Your gunpla hobby won’t get very far if you never get up the courage to buy one! Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to get imported Gunpla from Japan. We’ve bought Gunpla both online and in person, and we have tips for doing it right both ways:
- Do shop around. Even at the same convention, different Gunpla sellers will have different prices. Before you make a single purchase, make your way through the entire dealer’s room to check out which vendors are there and what they’re offering.
- Do haggle. When you’re shopping in person, vendors are more likely to cut you a deal if you just ask for it. If you see a $60 model, try, “Will you sell this for $50?” If you’re lucky, the vendor might agree to meet in the middle at $55. Make sure you know when to stop though! If a vendor isn’t budging, he or she probably won’t give in.
- Don’t give into pressure. On the other hand, you also need to know when not to give in. Vendors can’t bring unlimited merchandise to conventions and they will turn that scarcity into a selling point. Don’t fall for “It’s the last one left!” if you still think the price is way too high. If that’s the case, you can always look at another booth or online.
- Ask before you examine. It’s smart to open the box and check out the parts before you buy, and most vendors are OK with that. However, some vendors would rather you not touch the merchandise without buying anything, so be sure you always ask if it’s OK first. And honestly? It’s probably best not to buy from a vendor who won’t let you check.
On the Internet
- Do verify the model. Sometimes a picture isn’t enough. For example, there are two different versions of MG Musha Gundam—Shin Musha Gundam and Gundam Shin Musha Sengoku No Jin. They come with totally different accessories, so in cases like this one, just verifying the grade and model isn’t enough! Verify the look and title of the model on a reference site like Gundam Planet. Try to buy from a seller with a picture of the box, which makes the differences clearer than just a photo of the model.
- Do check the source and shipping. If possible, try to order your Gunpla from a seller based in your home country, not Japan. If you’re ordering Gunpla straight from Japan, not only will it take longer to get to you, the shipping will also be more expensive. There’s nothing wrong with buying from Japan, but know what you’re getting into. Don’t be caught off guard by the shipping time and cost.
- Do know your return policies. It’s very rare, but sometimes you’ll get kits that are incomplete and/or have a defective part. This is only happened once to us ever, and we have more than 20 kits! By the time we noticed a problem, it was half built and too late to try and get it replaced. Check your Gunpla when you get it and make sure your return policy allows you to return an intact Gunpla to the seller if there’s an issue.