How to Buy Gunpla


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:

At Conventions

  • 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.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • i never did realize that there were 2 different shin mushas [well besides the super cute SD version] ive been looking online, but i cant seem to find a clear difference between the two that you linked? would you mind clarifying what the difference is?

    Also, between normal gundam models and special versions of them, like, Seed Destiny full Burst that you have, is the marked up price worth it? or is it better just to stick with the regular editions? thanks Lauren, youve helped me become more passionate on my models with just a few tips talking on it.

  • Japan Hobby Store
    November 2, 2014 12:27 pm

    Very interesting article.

    We believe that ISBN、UPC、JAN、EAN、ASIN, can be used for distinguish similar items.

    These identification number is basically unique.
    Regarding Shin Musha Gundam and Gundam Shin Musha Sengoku No Jin,

    the former has ASIN: B0018P09QQ while the latter has ASIN: B001P9CF8U.

    ASIN can easily be converted to JAN, UPC, EAN, and ISBN.

    We hope this helps.

    Japan Hobby Store

  • I’ve actually been buying a few Tamiya and Aoshima model car kits lately, and have found that buying directly from Japan can in many cases be the most reasonable as far as cost. Prices of course vary from store to store, but it does pay to shop.

    Yes, it can take a while for a model to pass through U.S. Customs, but not always. I’ve made purchases in the past from Hong Kong and Japan that actually arrived in less than a week. However I’ve also had it take as along as a month to pass Customs. Would say as long as the purchaser is willing to wait, it is definitely an option worth looking at.

  • Small nitpick, your picture shows no model kits, only figures that require no assembly, such as the SH Figuarts, Figmas, etc.

    Also for certain Gundam models kits, make sure which model kit version it is. Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam has a first edition, 2.0, 3.0, OYW Version, limited clear, limited metallic coat, and now an upcoming The Origin version with a back cannon and small gun mounts on wrists and above chest. Z Gundam has two versions, and so does Char’s Zaku II. The first MG Gundam has U.N.T Spacy stickers, whereas the 2.0 and above has EFSF stickers and a squarer structure.

“Gunpla is freedom.”

Gunpla is not about being perfect, it’s about building a model you love from a show you love with your own hands. Here at Gunpla 101, we provide resources for Gunpla builders of all skill levels.

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