You’ve probably seen them around. Gunpla in more elaborate kits than usual, with a trademark blocky design. “Ver. Ka,” they state boldly on their plain white covers.
The first time I saw one I was very confused. “This looks sort of like RX-78-2, but there are some noticeable changes. Is this from an OVA or something?”
Actually, Ver. Ka models aren’t named for a special universe or series at all, but for an especially celebrated mobile suit designer, Hajime Katoki.
Katoki worked on several Gundam series like Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, but is most famous as the lead designer for Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. For that position, he redesigned the five main pilots’ models to be bolder, sturdier, and more stylized.
You see, before Katoki, designing Gundams was mainly about creating “realistic” humanoid space weapons. This seemed silly to Katoki, since of course, Gundams aren’t real. You’ll see more fantastical elements to his models, which he designs to “catch peoples’ attention.”
Since Katoki’s reimaginations continue to be popular, Bandai continues to release Version Ka alternates to shows Katoki didn’t even work on, like the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
Version Ka models are almost always Master Grade, but they’re not necessarily more difficult than other MG models on the market. However, they may have more parts to them as a result of Katoki’s creative stylings.
If you buy a Ver. Ka gunpla model, expect a challenge that riffs on one of your favorite iconic model designs and only slightly resembles its anime counterpart!