The GunPla History

GunPla is a portmanteau of "Gundam Plastic Model." It alludes to the plastic model kits that are fashioned after the Gundam series' Mobile Suits, or mecha robots. Fans and enthusiasts can construct and personalize their own Gundam robots with these model kits.

GunPla is produced by Bandai, the company behind Gundam, in a range of grades, scales, and levels of intricacy. GunPla kits are available in a variety of skill levels, from snap-together models that are ideal for beginners to more complex kits that need extra assembly and painting.

GunPla kits usually come with plastic pieces that are molded in various colors, so builders may construct the Mobile Suits without having to paint them. But, in order to give their GunPla a more intricate and personalized look, some modelers would rather paint it.

Gundam fans and collectors all across the world have grown to love these model kits because they make it possible for them to display or customize the models to their liking in addition to enjoying the fun of constructing the models. The GunPla hobby has a devoted following of users who use events and several social media sites to exchange builds, tactics, and ideas.

The History

The Beginning of Gundam Model Kits
The Mobile Suit Gundam franchise, which made its television debut in 1979, served as the inspiration for the late 1970s and early 1980s Gundam models. Both the show and the Clover-produced toys did not have much commercial success.

Bandai was granted permission to create models based on the Gundam property in 1980. While Bandai's models are built as plastic kits to be constructed, akin to military vehicle models, Clover's models were produced in the form of most children's toys—fully assembled and ready for play. Bandai's strategy was very well accepted because it catered more to the teenage and adult consumers that made up the majority of Mobile Suit Gundam's audience, whereas Clover's products were geared toward children.

To improve joint articulation, Bandai introduced the use of poly-caps—soft plastic connectors, usually made of polyethylene—in 1985.

Snap-fit models, which required little to no adhesive to build, were first featured in the 1987 Gundam Sentinel model series. After 1988, all kits will employ snap-fit assembly instead of glue, making this the standard.

The 90s

With the launch of the High Grade (HG) line in 1990, Bandai initiated a continuous process of improving the quality of their models and developed a grading system to characterize the level of quality and attention to detail of each kit. Though 1:144 scale, HG kits included elements frequently seen in larger-scale models, along with much more detail and movement. 'Gundam Core Block System' is one example, where the pilot sits in a "Core" that can be detached from the Gundam to transform into a different form of vehicle; another is the Zeta Gundam's transformation capability.

A uniform set of poly-cap connectors was developed in 1993 for smaller size models, making it simple to mass produce models with identical basic inner framing. Bandai was able to put out a greater number of models in a shorter amount of time thanks to this uniformity. Because of this, the Gundam programs from the 1990s were typically given substantial 1:144 model lines.

The Master Grade (MG) range of 1:100 scale models was first released in 1995. Compared to earlier kits in the same scale, this line included more components, higher detail, and improved articulation.

Bandai debuted the first Gundam 1:60 Perfect Grade (PG) line in 1998. This range has light-up features, a detailed inner framing system where the model's external panels are independent parts that are joined to an interior frame that is fully functional and articulated, as well as a great deal of detail and articulation. Later, lower-grade versions would use this design aspect, albeit in limited ways at times. There are just a few mobile suits available in the PG line, which is usually the priciest of all Gunpla kits.

The 20th Anniversary
Bandai coined the name "Gunpla" in this decade

To commemorate the franchise's 20th anniversary, Bandai manufactured 1:144 First Grade (FG) kits of the original series' mobile suits in 1999. Presented as low-cost versions, these snap-fit kits had the same simplicity as the original kits but more contemporary designs that were inspired by the matching Perfect Grade kits.

A new sort of non-graded (NG) 1:144 model with an entirely distinct design plan was introduced for the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED models. These retain snap-fit and color molding, but they only allow movement for the essential parts, which are usually the feet, hips, shoulders, and neck. Major joints are thus absent. These are entry-level versions, typically costing far less at retail than more expensive ones. The line was wide, including almost all of the machines used in that TV show.

Also, Gundam SEED had non-graded 1:100 models that were of the same caliber as Bandai's High Grade products.

The 1:48 Mega Size Model RX-78-2 Gundam kit was released by Bandai in 2010 as an element of the franchise's 30th anniversary commemoration. First-time Gunpla fans will find it easy to construct this kit thanks to its many innovations. For instance, excess gate plastic can be removed off the parts without using a hobby knife, and the pieces are attached to sprue gates that are thin enough to break without the need for plastic cutters. Certain sprues are made to snap together, making it simple and quick to remove constructed parts.

The same year, Bandai unveiled the 1:144 Real Grade (RG) line, which builds on the HG line by including MG line design aspects such an interior skeletal structure.

The RG and Mega Size Model versions of the RX-78-2 Gundam were based on the 1/1 scale statue of Gundam that was on exhibit in Odaiba. Additionally, Bandai released Ecopla, a line of black-molded, fully recycled sprue-based High Grade Universal Century (HGUC) and super deformed (SD) kits.

2011 saw the advent of Bandai's Entry Grade (EG) line, a low-cost model series that is exclusive to certain regions of Asia and is comparable to the 1:144 NG and FG lines. In contrast to other kits of the same size, the first EG kit line was manufactured in China. The series was later canceled, but in 2020, the line was revived with models from non-Gundam properties.

Additionally in 2011, Bandai unveiled the Advanced Grade (AG) line, a cheaper line that sacrifices more articulation in favor of a more color-arranged aesthetic. A microchip in the AG line allows collectors to utilize the kit in the Gage-ing arcade game in Japan. The AG line consists of Gundam models from the Mobile Suit Gudam AGE anime series.

