[AOW] Steins;GATE (9/23-29/2012)

I'm not sure who made the image so I have no idea where the copyright goes...

I'd seen about 2 episodes of this show when it first aired in Japan (or well soon after since I had to wait for subs to be released). The only reason I even watched those was because I'm a HUGE fan of Chaos;HEAD which is by the same people. Unfortunantly I was also watching about 5 other shows at the time and dropped a few due to being busy... so I've only recently gotten back to trying to finish Steins;GATE but this time I'm watching the FUNimation dub. So far, I am LOVING the dub! The feel of this show carries over really well thanks to the voices that were chosen to portray the characters.

Runtime: 24 min/ep
# of Episodes: 25
Type: Adaptation of Xbox 360 game
Rating: Teen
Rintaro Okabe is a self-proclaimed "mad scientist" who believes that an international scientific organization named SERN is conspiring to reshape the world according to it's own interests. He and his friend Itaru Hashida inadvertently create a gadget able to send messages to the past. The discovery and experimentation of this instrument become the catalyst of fundamental alterations to the present.


[GIS] The different Grades of Gundam

Gundam model kits are broken down into different "grades" and scales. These grades usually indicate how detailed and/or complicated the kit can be with a range of takes two minuets to build to ones that can take days. Even though a kit is of a higher grade, that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be harder. I've built high grade kits in a matter of a few hours and others that take a lot longer (for example a HG 0 Gundam kit only took me only a few hours to build while a kit of the same grade but for Unicorn Destroy Mode took me much longer).  The difficulty honestly depends mainly on the mobile suit the kit is based on. 

The Unicorn Gundam is a much more complicated and detailed suit than many found in the Gundam universe, and this is because the suit itself has several modes- Unicorn and Destroy. Destory mode has even made already complicated Master Grade kits even more complicated due to adding an extra frame (the red parts you see are a lot of the time a whole new layer that has to be built. Heck, I've even built an SD kit that had this red frame). Not only is the Unicorn itself a very complicated suit, so are several others from the series such as the Kshatriya  and Sinanju. Due to these designs being fairly detailed and complicated, the kits based on these suits (despite the scale and grade) tend to break the mold of the grades I'll be explaining to you today but out of all the kits I've built (I'll have to make a list one day) ones from the Unicorn OVA series have proven time and time again to be my favorite (I've built several Unicorn kits already and have 2 master grades I need to get around to building one day...).... even though those legs and hip are a pain to keep balanced. Some of my kits (mainly the SD Unicorn) tend to lose legs and other parts just from being breathed on.

I won't be including some of the other grades that have much less in the series such as jumbo and mega >.< I might do a smaller GIS side entry or something one day about these since I have seen a few mega grades in person.

Also there is a very interesting grade known as SD or "super deformed" that instead of including here I will dedicate an entire entry to due to this scale being very good for beginners.

In order to talk about grades of kits, I might as well start with kits that usually don't have a grade. These are often not seen in actual specialty stores (this is based on my experience) and have to be ordered online. These kits usually don't have an accurate scale and the details are very limited. I myself have built two no grade kits, one being of Red Frame which is my 3rd favorite kit to build (thanks to my friend Ron who's known locally as Box Gundam for buying the kit for me a few years back for my birthday) and the other being from Gundam 00.
You can find a nice selection of no grade kits here and here/here. I personally would recommend the second two links as I have liked Robots4Less on Facebook. They restock often; so if a kit is sold out within a week or so they'll most likely have that kit again. No grade kits are ones that I like to refer to as "baby's first gundam" as they aren't hard to build at all, but if you're just starting yet have built any sort of model (cars, airplanes, worked on a train set, etc) then this will be no challenge at all to you. I'd actually recommend to most people to skip over building this grade unless you want something to practice detailing or painting on before painting an expensive kit (I'll talk more about detailing a gundam in an upcoming GIS entry). No grade kits also don't always have a scale.

I myself have not built many first grade kits, so my knowledge on these are very limited. All I really know is that these are a bit more detailed than no grades, and the name was coined to show the difference from NG kits. As technology got better so did the ability of Gundam kits to have more detail and be snap together kits rather than ones that required glue. You can still buy some first grade kits on the web via sits such as this.
Zaku II is the only first grade kit I've build. The pieces were all an orangish red color, so painting is necessary if you want to get the actual look of a Zaku II. Instead of doing the actual colors I did a custom paint job which you can see below.

HG kits are possibly the most common grade that can be found anywhere- either at local shops or online. This is mainly due to the amount of detail these kits can have, and the prices are very affordable. I recently picked up a Farsia HG kit due to wanting more "female" gundam (well, ones piloted by females). As of working on this article I haven't really gotten around to building it but from looking at the runners (I'll go over some terminology one day in a GIS entry, but runners are what the pieces are attached to before you gut them off to put together in a specific order) the kit looks fairly easy to build.  If you're building a kit for the first time, high grade is a good scale to go with especially if you pick up a kit from 00 Gundam or Gundam AGE (which the Farsia kit is from). HG kits are usually in a 1/144 or 1/100 scale meaning the kit is 1/144th of the size that a real life Gundam would be. They are also snap together kits that do not require glue.
There are not many real grade kits on the market, and I have yet to build one (though I really would love to get my hands on a RG RX-78-2). There aren't many of these kits because the line started in 2010 with only an average of 1-2 kits in the line being released each year. These kits are very detailed (even surpassing many MG kits which I'll go over soon in this post) and include flexible inner frames much like the bones of a human body. This allows for additional posability the other grades could not grant the kits to have.
These kits are not for beginners and should not be your go to kit even when you are more experienced at building. If introducing a friend to building please do not tell them to go buy a real grade kit. These kits are usually in a 1/144 scale. These kits are also fairly priced considering the amount of detail they tend to have.

I've built a few master grades in my time, including Exia Gundam and Crossbone. Master grades aren't exactly easy to build and are very time consuming. I do recommend these for the more experienced gundam builder due to the nice amount of detail... but most aren't exactly cheap. In fact many run $75+. I was lucky enough to win a set of six last summer due to a Gundam Campaign gundam.info had been running. These kits are very detailed and snap together which means no glue is necessary. The scale from these range from 1/100.
I'm not really looking forward to building my MG Unicorn because I've heard it's a pain when trying to put on display. I used to have my friends on display in unicorn mode and I remember the legs being very unstable with parts that often feel off for no apparent reason other than I happened to breath too hard. I'm a big fan of  gundam Unicorn, but I have built a HG and SD of the kit sooo I know the suit itself is very flawed when it comes to trying to put on display without limbs or parts falling off!

You want pricey? Well here's pricey!
This kit runs about $230 without shipping. EEESH! I still really want this due to my love of Red Frame but that is a lot of moola for something I have to assemble. These kits are pricey due to detail and extra articulation such as individual finger joints. According to Wikipedia, the kits can take years to develop because the PG line is also used to develop new ways of making the kits before implementing into earlier lines such as HG and MG.