2023 Gunpla Year In Review

HG Typhoeus Gundam Chimera

This guide marks a major milestone for Gunpla 101: our TENTH year-in-review post in a row! Gunpla 101 has been around for an entire decade!

John and I started Gunpla 101 in May 2014. I was writing more and more often about my Gunpla hobby for my primary blog, Otaku Journalist, and I realized that these posts needed their own home. Even though I was a beginner, people were writing to me for Gunpla advice even back then, so we decided to make a whole website out of it! I do most of the writing and editing here, but if it weren’t for John’s input, my imposter syndrome would have seen me quit long ago.

There was another thing, too, that inspired this site. Shortly before launch, I saw a Tumblr blog called something like “Gunpla Shaming”—I don’t remember the exact name, and honestly, good riddance—in which the blogger took photos of beginners’ builds and tore into them, seemingly without permission to use those pictures. As a beginner myself, and as somebody building kits for fun instead of competitions, I took it personally! I wanted to create a site that was the antithesis of that. That’s why I wrote “Gunpla is not about being perfect” at the top of the sidebar on every page.

I’m proud of what we’ve built here on Gunpla 101. By opening the site up to paid contributors from all walks of life and several countries, we’re able to offer different advice and points of view beyond my own perspective and experience. I’m regularly impressed by the group of expert modelers who have allowed us to feature their work here.

However, you’ve probably noticed that this site is on cruise control. I struggled to find time to build Gunpla—and to continue to build this site—after I had my two baby Newtypes. (I won’t fully dox the kids, but their middle names are Artesia and Casval!) Now that they’re a bit older, however, I’m ready to address some of the site’s issues. Tone down the aggressive advertising. Increase the tutorials and advice. And drop these shopping guides.

After ten long years, the writing is on the wall. These guides went from featuring over 100 new kits a year to only 32 new Gunpla kits in 2023! (Which is 2 more than we got in 2022, but still!)

Fewer kits are being made and, in an effort to curtail scalping on Bandai’s part, it’s more difficult to learn about them in advance. Plus, more than half the time they’re P-Bandai exclusives anyway, which I’ve never covered in this guide because they’re limited runs and directly available on the Bandai website, so there’s no real reason to use Gunpla 101 as a go-between to find them, like with kits that are available more widely.

So, starting this year, we will only do a YEARLY Gunpla guide. I’ll start updating the 2024 one at the end of January, and simply keep adding to it. With so few kits coming out every month, it makes a lot more sense to keep it all in one place than to click on 12 monthly ones. Taking their place, expect more tutorials, advice, and tool and kit reviews: the stuff you really come to Gunpla 101 to see. Whether you’ve been here for 10 years or you’re just discovering Gunpla 101 by stumbling onto this blog post today, thank you for your support!

Previous Years in Review:

Table of Contents

Full Mechanics

Real Grade

High Grade

Entry Grade


Full Mechanics (1)

FM 1/100 Forbidden Gundam (pictured above)

This Mobile Suit Gundam SEED kit is the latest to join the Full Mechanics line. It’s an extra-detailed iteration that can transform into “High-Speed Assault Form” by flipping over its enormous backpack—just like on the show. I’m also crazy about that giant scythe, Nidhoggr. It comes with an action base joint (but not a full action base) so you can set it in mid-air poses.

Real Grade (1)

1/144 RG Gundam Epyon (pictured above)

As a Millennial, I have a soft spot for Gundam Wing and its fleet of interesting model designs. It was my first Gundam show, after all! Better yet, this Real Grade version of Epyon comes with an original new gimmick: an alternate configuration in the shape of a double-headed pterosaur! It’s a completely unique iteration of the Epyon we know and love.

High Grade (21)

HG Michaelis (pictured above)

This is the Grassley-produced mobile suit custom-made for Shaddiq. This purple-and-white suit with the diamond-shaped viewplate is perfect for one of G-Witch’s most enigmatic characters—and that’s saying something. We love its supermodel walk pose!

