The Differences Between Real Grade (RG) and High Grade (HG) Gunpla: A Detailed Comparison

High Grade (HG) and Real Grade (RG) Gunpla models are two popular choices among Gundam enthusiasts. HG kits are designed to be affordable and easy to assemble, making them perfect for beginners. These models are usually 1:144 scale and focus on a balance between detail and simplicity. Despite being basic, they offer good poseability and come in a variety of designs.

On the other hand, RG kits provide more complexity and detail. They are also 1:144 scale but include advanced engineering, more parts, and better articulation. RG models are ideal for those looking for more realism and a greater challenge. They often come with color separation and detailed inner frames, giving them a more polished and intricate look compared to HG models.

Both HG and RG kits offer unique experiences tailored to different skill levels and preferences. Whether you are starting out with Gunpla or seeking a more advanced project, understanding the differences between these two grades can help you make the best choice for your next build.

Understanding Gunpla and Its Categories

Gunpla, short for Gundam plastic models, comes in various grades, each with its own scale, level of detail, complexity, and suitability for modelers at different skill levels.

Scale and Proportions

Gunpla kits are available in multiple scales. High Grade (HG) and Real Grade (RG) are typically 1/144 scale. This scale means the models are scaled down 144 times from the size of the actual Gundam.

Larger scales like 1/100 are used for Master Grade (MG) kits, offering more detail than smaller models. Perfect Grade (PG) kits go even larger at 1/60 scale, providing extreme detail and complexity. Super Deformed (SD) kits are unique because they prioritize a cartoonish style over precise scaling, making them smaller and cuter compared to other grades.

Grade Definitions

High Grade (HG) kits are some of the most accessible Gunpla models. They are simpler and easier to build, making them ideal for beginners. They have a moderate amount of detail and articulation, providing a good balance of quality and ease.

In contrast, Real Grade (RG) kits offer more sophisticated builds. While they share the 1/144 scale with HG, RG kits are more detailed and feature advanced joint mechanisms. These kits mimic the complexity found in MG kits but in a smaller size, offering greater realism and posability.

Other notable grades include Master Grade (MG), which are 1/100 scale and offer a higher level of detail and complexity. Perfect Grade (PG) kits are the pinnacle of Gunpla models, at 1/60 scale, offering unrivaled detail and sophisticated construction. Finally, Super Deformed (SD) kits are smaller and stylized, focusing on unique and exaggerated designs.

High Grade (HG) Overview

Gundam toy

High Grade (HG) Gunpla are model kits that are perfect for beginners and those looking for simpler builds. They are affordable, come in a variety of designs, and are typically available in the 1/144 scale.

Key Features of High Grade Gunpla

High Grade Gunpla kits are known for their simplicity and affordability. They are designed to be easy to build, making them ideal for beginners. Despite their simplicity, HG kits still offer a decent level of detail. The parts are often pre-colored, so painting is optional.

Their scale is usually 1/144, meaning the models are smaller and take up less space. The kits come with stickers for color separation and small decals for extra details. While the articulation isn’t as advanced as other grades, HG kits still allow for dynamic poses.

Variety and Availability of HG Kits

There is a wide variety of HG kits available, covering many different series and designs. This range makes it easy for modelers to find a kit that interests them. HG kits are readily available in many stores and online, making them accessible for most people.

The price of HG kits usually ranges from $20 to $40, which is affordable compared to higher-grade kits. This cost-effectiveness allows hobbyists to collect multiple kits without breaking the bank. Some special editions or older HG models may cost more, but most fit within this price range.

Real Grade (RG) Overview

Real Grade (RG) Gunpla kits offer an impressive blend of detail and complexity on a 1/144 scale, aiming to replicate the best qualities of larger models. They feature intricate parts and advanced construction techniques designed to deliver a highly accurate and realistic model.

Key Features of Real Grade Gunpla

Scale: RG kits are 1/144 scale, the same as High Grade (HG) kits. Despite the small size, they are filled with a high number of parts.

Inner Frame: One standout feature of RG kits is their pre-assembled inner frame, similar to the larger Master Grade kits. This frame provides greater poseability and stability to the model.

