Bandai High Grade UC RX-78-2 Gundam Model Kit
Bandai High Grade Orphans Gundam Model Kit Barbatos
Bandai Master Grade Gundam Model Kit Epyon EW
Even the best Gundam model kits are confused by the uninitiated with Transformers models but Gundam was actually the first to hit the market way back in 1979. And while it has been overshadowed in the US by the Transformers media machine, Bandai has sold nearly half a billion model kits worldwide since then. Over the years Bandai has produced kits for more than 2,000 individual characters and led the way into a new world of model-building through the use of system injection coloring and glueless construction. Below is our list of the 10 best Gundam Kits.
The Best Gundam Model Kit
The RX-78 is the ultimate in Mobile Suit Gundam toys, although it wasn’t always so. It actually started out some years ago as a bulkier, some might say clumsier design but has seen repeated refinements that produced what we think is a much more compelling action figure. Articulation throughout is first class, assembly is easy and seamless, build quality is robust and durable and the kit comes with everything a gunpla aficionado could want. There are beam sabers, a bazooka, a generous shield and the model can be further customized by incorporating elements of several of Bandai’s earlier Gundam conversion kits.
The “robot suit” aspects of the design are so subtle and well integrated into the overall aesthetic that it enhances identification with the character rather than undermining its credibility. For a High Grade kit the RX-78-2 Gundam is remarkably versatile and can replicate virtually any pose you want with full rotational capability in the midsection as well as forward/backward thrust and impressive flexibility in the limbs. For those who had issues with the lego-like aspects of the original model this latest upgrade finally transcends its origins and realizes the latent expressive and iconic potential of the character. Won’t break your bank either which is just one more reason we chose it as our best Gundam kit. Be sure to also check out our list of the best Pop Vinyls for more great items like this.
This may very well be the most emotionally compelling of our best Gundam model kits with beautifully realized wings that look like they were lifted directly from the pages of the manga. With 2 buster rifles and dual shoulder cannons though this is no angel. The buster rifles can be brought together to really deliver the pain while those extraordinary wings we mentioned have undergone recent refinements and are now able to fold outward farther than they could previously. This ramps up the expressive possibilities even further sending Gunpla kit devotees into a heightened state of ecstasy.
The Wing Zero is a Master Grade Bandai model meaning it’s a bit larger than the High Grade models and build quality throughout is first rate. The wings appear ethereal and delicate yet they are anything but and should stand up to years of (thoughtful) use. Assembly is easy enough to maintain interest yet challenging enough to keep you engaged and provides a sense of accomplishment when Wing Zero takes up position on its display stand. It’s not the cheapest of the Bandai models but, as we said, it may be the most emotionally compelling. Our handy guide to the best Marvel Lego Sets features more great products like this.
The RG Unicorn represents the culmination of Bandai’s quest to produce the perfect Unicorn kit and they may well have succeeded. The articulation here is intense and the kit comes with a full array of decals so you can add those Real Grade anime touches. While it’s nowhere near as large as a Perfect Grade Unicorn the attention to detail, ease of transformation to Destroy Mode and first class modeling will make you realize that size isn’t always the most important thing.
The Real Grade Unicorn comes with a wonderfully versatile shield, a hyper bazooka, beam magnum and 2 beam sabers. But the real stars here are the incredible articulation and the virtually effortless way it makes the transformation to Destroy Mode. Once you’ve assembled the Real Grade Unicorn you’re going to want to perform that transformation straight away and you’re likely to become so enamored of the mechanics of it all that you’ll spend as much time transforming it from Standard to Destroy Mode as you do staring at it on your display shelf. For more interesting toys, check out our Harry Potter Lego sets review.
Master Grade Gundams like this Epyon are intended for more advanced model builders so you may want to consider something in the Bandai High Grade family for your youngster. That said, adult model nerds are likely to get all teary eyed about the Epyon because when fully assembled and posed with just the right light projected onto it Epyon pretty much redefines “iconic”. The lines are dynamic and suggest an unstoppable kinetic energy that’s coiled and ready to be unleashed. Maybe the best Gundam model kit in that regard.
The transformation from Mobile Suit Mode to Dragon Flight Mode is not the smoothest such transformation Bandai models have ever produced but with a little practice it all comes together and the second time’s the charm that will sell on the model long term. Epyon has always been one of our favorites from the Endless Waltz series and here the company has done the character proud. From the compelling use of positive and negative space to the beautifully considered proportions and smooth articulation in all the joints you won’t be able to put the thing down once you’ve picked it up. Love this product? Check out our review of the best Lego Minecraft sets for our top picks.
Real Grade kits are the new kids on the block when it comes to Gundam models. They’re essentially an upgrade of the High Grade kits that utilize the same scale but provide more detail and slightly better articulation. The Astra Red Frame is straight out of Gundam Seed and greatly benefits from the higher level of detailing in the Real Grade models. There’s a full endoskeleton that armor and other external components are attached to just as in the Master Grade models and this seems to have freed up the designers and allowed them to explore new ways of constructing the piece in order to achieve greater practical realism.
