Gunpla grades are one of the most confusing terms for beginner Gundam modelers since these terms are only used on Gundam kits. However, as a beginner, these are the first things you should understand because using a Grade that’s inappropriate to your skill level can be frustrating. Thus, I decided to make a comprehensive guide of all the Gundam grades and give my tips on where to start as a beginner.
Here is a table summary of all the Gundam Grades:
|Gunpla Grades||Gunpla Grade Code||Scale||Typical Size/Height||Details|
|High Grade||HG||1:144||5 inches||Low|
|Real Grade||RG||1:144||5 inches||Medium|
|Master Grade||MG||1:100||7 inches||Medium|
|Perfect Grade||PG||1:60||12 inches||High|
|Super Deformed||SD||N/A||3 inches||Low|
|First Grade||FG||1:100||7 inches||Low|
|Entry Grade||EG||1:144||5 inches||Low|
|Mega Size Model||MSM||1:48||15 inches||Low|
|Speed Grade||SG||1:200||3.5 inches||Low|
|Advanced Grade||AG||1:144||5 inches||Very Low|
|Non-Grade||NG||1:144||5 inches||Very Low|
Of course, these terms can be confusing but don’t worry because you don’t need to know all these grades. In fact, you only need to know the 5 common grades, and the others are just good to know information. Furthermore, I am going to introduce you to each grade one by one. Let’s start.
What are the common Gunpla Grades?
The common Gunpla grades are HG, RG, MG, PG, and SD. Most Gundam model kits fall into these categories, and they are the most important grades a Gunpla modeler should know.
Let’s introduce them one by one.
1. High Grade (HG)
High-grade (HG) Gunpla models are one of the most common Gunpla kits. They are also one of the most beginner-friendly models since they are cheap and easy to build. These models are 1:144 in scale and about 5 inches tall.
On average, HG Gundam kits cost around $20 to $40, depending on the Gundam model.
However, HG kits aren’t the cheapest grade since SD or the Super deformed only cost around $10-$20.
But HG kits are more preferred for beginners because they are more realistic than HG models.
Here is a picture of my HG Gundam to give an example.
These kits are great for beginners as they are realistic and easier to build than RG, MG, and PG models.
Recommended Read: If you need more information regarding HG Gundams, I have a post discussing the worth of these models and when you should consider getting an HG model. Are High-Grade Gundam models worth it?
2. Real Grade (RG)
Real Grade or RG Gundam model is a common Gunpla grade recommended for experienced modelers. However, they are also an excellent choice for beginners looking for a challenge. These models are typically 1:144 in scale and about 5 inches tall.
Think of RG models as upgraded HG models. Models that belong to this grade are more detailed and more complicated to build than HG models.
While they are more challenging than HG models, RG offers better color differentiation, details, and joint flexibility.
That’s why modelers who prefer more realistic models can go for RG models.
However, since RG models are more detailed and contain more parts than HG, they are also more expensive than HG Gundams.
Generally speaking, RG Gundams cost around $35 to $50, depending on their type.
Recommended Read: For a detailed price guide on all the Gundam grades, you may check this post: How much are Gunpla models?
RG Gundams aren’t recommended for modelers that are older than 40 years old as they have the same size as an HG but contain more parts. Unfortunately, this means some of their parts are extremely small, which can be uncomfortable for modelers who have poor eyesight.
But don’t worry, since MG or master grades are a great alternative to RG models.
Here is a sample of an RG Gundam. Notice that they have the same size as an HG model.
3. Master Grade (MG)
Master Grade or MG Gundams are very common Gundam grades and is recommended for advanced modelers. These models are on the 1:100 scale and about 7 inches tall.
Generally speaking, MG and RG models have the same details, but they differ in size. In context, MG models are 44% larger than RG models.
This means they have larger parts than RG, making them an excellent alternative for modelers with poor eyesight.
However, these models aren’t only for aged modelers since modelers who prefer larger Gundam models choose Master Grade models.
These are also recommended for people who want to build something better than HG as they offer better details and color differentiation.
However, since these models are more detailed and larger than HG kits, they also come at a premium price.
Recommended Read: MG and RG models have other minor differences besides size. For a detailed guide on their differences, please check this post: MG vs. RG models.
Here is a photo of MG Gundam. Take a look at its size compared to RG and HG.
4. Perfect Grade (PG)
Perfect Grade Gundams are the most detailed Gundam models available. They are also the largest commercially available Gunpla kits. These models are on the 1:60 scale and are about 12 inches tall.
When I say that they are the largest commercially available kit, they are commonly the largest Gunpla kit you will find in stores.
Later, I will show a Gunpla model grade larger than PG. However, these models are rare and only come out on special occasions.
Regarding detail and quality, PG models are the best ones you can find. These models have the best parts, color differentiation, and flexibility.
This is also why there is a lesser variety of PG models compared to HG, RG, and MG since Bandai is meticulous about the quality when building PG model kits.
However, this comes with a premium price as PG models tend to be the most expensive Grade on the market.
Generally speaking, PG models can cost up to $400. Some can even be more expensive, especially in a limited edition.
PG models aren’t recommended for beginners since they have the most parts and, thus, are difficult to build.
Even experienced modelers consider PG models a challenge.
Because of its price and details, modelers usually take weeks to finish PG models as they need to be careful with each part.
