Layman's Gunpla Guide - Terminology

Here's a handy reference to some of the terminology commonly used in gunpla and modeling communities. 'twas written by Sonar over at the Gundam Australia Forum and used with permission.

 

Be sure to check out the thread where this all started as it may have received updates not present here.

 

0-10

00 - "Double Oh" refers to the animated series Mobile Suit Gundam 00

0079 - "Double Oh Seventy Nine" - Refers to the pivotal year of the Universal Century time line where the One Year War was fought, and the original Mobile Suit Gundam TV series was set.

0083 - "Double Oh Eighty Three" - Refers to a point in the Universal Century timeline four years after 0079, and the OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is set.

1/35 - One Thirty Fifth / One to Thirty Five Scale, comonly reserved for the UC Hard Graph series as well as some resin kits produced by G-System

1/48 - One Forty Eighth scale: A large scale model, typically from Bandai's Mega Sized Model range

/60 - One Sixtieth Scale: A large scale model produced by Bandai typically in their Perfect Grade line, but extends also to RD, NG, HY2M, and others (see below)

1/100 - One One Hundredth Scale: Bandai's consumer favourite Master Grade line comes in this scale, along with other grades such as NG and HG 1/100 though Master Grade is synonymous with 1/100 for most gunpla fans.

1/144 - One One Hundred and Forty Fourth scale: Bandais most heavily populated and highest turnover line High Grade and it's variants are commonly found in this scale.

1/288 - One Two Hundred and Eighty Eighth scale: a small scale that many early Bandai kits were released in, popular among niche modelers and obscure and vintage kit collectors. Nb: Several other scales exist but the above are the most common Bandai Gunpla Scales

 

A

ABaoa Qu - A Zeon space fortress and their last line of defence during the One Year War.

AB - Abbreviation of Air Brush, a device used in conjunction with an air compressor to spray paint onto models

AC - Denotes After Colony - The time line used for the Gundam Wing Series

Acrylic - Refers to acrylic paint which is water based.

AD - Denotes Anno Domini - The Time line used for Gundam 00 Series, and our current time line on Earth today.

Air Compressor - A device used to pressurize air for use with an airbrush as listed above

Alclad/II - A brand of metallic paint popular among automotive modellers for it's high shine and excellent quality.

Amuro - Amoro Ray is the original protagonist character from Mobile Suit Gundam, a Newtype that grows to become an Ace pilot.

Armour - Refers to the outer protective pieces of a Gundam that cover the inner frame

AW - Denotes After War - The time line used for the Gundam X series

 

B

BAKUC/BMKWC - Bandai Action Kit World Cup/Bandai Model Kit World Cup: The former and current name of Bandai's worldwide annual Gunpla competition - the premier event on the Gunpla calendar each year.

Bandai - Provider of all that is wholesome and good in this universe

Battle Damage - A technique employed to add realistic scars, dents, bullet holes etc to a kit as though it had received the damage in battle

BB - BB Senshi Sangokuden - a series/line of samurai/knight themed models with oversized heads from the BB Warrior Romance of the Three Kingdoms anime.

Bootleg Kit - An unlicensed, unauthorised replica of a Bandai kit

 

C

CA Glue - Superglue

CC - Denotes Correct Century - The time line used for Turn A Gundam

CE - Denotes Cosmic Era - The Time line used for Gundam Seed/Destiny Series. Many parallels are drawn between CE and UC, though they exist seperately. This was done intentionally to capture new fans to, and also as a respectful nod to the classic storyline.

Cement - Modelling Cement - when applied to the plastic creates a chemical reaction which causes the plastic to melt slightly. As the solvent evaporates the plastic welds together

Char - Char Aznable PKA Casval Deikun is the primary antagonist from the original Mobile Suit Gundam and revered as one of the most fearsome and skilled mobile suit pilots of all time.

Citadel - A brand of paint popular among miniature modellers eg: Warhammer 40K

Colony - In most Gundam Universes exist enormous man made habitable colonies populated by humans.

