I can hardly believe this is the 6th time that I’m writing the Gunpla year in review! As 2020 begins to unfold, this year-long list reminds us of all the amazing models that came out in 2019. It’s a summary of all the 2019 shopping guides that shows us what we may have missed.
It’s been an interesting year for Gunpla 101. I’ll always remember 2019 as the year we welcomed our little Gundam pilot, Eva Artesia, to the Gunpla 101 family. She’s too young to build Gunpla yet, but definitely old enough to be as angsty and mercurial as a Gundam anime protagonist. That’s why I’m very grateful to our 2019 contributors—Megaplamo, Marc, Nanochi, Dominic, and of course, Tom Aznable—for making sure we had content to put up.
This was also the year John and I built our first Perfect Grade kit: PG Gundam Unicorn. It was a demanding challenge and between the patience, effort, and steady hands it required of us, I’d say prepared us well for the tricky task of child-rearing! It’s also the one year I vowed to write up the Gunpla Holiday Guide in July—and actually stuck to it!—because I knew I’d be so busy later.
At the beginning of 2020, I’m taking a moment to look back at the incredible variety of Gunpla that came out in the past year. We didn’t get a single Perfect Grade in 2019, but we got nearly 100 models from new and old shows alike. As usual, kits are listed in order of both grade and release (kits are listed from oldest to newest in each section). Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and enjoy!
- 2018 Gunpla Year in Review
- 2017 Gunpla Year in Review
- 2016 Gunpla Year in Review
- 2015 Gunpla Year in Review
- 2014 Gunpla Year in Review
Table of Contents
I’m so used to seeing the Sinanju in red and gold that it’s jarring to see it in silver and white! The Sinanju is something of a fan favorite at Gunpla 101, making this brand new version a must-try.
Wanna feel old? Gundam 00 came out over 10 years ago. So it’s about time we get this detailed MG of Lockon Stratos’ own Gundam Dynames. This long-awaited kit is flexible enough to recreate all of the sniper poses from the anime.
Here’s a rare find: an MG kit from the Gundam Build Divers universe. Comes with the full set of transforming gimmicks that it inherited from the Age-2 Normal. This sharp, striking silhouette makes for a dramatic addition to the Master Grade line.
The latest the Gundam Sentinel line has to offer, this kit comes with updated molds of Ex-S and S Gundam. It’s a beefy kit that’s packed with extra editions, so you’re sure to get your bang for those extra Master Grade bucks. An absolute unit.
Celebrating Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket’s 30th anniversary, this MG Gundam Alex has a classic look that’s poseable, sturdy, and packed with gimmicks. For example, there’s a complete armor set that you can place on top of the body armor—a first in Gunpla as far as I know! By the way, I was today years old when I learned that “Gundam Alex” is a pun on “Gundam RX.”
I can’t believe Gundam SEED Destiny is 15 years old! To commemorate the anniversary, Lunamaria’s custom Zaku has been made into a Master Grade for the first time. The mix of standard Zaku pink with glossy crimson details makes for a good-looking kit.
At long last, there’s an MG version of the Gundam Barbatos. We’re not sure why Bandai pivoted from the Full Mechanics line, but this MG looks good enough to make us forget about it. It’s the same lithe model with more detail and a more stable inner frame for better posing.
The Vigna Ghina gets a new colorway and updated features in this MSV-exclusive version of the Gundam F91 commander suit. RE/100 is the perfect choice for this model, which is too large for the HG line but which doesn’t require the complexity or price-point of a standard MG kit.
First unveiled at C3AFA Hong Kong earlier this year, this will be the first Zaku model to join the Reborn 100 series! This kit is unusual in that it uses zero polycaps (those rubbery connector pieces in most Gunpla kits) which makes it extra-posable. Stage it with your MG Gundam Alex, released last month, for an unforgettable War In The Pocket diorama!
This new RG is part of the Gundam Evolution Project which promises “extreme details” and clearly delivers. I mean, just look at the molding on the skull & crossbones and ripped-up cloak!
Every few months we get a high-profile classic converted into a Real Grade and it sells out quickly—I predict this is going to be one of those. With a sophisticated inner frame and the Nu’s trademark accessories, this Char’s Counterattack suit has never been so detailed or poseable.
This flashy RG-only funnel accessory set can also be used with the RG Sazabi for double the modeling magic. Lots of diorama potential here.
