How to Build Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam Models: Expert Tips and Techniques

Building Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam models can be an incredibly rewarding experience. These 1/60 scale kits are the pinnacle of Gunpla, offering exceptional detail and articulation. First introduced by Bandai in 1998, these kits bring the Gundam universe to life with remarkable precision and complexity.

Perfect Grade kits come with a vast number of parts, allowing for intricate assembly, from individual finger joints to advanced LED systems. Builders will appreciate the beautifully designed boxes and the state-of-the-art engineering that goes into each model. For those looking to push their modeling skills to the next level, PG Gundam models represent the ultimate challenge.

One of the most striking features of Perfect Grade kits is their overwhelming level of detail. Each component, from the torso to the legs, is crafted to be as lifelike as possible, making these models the top choice for serious enthusiasts. Assembling a PG Gundam model is not just about following instructions; it is an adventure where every step reveals a new layer of craftsmanship and complexity.

Understanding the Perfect Grade Series

Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam models are considered the pinnacle of Gunpla. They offer unmatched detail and articulation, making them a favorite among both novice and seasoned builders. Let’s explore their history, how they compare to other grades, their popularity, and notable releases.

History and Evolution

The Perfect Grade series was first introduced by Bandai in 1998. These models are celebrated for their intricate design and high level of detail. With the first release of PG RX-78-2 Gundam, they set a new standard in the Gunpla world. Over the years, Bandai has continued to innovate, incorporating advanced engineering and materials, increasing both complexity and accuracy.

Perfect Grade vs. Other Grades

Perfect Grade kits are distinct from other grades in several ways. High Grade (HG) kits are more affordable and suitable for beginners. Master Grade (MG) kits add more detail and better articulation. Real Grade (RG) kits are highly detailed but at a smaller 1:144 scale. PG kits, however, are 1:60 scale and feature unprecedented detail and complexity, making them the gold standard in the Gunpla community.

Popularity and Appeal

PG kits are highly popular among enthusiasts due to their superior craftsmanship. They offer a rewarding challenge with their intricate parts and detailed assembly processes. This makes them appealing both to collectors and builders seeking a complex project. The high level of articulation and realistic details help bring the Mobile Suit Gundam universe to life, enhancing their appeal even further.

Perfect Grade Releases

Over the years, numerous PG kits have been released, each with its unique features. The PG Strike Gundam, PG Unicorn Gundam, and PG Exia are just a few examples. Each kit offers a unique experience with exclusive parts and design elements. These releases often include LED lighting and other enhancements, maintaining their status as the most detailed and highly sought-after kits in the Gunpla series.

Getting Started with PG Models

When starting to build Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam models, it’s essential to choose the right kit, prepare your tools and workspace, and thoroughly understand the manual. These steps will make your building process smoother and more enjoyable.

Choosing Your PG Gundam Kit

Selecting the right PG Gundam kit is crucial. PG kits are known for their high detail and complexity. Beginners might prefer starting with well-known models like the RX-78-2 or the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam. These kits are popular and have plenty of resources available for support.

Consider factors like complexity and availability of replacement parts. Some kits have more intricate designs, which may be challenging for beginners. It’s best to choose a kit that fits your confidence level and interests.

Read reviews and join online communities to gather opinions on different kits. Many experienced builders share their insights and can help you make an informed decision.

Tools and Workspace Preparation

Having the right tools and a well-organized workspace is vital. Here’s a list of essential tools:

  • Hobby Nippers: For cutting parts from the sprue.
  • Tweezers: For handling small parts.
  • Hobby Knife: For trimming excess plastic.
  • File/Sandpaper: To smooth edges.

Ensure your workspace has good lighting and enough space to lay out all parts. A cutting mat is useful to protect surfaces and provide a stable cutting area.

Keep your tools within reach and organize parts methodically. This helps prevent losing small pieces and streamlines the building process. Consider using trays or organizers for different parts and tools.

Understanding the Manual

Thoroughly understanding the manual is crucial for successful PG model building. The manual includes step-by-step instructions and illustrations. Take time to study it before starting.