HG Beguir-Pente 

The mobile suit preferred by Shadiq’s minions at Grassley House in the G-Witch anime. An upgrade on the Beguir-Beu, this purple menace uses beam weapons which can be stored on the backside of the cross-shaped shield when not in use.

HG Mirasoul Flight Unit

These high-maneuver parts are designed to work with the sold-separately Gundam Aerial. It also includes a few odds and ends like an outstretched flat hand for the Aerial, you know, for recreating THAT scene. (G-Witch fans and tomato lovers know what I’m talking about.)

HG Zowort

This Pell Industries mecha possesses a particularly massive upper body. We see a variety of Gundam: The Witch From Mercury characters piloting this mass-production mobile suit—but most notably Elan Ceres.

HG Tickbalang

Luckily it looks nothing like the Filipino equine cryptid with which it shares its name. This ship can be combined with the Zowort to recreate scenes from the anime.

HG Heindree

This knight-like mecha is most notable for its Lantern Shield accessory, which combines both a lance and a handgun into one item. Students from Grassley House, helmed by Shaddiq, are seen piloting this mass-production mobile suit.

HG Gundam Aerial (Modified Type)

The repaired version of the Gundam Aerial looks better than ever with a slick new design and a kit construction that really lights up! The bits can be built individually or connected all together to form the Aerial’s new weapon, the Gambit Rifle.

HG Gundam Lfrith Thorn

This is such a heavily modified version of the original Lfrith, it’s almost hard to see the resemblance! Its long arms and short legs give it an unusual silhouette while its low center of gravity makes it more stable for posing.

HG Gundam Lfrith Ur

Is it just me or does this Gundam’s pilot, Sophie Pulone, look like Amuro Ray, while the pilot of the Lfrith Thorn, Norea Du Noc, looks like Kamille Bidan? Unlike her sister, the Lfrith Ur, which is designed for maximum defense, this one is primed for maximum offensive capabilities.

HG Zowort Heavy

We last saw this combat-ready suit making Guel Jeturk’s life even worse than usual as it engaged Dawn of Fold forces on Earth. With large-scale firearms mounted on both shoulders, it’s a degree more aggro than the regular Zowort.

HG Dilanza Sol

Unlike the Dilanza units at the Asticassia School of Technology, this bulky mecha is ready for war. With thick shields and thicker thighs (I’m kidding, kind of), the Dilanza Sol is unlikely to topple over in any pose.

HG Guncannon

Thanks to the new Cucuruz Doan’s Island movie (now streaming on Crunchyroll), there is a new version of the classic Guncannon. The modernized kit makes poseability the priority, with the ability to crouch or even lie down to shoot, perfect for guerilla combat dioramas.

HG Gundvolva 

This model is remarkable for what it lacks: a cockpit. Since the Lfrith Thorn and Lfrith Ur operate it remotely, it’s more like a GUND-bit that’s shaped like a Gundam. This anonymous tool looks sleek and powerful with a color palette in shades of purplish gray.

HG Demi Barding

The Demi Barding is Chuchu’s second mobile suit after spoilers happened and she was no longer able to use her Demi Trainer. Aggressive, sturdy, and equipped with powerful armaments including a beam cannon, it fits our pompom-headed girl’s personality perfectly.

HG Gundam Schwarzette

This next-generation concept model utilizes Prospera’s GUND Format technology and is therefore one of the only actual “Gundams” in the show, as opposed to mobile suits. Its sturdy body contrasts nicely with the delicate halo that rings its head.

HG Gundam Calibarn

The Gundam Suletta pilots near the end of the show to confront her mom and sister in a pivotal battle. That impressive Variable Rod Rifle looks fittingly like a witch’s broom! The metallic details on the V-fin, chest, and thighs give it a rainbow sheen.

HG Shin Burning Gundam

With the kanji for “flame” and “god” emblazoned on its shoulders, there’s no mistaking the symbolism of this Gundam Metaverse kit inspired by G-Gundam’s God Gundam. Polarized resin parts in see-through red make the kit look like it is engulfed in flames.