I reviewed the High-Resolution Modem Gundam Astray Red Frame this January for Anime News Network and was impressed by the sophisticated inner frame and the glossy armor on top. Think of the price tag as exchanging your money for more time: this took me just five hours to build, while an equivalent Master Grade would take me at least double that.
What do you think about HiRM models, which come with a pre-built fully articulated core? I was a huge fan of the HiRM Gundam Astray Red Frame I reviewed for ANN, which leads me to believe that this is worth the higher price. The bright, glossy colors are especially suited to the cartoony world of G-Gundam!
To make this section a little more navigable, since 2018 I’ve divided it into general HG and two subsections: Universal Century (HGUC) and the Build series (HGBF and HGBD). As always, these are all in order of release.
Yeah, that’s AC for After Colony, and this is a Sandrock support unit designed for desert use. I like how the design stays true to the show with these compact chest plates specifically made to keep sand from getting in the cracks while this guy is out patrolling the desert.
Because we never have enough Char special editions. What makes this one different is that it comes with a new set of decals for its shoulder armor and shoulder shield, as well as a new decal emblem for its waist armor as a sign of affiliation with the Falmer corps.
Similar to the Gundam: The Origin C-6, but also equipped with the “R6 Kit,” two multi-mount machine guns on the arms that provide additional armor, hence “C-6/R6.” Additionally, it’s got a reinforced chest compared to the C type, making it a bit brawnier.
When people who aren’t Gunpla fans come to my house, they still gravitate toward my MG Destiny Gundam. Finally, this gorgeous mobile suit is getting a revamp in the form of this HG, completely remolded for improved poseability and joint strength.
This is a color variant on the new HGCE Destiny Gundam. No matter how you feel about the show, Destiny is one of the most gorgeous Gunpla there is, and we love seeing it in this fiery orange color scheme. Comes with everything the May release came with, just with tangerine accents instead of pink. These two would look awesome posed side by side!
This super-nostalgic kit is the first update we’ve gotten of Quatre’s desert defender since the original came out in the late ‘90s. Needless to say, it’s higher quality and a lot more detailed since that first one, not to mention much easier to build.
Straight outta Future Century, it’s the army of Devil Gundam minions! Build several to recreate the Death Army (cough) I mean DARK ARMY from your Toonami memories. Great for G-Gundam and Re:RISE fans alike.
This fancy-pants version of the Granddaddy Gundam was created in honor of the franchise’s 40th anniversary. It’s been engineered anew less to alter its look than to alter the way it moves, which is supposed to be more similar to the range of motion of a human!
High Grade – Universal Century
This striking red insectoid model is a prototype commander suit from Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ. Can you tell it’s from the ‘80s?
With hulking armor, this is one intimidating mobile suit. It plays a major role in the Hathaway’s Flash novels and will no doubt appear in the upcoming movie of the same name.
A new version of Gundam Unicorn inspired by the Gundam NT movie. Redesigned clear pink parts give the suit’s iconic Psycho Frame an even more striking look than usual. Comes with two sets of eye stickers (red and green) to recreate the movie’s “Berserker Mode.”
I thought Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative was Just OK, but I can’t deny that it featured a lot of cool-looking mobile suits that we saw for the first time. One of them was this Suppressor, which comes with Unicorn Gundam’s Beam Magnum and stealthy black-and-purple armor.
Until now, you had to travel to Gundam Base Tokyo in Odaiba to get your hands on this gold-plated former exclusive. Now, it’s an equally-gorgeous global release! This armor doesn’t just shimmer; it’s practically mirror-coated for an eye-catching disco ball of a Gunpla.
Based on the 1989 series of novels, Hathaway’s Flash is set to become a movie next year. That means we’ll also see some new mobile suit concepts like Penelope here. This version has been redesigned by Hajime Katoki, making it a Version Ka model.
High Grade – Build Fighters and Build Divers
This kit is controlled by the admins of the Gundam Build Divers world and looks like a neon version of the classic RX-78-2 Gundam.
This transforming mobile suit appears only in the Gundam Build Divers Break manga. With an angelic form and a dark color scheme, I can’t tell if it’s good or evil.
The alphabet soup at the beginning of this title is what they’re calling the High Grade Re:RISE line of models. This is the first transformation we see of Hiroto’s Core Gundam in the show and it seems to be his all-rounder armor combination, the Core but with better capabilities.
