What is Gunpla?

Gunpla is a line of mecha model kits made by Bandai that are very popular. The name of the line is a combination of the words “Gundam” and “Plastic Model (Plamo)”. Gunpla are poseable model kits based on the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise’s different mobile weapons, especially the Mobile Suits.

Gunpla is the most popular line of model kits made by Bandai right now. Every year, hundreds to thousands of these mecha model kits are sold. Since they are model kits, they are molded on plastic sprues or runners, which are usually made of PS plastic but can also be made of PE, ABS, PP, or even PVC. These figures need to be put together by the buyer. The parts of the kit are on these runners, and it is up to the buyer to cut them out and put them together to make a finished Gunpla kit.

Gunpla vs Regular Model Kits

What makes them different from regular model kits is that most of them are made of colored plastic and are ready to put together right out of the box, using things like pegs to connect parts. Because of this, you don’t need paint or glue to put these model kits together. All you really need is a pair of nippers, an X-acto knife, or sandpaper of your choice if you need it. Even from a simple straight-build, these kits can be posed and have working joints, accessories, and the ability to be posed. These kits are also usually made to be structurally sound. While Gunpla aren’t as durable as action figures, they can take more wear and tear than a typical glue-together model kit. Even though they are stronger than most model kits, you should play with them, at least not seriously. You can do some minor messing around and posing. Gunpla are still model kits, and they should be treated as such. Most Gunpla use stickers for smaller details and decals, if the kit comes with them, but they are not always used for both. People don’t like sticker decals because they leave a visible outline, but Bandai includes dry transfers with most of their MG releases, and P-Bandai, Ver. Ka, and third-party companies all sell waterslides.

Gunpla – Bandai’s Model Kits

Bandai’s model kits show how well they are made by how many different kinds they have. Gunpla has been around for a long time, and you can see how these kits have changed over time. When Gunpla first started, these kits were also glue-together model kits that needed to be painted. They were also very simple to put together, had weak joints, were not very poseable, had bad proportions, and had bad seams. Gunpla is great now because it has detailed parts, many grades, well-engineered joints, mechanisms, and gimmicks that allow for a lot of posing options and gimmicks. If you look at Gunpla from 1980 and Gunpla from now, you can see how much Bandai has improved at making model kits. Even the worst Gunpla kits are better made than standard model kits and older Gunpla kits. Bandai’s use of colored runners, detailed parts, intuitive engineering, easy assembly, and perfect fitting make it easy for anyone with the time to build these kits. Bandai is known as the best company for engineering and designing model kits because they are able to do things like this with their technology. Some companies, like Kotobukiya, do compete with them, but the level of quality at which Bandai makes Gunpla makes them the clear winner. There are a lot of different Gunpla to choose from, and they all have different grades, levels of build difficulty, engineering, and quality. Some kits would be better than others in certain ways, and the quality, age, and engineering of the kit out of the box would depend on these factors. However, depending on the skills of the modeler, these problems could be fixed by making changes to the kits. But customizing isn’t always easy, and most of the time it takes some skill and practice to get it right.

Of course, these are model kits, and you can do more with them than just build them from the box. The builder can change these kits as much as he or she wants. You can paint these kits, but make sure your paint doesn’t react badly with the kind of plastic they are made of. Some builders like to keep their kits simple, like just lining the panels and giving them a quick topcoat. More experienced builders, on the other hand, putty, plaplate, and build parts from scratch to make their kits really stand out. You can do a lot with these kits, but sometimes it takes more than a straightbuild to get them to your standards.

Even with all of that, the Gunpla line is one of the most well-known model kit lines, and most kit collectors would agree that it is one of the most popular. It has a huge number of different mechs that can be made into kits, and some of the kits really show how far engineering has come. Compared to most other figures, the prices are also very low, and with Gunpla, you have a lot of freedom in how you build your kit. You can do anything from a simple straightbuild to high-end customization with Gunpla model kits. The number of things you can do with them is much greater than what you can do with most figures or even with some model kits. In the end, Gunpla is one of the most flexible lines of figures out there, and its model kits are definitely some of the best on the market.

Gunpla’s Infancy in the World of Toys

Gundam Plastic Models, or “Gunpla” for short (Plamo). If you knew anything about this, you probably already did.

However, you should first examine its inspiration, the Mobile Suit Gundam anime, before continuing. Sure, replicas and figures inspired by film, animation, or manga aren’t new. But this link goes far beyond that, and it’s the more intriguing one.

There’s no denying that Gundam has become a modern cultural icon. There are numerous animated shows, live-action features, films, manga, and, of course, toys.

It has become a worldwide synonym for mecha and is used to spark curiosity in technical fields like robotics and engineering.

The government of Japan designated Gundam RX-78-2 as a work of cultural significance in 2002. It got so popular that postage stamps featuring Amuro Ray, the original Gundam’s pilot, were issued.

The Japanese Self-Defense Force first revealed their plans for a robotic power suit in 2007. Gundam is its secret identity. In 2015, the Japanese government invested $7.4 million in developing mobile suit technology.

It’s Been a Rough Start

To think that the first Mobile Suit Gundam anime premiered in Japan almost four decades ago is mind-boggling. While it is now considered a classic, back in 1979, things were quite different. There was nothing like mecha anime as you knew it back then. No television shows depicted “realistic” military mecha engaging in battle. There was, however, a subgenre dedicated to “Super Robots,” in which technologically advanced machines battled extraterrestrial villains, dark sorcerers, and cosmic beasts.

The people who tuned in to a robot show in 1979 expected to see just that. Mobile Suit Gundam was, needless to say, not even close. The way it handled giant robots was surprising to watchers. The fact that it bombed doesn’t change the fact that it was ahead of its time. After only 39 episodes, the show was in jeopardy of being canceled. Eventually, a new deal was struck, and the show’s 43 episodes were broadcast.

Gunpla Comes to the Rescue

Now that the series was over, Gundam was on its way to being forgotten. But then Bandai bought the rights to make toys based on the show. This has to be one of the smartest business moves in Japanese history.

In July 1980, the first Gundam toys came out. Plastic model kits that you had to glue together and paint were different from any other anime-themed toys on the market. Since they only cost 300 yen, or about $3, they became very popular. Mobile Suit Gundam became popular again because of them. Reruns on TV brought in huge crowds, and compilation movies were shown in theaters.

Modern Gunpla

 

Bandai has always made their products better over the last 37 years. The first big change was System Injection, which made it possible to mold multiple colors on a single sprue. The next one came in 1985 in the form of polycaps, which are joints made of soft plastic that allow for much better movement. Starting with Char’s Counterattack kits in 1988, Bandai made all of their kits so that they could be put together without glue. Between 1990 and 2010, they made different grades, and each one pushed the limits of how model kits could be made. 

Gunpla is now one of the best model kits on the planet. As of 2015, more than 434 million kits had been sold, which says a lot. They are made in full color, with parts that are chrome-plated and parts that are almost see-through. Unlike traditional military model kits, they can move like action figures and can be put into some really cool poses.

Many of them go as far as to have a full inner frame, an open cockpit hatch, and different tricks like armor panels that can slide around. Some of them will even have LEDs.

Conclusion

Gunpla’s appeal stems largely from the fact that it caters to such a wide variety of interests. It’s not hard to find a kit you like when there are hundreds to choose from and new ones come out every month. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a simple, relaxing build or a massive, mind-blowing feat of engineering. You can build straight from the box, or you can spend months making modifications to make the kit your own. Depending on your imagination, you can construct a cuddly bear or a terrifying weapon of mass destruction.