The Amazing World of Gunpla!
The very first series of Mobile Suit Gundam, the first in what would become a multi-decade spanning franchise, aired in 1979 and less than a year later came the first Gunpla Kit, allowing people of all ages to enjoy and immerse themselves in this sometimes considered usual hobby.
The word “Gunpla“ itself was convinced at the same time as the first kit’s release. Like the more commonly known “Cosplay” Gunpla is a combination of two English Words – “Gundam” and “Plastic,” as in plastic model. While still officially called “Gundam Models” in English speaking countries, the phrase Gunpla is still primarily used when referring to the plastic kits.
The first Gunpla was released in July 1980 and cost only 300 yen at the time, about $3 in our currency. As one would expect, the very first kit was a model of the RX-78-2 Gundam, the figure head Mobile Suit from the show. Other kits followed soon after being released between 1980 to 1989 but unlike the kits that are made today they were held together by cement and had to be hand painted before assembly, making for a very ridged model.
In the years since, Gunpla have become a lot simpler to assemble, their joints now snap together allowing for smoother movement and some even come pre-painted allowing for a faster and easier finished product. In July 2009, Bandi even went as far to build a giant 1/1 True-to-scale Gunpla of the famous and now iconic RX-78 Gundam to commemorate Gundam’s 30th anniversary.
The Bandi GunPla Builders World Cup or GBWC has become a yearly contest held for Builders to show off their completed Gunpla. These masterfully built works of art come from all over the world from countries such as China, Singapore, Philippines, Italy, North America, South Korea and even our own Australia as well as many more, for the title of Gunpla World Cup Champion!
I whole heartedly suggest that anyone with even the slightest interest in model building, whether it be as a budding young builder or simply an enthusiast, to check out the wonderful wide world of Gunpla! The sheer detail, quality and sheer effort might just surprise you and take your breath away as it did me.