GunPla 35th Anniversary

In 2014, Bandai celebrated the 35th anniversary of Gundam with the release of the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. 3.0. This model incorporates engineering techniques from both the MG 2.0 and RG kits. The 1:1 scale RX-78-2 Gundam statue at Odaiba served as another inspiration for the design; it was essentially an expanded RG kit with stronger connectors and parts.

Bandai's "HG Revive" sub-line, which features revised 1:144 size kits of the RX-78-2 Gundam and other retro mobile suit designs, was then introduced in 2015.

All Bandai model kits, including Gunpla, were created starting in late 2016 and came with packaging and manuals written in both Japanese and English. This is to celebrate the expansion of the hobby and to recognize the growing audience around the world.

The Gundam Evolution project, started by Bandai in 2017, aimed to further Gunpla technology through a number of innovative kits, such the use of a new joint system or an LED system for large-scale kits. This was done in anticipation of 2020 marking Gunpla's 40th anniversary.

Bandai Spirits, a sister company, was founded on February 15, 2018. On April 1, 2018, Banpresto's prize division and the Bandai Co., Ltd. division that handled adult-oriented products (such as figures and plastic models) were combined to form Bandai Spirits. The new logo feature a blue background instead of the original red.

GunPla 40th anniversary

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of GunPla. Bandai has set huge announcements which include an array of new upcoming model kits to commemorate the event! This include the introduction of the HG 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam BEYOND GLOBAL version and Gundam G40 (Industrial Design Ver.).

Ken Okuyama, an accomplished industrial designer known for his work on various high-profile projects including automotive designs (such as the Enzo Ferrari and the Porsche 911), collaborated with Bandai Spirits for the "Gundam G40" project. He provided a unique reinterpretation of the classic RX-78-2 Gundam design to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Gundam series.

The "Gundam G40" High Grade (HG) model kit showcases Okuyama's modernized and updated take on the iconic RX-78-2 Gundam, infusing it with a sleek and contemporary design while maintaining elements that pay homage to the original Mobile Suit. This special release was highly anticipated by fans and collectors due to its significance in celebrating the enduring legacy of the Gundam franchise.

This limited edition was highly sought after by Gundam fans and collectors due to its significance in commemorating the Gundam franchise's 40th anniversary and its unique reimagining of the famous RX-78-2 Gundam design.

Bandai commemorated the 40th anniversary of GunPla by releasing a variety of special edition GunPla kits and products. Among these releases were:

  • Limited Edition Model Kits: Bandai released exclusive GunPla model kits showcasing iconic Mobile Suits from several Gundam series. These packages frequently featured special packaging, color schemes, or additional anniversary-specific components.
  • Premium Releases: Certain GunPla kits were available in limited and premium editions that often included extra detail, sometimes better articulation, or exclusive features. These products are available for a short time in a number of participating countries, including Japan, Asia-Pacific, the USA, and Europe, through the official online store, Bandai Hobby Online Shop or Premium Bandai.
  • Events and Exhibitions: Exhibitions, showcases, and events showcasing GunPla's history, rare kits, custom-built models, and providing insights into the evolution of Gundam model kits over the course of four decades were als arranged.
  • Collaborations and Merchandise: To develop limited edition accessories, special sets, and unique GunPla items for the 40th anniversary celebration, Bandai collaborated with a number of companies and brands, including Nike, G-Shock, Uniqlo, and many more well-known companies!
These special releases and events allowed fans and collectors to appreciate GunPla's long history and progress while also delivering unique and exclusive goods to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Gundam model kits.


Though exact information regarding the celebration of the 45th GunPla anniversary may not yet be known, fans and collectors may expect announcements and releases from Bandai as the event draws near, most likely featuring special and festive offers for Gundam model kit fans.

The Gundam Builders World Cup (GBWC)

First took place in 2011, now celebrating its 11th year, not including the pandemic times. This international Gundam model-building competition was created by Bandai Spirits to promote and showcase the originality and expertise of Gundam modelers all across the world.

The GBWC has gained popularity since its start and has drawn competitors from many nations and areas. For fans of Gundam and GunPla, it has become an annual event that they look forward to, giving them a chance to showcase their skill, creativity, and craftsmanship in customizing and constructing Gundam model kits.

Using approved Bandai GunPla model kit products, competitors in the GBWC build unique, custom-built Gundam model kits. A number of factors, including inventiveness, painting methods, modifications, detailing, and overall presentation, are taken into consideration when judging these submissions. The competition gives competitors a platform to show off their love for Gundam and displays their original ideas and interpretations of the recognizable Mobile Suits.

The GBWC typically comprises of regional events where competitors battle for a berth in the finals, which are hosted in various nations. The winners from each region move on to the grand finals, where they compete for the championship title on a worldwide platform.

In addition to honoring the artistry and ingenuity of Gundam aficionados, the competition gives competitors a chance to network with other fans, exchange tips and tricks, and motivate the wider GunPla community.

The Gundam fandom regards the GBWC as a significant event that draws outstanding modelers and aficionados from all around the world due to its popularity and the high caliber of entries it receives.


"Our vision at is to be the premier online destination for Gundam and GunPla enthusiasts worldwide. We aim to foster a vibrant, inclusive community where hobbyists of all skill levels can connect, share, and grow. By offering a platform for sharing tips, techniques, and creative builds, we strive to celebrate the artistry and innovation inherent in GunPla building. Our commitment is to provide a space that not only showcases the world’s greatest hobby but also inspires and supports the next generation of modelers in their GunPla journey."

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