It gets quicker to make this list every year, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
In 2022, by my count, we got 30 new Gunpla this year. That’s less than half of the number released in 2021 (69). That was the previous all-time low; in 2019, there were 100 new Gunpla kits released!
So what’s going on here? I spoke to Tex Merquise, fellow Gunpla fan and Bandai’s builder on retainer, about some potential theories. Keep in mind: These are all possibilities leading to 2022’s lower-than-usual Gunpla output, but I have not reached out directly to Bandai Hobby for a conclusive answer.
- More P-Bandai exclusives. I’ve never tracked P-Bandai exclusives on Gunpla 101 for various reasons, including that P-Bandai lists them all conveniently in one place instead of releasing them to lots of different vendors. About a third of the Gunpla kits that came out this year were P-Bandai, so none of those made my list.
- Bandai is building a new factory, which is still inoperable. The company is putting lots of resources toward building this new factory, announced in April 2022, and those are resources that are not going toward making new Gunpla models.
- I’m speculating some BS from the pandemic and global inflation. This is just a theory, but we’re in the third year of a global pandemic. Also, there’s been economic inflation globally, driving up the cost of materials. There’s no way the hobby industry, Gunpla included, has not felt some aftershocks from this shift.
Fortunately, what we lacked in quantity, we received in quality—that is, higher quality Gunpla grades. This year saw the return of the impressive High Resolution and Full Mechanics lines, plus the launch of one new grade: G-Frame (GF).
One housekeeping change: halfway through the year, we switched from the Amazon affiliates program to the Hobbylink Japan affiliates program for purchasing links whenever available. We hope this makes it easier for you to find the Gunpla you are looking for! Relatedly, it has been harder to track down kits in 2022 since Bandai stopped releasing launch schedules in March in order to deter scalpers, so please forgive any omissions.
As usual, Gunpla 101 would not be able to function without its incredible contributors. Thanks again to Tex Merquise, and to Nerissa, Megaplamo, and Jonlyn. Thank you also to Milky and Tom Aznable, who didn’t publish anything this year, but who remain some of our most trusted advisors. And of course, thanks to readers like you for giving us a fantastic audience!
As in previous years, kits can be found in order of both grade and release. Releases are listed from earliest to latest in the year whenever possible. I’ve removed all sections that didn’t include any new releases, including plain SD, Haros and Beargguys, and RE100.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and enjoy!
- 2021 Gunpla Year in Review
- 2020 Gunpla Year in Review
- 2019 Gunpla Year in Review
- 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
Master Grade (2)
This isn’t the first Master Grade version of the Dom, but this 2022 edition has been upgraded with new molds that make it more poseable and realistic-looking. For example, it features an updated internal ankle frame so you can reproduce the Dom’s characteristic crouched pose. Plus, new arm joints mean it won’t topple over while holding its Giant Buzz.
1/100 MG Rick Dom (pictured at top)
Like the Dom before it, here’s another classic mobile suit that has a new version joining the Master Grade line. This Rick Dom is space combat ready with its usual bazooka weapon, plus a massive-sized beam bazooka and heat saber.
1/100 High-Resolution Model Gundam Astray Red Frame Powered Red (pictured above)
You wouldn’t want to take a punch from this latest version of fan-favorite Gundam Astray. It’s got seriously beefed-up arms and giant fists for a top-heavy silhouette—but not to worry, the reinforced inner frame is more than enough to hold up that extra weight.
Full Mechanics (2)
Hailing from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, the latest Full Mechanics kit is packed with gimmicks and realistic anime-accurate details. Its signature weapon, the “Mjolnir” Spherical Breaker, comes with a display stand and a retractable wire for more flexible poses.
Full Mechanics Aile Calamity Gundam (pictured above)
Another SEED kit—the strikingly teal Calamity—joins the Full Mechanics line as well. If you’ve built a Full Mechanics before, you know it’s like a Master Grade with shortcuts built in, and a flexible inner frame that will make posing easier than it would be for an MG as well.
Real Grade (1)
RG God Gundam (pictured above)
Kunio Okawara’s iconic G-Gundam design finally gets the Real Grade treatment. Pose Domon’s mecha like never before with a kit created especially for ease of movement: from multi-stage movement from the chest to the waist, to fully-articulated knee and hip joints. Plus, the tricolored ringed “Sun Wheel” ensures your God Gundam has a striking backdrop wherever you place it.
High Grade (12)
This Gundam Breaker Battlogue suit is another prior Target exclusive. It’s a QAN[T] that has SD Command Gundam elements added to create a look reminiscent of an American ‘80s action hero. (TIL Command Gundam is inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando film.)
Don’t worry if you don’t recognize this Iron-Blooded Orphans kit: it’s from the Urdr-Hunt mobile game, a new release that is currently only available in Japan. The neutral palette with neon accents is peak cyberpunk aesthetic, while the wire-attached Gigant Javelin anchor is a unique and poseable weapon.
Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans now has an MSV (Mobile Suit Variations) line, starting with this purple knight in a winged helmet. We know nothing about this Gundam yet, including what its localized name is, so expect a bunch of different spellings for now!
We barely know a thing about this mecha released in advance of the Witch From Mercury, including if that’s really its English spelling! What we do know: its tough, heavily-armored design looks primed for space combat.