HG GM (Shoulder Cannon/ Missile Pod Equipment)

This is a new version of the GM from the Mobile Suit Variation series: a line of official and canon Gunpla designs that look slightly different than the standard mobile suits you’re used to. The main difference between this and a standard GM is the wide variety of weapon accessories.

HG Plutine Gundam (pictured above)

I love the green, blue, and purple color scheme of this Gundam Build Metaverse kit. Build it alone or with the icy white spiked parts that can enhance its defensive armor or transform into an independent core fighter. Some of this Gunpla is built from recycled parts, a planet-friendly move that I hope Bandai continues to practice in kits going forward!

HG Typhoeus Gundam Chimera (pictured at top of page)

It may be a 1/144 HG, but this is one of the biggest High Grades ever made! At 257 millimeters (about 10 inches tall), it’s a truly massive mobile suit. This suit appears only in Gundam Build Metaverse and it appears to be designed simply to flex on the haters.

HG Gundam 00 Diver Arc

This is a new iteration of the primary mobile suit seen in Gundam Build Divers, this time built for the Gundam Build Metaverse anime. Sparkly resin and 3D metallic seals scream “I’m a main character suit!” and make this kit stand out in your collection.

Entry Grade (2)

Entry Grade Ra Gundam (pictured above)

Ra Gundam is from 2023’s Gundam Build Metaverse web series, which commemorates 10 years of the Gundam Build franchise. Who is gonna tell Bandai Hobby that the metaverse is already running out of steam? (Looks pointedly at the leaked Gundam Metaverse scandal.) Oh wait, they already know.

Entry Grade Build Strike Exceed Galaxy 

Like other Entry Grade kits, this one puts ease of construction first. So the finished kit is a fairly simple riff on the Strike Freedom with large transparent pink accents. Impressively, you don’t even need to use nippers to build this (though I’d still recommend it).

SD (7)

MGSD Freedom Gundam

We kicked off 2023 with a new grade that combined the best of two existing grades: MG and SD. It integrates MG tech with the proportions of an SD, so you get that exaggerated cute look without sacrificing any of the articulation for posing.

SDW Heroes Superior Strike Freedom Dragon (pictured above)

Gundam series may come and go, but SDW Heroes kits appear to be forever! This latest one is spikier than the knife chair in Knives Out and decked out in a blinding, ostentatious gold.

SD Gundam Cross Silhouette: Unicorn Gundam 2 Banshee (Destroy Mode) & Banshee Norn Parts Set

I can never resist a fancy SD with all the trimmings. With a mix of cute and ornate details, they always look like Christmas ornaments to me. This one is as accurate as a chibi can be, with all the accessories for both Banshee and Banshee Norn, including the iconic claw!

MGSD Gundam Barabatos

This is our first kit in the MGSD series since January! It’s a rare but cool line that blends Master Grade complexity with SD cuteness. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the way it treats the Gunpla hobby’s cutest grade with sincerity—and some seriously poseable finished products.

SDW HEROES Goku Impulse Gundam & Sanzang Strike Freedom Gundam Set

Metallic gold detailing tricks out these two ornate and spiky mecha. Sanzang Strike Freedom Gundam can be purchased alone (minus the new cane accessory); the Goku Impulse is brand new for this kit. Build them separately, or put them together in a diorama!

SD Gundam Cross Silhouette F-Kunoichi Kai

This is a new iteration of the ninja Gundam Kunoichi that appears in the Gundam Metaverse anime, which celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Gundam Build series. The F-Kunoichi comes with two frames: the SD for a cute and traditional look, and the CS for a sleeker and more poseable style.

SDW HEROES Nobunaga’s War Horse

With elaborate armor and red resin flames, this poseable vehicle can seat up to two SD Gunpla riders. Despite how extra it is, it has poseable legs and is compatible with an Action Base.

Total Count of New Gunpla for 2023: 32

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