This one is Kazami’s flashy riff on the Justice Gundam. Somebody like Kazami would be a SEED Destiny fan, it seems. But for all of his preening and posing, the well-rounded capabilities of this Gunpla indicate that he actually has talent. Honestly, this kit tells me more about his true personality than the first five episodes of the show!
This suit belongs to Kazami’s favorite v-tuber on Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, Captain Zeon! Tom wrote all about how this particular kit is exemplary of Zeon mobile suit design. We love the massive combination sword-shield gimmick.
Same Core Gundam, new armor pieces. It took me an episode to understand his naming convention: a planet plus its order in the solar system. The Venus kit seems to be Hiroto’s armor combination especially designed for heavy artillery.
Marsfour is red like its namesake planet. I wonder what would happen if you combined pieces from all three kits and how functional or wonky it would look. Hiroto has designed this armor combination specifically for melee combat.
The five-eyed antagonist Gundam of Re:RISE got its debut this month. Its monstrously outsized right arm doubles down on the bizarre asymmetry of this purple kit.
“What if the Death Army machines had MORE LEGS?” asked some crazed wizard at Bandai. This four-legged monstrosity reminds us of a Buddhist myth.
The enhanced version of Ayame’s Zeromaru suit bears not a small likeness to the Full Armor Unicorn. Can also transform into the regular-sized “Real Mode.”
Freedom’s impressive wingspan and formidable weapons are a major identifying part of its silhouette, even in this miniaturized form.
The LRX-077 Sisquiede is a prototype mobile suit from the SD Gundam G Generation video game, so it makes sense that it’s joining the SD Cross Silhouette line this early. It’s an alternate non-canon “what if Zeon made a monoeye Gundam?” timeline, so it’s certainly unique.
Same thing with a dark color scheme. Just like its AEUG counterpart, this kit comes with two beam sabers and an I-Field Launcher. As shown in the photo above, both kits can be built on either compact SD or more elongated Cross Silhouette inner frames.
The first Gundam 08th MS Team suit to join the Cross Silhouette line! This cutesy kit can be built on either a standard SD frame or a CS frame for increased poseability—both are included.
These internal skeletons give you even more options to customize your Cross Silhouette kits. Combine these expansion parts with any CS model to adjust limb, torso, and neck length even more. I wonder how far we are from making all CS kits compatible with HG ones?
Like the white version that came out in May, this expansion set allows you to customize your SD Cross Silhouette kits even further. Combine it with any Cross Silhouette (or most recent SD kits) to further customize the proportions of your tiniest mobile suit kits.
Since we’ve established that Endless Waltz is totally a Christmas movie, this EW version of Wing Zero is perfectly timed for the holidays. The showstopper piece is the set of feathery white wings, ready for any of the larger sized suit’s iconic poses.
Beargguys + Haros
Ninja girl Ayame joins Momo in her own cuddly Beargguy costume, this time in her signature purple. She can take the mask on or off.
Well, we’ve had a nice run, humanity. With his own poseable arms and legs, Haro is unstoppable.
This pink Haro is designed to be an exact replica of Lacus Clyne’s Haro from Gundam SEED. It is also compatible with the mobile Haro suit for terrifying increased mobility.
Love for the Black Tri-Stars will never die. Remember the Petit Beargguy based on them? Now, this glossy black Haro pays tribute with a custom color scheme and markings. It’s a simple concept, yet an instant classic all the same.
As Tom pointed out, this weird morph of Haro was first seen in the opening of Gundam Build Divers: Re:RISE. Still no word on what kind of role, if any, it will play in the show.
A weapons set that can be combined with the Core Gundam and Veetwo armor, which is available for preorder now.
A weapons set that can be combined with the Core Gundam and Marsfour armor, which is available for preorder now.
Kazami’s suit’s new weapons are sending us mixed messages. But what hasn’t been lost in translation are the bold colors and shapes of this set.
Nu-Zeon Gundam’s awesome massive sword can be used by any HG kit, so we can see it getting a lot of use as a power-up. We love the almost runic detail on this transforming blade.
Not a Gunpla, but definitely pertinent to our interests! Everyone’s favorite ninja Gunpla enthusiast gets her own buildable, poseable figure. Construct her with one of three included facial expressions, then swap them out as you like.
Say what you will about Gundam SEED, but it’ll always be the show that brought us a pink Haro. Here’s Lacus’s Haro with both solid and clear pink parts—you pick what to build.