Posted By Yomanman
Gunpla Part 2: Scale
Sizes and Scales Explained
Posted by: Yomanman
Date: June 05, 2008
From left to right: SD (Non-scale), 1/144 High Grade, 1/100 Master Grade, and 1/60 Perfect Grade
From left to right: SD (Non-scale), 1/144 High Grade, 1/100 Master Grade, 1/60 Perfect Grade

Bandai has done a good job overall marketing their products to a wide range of consumers. No matter your tastes you can find something within your price range, but always leaving you wanting the next, bigger model. The break down of common scales and "Grades" are as follows:

SD (Super Deformed)
Average Price: $4-$8 USD
Average Height: 5-6cm

These small kits are mostly geared towards younger children, but have also gained an adult following through extensive personalization by the owners. They are among the cheapest kits in production today, but sacrifice detail in the process. Some kits may have parts with gaps on one side requiring the builder to fill in with putty. Their articulation is limited but are meant for little more than desktop decoration. While they are affordable, they require more work to complete than the more expensive lines.

1/550 High Grade Mechanics
Average Price: $12-$15 USD
Average Height: 12-15cm

High Grade Mechanics brings the same technology of the HG kits to the larger machines of the Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory series. They feature the same level of detail and articulation as the HGUC kits, but in a smaller scale. This is now-discontinued line has been replaced by the 1/400 Gundam Collection series.

1/400 Gundam Collection
Average Price: $20-$120 USD
Average Height: 10-60cm

This series compliments the Gundam Collection, a line of Gashapon trading figures. They range from large scale suits to capital ships. The suits come pre-painted and look nice without paint, to match the trading figures, while the capital ships are molded in a minimum of colors.

1/200 Speed Grade
Average Price: $7-$9 USD
Average Height: 8-10cm

Bandai's newest line, the Speed Grade collection offers builders a rapid assembly due to pre-painted, multicolored parts. Similar in design to NG kits, the Speed Grade series has slightly improved articulation but continues to suffer from poorly placed seam lines.

1/144 (No Grade)
Average Price: $3-$5 USD
Average Height: 12-15cm

This line was most recently used for Gundam Seed. They come molded in only the most basic colors and are composed mostly of half pieces. The appendages feature no articulation other than axis at the shoulder and pelvis. There may also be detail lacking in the underside of parts, but it is less prevalent than their SD cousins.

1/144 First Grade
Average Price: $3-$8 USD
Average Height: 12-15cm

This line was first introduced with the RX-78 Gundam, MS-06F Zaku II, and MS-06S Zaku II but was never expanded until the debut of Gundam 00. Overall, the FG line adds improvements to articulation, particularly in the knee and elbow joints. Coloring and seam lines remain an issue, however.

1/144 High Grade
Average Price: $7-$30 USD
Average Height: 12-15cm

Appearing in 2000, five years after the debut of the Master Grade, the HG line is suitable for builders who want a quality kit in a small size. Originally rather basic in design, HG kits have evolved into impressive models sporting a limited amount of internal detail and wide degree of articulation. High Grade Universal Century (HGUC) also happens to offer arguably the most diverse assortment of Gundam related kits. These kits come in more colors thanks to Bandai's System Injection process which allows multiple colors on a single tree. While some seam lines may appear a tad obvious, the HG line is much better equipped at providing a nice finished model.

1/100 (No Grade, High Grade)
Average Price: $15-$25 USD
Average Height: 15-20cm

The 1/100 scale has seen several names depending on the series it is based on. Kits from Gundam W are known as HG while the Seed kits have no designation. Feature-wise, they are all similar in design. They are essentially scaled-up High Grade kits with slightly improved details and (usually) better proportions. This line compliments the Master Grade series since they are in the same scale and some kits may not see a MG version.

1/100 Master Grade
Average Price: $25-$80 USD
Average Height: 15-25cm

The flagship line of Gunpla: The Master Grade series sports the most impressive and continually updated line of models from the Gundam franchise. Each kit comes molded in correct colors and features internal skeletons and impressive articulation. There is a massive gap between the quality of older MG kits compared to their newer releases, causing Bandai to begin redesigning several of the early kits in new "Version 2.0" models. These newest kits offer detail and flexibility rivaling or exceeding their larger, more expensive Perfect Grade cousins. Seam lines are almost non-existent and painting is a minor affair.

1/60 (No Grade, High Grade, Big Scale)
Average Price: $30-$50 USD
Average Height: 25-30cm

For builders looking for size over detail, the 1/60 scale offers a small assortment of kits for the main suits of most recent Gundam series. Mostly upscaled High Grade kits, these sport some internal detail and other gimmicks benefiting from their increased size. Seam lines remain a problem due to many parts being molded down the middle.

1/60 Glorious Series
Average Price: $125-$175 USD
Average Height: 30-34cm

The Glorious Series is a lesser known line of Gundam kits, with only two kits listed so far. They have next to no internal detail but have sharply cast externals and feature multiple LEDs decorating the kits' thrusters and cameras. Builders looking for a beautiful, finished model outside of a diorama will love these.

1/60 Perfect Grade
Average Price: $100-$200 USD
Average Height: 30-35cm

The pinnacle of Bandai modeling, the Perfect Grade line is geared towards the richest and most fanatic collectors. They tower over other models and sport an incredible amount of detail, mostly within the internal skeleton which is several layers thick. Featuring fully articulate fingers and light-up LED eyes, the PG line is designed to impress, and in the hands of a master modeler, they can become complex works of art.

1/35 Universal Century Hardgraph
Average Price: $15-$50 USD

A newer series introduced by Bandai, the UCHG line is tailored for serious diorama modelers. They are molded in a popular 1/35 military scale, giving it an extra aura of realism. The kits usually deal with human figures in common scenarios in war, featuring lesser known vehicles and damaged Mobile Suit parts.

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