Note the symbols and icons used throughout. These indicate actions like cutting, sanding, or assembling specific parts. Familiarize yourself with these symbols to avoid mistakes.

Sometimes the manual includes tips. Pay close attention to these as they often suggest the best assembly techniques. Follow each step carefully to ensure all parts fit together correctly.

Having a clear understanding of the manual helps you plan your build and anticipate any challenging sections. This preparation can save time and reduce frustration during the assembly.

The Assembly Process

Working table of a Gunpla Modelist and tools
Working table of a Gunpla Modelist and tools GUNDAM KITS COLLECTION (Fotografia/Photo)
Cheposo(Subida/Upload), Mesa de Trabajo de un Modelista Gunpla y herramientas (Working table of a Gunpla Modelist and tools), CC BY-SA 3.0

Building a Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam model involves several meticulous steps, including organizing the parts, constructing the inner frame, applying decals, assembling the external armor, and adding weapons and accessories. Each step requires careful attention to detail for a successful build.

Sorting and Organizing Parts

Sorting and organizing parts is a crucial first step. Each PG Gundam kit comes with hundreds of pieces. It’s essential to identify and label each part using the instructions provided.

Organize parts on a clean workspace. Use small containers or trays to separate parts by type and section, such as arms, legs, and torso. This makes it easier to find parts during the assembly process.

Proper organization helps avoid mistakes and ensures that you don’t lose any pieces.

Building the Inner Frame

Building the inner frame involves assembling the core structure of the Gundam. This skeleton supports the outer armor and allows for articulation.

Follow the instruction manual closely, starting with the torso and gradually adding limbs. The inner frame is complex, with numerous small parts that need to be carefully snapped together.

Tools such as hobby nippers, tweezers, and a small file help to remove and clean parts precisely. PG models like the Unicorn Gundam and Gundam Astray Red Frame have intricate details in their inner frames that add realism.

Applying Decals and Stickers

Gundam Decals

Applying decals and stickers enhances the model’s appearance. Decals can be either dry transfer or water-slide types.

For dry transfer decals, position them on the part and rub with a blunt tool to transfer the image. For water-slide decals, soak in water for a few seconds, then slide onto the part and adjust as needed. Pat dry with a soft cloth.

Stickers are easier to apply than decals but can be less durable. Match the decals to the kit model, such as the elaborate markings on the Gundam Exia.

Assembling External Armor

Assembling the external armor completes the visual aspect of the model. Each piece is carefully placed over the inner frame.

Follow the instructions to ensure each part fits securely. Armor parts often come in several segments and include intricate details that require patience to align correctly.

Pay special attention to areas like the torso, waist, and limbs. Ensure that the armor pieces do not interfere with the inner frame’s articulation.

Attaching Weapons and Accessories

Attaching weapons and accessories is the final step in the assembly process. PG Gundam models come with various weapons like beam rifles, shield units, and sometimes unique armaments.

Carefully assemble each weapon according to the instructions. Attach them to the model at design-specific points. Accessories such as action bases or LED units may also be included.

Handle all parts gently to avoid damaging the model. Each addition contributes to the detail and realism, completing the overall look of the PG Gundam.

Customizing Your PG Model

Customizing a Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam model takes your build to the next level. Through painting, weathering, and adding electronics, you can make your model truly unique and realistic.

Painting Techniques

Painting a PG Gundam model can transform its appearance. Color separation with different shades can highlight details. Start with a primer to ensure the paint sticks well. Use an airbrush for smooth, even coats, and spray in light, multiple layers to avoid paint pooling.

Panel lining adds depth by emphasizing the lines and edges. Use a fine-tipped marker or an enamel wash. After painting, seal your work with a clear coat to protect it. For metallic effects, try using metal paints, especially on parts like weapons and joints.

Weathering for Realism

Weathering techniques make your Gundam look battle-worn and more realistic. Chipping can be done using a sponge or fine brush to mimic paint wear. Use different shades of paint to add depth.

