Last weekend, I did something I love to do: introduce a friend to Gunpla for the very first time. If you think building Gunpla is rewarding, just try teaching somebody else to do it!
My friend, whom we’ll call Andrew, has built model airplanes in the past so I wasn’t giving him my full attention like I might do for a total newbie. Instead, I was tackling a High Grade Zaku High Mobility Test Type while he took a stab at a High Grade of his own.
“Hm,” he said, clearly puzzled. “This piece looks almost identical on both sides. I don’t know what’s supposed to be the top or the bottom!”
See also: Gunpla Symbols Explained
“That’s odd,” I said, not looking up. I was working on the arms and I always have to concentrate on those. (Is it my right or the Zaku’s right?) “Usually the instructions tell you.”
We went on in silence for awhile until Andrew spoke up.
“Wait, does that tiny little thing mean anything?”
If you’ve build Gunpla before, I think you can guess where this is going—he wasn’t paying attention to the miniscule “pay attention!” notches.
In this photo, the “pay attention!” notches are printed in red ink, but that is far from the norm. This is a photo of my Zaku High Mobility instructions, but Andrew wasn’t so lucky. Not knowing what to look for or what they might mean, he missed them completely. And who can blame him? If you haven’t built Gunpla before, what would you have thought these mean?
In older kits, “pay attention!” was notated with a black box and an exclamation mark inside, as I’ve shared in Gunpla Symbols Explained. This more minimalist approach works for experienced builders, but may catch newbies by surprise.
Let this post be my warning to you. If you see two tiny notches, “pay attention!”