One of the most popular hobbies that plenty of people have today is building robot model kits. Besides being a fairly relaxing hobby, robot models kits also help build dexterity, memory skills, better attention to detail, and creativity. So, it could be safe to say that robot model kits are not just a simple hobby but a learning and creative experience for the many people that do it during their free time or break.
If you want to get into this fun hobby, there are different types of robot model kits that you will need to know first, as the difficulty of each type would depend on how experienced you are in building model kits. For beginners, it would be best to get the smaller and simpler kits, while veterans would be more satisfied to build complicated robots with plenty of articulation and accessories. To know more about the significant similarities and differences between these types, here is a list of the different types of robot model kits.
Before we get into the list, take note that these types are set by Bandai, a Japanese company that currently owns the most popular model kit brand in the world, Gunpla. These types were once exclusively used for robots that appear in the Gundam science-fiction franchise, but Bandai has decided to use the types for their other licensed franchises.
First Grade (FG)
The First Grade line, also known as the Original line, was the type of robot model kit introduced by Bandai in 1980. The First Grade kits are the simplest out of all types, as it has limited articulation and fewer parts. However, its simplicity does not apply to its assembly, as you would sometimes need glue to connect some parts together.
In addition, to complete the look of the robot as seen in the TV show, you may need to paint some sections of the robot. The First Grade didn’t really have an official name when it was released, but Bandai eventually called it “First Grade” in 1990, when they introduced a new kit type called High Grade or HG. Fans of Gunpla would often call First Grade as “No Grade.”
High Grade (HG)
A type of kit introduced in 1990, the High Grade line is supposed to be an upgrade to the First Grade but in a much smaller size. As opposed to the First Grade that is 1:100 in scale, the High Grade kits are 1:144 in scale. But, its smaller size does not deter its quality, as the HG kits usually have more parts and more articulation than FG models.
Furthermore, HG kits also have color-correcting stickers so that you don’t need to paint the details of the robots anymore. It is in the HG line where Bandai first utilized a process called System Injection, wherein two or more colors can be cast on a single part.
Master Grade (MG)
The Master Grade line has the same scale as the First Grade line (1:100), but it has better articulation and has higher quality parts. The Master Grade kits were first introduced in 1995 and are supposed to be much better in quality and appearance than the High Grade. Robots that are in the Master Grade line have a movable inner frame that allows the models to have improved movement.
During the late 90s and early 2000s, the Master Grade was the most popular type of robot model kit produced by Bandai. Because of its popularity and high demand among fans, Bandai decided to release some of the older HG robot models and turn them into MG kits. This process of turning HG models into MG kits is still being practiced by the company today.
Perfect Grade (PG)
The Perfect Grade is the highest line that Bandai produces, as it features a realistic or “true to the show” appearance due to how many parts there are to assemble for each kit. The Perfect Grade is Bandai’s platform to achieve features and design that could “perfectly” depict the robots according to their intended appearance in the real world or according to what they look like on the TV shows or movies they appear in.
Moreover, this grade also has the biggest scale for Bandai kits, as it is 1:60 in size. Because of how difficult the Perfect Grade kits are to design and produce, Bandai usually releases only one PG kit per year, although there are instances where it may take the company two or more years before they release a Perfect Grade model. The first Perfect Grade kit was the RX-78-2 Gundam, also known as the original Gundam, which was released in November 1998.
Real Grade (RG)
Introduced in 2010, the Real Grade or RG line is intended to be an upgraded version of the High Grade line, as they both have the same scale, but the RG line has Master Grade levels of detail and articulation. The Real Grade line often features more parts than High Grades, and they also feature a movable inner frame that is mostly seen in Master Grades.
The Real Grade was once notorious for being difficult to assemble and to keep intact since some parts were so fragile that they would just fall apart during assembly or posing. Fortunately, Bandai has since improved the durability and stability of the line.
Super Deformed (SD)
Although it is not part of the main types of model kits by Bandai, the Super Deformed line has become so popular among hobbyists that Bandai was able to produce several TV shows based on the line. The Super Deformed line is particularly known for having some of the easiest kits to assemble, and because of their cute appearance, SD kits are also popular among kids.
Entry Grade (EG)
The Entry Grade or EG line was introduced exclusively in Southeast Asia in 2011 to encourage kids and those that are curious about the hobby to build simple and easy-to-assemble model kits. The EG kits are simplified High Grade kits that have less articulation or less color separation, so you may need to paint or add stickers to the kits to make them look more accurate.
Bandai later revived the Entry Grade line in 2020 with the release of the EG RX-78-2 Gundam, but instead of being exclusive to Southeast Asia, the company decided to release the line worldwide. During conventions or promotional events, Bandai would often give away EG RX-78-2 Gundam kits to introduce beginners and children to the hobby for free.
Those are the popular types of robot model kits that you can buy today in toy stores or hobby shops. If you are new to the hobby, it would be best to start with the SD or HG line and move your way up to MG or RG so that you will be better prepared and experienced to tackle assembling a Perfect Grade kit.