Build Complexity: These kits involve more detailed and complex assembly compared to HG kits. Builders will find various tiny parts that need precise handling.

Articulation: RG kits are known for their exceptional articulation. They can achieve a wide range of poses, thanks to their flexible joints and inner frame.

Decals and Panel Lining: RG kits come with a variety of decals for adding intricate details. Builders often use panel lining to enhance the model’s appearance and highlight its detailed look.

Real Grade Aesthetic and Detailing

Detailing: RG kits are highly detailed, with features that mimic the look of larger models. They include various intricate parts and color variations achieved through multi-colored injection molding.

Color Separation: One of the key visual features is the impressive color separation. These kits often use different shades of the same color to create a more realistic and visually appealing look.

Sculpt Accuracy: Each RG kit aims to offer an accurate representation of the Gundam from which it is modeled. The attention to detail in the sculpt and proportions reflects this goal.

Realistic Features: RG kits often come with tiny decals and stickers that add further detail and realism to the model.

Panel Lines: The incorporation of panel lines helps in bringing out the details and contributes to a more dynamic and lifelike appearance.

Final Presentation: Once built, RG kits offer a final presentation that combines the small scale of HG with the high detail level of Master Grades, making them a favored choice for enthusiasts seeking both detail and manageable size.

Comparative Analysis: High Grade vs Real Grade

When comparing High Grade (HG) and Real Grade (RG) Gunpla, key differences include detail and realism, price point and affordability, and construction and articulation.

Detail and Realism

HG kits have simpler designs and fewer parts. They are suitable for beginners who want an easier build. RG kits, on the other hand, feature intricate details, such as color-separation and realistic textures. RGs strive to offer the realism found in larger kits but at a 1/144 scale. The level of detail in RG kits often matches or even exceeds that of larger model kits, providing a more true-to-life appearance.

Price Point and Affordability

HG kits are generally more affordable, making them ideal for those new to the hobby or on a budget. The simpler construction and fewer pieces contribute to the lower cost. RG kits are more expensive due to their complexity and higher detail. This price increase reflects the advanced engineering and finer quality parts. While RG kits cost more, they also offer a richer building experience, which many modelers find worth the investment.

Construction and Articulation

HG models are straightforward to build, with fewer steps and parts. They do not usually require an inner frame, making the construction process faster. RG models are more complex and often include an inner frame, adding to their strength and poseability. The advanced articulation in RG kits allows for more dynamic poses and a sturdier build. HG kits offer basic movement, but RG kits take it a step further, providing many more possibilities for display.

Building Experience and Skill Level

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

When choosing a Gunpla kit, the builder’s experience and skills are crucial factors. RG and HG kits differ significantly in complexity, which impacts the building process for both beginners and experienced modelers.

Ease of Assembly for Beginners

High Grade (HG) kits are often recommended for beginners. They typically require fewer parts and simpler construction steps, making them more beginner-friendly. HG kits usually scale at 1/144, striking a balance between detail and ease of assembly.

Beginners can assemble these kits with basic tools like nippers and may not need glue. Many HG kits also come with tutorials that guide through the assembly. In addition, these kits don’t require painting, as they use molded plastic in various colors.

For those new to Gunpla, HG kits provide a satisfying introduction without overwhelming complexity. They can still achieve impressive results without advanced techniques, making HG perfect for those just starting.

Advanced Techniques for Experienced Modelers

Real Grade (RG) kits cater to more experienced builders, requiring advanced modeling techniques and significantly more attention to detail. These kits, also in 1/144 scale, have intricate parts that mimic an inner frame structure similar to Master Grade (MG) kits.

Experienced modelers often utilize advanced techniques such as painting, panel lining, and weathering to enhance the realism of RG kits. These kits may require more tools and supplies, like specialized paint, precise nippers, and modeling glue for assembly.

RG kits also offer builders the challenge of fitting small, delicate pieces. For those looking to improve their modeling skills, RG kits present a rewarding build that showcases detailed engineering and articulation. The complexity and detail level make RG kits ideal for those seeking a challenging and immersive building experience.

