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Comparing Gundam Action Figures vs Model Kits – What’s the Difference?

May 20, 2024
Gundam Action Figures

In the world of mecha, nothing quite compares to the influence and popularity of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise. Since its inception in 1979, Gundam has captured the hearts and imaginations of fans worldwide, inspiring numerous TV series, movies, and merchandise.

Two of the most sought-after Gundam products are model kits, also known as Gunpla and action figures. But what exactly is the difference between these two types of collectibles, and which one is right for you? In this blog post, we will explore the topic of “Gundam action figures vs model kits.”

By diving into the world of Gundam model kits and action figures, we will discuss their unique features, popular lines, iconic designs, and more. By the end, you’ll have a deeper understanding of these amazing collectibles and be ready to expand your Gundam collection with confidence.

Key Takeaways

  • Comparing Gundam action figures and model kits to determine the right fit for individual preferences.
  • Building experience vs playability, detail & quality, price & availability are key considerations when selecting a product.
  • Expanding collection knowledge with care taken to source genuine products from hobby shops or online retailers.

Understanding Gundam Model Kits

Gundam model kits, commonly referred to as Gunpla or Gundam Plamo, are plastic model kits that depict the mecha machinery and characters from the fictional Gundam franchise. These kits come in a range of sizes and complexities, including:

  • High Grade (HG)
  • Master Grade (MG)
  • Perfect Grade (PG)
  • Real Grade (RG)

Hobbyists and collectors alike can assemble and customize these kits, creating unique and personalized mobile suits that showcase their passion for the Mobile Suit Gundam universe.

The question then arises, how to select the right model kit matching your skill level and preferences? The answer lies in understanding the various scales and grades which offer a diverse selection of options to cater different needs and abilities.

Scale and Grades

Gundam plastic models are available in a variety of scales, including 1/144, 1/100, and 1/60, as well as grades such as High Grade, Master Grade, and Perfect Grade. The scales indicate the size of the assembled kit, while the grades denote the level of difficulty, determined by the number of pieces. For example, High Grade kits are great for beginners, offering a less complex build with fewer pieces, while Master Grade kits are recommended for more experienced modelers who enjoy a challenging assembly process. Additionally, the mega size model offers an even larger scale for those seeking an impressive display piece, and the mega size model kit provides all the necessary components for this grand project.

Comprehending the differences between scales and grades aids in selecting an ideal Gundam model kit that aligns with your skill level, and meets your desired level of detail and complexity. This ensures a satisfying building experience, irrespective of your expertise in model building.

Mobile Suits and Gundam Timelines

One of the most appealing aspects of Gundam model kits is the sheer variety of mobile suits available for fans to build and customize. These kits encompass designs from various Gundam series and timelines, such as the Universal Century, Cosmic Era, and Future Century, offering a wide range of styles and aesthetics to choose from. Iconic mobile suits like the RX-78-2 Gundam, Zaku II, and Wing Gundam are just a few examples of the diverse options available to collectors.

In addition to selecting a model kit based on your favorite Gundam series, you can also choose from limited edition and exclusive releases, such as the Perfect Grade Unicorn Gundam 03 Phenex Narrative Version. These high-end, rare kits often boast unique features and premium materials, commanding high prices on the secondary market and making them highly sought after by collectors.

Customization and Detailing

Gundam model kits offer a wealth of customization and detailing opportunities, allowing fans to create truly unique and personalized mobile suits. From panel lining and matte coating to custom color schemes and additional accessories, the possibilities are virtually endless. You can even engage in kitbashing, combining elements from different kits to create entirely new designs.

Whether you’re a fan of the classic TV series like Gundam Wing and Zeta Gundam or prefer the more recent series like Gundam SEED and Iron-Blooded Orphans, the customization options available with Gundam model kits enable you to express your passion for the franchise in a tangible, creative way.

As you refine your skills and explore new techniques, your model kits will continue to evolve, reflecting your growing mastery and personal style.

Getting to Know Gundam Action Figures

If building and customizing model kits isn’t your cup of tea, Gundam action figures offer a ready-to-play alternative that still allows you to enjoy the intricate designs and iconic mobile suits from the franchise. These pre-assembled, poseable figures often come with interchangeable parts and accessories, making them perfect for both play and display. With no assembly or painting required, action figures are a more accessible option for those looking to dive into the world of Gundam without the time commitment and skill requirements of model kits.

