Getting Started SUPER LINKS
Here’s a page to help newer Gundam/Mecha model builders get oriented and find out about kits, where to buy them, how to build them, and find people like themselves…
There’s a lot of information out there, so here’s a gateway for getting started.
Places to learn about mecha model kits:
Dalong Gunpla Kit Review-
Has reviews of Gundam, Macross Frontier, Armored Core, ZOIDS, SRW and a lot more from Bandai and Kotobukiya. Reviews show built kits (he builds them simply with a minimal amount of paint), as well as level of detail and mobility (poseability) and in the information portion, box contents and scans of instruction manuals.
This is a Japanese online hobby shop but they generally have extensive photos of the built kits from box/catalog photos, box contents and instruction manuals. They have military models as well.
This guy covers everything an Otaku (anime fan) would be into. He reviews new kits and covers news of upcoming kits as well as news about toys, anime and video games.
Places to Buy Models:
Online Japanese Shops
Online US Shops:
Gundam Store and More
Local Southern California Shops that carry Gundam/Mecha kits:
I’m really lucky to have this shop just down the street from my house in Fullerton and the Southern California Gunpla community is lucky to have store like this. This is like the hobby stores you find in Akihabara Japan with a selection of Gunpla kits that was just unheard of locally just a couple years ago. They sell all the Mr. Hobby goods including the hard-to-find Mr.Color and Gundam Color paints as well as Leveling Thinner. They also sell online.
A very strong hobby shop for model building in general with a good selection of kits paints, glues supplies and tools. Like most “normal” hobby shops the Gunpla selection is limited. Located in Garden Grovehttp://brookhursthobbies.com/
A pretty good Hobby Shop in Orange their focus is more on remote control, but they do have your basic model building supplies and a small selection of Gunpla.http://www.ultimatehobbies.com/istar.asp?tfile=homepage.template
A small warehouse of hobby goodness located in the City of Industry. Similar to Brookhurst in its wide variety of hobby goods.
Well, they have Gunpla and several branches, but as both a model builder and a former R/C Pilot I’ve never been that fond of Hobby People they’re very generic with a little of everything but not much of anything good. Don’t expect to find that specialty tool or hard to find kit at this place. But if you need your basic hobby supplies and there’s one close, it’s a good place to stop.
Frank & Sons Collectible Show They’re only open Saturdays and Wednesdays, and only a couple booths sell kits, but when they’ve got a kit you want, the prices can be very good.
Anime Expo – It’s only once a year and you have to register and pay to get in, but the Exhibitor Hall has some very good deals on everything anime related and there’s a model contest and several model building workshops. Plus you’re at Anime Expo, it’s an awesome nerdfest!!!
Most Gundam/Mecha kits do not come with waterslide decals that most other modelers are used to (if they do have markings, they are typically peel-and-stick stickers and rub-on dry transfers). Bandai makes waterslide decals for some of their kits that you can buy separately on the listed websites, but Samuel Decal is a respected decal vendor from Hong Kong with a very large variety of designs. He can also print your own designs for you.
Gundam/Mecha model Community Forums:
GameraBaenre’s Model Building Community Forum:
Our local band of smartasses, but members are welcome and come from all over the country. It’s the fun Gunpla forum.
Those Gundam Guys:
A fairly new offshoot of the local contingent of the GameraBaenre forums that meet monthly at the Build Gatherings. We’re kind of becoming a club by default and our name reflects it because that’s what the IPMS-type people call us. Keep up to date on the Southern California Gundam Model Contest.
Fichtenfoo Model Building Community Forum (FFF):
Some very serious modelers here. High quality work.
Hobby Fanatics Model Building Community Forum:
A large mecha model building forum.
Useful Tutorials and Forum Help Sections:
Fichtenfoo’s “How to Build Master Grade Gundams”:
Those Gundam Guys Techniques Page:
GB Forum Techniques and Technologies section:
FFF Model Help section:
You can always look at WIP (Work In Progress Reports) for ideas, techniques and inspiration. The forums above all have WIP sections and here are some good ones from a few prominent mecha model builders:
An excellent super-detailer-
Three talented modelers, some of their excellent kits have WIP reports.