For rust effects, apply a rust-colored wash to areas prone to wear. Dry brushing helps simulate dirt and grime. Lightly brush a contrasting paint over raised sections to highlight them. Pastel chalks can also be used to create dust effects on legs and feet. Don’t forget to seal it with a matte clear coat to finish.

LED Light and Electronics Customization

Installing LED units brings your PG Gundam to life. LEDs can be placed in the head, chest, or weapons to create impactful visual effects. Pre-made kits are available for models like the LED Unit for Gundam Exia.

Carefully plan wire routing to keep the electronics hidden. Metal joints can conduct electricity, making them suitable for LED endpoints. Follow the instructions and take care to insulate wires to avoid short circuits. Light up gimmicks and flashing lights can be controlled with microcontrollers. Make sure to check everything before final assembly to ensure your LEDs work correctly.

Advanced Techniques and Tips

Building a Perfect Grade Gundam model requires attention to detail and precision. This section covers tips on enhancing articulation, creating effective display solutions, and photographing your PG kit.

Articulation and Posing

Articulation is key for dynamic poses. PG kits, including the PG Strike Gundam, feature advanced joint structures. Ensure all joints are securely assembled to maintain stability.

Tips for Enhanced Articulation:

  • Use fine grit sandpaper to smoothen joint surfaces, reducing friction.
  • Apply a small amount of plastic-safe lubricant for smoother movement.
  • Ensure all parts are fully pushed in; loose fittings can affect poses.

Posing:

  • Experiment with different poses to showcase the Gundam’s flexibility.
  • Use clear display stands designed for PG models to support dynamic poses.
  • Pay attention to balance; adjust the lower body’s stance to support upper body weight.

Display and Storage Solutions

Your finished model will need a safe, prominent display area. A dedicated display space free from dust and direct sunlight is optimal.

Display Tips:

  • Display stands help in holding action poses and prevent the Gundam from toppling.
  • Display cases protect from dust and potential damage.
  • Avoid high-traffic areas where the model might get bumped.

Storage Solutions:

  • If you need to store parts, use labeled containers. This helps in keeping accessories and smaller parts organized.
  • Keep the original box for future storage needs. It’s specifically designed for the kit’s components.

Maintenance:

  • Use a soft brush to regularly dust the model.
  • Periodically check joints and stands for any looseness or wear.

Photographing Your PG Gundam

Capturing your PG Gundam in photos involves good lighting and thoughtful composition. High-quality images showcase the intricate details and craftsmanship.

Lighting:

  • Natural light is best. Place the model near a well-lit window.
  • If using artificial light, employ white LED lights to avoid color distortion.

Composition:

  • Use a plain background to keep the focus on the Gundam.
  • Experiment with angles to highlight articulation and unique features.

Camera Settings:

  • Use a tripod for stability and to avoid blurry images.
  • Opt for a macro setting to capture fine details.
  • Adjust the aperture to control depth of field; a lower f-stop (around 5.6) helps focus on your subject while blurring the background.

By considering these advanced techniques, builders can enhance their PG Gundam models, making them true works of art.

Understanding PG Kit Variants

Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam models offer a wide array of variants that cater to different levels of enthusiasts. These variants include special editions, collaborations, and upgrades that enhance the building experience and the final display.

Special Editions and Limited Releases

Special editions and limited releases of PG Gundam kits are often produced in smaller quantities and feature unique characteristics. These kits might include special color schemes, additional accessories, or exclusive decals. For example, the Wing Gundam Zero Custom is a popular special edition known for its striking white and blue color scheme and angelic wing design.

Limited releases can also feature exceptional packaging and exclusive parts, such as the Clear Armor and Sword Set, which offers translucent parts and enhanced weaponry. Collectors often seek these rare kits due to their distinct features and potential value increase over time.

Collaboration and Crossover Kits

Collaboration and crossover kits are another exciting variant within the PG Gundam universe. These kits often result from partnerships with other franchises or companies, bringing unique elements to the models. The PG Evangelion EVA-01, for instance, is a collaboration that merges the iconic Evangelion series with Gundam’s meticulous design standards.

These crossover kits not only showcase the technical prowess of PG models but also appeal to fans of multiple franchises. Collaboration kits can feature custom parts, unique aesthetics, and even tailored marketing materials, making them a prized addition to any collection.

Expansion Sets and Upgrades

Expansion sets and upgrade kits provide additional options for builders looking to enhance their PG models. These sets can include extra weapons, detailed armor, or even electronic components. A notable example is the LED Light-Up Mechanics set for the PG Unleashed RX-78-2 Gundam. This set adds realistic illumination to the model, elevating its display quality.

Upgrade kits like Ver. Ka versions often deliver enhanced articulation, refined details, and updated color schemes. Builders can use these expansions to customize their models further, ensuring their PG Gundam reflects personal preferences and achieves a higher level of realism.

The PG Gundam Community and Resources

The Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam community is vibrant and full of resources to help builders, from beginners to advanced enthusiasts. Key areas include online forums, detailed tutorials, and the latest news on upcoming releases.

Community Forums and Groups

There are many online forums and groups where PG Gundam fans can connect and share their experiences. Reddit, particularly the r/Gunpla subreddit, is a popular spot for discussions. Users share insights, post build progress photos, and provide advice on tricky assembly stages.

Facebook groups and Discord servers also have active communities. These platforms offer immediate support and feedback, making them valuable for new builders. Some notable forums even host contests and collaborative projects, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among enthusiasts.

Online Tutorials and Guides

For those looking to improve their building skills, there are plenty of online tutorials and guides. YouTube is a rich source of content, featuring step-by-step assembly videos. Channels like Mecha Gaikotsu and ZakuAurelius provide detailed guidance on every aspect of building PG kits.

Detailed instruction manuals that come with the kits are crucial. They break down the assembly process with clear visuals. Additionally, websites and blogs offer written guides, tips on using foil stickers, and painting techniques to enhance the model’s appearance. These resources cater to both beginners and experienced builders.

Upcoming Releases and News

Staying updated on new PG Gundam releases is essential for enthusiasts. The Gundam Place Store and official Bandai announcements provide information on upcoming kits. These platforms often showcase new models, enhancements, and special editions.

Community forums and social media channels frequently share the latest news and announcements. Enthusiasts can pre-order new kits from online stores and participate in discussions about new features and build challenges. Staying informed helps builders plan their next projects and stay excited about the ever-evolving Gundam Universe.

Caring for Your PG Model

Proper care ensures that your Perfect Grade (PG) Gundam model stays in the best condition. This includes regular cleaning, repairing any broken parts, and potentially upgrading over time.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning keeps the model looking sharp. Dust can accumulate on the surface, affecting the appearance. Use a soft brush or a microfiber cloth for dusting off.

For more thorough cleaning, a mild soap solution can be useful. Dab a cloth in the solution and gently wipe the parts. Be cautious with stickers and decals. Avoid soaking to prevent damaging delicate foil stickers.

Lubricate the joints occasionally. This helps maintain the flexibility of mechanics like beam sabers and moving parts.

Repairing Broken Parts

Breaks can happen, but most can be repaired with ease. Use modeler’s glue to fix small cracks or broken pieces. Avoid overapplying glue as it can cause smudging.

For larger breaks, a pinning technique might be needed. Drill tiny holes into the broken pieces and insert small metal pins before gluing. This method provides extra strength.

Keep spare parts from other models handy. They can be a lifesaver when searching for replacements. Always double-check the fit and detail alignment.

Upgrading Your Model Over Time

Upgrades can enhance the look and functionality. Adding new parts like advanced gimmicks or enhanced mechanics can bring new life to the model.

Painting can add a personal touch. A few layers of precision painting can improve the depth and detail of the plastic model. Airbrush kits offer smooth and even coats. Always wear a mask while airbrushing.

Replacing old stickers with premium decals can also spruce up the model. High-quality foil stickers provide a more realistic and intense finish.