A full appreciation of the world of Gundam action figures requires an exploration into the most popular lines, iconic designs, and display options available to both collectors and fans.

Popular Gundam Action Figure Lines

Three of the most popular lines of Gundam action figures are Mobile Suit in Action (MSiA), Robot Spirits, and BB Senshi (SD Gundam BB Warriors). Each line offers different levels of detail and articulation, catering to various collector preferences. For example, the Robot Spirits line is known for its highly articulated and detailed action figures, while the Metal Build series showcases pre-assembled figures with die-cast metal components for a premium feel.

The Gundam Universe line, on the other hand, focuses on delivering highly detailed and articulated action figures in a global standard 6-inch size. Exploring these different lines of Gundam action figures can help uncover the ideal addition to your collection, whether your priority is poseability, detail, or a particular aesthetic.

The availability of numerous options guarantees the presence of an action figure that sparks your imagination and resonates with your love for the Gundam franchise.

Iconic Mobile Suit Designs

Just as with model kits, Gundam action figures feature iconic mobile suit designs from various series and timelines. These designs are often meticulously recreated in action figure form, allowing fans to appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship that goes into each figure. Some popular Gundam action figures include:

  • RX-78-2 Gundam
  • Unicorn Gundam
  • Wing Gundam
  • Strike Freedom Gundam
  • Exia Gundam

These action figures showcase the rich history and diverse aesthetics of the Gundam franchise.

In addition to their striking designs, Gundam action figures also often include various accessories and weapons, such as beam sabers, rifles, and shields, enabling collectors to create dynamic action poses and recreate their favorite scenes from the anime series. This combination of iconic design and poseability makes Gundam action figures a highly sought-after collectible for fans and collectors alike.

Collectibility and Display

Gundam action figures are often prized for their collectibility and display value, with many featuring elaborate poses and intricate details that make them perfect for showcasing on shelves or in display cases. Limited edition and exclusive releases, such as the Metal Build Astray Gold Frame Amatsu Hana, are particularly desirable, often commanding high prices on the secondary market due to their rarity and premium materials.

When considering your Gundam collection, don’t overlook the importance of proper storage and display conditions. Careful attention to factors such as lighting, humidity, and dust can help preserve the value of your collection and ensure that your action figures remain in prime condition for years to come.

Comparing Gundam Action Figures and Model Kits


Now that we’ve explored the distinct features and characteristics of both Gundam action figures and model kits, it’s time to compare and contrast the two to help you determine which option is best suited to your preferences and needs. While action figures offer playability and instant gratification, model kits provide a rewarding building experience that allows for greater customization and personalization.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the differences between Gundam action figures and model kits, focusing on aspects such as the building experience, detail and quality, and price and availability.

Building Experience vs Playability

One of the primary differences between Gundam action figures and model kits lies in the building experience. Model kits require assembly and painting, often involving a significant time commitment and skill set to achieve the desired results. This process can be highly rewarding for those who enjoy hands-on activities and the satisfaction of seeing their creation come to life.

On the other hand, action figures are ready for play and display right out of the box, with no assembly or painting required. This makes them a more accessible option for those who prefer to focus on the end result rather than the building process.

Ultimately, the choice between Gundam action figures and model kits comes down to personal preference and priorities. If you enjoy the tactile experience of building and customizing your mobile suits, model kits may be the perfect fit. However, if you prefer the immediate gratification and playability of action figures, they offer a fantastic alternative.

Detail and Quality

Both Gundam action figures and model kits offer varying levels of detail and quality, with higher-end products featuring:

  • Intricate designs
  • Premium materials
  • Exceptional detail and complexity (Perfect Grade model kits)
  • Pre-assembled figures with die-cast metal components (Metal Build action figure line)

These features provide a premium feel and enhance the overall experience of owning Gundam collectibles.

A comparison of the detail and quality of action figures and model kits should take into account your personal preferences and priorities. Are you more interested in the meticulous craftsmanship and customization possibilities of model kits, or do you prefer the ready-to-display nature of action figures? By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that best suits your collecting style and goals.

Price and Availability

Gundam action figures and model kits can range in price from affordable to expensive, with limited edition and rare items often commanding high prices on the secondary market. While action figures are generally more cost-effective and easier to obtain, model kits can offer more intricate designs and customization options for the dedicated hobbyist.

