So what exactly are these “Gundam Grades”?
Is it just referring directly to their sizes?
No, not at all. In fact, the grades reflect the level of detail in the models (when completed). By detail, I mean ranges of articulation, detail to mechanics, inner skeleton, hand/finger movements and etc.
While these grades often indicate the price of the Gundam, the level of details in a Perfect Grade or a Master Grade may not be required by all builders. The level of grade purchases is supposed to fit the needs of the builder, not necessarily only indicative of skill level. However, that being said, I highly doubt a novice builder can take on a PG, let alone a MG. On the other hand, skilled crafters may still even buy HG, purely for it’s simplicity and size. Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions.
Perfect Grade 1/60
PGs, as they’re known, are “perfect”: meaning that they have the most level of detail of all grades. They’re provided in only the 1/60 scale and the joint articulation rivals that of human joints. In addition, they all include LED eyes that light up. (Similar to the MG, but the MG eyes are bought separately).
Master Grade 1/100
Like the PG, the MGs also have immense details. However, it is somewhat less (especially in the earlier models) than the PGs. Basically a smaller PG.
HG 1/100 and 1/144 and 1/60 (also HGUC)
HGs are the trademark 1/144 of the gundam grades. Unlike the PG and MG gundams, the HG models lack an inner skeleton and are basic snap fit with limited articulation. While the 1/144 scale is the trademark size, there are 1/60 and 1/100 sizes available on certain gundams. The 1/60s do feature LED light up eyes (in some models).
Essentially PGs without LEDs and only at 1/60. However, I would say that it actually feels more like recent MG releases.
As Gunpla evolves, the technology technically evolves too. However, while you may think that there’s new innovations to MG or HG models, they’re actually just taken from the PG models and made smaller. Of course, the PG models improve too, but with too little and far between progress, it’s hard to say when there’s going to be the next big “breakthrough”.