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Gunplas are fun builds for kids or adults

When I was younger, I had a few model kits—for a couple fighter jets, and Star Trek starships. I never got very far with them, though, because the assembly was messy and not straightforward. However, a few years ago I discovered Gunpla—Japanese model kits that are a whole lot easier to put together. Unlike most of my earlier kits, no glue or paint is required. They’re molded in the proper color plastics, and everything press fits together. The only tool you need for most kits is a little flush cutter, to snap the parts off of the plastic runner that they were molded on.

For the name-brand stuff, almost all the models are based off of giant robot designs from the Japanese anthology series Gundam. The series has been airing in Japan since 1979, but only came to America starting in 2000.

And for nearly every design in the show, there is a model kit. They come in multiple levels—Entry Grade and High Grade for those just starting to get into it. These kits are often just 10 or 20 bucks, and are 1/144 scale—so, about 5 or 6 inches tall. These are fun, fairly quick builds that are good for kids or adults. For more like $50 or $60, you get the 1/100 scale Master Grade, which is bigger, with even more detail, and only slightly more difficulty. You can keep climbing this ladder all the way up to the $300 Perfect Grade Unleashed kits.

Here in Wichita, you can get kits at Hobbytown USA, Hero Haven, Mopig’s, and even a small selection at Hobby Lobby and Target. They’re inexpensive enough that I like to buy a few and give one to a friend to build with me.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.