Customization and Upgrades

Both Real Grade (RG) and High Grade (HG) Gunpla offer unique opportunities for customization. While HG kits are more accessible for beginners, RG kits provide advanced builders with the ability to enhance their models with sophisticated features.

Exploring Aesthetics with Paint and Decals

Painting and adding decals are key ways to personalize both HG and RG Gunpla kits. For HG models, simple color spray paints can be used to achieve a smooth finish. Decals, such as markings or emblems, can enhance the overall look.

RG kits offer more detailed options for painting, thanks to their intricate parts and advanced molding technology. Builders can experiment with metallic paints, weathering effects, and intricate panel lines. Real Grade decals are typically more precise, allowing for a high level of detail.

Color separation is more distinct in RG kits, which makes it easier to achieve a professional finish without extensive painting. In contrast, HG models might require extra effort to achieve the same level of detail.

Integrating Advanced Features

Upgrading Gunpla with advanced features adds another layer of complexity and satisfaction. For HG kits, customization can include adding extra armor pieces or enhancing poseability with joint upgrades. Builders often replace standard joints with advanced MS joints to improve movement.

RG kits, designed with more advanced technology, offer built-in features such as more articulated inner frames and greater poseability. Integration of LED lights can enhance the visual appeal, especially for kits with transparent parts. Advanced modelers may also incorporate custom-made parts or use 3D printing to create unique components.

HG kits may need aftermarket parts to achieve the sophistication offered by RG kits. However, both grades allow hobbyists to personalize their models extensively, whether through basic or complex modifications.

Community and Collecting Aspects

Gundam Modeling 101 for Beginners

Gunpla, including both Real Grade (RG) and High Grade (HG) kits, has fostered a deeply interconnected community. The social side and the collector’s value play significant roles in shaping this hobby.

The Social Side of Gunpla

Gunpla has a vibrant community both online and offline. Enthusiasts gather in forums, social media groups, and hobby shops. These platforms allow them to share their builds, discuss techniques, and get advice.

Events like Gunpla Builders World Cup bring fans together. They compete and showcase their customized models. Popular kits, like Unicorn Gundam and Sazabi, often become focal points of these gatherings.

Anime series, such as Mobile Suit Gundam, inspire fans and greatly impact discussions. Participants bond over their shared passion, creating lasting friendships around their favorite Gunpla kits.

Collector’s Value and Rare Kits

Collecting RG and HG kits offers a rewarding experience. Some models gain significant value. Limited editions, such as Ver. Ka or Exia, can become prized possessions. Rarity and detailed craftsmanship can increase a kit’s worth.

Kits like Sinanju and other special releases might attract collectors willing to pay premium prices. Their unique features and limited availability make them highly sought after. Enthusiasts often hunt for rare models, adding an exciting layer to the collecting aspect of Gunpla.

Beyond the Box: Gunpla in Popular Culture

Gunpla, short for “Gundam Plastic Models,” has made notable impacts in various media and fostered innovations and collaborations across industries. This section explores how Gunpla influences anime and media and the unique collaborations it has inspired.

Gunpla’s Impact on Anime and Media

Gunpla’s popularity isn’t just limited to hobbyists; it has significantly influenced anime and media. Mobile Suit Gundam series, especially “G Gundam,” often feature Gunpla in their storylines. In Japan and China, Gunpla-themed shows like Gundam Build Fighters revolve around the models, combining realism with chibi-style characters.

Director Hajime Katoki is famed for enhancing Mobile Suits’ design realism, bridging anime and real-world models. The intricate details in Real Grade (RG) kits often reflect his influence. The incorporation of various Gunpla grades in shows has sparked more interest among fans to build and collect these models.

Innovations and Collaborations

Gunpla’s innovation extends to collaborations with other brands and creative fields. For instance, the collaboration with UNIQLO has led to Gundam-themed apparel, merging fashion and anime culture. Various promotional campaigns often see unique Gunpla designs exclusive to special events or locations, like the life-sized Gundam statues displayed in Japan.

In the realm of technology, VR and AR experiences featuring Gunpla battles and assembly guides enhance user engagement. Collaborations with famous designers and engineers focus on the advancement of Gunpla kits, highlighting their status not just as toys but as significant cultural artifacts.