A few days ago, I embarked on probably the craziest gunpla building adventure I could imagine. Building the entire Maganac Corps. For those reading who aren’t hardcore Gundam Wing fans, here’s the low-down. The Maganac Corps is a small private army of 40 mobile suits. This army is funded and operated by an independent Middle Eastern nation during the events of Gundam Wing and so it’s not hard to imagine why they’re optimized for battle in desert conditions. These 40 mobile suits are often found supporting one of the main protaganists, Quatre Raberba Winner and his Gundam Sandrock.
For reasons I don’t yet understand, Bandai decided to release a 36-unit set containing essentially the entire Maganac Corps. When combined with two other P-Bandai releases used to build 4 of the other stand-out Maganac units, you have the entire corps.
When I found out this kit was being released, I decided I would take the plunge and be one of the few, the proud, the extremely crazy and get one to build myself. What’s better than building 40 mobile suits? Building them all in a short period of time. And doing it for charity. On December 27th I embarked on my challenge to build the Corps, live on Twitch. I somehow survived the ordeal and managed to complete the build, despite the universe conspiring against me. Over 3 days I built 41 mobile suits (the Maganac Corps and Gundam Sandrock) and, with the help of my viewers and Mecha Warehouse, raised $1000 for Charity: Water to bring clean water to people who don’t have access to clean water. The following paragraphs will detail many of the lessons I learned during the ordeal.Speed
When building 40 mobile suits on a deadline it's important to have a good understanding on how to get the job done as efficiently as possible. My 28 hours of building gave me plenty of insights and time for experimenting on what works well for building quickly and efficiently.Take Short Cuts
First off, if you want to be fast you need to take short cuts. Almost no one ever will tell you to cut a piece off the runner in one cut per nub, including myself. Alas, with a deadline approaching, and especially if you plan to paint later, cutting directly from the runner in one go may be worth considering. My first Maganac of the ordeal was completed in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 27 seconds and was built following best practices including carefully cleaning nubs. A few builds later done while dropping best practices managed to get me on the order of 30 minutes per suit. A huge improvement, and one of the reasons I’m able to write this today instead of continuing to build!Cut One Direction at a Time
The biggest time sink when building is any unnecessary movement or handling of parts. Cutting parts from a runner is done most efficiently when you can avoid manipulating the runner. To be fast, scan across the runner, making cuts of nubs all in the same direction. Once done, rotate 90 degrees, rinse and repeat. The same goes for assembling parts. If you have two parts in hand that can be safely assembled, do so rather than put them down. It’s a small savings, but over thousands of parts will definitely add up!Cut then Build
Probably the most asked question by new viewers of my stream was the following: when did you stop needing instructions? The short answer: probably around 5. Looking at instructions is another huge time sink. Putting down and picking up nippers as well. Therefore, to be efficient I cut every piece I needed out first, and then assembled. Arguably the time spent searching for the pieces I needed out of the dozens cut out was slower than if I had cut out just what I was about to use, but over the course of my trials I found this to be the fastest.Cut Only What You Need
Every part removed from a runner costs some time. Want to save time? Don’t cut out the parts you don’t need. The Maganac Corps provides plenty of optional weapons, shoulder armor, and accessories. Avoiding cutting unnecessary parts can save time – but only if you can make those decisions quickly. If you find yourself agonizing over which parts you need just cut them all.Mistakes Cost Time
The costliest thing was making mistakes. Dropping a part for the 50th $%#! time is both frustrating and time consuming. Assembling the knees incorrectly (my number one mistake) costs time too. If you want to cut out waste, make sure you are doing things right the first time and if you’re prone to mistakes make sure you have a parts separator. I didn’t have one and as a result I lost time.Staying Healthy
Building 40 Maganacs is a time-consuming process. Staying healthy and making it through the ordeal is difficult. For me I clocked approximately 28 hours leaning over my cutting mat. Not all of that was building, but obviously this wasn’t a quick walk in the park. If you ever find yourself needing to build a massive mobile suit army in a short period of time, the following are some tips to keep you running smoothly.Posture is King, Movement is Queen
Sitting in one spot for any length of time can do numbers on your back. The number one thing to avoid discomfort or injury is making sure to sit properly. Good posture will help avoid back discomfort in the first place. Besides sitting properly, make sure you don’t stay seated the whole time. Get up, stretch, and walk around if able. I found a pair of lacrosse balls can be a great tool for loosening up a tightening back and something I would visit often during the build.Your Fingers Will Hurt
If you’re building 40 mobile suits, expect sore fingers. Lots of tiny parts made of hard plastic means lots of pressure and opportunity to poke the ends of your fingers with small, hard, and pointy objects. Using surfaces and other tools to help protect your hands is a great idea and will buy you some more time before your fingers want to give out.Stay Sane
For me, building 40 Maganacs didn’t numb my mind too much. In fact, I sort of missed it a bit when I finished. That said, it is a long and relatively unstimulating task. Should you attempt it yourself, you can help save what little is left of your grey matter, by mixing things up from build to build. A set like this one had plenty of option parts. Try not to build the same variation and combination of parts each time. If you’re building the Maganac Corps, using the customs is an excellent way to break things up. I also found that timing myself with each build helped keep me motivated and moving quickly. Attempting to break a record helps gamify your progress and adds some new challenge and entertainment value. Finally, take breaks if you get an opportunity. I was forced to not build straight through in one continuous effort. I’d have much rather condensed my building, but a family crisis took some time away. Ultimately that probably saved me from going crazy, but who knows. Afterall I must have been crazy to even attempt this in the first place.Equipment
Finally, we should talk equipment. For this build I used my trusty Godhand nippers. They cut so clean, making much of my work easy. I found, however, that by around 30 Maganacs, my godhands were getting sticky and sluggish. I still haven’t figured out what to do about this problem, but a quick cleaning and lubrication might be in order. If you’ve encountered a similar problem, please tell me about it in the comments below!Conclusion
Long story short, this was a lot. There aren’t many of these 36-piece sets out there, much less people willing to do them so quickly, so in many ways I doubt you’ll be torturing yourself the way I did. If you do, or ever find yourself building a small army of other mobile suits, now you’ll hopefully be equipped to do it quickly and efficiently. While the build event is over, our donation link is still up. If you find yourself moved to find out more about Charity: Water or our fundraiser, I encourage you to visit: https://my.charitywater.org/mecha-warehouse/mecha-warehouse-maganac-build and help support the cause.
Nick Savery is the owner and operator of Mecha Warehouse. Nick is a lifelong karate-ka, loving husband and father of 2 amazing boys. You can find nick and his builds on Instagram: @nick.savery, Twitter: @nick_savery, and often streams his builds on twitch: twitch.tv/nicksavery