Recommended Read: I discussed the length of building PG models, but how about the time it takes to finish HG, RG, and MG kits? I discussed all of these in this post: How long does it take to complete a Gundam kit.
Here is a photo of a PG model for reference.
5. Super Deformed (SD)
SD or Super Deformed models are what others call the Chibi Gundams. They are also the smallest commercially available Gundam models and are only about 3 inches tall.
Compared to other Gundam grades, SD models are the least realistic. They are also the cheapest as they only cost around $15.
But why do they look the least realistic well, here is a photo of an SD Gundam.
SD Gundams have a characteristic large head and small body, which is typical for Chibi models. Unfortunately, these features make them the least realistic Gundam models.
However, these kits are considered to be the easiest Gundam to build since they have the fewest parts.
SD Gundams are recommended for people who like Chibi models.
Most Gundam kits come with these 5 grades, and knowing these 5 is crucial in starting to build your Gundam.
Of course, there are also minor Gundam grades that you may encounter along the way.
We will discuss these in the next section.
Other Gunpla Grades
1. First Grade (FG)
First-grade models are 1:144 in scale and have details comparable to PG kits.
FG models are released to commemorate Bandai’s 20th anniversary, which happened in 1999. Thus, these models are pretty rare.
Because of their rarity, they are often sought out by collectors.
But it’s close to impossible finding them in stores as they were released more than 20 years ago.
2. Entry Grade (EG)
Entry grade or EG models are common alternatives to HG kits, but they are exclusively sold in selected Asian countries.
Initially, these kits were made in China, but most modern EG kits are now made in Japan.
3. Mega Size Model (MSM)
MSM models are considered the largest Gunpla grade. They are 1:48 in scale and about 15 inches tall. These kits are only released on special occasions.
If you remember, I said that PG is the largest commercially available kit because you can find these in most stores.
MSM or the Mega Size Models are the largest, but they aren’t common.
These models were released in 2009 to celebrate Bandai’s 30th anniversary.
While they are the largest, PG models tend to be more detailed. While the largest MSM has almost the same details as an HG kit.
4. Speed Grade (SG)
Speed Grade or SG Gundams are one of the smallest Gundam grades. These Gundam models are 1:200 in scale and about 3.5 inches tall.
The speed grade is separated from other grades because these models are made for fast building. So that’s why they are called speed grades.
Building a Speed Grade model can only take 30 minutes or 1 hour since it is focused on simplicity.
These models are slightly taller than SD Gundams.
5. Advanced Grade (AG)
Advanced Grade or AG are Gundam models that were released in 2011. These models are 1:144 in scale and about 5 inches tall.
AG models are considered budget Gundam models as they tend to be cheaper than HG kits. However, they are less detailed than HG kits.
In fact, they have less articulation and color differentiation than HG models.
Because of this, they aren’t popular, and most modelers still prefer HG.
But why are these called Advanced Grade if they are less detailed?
Advanced-grade Gundam models are called AG because they include a microchip inside the model, which can be used for some arcade games.
This separates them from NG models, which we will discuss next.
6. Non-Grade (NG)
The NG or the Non-grade are considered the least detailed models among all the grades.
NG models are 1:144 scale models but have fewer details than HG.
NG models are considered to be the cheapest Gundam kits.
Which Grade should you start with?
Generally speaking, beginners should start with a High Grade (HG) Gundam because they are cheap and easy to build. However, they could also start with a Master Grade (MG) or Real Grade (RG) Gundams if they are looking for a challenge. Starting with a PG or Perfect Grade model is not recommended for beginners.
Most beginners would start with an HG kit since they are cheap and easy to build.
Since mistakes are common when building your first model, breaking a cheap kit is better than breaking an expensive kit such as PG.
Thus, most use HG kits for the first build.
However, beginners who like challenges can start with an MG or RG Gundam.
Generally speaking, older modelers can start with MG because their parts are larger, while younger modelers can begin with RG or MG, depending on their preference.
Ultimately, RG and MG have the same details, so it doesn’t matter which grade they should start with as long as they enjoy what they’re doing.
Recommended Read: I said that modelers who like challenges could opt for an RG model. But if you’re still unsure if you should go for RG models, I made a post discussing how difficult to build these models are. Furthermore, I gave some examples of easy-to-build RG kits to ensure that you aren’t giving yourself too big of a challenge. Here is the link: Are RG Gundam Kits Hard to Build?
PG models are not recommended for beginners as they are too complex and expensive. Thus, I suggest staying away from these kits for now.
Which grade of Gunpla is best?
Generally, the best Gunpla grade is the PG or the Perfect Grade models since they offer the best detail among the different Gunpla kits. However, the best grade depends on the person’s preference. For example, HG models are the best for beginners and PG for experienced modelers.
PG models are also the largest commercially available Gundam models, usually 12 inches tall. However, these models contain the most parts. Thus, they are the most challenging kit to build.
Recommended Read: For more information on the highest Gunpla grade, feel free to check my post discussing PG models: What is the highest Gunpla Grade?
Because PG models are hard to build, they aren’t the best grade for beginners.
Ultimately, the best Grade depends on your preference. This is why I made this post.
As you explore the various Gunpla grades, find the one that attracts you the most.
That’s the best Gunpla grade for you.
What’s next? Did you know that painting is optional in Gunpla building? But why are people painting their models? Are there advantages to painting Gunpla kits? I explored this topic here: Are Gunpla models painted?