Like the Beguir-Beu, Lfrith was introduced in the Witch From Mercury prologue. This experimental prototype is notable for its sturdy profile, futuristic detailing, and a unique shield that can break apart into a swarm of assault weapons.
Chang Wufei’s Shenlong Gundam gets an updated High Grade kit with modern gate molding and upgraded posing capabilities. Its bright colors are anime-accurate and its Dragon Fang accessory is capable of expanding and retracting along the kit’s right arm.
HG Gundam Aerial (pictured above)
The protagonist mecha of Gundam: The Witch From Mercury is finally here! Aerial astounds with a sleek take on the traditional protagonist silhouette. The suit’s uniquely hourglass proportions—from its slim waist to its exaggerated thighs—give it an aerodynamic appeal.
HG Dilanza (Guel’s Mobile Suit)
I love that Guel’s last name is Jeturk and he’s kind of a jerk—this is a perfect Tomino name. His bulky black and purple mobile suit is a perfect match for his stormy personality.
This is another variation of Guel’s mobile suit, presumably also built by the Jeturk Heavy Machinery company that controls so much of the behind-the-scenes politics of G-Witch. With a single fin in the center of his head, this is certainly some type of commander.
Bright red and wielding a dual-pointed spear, Guel Jetturk’s upgraded dueling mecha looks downright devilish. This kit’s clear neon parts enhance the beam javelin, while an included display base allows you to display it in mid-air combat poses.
The mobile suit of the aloof Elan Ceres doesn’t share his withdrawn nature. Its Corax back binders imitate wings, while each of its unusually shaped Beak Feet house a beam cannon. Designed for space combat, the birdlike Pharact appears ready to take flight at any moment.
This basic mobile suit is designed for students, not combat, which means it has been getting a lot of screentime in The Witch From Mercury. Several episodes have focused on students of the Asticassia School of Technology competing in timed races using these grunt suits as transport.
Mobile Suit Gundam G Frame FA EX 01 Kampfer & Gundam NT-1 Alex Chobham Armor Exclusive Set (pictured above)
This is the first entry in the renewed version of the “Gundam G Frame” series of kits. Basically, you get a kit plus the armor for another kit, the Alex (which is not included here). I don’t really get it! But if you buy the Alex separately, you have everything you need for some interesting dioramas to recreate scenes from War in the Pocket.
Entry Grade (2)
1/144 Entry Grade Strike Gundam (pictured above)
Like previous Entry Grade kits, this one features a fan-favorite mecha and a super-speedy build process. This one has just 79 parts and no stickers needed to create a finished Gunpla. It takes half the time an HG would, but is apparently just as poseable.
Easy to build and super cheap, this version of the Nu Gundam is great for Gunpla beginners. This is the third kit to join the Entry Grade, and it retains screen-accurate colors and full articulation despite its minimal number of parts and short assembly time.
SDEX Gundam Aerial (pictured above)
Even the super-deformed variation on the Aerial keeps its distinct hourglass shape. This is a cute and simplified version of the protagonist mecha, perfect for an easy build.
SDW Heroes Seiten Taisei Goku Impulse Gundam -Tousen Shoubutsu-
This SDW kits is stretching the limits of what an SD is expected to do. It’s got three different gold-tinged forms, clear red plastic effect parts, and additional ankle joints so you can create multiple poses for the trickiest part of an SD kit: its large, clunky feet.
SDW Heroes Ryuson Ryubi Unicorn Gundam (pictured above)
Another golden SD that looks like it belongs on the top of a Christmas tree. Clear blue Unicorn effect parts contrast with golden plumage for one fancy-looking kit. The more I look, the more detail I find: did you catch the dragon-shaped cutouts on the headdress?
SDW Heroes Knight Strike Gundam
Knight Gundam was the protagonist of the original SD Gundam Gaiden show. Now, this latest SD kit takes elements from that classic suit and adds in motifs from the Strike. The result is a modern take on a retro design, perfect for the main character of SD Gundam World Heroes.
SDW Heroes Warlock Aegis Gundam
This new kit from the SD Gundam World Heroes show is based on G-Gundam’s Satan Gundam, with plenty of evil-looking demonic features. Its cloak, devil horns, and scepter certainly mark this expressive kit as the show’s demon king.
Shift Leif Gundam’s silhouette in an instant with your choice to include or remove its dramatic cloak—or simply drape it partially. There’s nothing silly about this seriously dramatic SD kit!
You better believe this is a rideable mount. Any of the SDW kits can fly atop this skeletal dragon, just like the motorbike and horse mounts that came before it. When it comes to making a cool entrance, you just can’t argue with a dragon mech.
SDW Heroes Dark Grasper Dragon
This model is identical to August’s Shine Grasper Dragon release—simply in a different colorway. Like the former, it is a rideable mount perfectly sized for any SDW kit.
SDW Heroes Chouun 00 Gundam Command Package
This kit includes both the original Zhao Yun 00 Gunpla and the formidable armor that gives this kit its name. The Command Package can be mounted either on Zhao Yun or on his Trinity Bike accessory (not included with this set).
Another good year for Gunpla and Gundam 101.
Thanks for saying so!