A consideration of the price and availability of Gundam products must include factors such as your budget, personal preferences, and collecting goals. Are you willing to invest in higher-priced model kits for the building experience and customization possibilities, or do you prefer the accessibility and affordability of action figures?

By carefully evaluating your options, you can build a diverse and satisfying Gundam collection that caters to your unique interests and passions.

Expanding Your Gundam Collection

Collecting both Gundam action figures and model kits can provide a diverse and satisfying experience for fans and collectors alike. By including both types of products in your collection, you can enjoy a wider range of designs, styles, and display options while also expanding your knowledge and appreciation of the Gundam franchise.

In this concluding section, we provide valuable tips and advice to help you grow and diversify your Gundam collection, maintain your collectibles, and locate the best sources to purchase Gundam products.

Diversifying Your Collection

Including both action figures and model kits in your Gundam collection allows for a wider range of designs, styles, and display options. By exploring different lines and types of Gundam products, you can discover the ones that best fit your preferences and collecting goals.

Additionally, diversifying your collection can lead to a deeper appreciation of the Gundam franchise, enabling you to connect with fellow fans and collectors through a shared passion for these iconic mecha creations.

As your collection grows, participating in conventions, online forums, and Gundam-centric social media groups can be beneficial. These platforms provide valuable insights, resources, and connections that can aid in refining your collection, ensuring an enriching and pleasurable experience.

Caring for Your Gundam Collection

Proper care and maintenance of your Gundam collection can ensure its longevity and preserve its value. It is important to store both action figures and model kits in a cool, dry location, away from direct sunlight. Regular cleaning and dusting can also help maintain the appearance and quality of your collection.

For model kits, handle the pieces with care during assembly and painting to avoid damage or breakage. When cleaning, use a soft brush to remove dust and debris from delicate areas, and consider disassembling the kit and cleaning the parts in a soapy water mixture if necessary.

By taking the time to care for your collection, you can ensure that your Gundam masterpieces will remain a source of pride and enjoyment for years to come.

Where to Buy Gundam Products

Gundam action figures and model kits can be purchased from various sources, including:

  • Hobby shops
  • Online retailers (such as Gundam Planet, HLJ.com, USA Gundam Store, Gundam Place Store, Amazon, and other general eCommerce platforms)
  • Conventions

Before purchasing Gundam products, ensure you research the seller, read customer reviews, and verify the product authenticity to guarantee a genuine purchase. By being an informed buyer and exploring a range of sources, you can expand your Gundam collection with confidence and satisfaction.


In conclusion, both Gundam action figures and model kits offer unique benefits and experiences for fans and collectors. While action figures provide playability and instant display options, model kits deliver a rewarding building experience and greater customization possibilities. By understanding the differences between these two types of collectibles and carefully considering your preferences and priorities, you can build a diverse and satisfying Gundam collection that caters to your unique interests and passions.

Whether you’re an experienced Gundam collector or just starting your journey into the world of mobile suits, we hope this guide has provided valuable insights and inspiration for expanding your collection. The world of Gundam awaits – happy collecting!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Gundam model kits called?

Gunpla are poseable model kits based on the Mobile Suits of the Gundam franchise, created by Bandai. The name is a portmanteau of “Gundam” and “Plastic Model”, and they have become extremely popular worldwide.

What is the difference between Gunpla and Gundam?

Gunpla, a portmanteau of “Gundam plastic model”, are plastic model kits depicting the vehicles and characters of the fictional Gundam universe created by Bandai Co. Ltd., one of the largest toy manufacturers in the world. Gundam, on the other hand, is the franchise which spawned these Gunpla model kits, including the TV series Mobile Suit Gundam, which defined the “real robot” mecha anime genre featuring giant robots called mobile suits.

What is the point of model kits?

Model Kits are intended to be displayed as finished, painted models or part of a larger diorama, rather than played with as toys. They should be handled with care and not overused, as they can quickly snap or break. Model kits are not toys, and should be treated with respect. They should be handled with care and not overused, as they can easily break or snap. Taking the time to properly assemble and paint the model will ensure that

Why are Gundams banned?

Gundams were banned due to public outrage over the overload of data that led to pilots being killed while using them. The Mobile Suit Development Council, headed by top mobile suit companies, enforced the permanent ban on Gundams and all related applications.

What is the main difference between Gundam model kits and action figures?

Gundam model kits require assembly and painting whereas action figures are already pre-assembled, allowing for immediate play and display.