My old MHFU data was lost and I decided to start over since MHP3 isn't due for a while. I managed to rush to hi rank w/o much armor. My hunting buddy was off to military training, so I decided to finish the bulk of the quests b4 G rank so we don't have to do them together.
At this point, everything is roses. Village elder quest are almost all done (duel raj), I've unlocked the majority of nekotu quests before the akan, I'm still HR 5, but it I'm clearing out the bulk of the quests and could upgrade any time.
The only things I'm doing differently in this run is not making wpns that don't upgrade to G rank and actually ditching the Juggernuat for the Crater Maker line. I've even made the Kirin thundersword which is a real treat. Other than that, all my wpns and armors are exactly the same.