Colony Drop - Refers to Operation British, which occurred during the One Year War. The Principality of Zeon forced a space colony out of it's orbit with the intent of dropping it into earth's gravitational pull and causing it to crash to earth and destroy the Earth Federation's main Earth base. Due to an explosion it instead landed on Sydney, wiping out 16% of Australia's land mass and causing earthquakes, tsunamis, and global devestation and famine the world over.

Conversion kit - A set of after market plastic or resin parts designed to convert an existing Bandai kit into a variant or other unreleased design.

Curing - Refers to the time needed for paints, putties, glues etc to fully cure before they should be sanded, painted over etc.

 

D

Decals - Refers to markings one can apply to a kit to enhance it's appearance. Can be dry tansfer or waterslide, the former typically being supplied with a gunpla kit, the latter typically being an after market purchase from Bandai or a third party manufacturer such as Samuels. Dendrobium - A massively comprehensive HG kit comprised of the GP03 Stamen and the Dendrobium Assault Weapon. Also available in 1/550 scale.

Denubbing - The process of removing the Nubs from the pieces of your gunpla kit.

Despruing - The process of cutting the parts of your gunpla kit away from the sprue.

Detail parts/option parts - Aftermarket accessories typically sold as sets or kits that may be made of plastic, metal, or resin, and used to add details to or enhance the appearance of a kit

Diorama - A custom built setting or scenario that a model is placed in, often depicting a scene or telling a story.

Double Action Air Brush - An air brush that can spray air as well as paint

 

E

Enamel - A kind of paint that is typically oil based

Epoxy - Typically refers to a kind of putty or glue that is comprised of a two part mixture

EW - Denotes "Endless Waltz", A supplemental OVA occurring after the events of Gundam Wing, or the corresponding gunpla kits which are Katoki designs.

 

F

FC - Denotes Future Century - The time line used for the G-Gundam Series

Feddie - Short for Earth Federation Soldier or Federation supporter

Flash - A small unintentional fishscale like piece of plastic on your gunpla parts that is a result of a faulty injection mould. Flash is very uncommon in modern kits but can sometimes be found around fingers or very thin/tapered parts.

Floor monster/carpet monster - Refers to the imaginary monster that "eats" your small gunpla parts when you drop them on the floor and can't find them again. To be avoided.

Frame - Can refer to either the internal skeleton of a Master Grade or Perfect Grade Gunpla kit, or a runner/sprue

Future/FFA - An american product primarily used as floor polish but adapted for use as a clear coat/sealant by Gunpla modelers.

 

G

GAF - Gundam Australia Forum (Hi!)

Ganbatte - Japanese for Good Luck

Garage Kit - Resin kit cast in polyurethane resin by a third party

Gate - The part of the sprue that attaches to the piece - typically where you will perform your cut when removing pieces from the sprue.

GFF/GFFN - Gundam Fix Figuration - a line of highly detailed Gundam Figures

GN Drive - Solar driven propulsion and power system from the Gundam 00 series

Gomen/gomen nasai - Japanese for sorry

Gravity Fed - An airbrush that has the paint vessel on top, thus the paint is fed into the brush by gravity.

Grunt - A mass produced mobile suit used for frontline combat or it's pilot

Gundam Marker - A pen used for detailing

Gundam Official - North America's official Gundam site. Very infrequently updated it does however contain a wealth of information about time lines and synopses for all of the series therein.

Gundanium - Similar to Gundarium, but from the Gundam Wing AC timeline. Main differences being that it is practically indestructable and has to be artificially manufactured in space.

Gundarium Alloy - Technically Luna Titanium Alloy, it was renamed after the OYW in honour of the Gundam. Incredibly strong and light weight material used to construct Mobile Suit armour in the Universal Century timeline. Very expensive to produce due to the difficulty of mining and refining the ore, Gundarium was used sparingly.

Gunpla - Short for GUNdam PLAstic model, derived from the Japanese abbreviation Plamo - for PLAstic Model

GUNPLA TV - Educational and promotional web TV channel set up by Hobbylink Japan and hosted by Syd Sked aka Gaijin Gunpla Gunplar - One who builds Gundam Models, or Gunpla

Gunze - Short for Gunze Sangyo, makers of the Mr. Hobby line of products. Now known as GSI Creos.

 

H

HF - Hobby Fanatics Forum (USA based)

HG/HGUC/HGAW/HGFC and variants - High Grade, High Grade Universal Century, After War, Future Century etc commonly referring to 1/144 scal Bandai Gundam Kits

HLJ - Hobbylink Japan - Online Japan based reseller of Gunpla kits and other hobby related goods. Sponsors of Gundam Australia.

 

I

Isopropyl Alcohol - A water soluble solvent, typically 98% pure alcohol used to dilute acrylic paint, safely clean and prepare plastic surfaces and more.

Iwata - Brand of Airbrush. Very highly regarded.

 

J

Jeep Style - Defined by Busterbeam as "A type of gunpla style that uses a considerable amount of metal after market parts, with the focus on high mechanical detail." Named after the pioneer of the style or the modeler who made it popular, Japanese modeler 'Jeep'.

 

K

Katoki/Ver.Ka - Hajime Katoki - Reknowned recluse and mechanical designer extroardinaire, Katoki is responsible for many of the greatest Mobile Suit designs ever put to paper. In Gunpla terms, Ver. Ka. Kits are his namesake and specifically his designs. Reknowned for having a profuse amount of markings. It is said that Katoki became a recluse after being cornered in a toilet by a crazed fan many years ago.

Knit Line - A visible but completely smooth line in a plastic piece. During injection moulding plastic is injected through multiple ports, and a knit line shows where the different sources met.

Kosutte Ginsan - Literally translated as silver's rub, this is a black powder made from highly refined graphite and other secret ingredients that when applied to plastic and polished can give a highly shined chrome finish.

Koto(bukiya) - Make MSG modelling Support Goods and many other brands of option parts and also many different kinds of non-gundam mecha kits.

 

L

Lacquer - A kind of paint that is typically solvent based.

Lagrange Points - Lagrange points are locations in space where gravitational forces and the orbital motion of a body balance each other, actual real world science employed in Gundam storytelling to demonstrate the plausibility of space colonies

Lens - The eye piece of a mono-eye suit such as a Zaku, the clear plastic piece that adds dimension to a rifle scope etc

Light Box - A box made of white fabric designed to diffuse and reflect light for use in photography

 

M

MAC - Mech Arts Community (USA via the Philippines )

MAHQ/Forum - Mecha Anime Headquarters: Phenomenally comprehensive resource for line art, specs, mobile suit info

Man Salmon - The colour of Char's Mobile Suits

Masking - Refers to the process of covering an area of your model with modeler's masking tape, blu tack, or otherwise to prevent paint from covering that area. Also used to achieve different paint effects such as camouflague and slash striping.

MG - Master Grade. Bandai's premier 1/100 scale line of models. Typically with very good colour seperation, detail, articulation, a high number of parts, and a detailed inner frame

Minovsky Particles - Particles which when scattered disrupt low-frequency electromagnetic radiation and interferes with the operations of electronic circuitry, and destroys unprotected circuits

Mobile Suit - A mechanized giant fighting robot, typically with arms, legs, and a head from the Gundam universe.

Mods/modding - The process of altering a gunpla kit from it's original shape or design to achieve a different look or greater articulation. Range from subtle to extreme.

Moisture Trap - Part of an air compressor that allows moisture from the pressurized air to condensate so that it is not forced through the air line.

Monoeye - Single eye camera lens mobile suit. Commonly referring to Zeon units or any unit with a single camera "eye" in it's head.

Mr. Color/Mr.Hobby - Brands of paint produced by Gunze Sangyo (See above)

MS - See Mobile Suit

Musou - Commonly refers to Gundam Musou /Dynasty Warriors Gundam video game

 

N

NG - No Grade. A grade lacking in detail, articulation, parts, and colour seperation. Available across various scales

Nub - The small piece of plastic left over on the part after you cut it away from the sprue. Typically shaved down or sanded away.

Nub Mark - The mark left behind when a nub is either cut away too deeply or the plastic is torn causing stress and discolouration to the plastic. Can sometimes be removed by sanding.

 

O

OOB - Acronym for 'Out Of the Box', and can refer to a kit that is a snap build directly out of the box with no paint, or a kit that has been painted in the original colours with no further modifications. orz - Means sorry. It is a man bowing in apology

OVA - Acronym for Original Video Animation. A short series, extension, or side story that does not run a full 40-50 episodes like a full series.

OYW - One Year War - a pivotal event in the universal century time line and the first major conflict between the Principality of Zeon and the Erath Federation. Several of the Universal Century series/OVA's take place during the OYW.

 

P

Panel Lines - Lines moulded into the kit to add detail to the armour or denote seperation. Many modelers choose to add extra panel lines to their kit by scribing. Panel lines are often inked with a Gundam Marker or using a panel line wash technique to highlight detail and add depth to a model.

PC/Polycaps - Polyurethane joint parts. Typically a soft, floppy grey runner but can be moulded in other colours. Often used in ball and socket connections or pin and hole connections where an amount of flexibility is required.

PG - Perfect Grade - Bandai's premium range. Often have a very large number of parts, very high detail, and high articulation. Very detailed inner frames that often are comprised of a frame within a frame.

Pin Vise - A small hand drill shaped like a screw driver

Pins/Rivets - When a modeller adds metal pins or metal/plastic rivets to a kit to enhance appearance.

Pla Plate/Styrene sheet - Flat thin polystyrene card used by many modelers to scratch build and add detail.

Pledge/POG - Australian variant of Future Floor Acrylic

Photo Etched - Saw blades or option parts that are wafer thin, created using photographic emulsification techniques.

Pre Shading/MAX - A painting technique involving spraying black over angled edges and panel detail, so that when the following base colour is sprayed over the top it shows up as having darker edges. Helps add depth to a model and used extensively though not pioneered by Max Watanabe. Often referred to as MAX technique.

Prep - Preperation work. Sanding of nubs, seam line removal, priming etc

Priming - Spraying a coat of primer. Primer helps fill minor imperfections and provides the perfect base for paint to adhere to.

Proportion - Often discussed by Gunplars, proportion refers to the comparitive size and symmetry of a Mobile Suit's various parts and if they are in proportion to one and other.

Putty - A product used to fill gaps and sometimes sculpt new shapes. Pliable when wet, it dries hard and can be sanded and cut.

 

R

Resin - Polyurethane resin is what most garage kits and aftermarket conversion kits are made from. Resin is often coated in an oily substance called mould release agent and needs to be washed in degreaser and then detergent prior to commencing work.

Robot Damashii - "The Robot Spirits" - A popular line of Gunpla and Mecha figures by Bandai.

Runner - The entire alphabetised rectangular plastic frame containing the parts with which you build your gunpla.

 

S

Scale - Refers to the size of the model, for example a 1/100 model is one one hundredth of the intended size of the fictional robot. So if a 1/100 model is 18cm tall, its real life counterpart would be 18 metres tall.

Scratch Build - To build something from scratch. A piece, part, section, weapon, extension, diorama, or entire model for example. Scribing - The process of carving lines or details into a model using a scriber, needle, awl, chisel, or blade.

SD - Super Deformed - An animated series and line of subsequent models with big heads and stubby bodies.

