggest challenge the rg kits offer is the small size of parts on the kits as well as working with the small inner frame. If your putting these together have a large area to work on for putting your parts down as you may lose some parts. If your looking for a challenge, I would suggest any VER Ka kits as they not only have loads of detail on the inner and outer frame (the ball ver ka has insane detail if you plan to paint it) But the amount of decals and waterslides will be a real challenge to get them all put up. Cant wait to see how it turns out!

  • I’m a new noob and my first kit was an mg kit. lol.

  • thanks for the Advise!

“Gunpla is freedom.”

Gunpla is not about being perfect, it’s about building a model you love from a show you love with your own hands. Here at Gunpla 101, we provide resources for Gunpla builders of all skill levels.

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