I lost my Gundam instruction manual. Not the first time though. I had lost Gundam instruction manual for multiple reasons from just pure carelessness, water damage, even termites and worse, a fire. Its certainly an all too familiar scene especially if you’re like me that have the tendency to pile up your backlogs of Gundam kits but back to the problem at hand: what do I do and where do I find Gundam instruction manual if I lose them?
To do a quick summary, the answer to this is pretty much just like our solutions on where to find replacement Gundam parts, but for the most part you won’t be needing to buy a replacement:
- borrow or ask for a used copy from someone or,
- find one online
Both of which are quite easy to do but finding those resources are actually harder than it appears to be. So let’s walk thru the ways you can find a replacement Gundam instruction manual for your kit and some of the ways you can proceed with your build.
I lost my Gundam Instruction Manual
Let’s get down to the basics first: how do you even lose an entire booklet while building a kit? It actually gets broader than you think. As gunpla scale increases (HG to MG, MG to PG) the complexity differs and the parts count grows. That means more steps which in turn, means a longer manual. Some kits have very lengthy manuals that they actually come in 2 booklets. This was prevalent on early Perfect Grades which came with a contruction manual as well as an instruction manual. This practice is now rare but there are occassional exceptions. Still, this means that Gundam instruction manuals have become thicker over time for more complex kits.
Inversely though, modern High Grade (HG) kits have improved in complexity and quality and many have come to adopt techniques learned from the higher end kits which has had their tech bleed onto the newer HG kits. Contrasting this though is the simpler assembly logic which has compressed the build process to a few pages, reducing the manual to an 4-fold pamphlet.
The workflow some may also be quite familiar, so some may get the grasp of building same-series kits easily just by building other kits from the series.
Regardless, a lot of us need a replacement manual for a lot of reasons. If you tend to speed thru builds, chances are low you’d lose your gunpla manual and you’re probably wondering why someone would need to find a Gundam instruction manual… well, I don’t represent the entire spectrum but here’s my personal experiences when I lost my manuals:
- I needed a new manual when building my PG Unicorn because I had my kit’s manual autographed in a con and had the manual laminated BEFORE I got the kit built.
- We had a leak in the room that stored by gunpla backlogs and water got to my kits and went for weeks so the instruction manual pages have stuck together.
- More recently, termites thought it’d be nice to make my gunpla home so they ate my manuals and box: PC parts, gunpla, zoids, figures, etc.
- I had a friend buy me a kit in Japan but to save on luggage space, she had to dump all the inclusions and brought only the frames.
- Same as above but I wanted to save space so I cut-out all the sprues and put all the plastic parts in baggies and forgot the bring the manual.
- I splashed paint all over my work desk which soaked thru the manual.
- Just plain forgot where I put it or threw it away because I was confident in my build skills.
There’s a myriad of other possible reasons you lost yours so here’s my personal solutions in replacing my lost Gundam instruction manual so you can get back to your gunpla build.
Where to Find Gundam Instruction Manual Solution #1: Ask in Groups
Unfortunately, Google is not your friend and you’ll find out after this section. Also while you can watch videos on kit builds, it won’t show the intricacies and details of the parts. It is an option, but if you still would like a copy of the manual, and physical if possible, then this is the first option.
With the increase in interest towards the hobby, there is now a large population of Gundam fans and gunpla builders worldwide. This has in turn led to groups growing exponentially whether its on Reddit, Facebook, Discord groups, or them good ol’ forums.
If you’re building one of the latest kits, there’s a good chance a lot of folks would have your a spare manual on-hand. A quick post requesting photos of the pages should suffice but if you’re looking at extra long ones, please be sure to thank the group members if they’re willing to take photos or even do scans.
For those willing to go the extra mile and actually send you their finished gunpla kits’ instruction manual, make sure you take care of your replacement guide and as a personal note, there’s always someone else needing help so please extend a helping hand when you can, That’s what a community is for.
As an extension to this solution, make sure to search thru Google, Reddit, Facebook, etc if there’s already uploaded photos and scans of the manuals or guides you need. Make sure to do the due diligence to search before posting to avoid multiple requests for similar items.
Where to Find Gundam Instruction Manual Solution #2: Dalong.net
If there is one resource on the net that’s sure to have a copy, it’s Dalong.net. One of the oldest gunpla review sites on the planet, Dalong has a review of nearly every Bandai kit out in the market. Part of his reviews includes providing images of the manuals.
The caveat here is that Dalong.net isn’t as modern as other websites right now and being in Korean doesn’t help. Thankfully if you just want to grab gunpla instruction manual scans, the manuals are actually easy to find:
- Go to http://dalong.net/
- Click on the series navigation on the top of the page
- Find the kit you have or the variation of that kit
- Now some people may dismiss the site at this point but the manuals are actually on another page. On the kit review page, there is a link on the top that says ” ▶ Information 박스/런너/매뉴얼/부품도 “. Click on that part.
- Enjoy your access to full scans of your gunpla kit manual.
Quick note: some older entries on the site have very low-resolution scans which are practically unusable for finer assembly so some imagination may be needed if you can’t make out which is which.
Where to Find Gundam Instruction Manual Solution #3: Bandai Hobby Site
A big change to this dynamic is now Bandai has come to the rescue for us manual-mislocaters. Bandai has recently opened up a Bandai Hobby Site Manual repository which has PDF instruction manuals for *SOME* model kits. There’s 2 things to note here:
- The site is currently in Japanese (browser auto-translate helps a lot)
- Not all kits are listed
The site can be found at https://manual.bandai-hobby.net/ and you will be greeted by a search form. Please use your browser’s auto-tranlate function to use the search form but if you scroll down past the form you will actually see a list of recently released kits.
There are currently 1067 kits in Bandai’s online manual site which goes all the way back to gunpla released in 1995. Again, this is not all of Bandai’s kits and those of you who may be looking for more obscure kits from the past may be better off with the previous solutions I mentioned.
Still, good on Bandai to start offering their manuals online. Unforunately, Bandai doesn’t offer downloading these manuals and they are best read on a desktop browser.
Really hope this resource helps in guiding you to your replacement gunpla instruction manual and where to find one. The net is a rich resource for this hobby, barring the language differences, but community also helps.