Welcome to the first Gunpla buying guide of 2021! It’s hard to believe this is my EIGHTH year of monthly chronicling new releases and preorders from Bandai Hobby. (You can check out the past seven years in review right here.)
One thing about doing this for so long: I’m starting to notice patterns. This month and next we are getting a ton of SD Gundam BB Senshi kits, which immediately made me think of my post for January-February 2018, which offered a similar trove of SD releases. These kits combine Gundam multiverse traits with those of ancient warriors from the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. They’re not especially popular in the US as far as I can tell, but they’re so big in Japan that BB Senshi, launched in 1987, is the longest-running line in the history of Gunpla.
Before we get to the kits, one housekeeping note: I finally started a Gunpla 101 Instagram account! It’s a pretty vibrant community over there and I’m glad to finally be participating. We’ve got 60-something followers compared to our 5,400 on Twitter, but it’s nice to be building a new readership. Check it out if you feel so inclined!
Gunpla New Releases for January 2021
Mobile Suit Gundam’s famously legless behemoth gets a chance to shine in this Real Grade rendition. This is the first Zeong kit to come out since the MG 20 whole years ago! We’re looking forward to finding out what modelers think of its first modern Gunpla iteration.
RG Mobile Suit Gundam Last Shooting Zeong Effect Set (pictured at top)
For an extra $20 you can get the RG Zeong complete with clear highlighter-yellow plastic parts to emulate the Zeong’s appearance in the iconic “Last Shooting” scene from the Mobile Suit Gundam anime. A legless mecha never looked so badass.
This dainty, detailed kit depicts the main character of SD Gundam World Sangoku Soketsuden, “the young CEO of Blue Wing Corporation,” since of course, these SD mecha are not piloted by anyone, they are autonomous beings, kind of like Transformers.
This character is the head of the distribution guild “Red Tiger,” so I guess there’s a color theme going on in this show. Its feathery golden flames and spiked toes remind me of a bird of prey.
SD Dong Zhuo Providence Gundam (pictured above)
This oddity has armor that looks like molten lava breaking through rocks. Its volcanic feel is only enhanced by its Dinosaur Form! I have no idea what’s going on here but I am super impressed.
The delicate green and gold armor that gives this model its shape is deceptively flexible: it can transform into fin funnels reminiscent of the Nu Gundam or an elaborate giant spear. Each one of these kits is showier than the next!
Even though I’m unfamiliar with the source material, I can tell that SD Gundam World Sangoku Soketsuden must have a pretty devoted fanbase because these are real collector’s items. With clear parts and shimmery gold and tons of embellishment, no detail was spared here.
SD Zhang Fei God Gundam (pictured above)
Take “this hand of mine is burning red!” turn it up to 11. This Sangoku iteration of the G-Gundam appears to be literally on fire. Combine his blade and shoulder flames with those of its ally Liu Bei Unicorn for an entirely new weapon!
I have significantly misunderstood the premise of this show. I assumed since all the mecha are inspired by ancient Chinese warriors, it took place in an alternate version of ancient China. But they’re machines themselves, so. Wait, can’t they just transport themselves the way mecha do in other Gundam shows? I need to stop thinking so hard about this.
The grunt troops of the set. These two come with four different faceplates to represent each of the four factions in the show. As fancy and eye-catching as the main character suits are, I guess these guys really are interchangeable!