10 Great Starter Kits
This is the age old question, where do I start? Which grade is best for new people? Where is my closest Space Denny's? Does Thespicer write these article back to back? Yes, I do sometimes. As for the real questions, my usual advice is to pick a kit you like regardless of grade, but here are a few options for prospective converts to the Church of the Pla to look at. Note that these are not in any particular order. I've also provided links to the items in stock over at Canadian Gundam. Use code GunplaNetwork at Checkout for 10% off your entire order.
10. High Grade Universal Century (HGUC) 1/144 scale RX-78-2 Revive
Of course we had to start here with gramps. This kit is not only the OG himself, but a really solid representation of more modern high grades. A fairly straight forward build with enough surface detail for panel lining is a great place for anyone to start. It's gives people a little taste of the more common mainstays of more advanced building but doesn't look bad as a straight build either.
If you do decide to try some of the next steps of Gunpla, you'll be able to line, paint and even work on seam lines. This kit has a lot to offer new and old builders alike, thus making it a logical starting point.
All you'll need is a set of nippers and something to smooth out those nubs. I wouldn't advise a hobby knife unless you're really comfortable with one. You could do what many of us do and use make shift tools like nail clippers until you want to invest in some tools.
While not the exact same unit, there is a starter kit that comes with the older HG RX-78-2 that also includes a lining marker, you can find that here as of Nov 4th, 2019.
9. High Grade After Colony (HGAC) 1/144 scale Wing Gundam
Here's another good build to ease people into the hobby, this will capture all those North American fans that started on Gundam Wing.
With a solid build, good surface detailing and decent color separation, this is a good build for anyone wanting to dip their toes in the water of Gunpla. Working well as a straight build, a stickered build or a painted build, this sleek kit will appease just about anyone.
One thing to note is the torso can be a little more touchy but as long as you don't handle it too roughly by the torso you'll be fine. Same deal, just basic tools to start and, of course, lining markers, paints and a seem line removal optional.
You can find this kit here as of Nov 4th, 2019.
8. Real Grade (RG) 1/144 scale Red Frame Astray
I know a lot of people are wary of recommending RG's to people just starting out. Sure, they are a lot more detailed but also more complex. I like to frame this as follows; a HG can be done quickly or it can take time. An RG takes time.
The Red Frame Astray is not only a striking design but also one of the less fragile early RG's. While it still has it's flaws, it's a cool kit that looks good straight built. I'll admit, I never panel lined mine.
This is a considerably more complex and detailed kit, do be aware of what you're getting into, but still a solid, sturdy build in the RG line. This will require a bit more work and you'll need some more tools. While a set of nippers and a file are still the basics, if you intend to use the stickers, some tweezers are almost necessary. If you want to go the extra mile, a head lamp/light source and magnifying glass help. You'll also want to file the nubs nicely or the inner frame/armor connections might not fit.
You can find this katana wielding red boy here as of Nov 4th 2019.
7. Real Grade (RG) 1/144 scale Tallgeese 1
Much like the Red Frame, the Tallgoose is a sturdy boy and not too fragile. A more basic design, the Tallgoose doesn't have the most surface detail out there, but a few well placed stickers or panel lines do go a long way.
This will still be markedly more complex than the above mentioned HGAC Wing but pairs well. It still looks good as a straight build and is a good entry point for top coats. The Tallgoose in a matte finish is where it's at friends.
I did very little lining and never applied the stickers, this kit looks clean and crisp with minimal detail. Want a nicely engineered suit without having to get crazy intricate? Look no further.
Wanna set the goose loose? You can find it here as of Nov 4th, 2019.
6. Master Grade (MG) 1/100th scale AGE-1 Normal
While I thought about putting one of the many RX-78-2's in this spot, it felt wrong to leave out this unsung hero of the MG world.
The MG AGE-1 Normal may be a little older but it does exactly what those RG's above do. It's solid, sturdy and good looking with minimal paint work. Once again, a little detail goes a long way and with more surface area you have plenty of room to try things out.
Once nice thing about this being 1/100 scale is that this size opens the kit up to a lot for armor detailing, which you don't have to do, but you won't need a magnifying glass to see things either.
While this unit isn't in stock at Canadian Gundam right now, the MG MK 2 Gundam from Zeta Gundam is and offers a lot of the same benefits. You can find it right here as of Nov 4th, 2019.
5. Master Grade (MG) 1/100th scale Ball
This is probably the oddest choice on the list but this kit has more value than one would think.
Arguably one of the easier and more straight forward MG's to exist, the Ball is not super articulated but does offer something up in exchange. The inner mechanical detailing is unparalleled in its size and price point. Sure, you don't have to paint it but if you try and don't like it, the armor still has a good amount of surface detailing.
Nothing really major needed here tool-wise but do note that the arms utilize metal rods. You don't really need to cut them down, I just think it's cool.
At the moment the MG Ball is out of stock at Canadian Gundam but another solid MG, the MG Exia, isn't and you can find it here as of Nov 4th, 2019.
4. 30 Minute Mission (30MM) Alto Or Porta Nova
While not technically Gunpla, these little kits are really interesting builds. They're simple but that's not bad at all. I had a blast building the Alto and thought they did some really interesting engineering work.
These kits require little in the way of detailing but there are enough surface markings that you can panel line it up. A really customizable design with extra parts, armor and a weapons set to choose from (sold separately) this is a great introduction into kit bashing if you're interested.
You can find the main kits and the accessory packs here as over Nov 4th 2019.
3. High Grade Cosmic Era (HGCE) 1/144 scale Destiny/Freedom Revive
These are pretty much just like the HG's above but have a little more going on. While nothing remarkable has changed for these two kits, they do offer a lot more in the build process. They are simply more jam packed with weapons, parts and accessories.
The Destiny is a great example of this as it comes with it's signature "wing" effect parts in a clear pink plastic, much akin to beam saber blades, that shoot out of the wings/thrusters on the backpack. It's certainly eye catching and offers a nice out-of-box build.
These kits are great for working on posing as well. While not the biggest concern for a lot of builders, being mindful of the poses you put up on display can really make a difference visually.
2. 1/60th scale M-9 Gernback
Had to throw in a little Full Metal Panic love. These kits are more focused on a "realistic" military-like design while working some of the most inventive internal engineering I've seen in a kit this size.
The whole Full Metal Panic gang fits the bill here but the general M-9 Gernsback is going to give you enough in terms of accessories and options that you can ease into this line. The mostly mute colors help the color separation be mostly spot on and you've got room to panel line as well.
It should be noted that this is closer to an RG in terms of build than, say, the older Code Geass, Eva or Eureka 7 kits, those are much closer to HG's while not overly complex it is a little more involved than the HGUC RX-78-2.
While technically the blue recolor of this unit, the aggressor version has all the same perks and can be found here as of Nov 4th, 2019.
1.High Grade (HG) 1/144 scale Mazinger Z
This big boy is here because why not? Maybe you're not a fan of "Real Robots" and want a robot that can shoot it's arms off or drop kick monsters. This is your entry point pal.
This is a continually growing line, even branching into a 1/100 scale. These kits offer a lot of really deep panel lines but still look striking with little to no detailing. It's there if you want it but not necessary for the kit to look good on your shelf. That really goes for any of the Mazinger Z line, with similar builds you can start anywhere you'd like.
Of course, you can find the Mazinger Z stuff right here as of Nov 4th, 2019, once again. Minus the Mazinger Z itself.