If we have an issue with Astra it’s the shield design, but that’s relatively small potatoes and there are probably plenty of Gunpla kit enthusiasts who think it the greatest thing since air conditioning. There’s also a tradeoff made with the greater detail. And that is this: the more detail you add the smaller pieces tend to get. Not that the parts are unworkable, but with a few of them you might find yourself reaching for a magnifying glass. All that said the final product is worth the trouble and we applaud Bandai models for making the effort to provide fans such an intense level of realism. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best Batman Lego sets.
The Barbatos High Grade Orphans Gundam stands noticeably apart from most of the rest of Bandai’s Gundam line in that it’s aggressively minimalist in nature. This bare-bones (literally) profile might have some Gunpla kit fans checking the box a second time to make sure they’ve actually got to Bandai Gundam model. Not to worry though. It’s real. It’s just different. One big advantage of the stripped-down design is that this is one of the most flexible Gundam models ever created with insane levels of articulation.
If you love posing your Gundam models you’re going to go love the Iron-Blooded Orphans Barbatos Gundam. Iron-Blooded Orphans are derived from one of Bandai’s newest narratives and it demonstrates the company’s willingness to think outside the box and take the product in fresh new directions. Purists may take issue with design ethos but Gundam is all about action and the Barbatos Gundam is loaded for the buck right out of the box. You get a ton of decals to break up the larger planes, Barbatos’ enormous mace, and katana and the ability to mix and match with other Barbatos suit kits. If you are looking for an interesting gift for your little ones, check out our coding toys review.
EXIA is a Master Grade Gundam model from Bandai that addresses some design weaknesses of earlier models and piles on the details without them ever seeming gratuitous. Whereas older version of EXIA displayed your typical anime all-shoulders-all-the-time proportions this Master Grade model tones down the upper body ridiculousness meant to impress the tots and strives for a more balanced profile. The results are pretty spectacular. The coloring here is also first rate with the clear green plastic at the joints, chest and temples providing subtle counterpoints to the red at the feet and the waist.
Within Gundam mythology EXIA is specialist in the fine art of the melee. As such you’d expect EXIA to be incredibly limber and he is. Articulation is outstanding from heel to head with plenty of anatomically correct mobility built in to ramp up the expressive possibilities. There’s also plenty of decals to provide visual interest including some holographic stickers replicating the GN cables throughout the figure. Expandable shield and arm-mounted GN blade complete the look. You can find more great toys in our educational toys guide.
The Barbatos Iron-Blooded Orphans Master Grade figure seems at first glance like nothing more than a scaled up version of the Barbatos High Grade figure we looked at above. But in reality it’s a whole different animal. First off this MG Barbatos has an endoskeleton to die for. Richly detailed, mechanically engaging and almost cool enough to stand on its own it’s the heart and soul of the Master Grade Barbatos. Everything from the articulation to the visual relationship between the exoskeletal components plays off this foundation and does so beautifully.
There’s a much higher degree of detail built into the Master Grade Gundam models that’s apparent if you get in close. Subtle touches like the coloring of sub-panels, the detailing on pipes and our favorite, the working pistons at the waist, all contribute to a satisfying bio-mecha-type feel that’s eerily reminiscent of some of HR Giger’s early work. Our best Gundam kit for value hunters. Don’t forget to also check out Lego Ninjago sets review for more great toy ideas.
While the Tallgeese character has always seemed curiously lacking to us from a narrative perspective if you can separate yourself from the anime and simply try and appreciate this Real Grade Tallgeese model for what it is you’ll see there’s a lot to like. Like most Gundam models this one is perfectly proportioned and well balanced meaning you can really explore the expressive potential without having to be constantly picking your model up off the table or floor. Articulation on the wings utilizes a series of ball joints and simple swivels to provide an array of complex and compelling possibilities.
Tallgeese RG comes with a full array of armaments including the iconic Dober Gun, beam saber and circle shield and shouldn’t present too much of a challenge from an assembly standpoint. And there are numerous decals that allow you to break up the white on white monotony pretty effectively. You’ll probably find the greatest challenge keeping track of some of the tiny parts. All in all though if you’re a detail hound you might think this the best Gundam model kit out there. If your lid likes gun toys then make sure you also check our selection of the top Nerf guns.
The Gundam Dynames specializes in long-range shooting, has almost limitless energy, and produces multifunctional GN particles. The Bandai Hobby MG 1/100 Gundam Dynames ”Gundam 00” is one of the most popular Gundam model kits on Amazon. Super fans have been anticipating this kit, which is finally available as an MG (master grade). The model has a new inner frame and is designed to recreate all of its famous sniper poses.