For the life of me, I don’t know why and how Bandai sells so many of the entry level “Super Deformed” Gundams. They are cheap (under S$20 in Singapore) but come in really low-grade plastics, the short limbs and body parts often come off easily after you assemble them and have very poor poseability (ie. articulation).
Having assembled a few of them with Isaac (who is eight this year), I gave up on the poor quality and presentation of the SD Gundams and told my son: “Let’s build a real Gundam.” I went shopping at Sunshine Plaza and got this HG model the RX-121-1 Gundam TR-1 Hazel Custom edition featuring oversized armor and really big kneecaps. At only S$23, it was great value and a big leap over the models he has built.
The project took us a few days, and the kid has really improved at cutting and cleaning up the plastic parts. I can’t imagine how I used to assemble model kits without a proper plastic cutter (I had only cheap scissors), but kids today are luckier I guess.
We didn’t bother to fully paint the kit with my airbrush, and it was a little disappointing to see that Bandai included normal sticky decals, not water-activated decals. I took a penknife and cut out the excess decal clear portions, and also used enamel paint to line the grooves for a more manga effect.
The downside with the HG series is that since the plastic parts are all pretty small, they risk getting broken off if you use too much force or drop the model on the floor. The Gundam’s antenna came off during the painting process, but I glued it back.
The upside is that if you take some care in assembly, and learn how to use paint to fill in the panel grooves, you’ll get a very good-looking toy that poses very well.
For Dads into toys (that’s like most of us), it’s a good idea to do some Gundam kits with your sons. It’s not only good for buddy time, but also builds observation skills and a better understanding of how things can come together for artistic effect. And of course, it builds plenty of patience!
More pictures below: