What Are Gundam Resin and Conversion Kits?

A white and blue Gundam model under construction.

There are plenty of Gundam model kits on the market to choose from, but sometimes you can’t find the specific model you’re looking for. That’s where resin and conversion kits come in.

What are Gundam resin and conversion kits? Gundam conversion kits are not complete kits; rather they are used to add on to an existing model to transform it to an entirely new piece or to simply upgrade it. For conversion kits, the Gundam model the kit is built for is required, although some of the resin kits are complete models.  

It’s easy for a beginner to be duped by a conversion kit if they don’t know what they are.

Conversion kits are a great addition to a Gundam model, so let’s take a look at what they are and how they work.

What Are Gundam Conversion Kits?

Gundam models are made by the Bandai company.

They only make a certain number of new models each year, which will probably mean you won’t see your favorite Gundam from the show you like in model form.

Fortunately, third-party manufacturers create resin and conversion kits so you can make the Gundam model you want.

Some models of Gundam from the shows are available, but there are also custom designs made by fans.

Conversion kits add extra pieces to existing models that will either upgrade the model or turn it into a completely different Gundam.

The pieces are added onto the Gundam, so the height and width of the model are likely to change. Some conversion kits are simplistic while others are quite detailed.

Bandai makes a few conversion kits, but they don’t typically make many of them, so they can be hard to find.

Third-party conversion kits are generally made in a different material than Bandai Gundam models, and their quality might differ, too.

Not all third-party conversion kits are lower quality, but it’s important to research the seller and the manufacturer to make sure you get something of good quality.

Is Resin Different Than Normal Gundams?

Resin is a material that a lot of third-party kit makers use to create the pieces in the kit.

Bandai Gundam models are typically made out of plastic.

Plastic Gundam kits are made with steel molds and can be produced on bigger scales and last a long time. It makes the process quick and inexpensive.

Resin conversion kits are typically expensive because resin pieces can’t be made in large quantities.

Silicone molds are used to make resin pieces, and these molds slowly deteriorate over time, so they’re eventually not able to be used anymore.

This is why resin conversion kits are more expensive than complete Gundam models – they take more money and time to make.

Some people make complete resin Gundam kits instead of just conversion kits that have to be added to full models.

These kits usually have fewer pieces than Bandai Gundam models and aren’t as articulate, meaning that they can’t be posed or will have very few poses in which they can be put.

Expect these models to be much more expensive than Bandai Gundam since they are completely resin and don’t have plastic pieces.

Fans will make full models of imagined Gundam models.

So, if you want something unique that not many Gundam fans will have, consider purchasing a fan-made resin kit that is based on a Gundam they made up.

While it won’t be true to the shows, it will be an interesting piece that will make your collection stand out from the others.

Resin Might Be Difficult For Beginners

Resin kits, whether full models or conversion kits, typically come in one color, usually white or tan.

This means you’ll have to paint each piece. If you have a conversion kit, you’ll need to find paint that matches the colors of the model.

If you get a conversion kit that turns the Gundam into something completely different rather than just an upgrade, it might be necessary to paint the entire Gundam.

While this makes resin kits more challenging, you also need to consider that it will require you to change up an existing model.

If you like the original model, you might want to buy an extra so you can have the original along with the updated version.

For someone new to building Gundams, it might not be the best project to start with. It’s a bit expensive and will require more time and patience than a regular model will require.

You may also have to repair blemishes and touch up other areas, which is another factor that raises the difficulty.

Custom conversion kits don’t always stick to the typical scales.

Gundam models come in 1/144, 1/100, and 1/60. If you’re not familiar with Gundam model sizing, head over to my Gundam sizing guide for a simple explanation.

If you buy a conversion kit for a 1/144 Gundam, your conversion kit might end up being more of a 1/100 kit or bigger, depending on how intricate the kit is.

The more pieces it has, the bigger it will be.

One other thing that makes conversion kits difficult for beginners is that they sometimes don’t include a manual with them.

It will depend on the seller and the quality of the kit, but sometimes you are left to figure out where the pieces go yourself.

It can be pretty straightforward if you compare the model to the picture, but it can be a difficult process that will take extra time, especially if you get stuck at some parts.

I have some great recommendations for beginners if you’d prefer to start with something more simple to get you started.

Do All Gundams Have Resin or Conversion Kits?

Not every Gundam has a resin or conversion kit for it. The availability will depend heavily on which models or shows are popular.

It’s difficult to know what will be available, so you might just have to search online if you have something you’re looking for specifically. 

Some sellers make custom designs that aren’t based on Gundams in any of the shows, so there’s a wide variety of what Gundams you can make with these kits.

Since the kits require you to paint them, you’ll have the opportunity to paint them how you want.

So, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can at least create something similar to the Gundam model you want with a resin conversion kit and some paint.

Gundam Model and Conversion Kit Recommendations

Bandai Hobby HGUC 1/144 #51 Space Command Gundam

Conversion kits won’t work without an original Gundam. This Space Command Gundam is recommended as the base because it’s simple to put together.

It’s an older model from 2004 and has less than 100 pieces. It’ll only take a couple of hours to piece it together.

If you want the colors to be accurate to the Gundam in the show, you’ll need to do a little painting.

There’s only a couple of small spots that need paint, and panel lining will go a long way with this Gundam model.

Gundam 1/144 HGBF Resin Conversion Original Kit

This is a great resin conversion kit that goes with the Gundam model listed above. The pieces are added on top of the existing model. 

The original Gundam model is red and white, but the conversion kit shows a black and gray model. Like many other conversion kits, you will be required to paint the individual pieces.

Painting is often a time-consuming job, but it’s a relaxing process and many people enjoy it just because they like to paint.

You will need to paint the original model so it will match the resin pieces.

This particular resin conversion kit may not come with instructions, so that’s something to consider if you want to buy this kit.

However, it shouldn’t be incredibly difficult since the pieces attach to the existing model.

Conclusion

Resin kits and conversion kits are a great way to add something unique to your Gundam collection. You can build an entire model from scratch or add to existing Gundam models.

They’re usually advanced for beginners because they typically involve painting and are sometimes missing instructions, but are still completely doable and a lot of fun!

Image credit: Gundam Models