Seam - A part of a model where two halves of a section, e.g. an upper thigh, join together. Referred to in the context of 'seam line' and is something that many modelers prefer to remove with the use of cement and/or putty, where the seam line is an unavoidable part of the construction and not disguised or intentional. Common in older kits

SEED - Animated series Gundam SEED

Senki - Refers to the PS3 game Gundam Senki, or Mobile Suit Battle Record 0081

Side Cutters/Nippers - A sharp pair of cutters intended for cleanly cutting the plastic gates that attach the parts to the sprues. I always recommend Tamiya Sharp Pointed Side Cutters For Plastic as my favourite.

Single Action Airbrush - An airbrush that can only release a combination of air and paint, as opposed to double action airbrush above.

Solomon - An asteroid and strategic base for Zeon during the OYW.

Sparmax - Brand of resonable quality compressors and airbrushes. Made in PRK.

Spray Booth - A booth with a filter and vacuum ventilation designed to facilitate working with your airbrush indoors.

Sprue - The passage through which molten plastic is introduced to a mould, so therefore all of the stuff left over on the runner when you've cut out all of your parts.

 

T

Tamiya - Japanese model paint, supplies, and accessories. Tamiya acrylics are widely available and widely used by Gunpla modelers.

Thinner - For thinning paint

Thruster - Bell shaped rocket used for propulsion

Time Line - A period or canon in which a Gundam universe is set. Often unrelated between the Gundam Universes in order to not interfere with the chronology of the earlier time lines. Eg: What happens in the Universal Century and the After Colony era are completely unrelated because they are from seperate universes.

Tomino-sama - Yoshiyuki Tomino - Creator and father of Gundam.

Top Coat/Gloss Coat/Matt Coat/Flat Coat/Clear Coat - A clear sealing spray. Available as an acrylic spray can in gloss, semi gloss (satin), and matte (flat) in the Mr Top Coat range, as a lacquer gloss (Mr. Super Clear), and as a lacquer flat, satin, and gloss in Tamiya's range (clear is gloss).

Turn-A - A Gundam Series set in an alternate universe. May also refer to the main protagonist Mobile Suit.

 

U

UC - Denotes Universal Century -The time line of Mobile Suit Gundam and many subsequent series (Sentinel, Crossbone, Unicorn, Victory...) Is currently also used to denote things related to Gundam Unicorn depending on the context.

Unicorn/UC - A Gundam OVA set in UC0096

Universal Century/UC - The fictional timeline widely considered by purists as the main or important canon in the varying alternate Gundam timelines. Where the original Mobile Suit Gundam Series was set, as well as nearly a dozen other series, OVA's and side stories

 

V

Vernier - Bell shaped rocket used for stabilising during flight/space use.

V-Fin - The antennae or horns at the front of a Gundam's head is called the V-Fin.

Vignette - Like a diorama, but does not include any large pieces of scenery or structures, and is used to give specific insight into a particular event or story.

 

W

Wash - Refers to Panel line wash. The process of inking panel lines using heavily thinned paint and capillary action. Not to be confused with washing parts prior to construction.

Weapons Block - Akin to writers block, weapons block occurs when you have completed the main construction of you gunpla and get to the weapons and lose your motivation to keep going. The only solution being to stall completely or power through.

Weathering - The process of making your model look worn, dirty, or used by employing various techniques from adding oil stains, to soot, to dirt, to mud, to chips, dents, scratches, cracking et al.

Wing - Refers to the animated series Gundam Wing set in the After Colony alternate timeline. May also refer to the main protagonist Mobile Suit.

WIP - Acronym for Work In Progress. Typically used to denote a topic on a forum or a blog post whereby the modeler will be demonstrating parts of the build/modifications/paint.

 

Z

Zeke - Nickname for Zeon soldiers/supporters.

Zeon, The Principality of, The Duchy Of - Inhabitants of the space colony known as Side 3, the Principality of Zeon declared and simultaneously waged a war of independence against Earth in UC 0079

ZERO G - Zero Gunz Forum (Malaysian based)

Zeta/Double Zeta - Gundam series based in the Universal Century timeline. Continuations of the story and featuring some of the original characters and referencing earlier storylines frequently, but with new antagonists and protagonists.