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Gunpla: More Than Just A Hobby


Deathscythe Hell Custom from the Gundam Wing Series


Here is a tribute to a fun hobby which is a big hit across Asia. It involves meticulous model building of a mechanical robot kit. A young nurse and model-building enthusiast shares his experience in this meticulous hobby of building a Gunpla. What is Gunpla?


Mobile Suit Gundam is a science fiction anime series that was first aired in Japan, year 1987. The story moved around a battle between the earth federation and human space colonies using giant robots. It’s the very 1st Gundam Series that revolutionized our idea of space wars along with its amazing storyline.


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Gunpla is a shorter term for “Gundam Plastic Model” which pertains to model kits designed from the famous mecha (mechanical machine) units and vehicles of the anime (or Japanese cartoons). I was not yet born when the 1st Gundam TV series came in the Philippines but I can still remember the 1st Gunpla I assembled when I was a kid. It was a HG 1/100 scale Deathscythe Hell Custom from the Gundam Wing Series.


Gundam Plastic Model Kits were the top of its kind in Japan’s market, thus making it an instant favourite among model enthusiasts. One will have to spend time and skills to assemble, paint and customize a kit; definitely it’s far from doing Lego. I’ve watched a lot of Gundam series during the past years and it has been more than a decade since I last built a Gunpla. However, the old flame inside me soared like a phoenix when I saw an advertisement from Toy Kingdom last year about a Gundam Model Kit Contest.


In a flash, I got inspired to join the event. I was eager to share my skills, but little did I know, I’m still way too far from the expert and experienced model builder. I started searching for techniques and styles; tools and equipment to use in designing the Gunpla that I plan to use as a contest entry. I even used references in making tanks and airplane models since it’s somehow related to the art of plastic modeling.


During my search, I came across an article about the Gundam Builders World Cup (GBWC) and it was amazing! I never knew that the old hobby I enjoyed became a world-wide tournament.



Gundam Builders World Cup (GBWC) 2014 Promotional poster. The Philippie qualifier was held last October 2014 at Robinson’s Magnolia.


Since 2004, top modelers representing their own countries go to Japan to compete.  Unfortunately, the contest I was able to join at was a non-bearing Gunpla competition. Nevertheless, wonderful prizes have been allotted for the winners of the event.


Choosing the most appropriate model kit was one of my dilemmas at that time because Gunpla has a lot of types (e.g.) Mega-size, No Grade, High Grade, Real Grade, Master Grade, Perfect Grade and Reborn model kits. Each type has a different set of pros and cons when it comes to movability, stability and articulation. It also has different scales wherein High and Real Grade models are on a scale of 1/144 or 1/100, Reborn and Master Grade is at 1/100 while Perfect Grade is at scale 1/60. Scale refers to the size of the kit when assembled.


As part of the mechanics, model kit entries should only be bought from Toy Kingdom branches nationwide. I decided to go with a Master Grade Sengoku Astray Gundam from the Gundam Build Fighters Series and I can say that you can never go wrong with an Astray Gundam due to its awesome samurai style.




It took me more than a month to finish building and painting my model kit. I painted it gold, silver, black and red. I also applied a top coat to finish the whole kit and ensured that the acrylic paint will not be worn off. It turned out pretty awesome!


The event lasted for a week and was held at SM North EDSA. Lots of limited edition kits were sold during the final day of the event and winners of the competition received model kits while the champion won a trip to Singapore for a Gunpla Expo.


Gunpla is more than just a toy or a hobby. It highlights the skill, passion and imagination of the builder to even greater heights.


You have to consider the time, effort and required skill of the modeler before you call it as “just a toy” or “just a hobby”.




By the time the event was done, I was astonished to see that my entry was included on the list of featured model kits at a site called “Gundam Guy”, a famous online Gunpla blog at I didn’t get any awards or commendations during the event but being recognised worldwide was truly amazing.



My MG Sengoku Astray Gundam, custom painted, Gunpla Entry #68 under the New Challenger-Open Category


This year, another competition will be held in May and by this time, SM Megamall will be its venue. Definitely, I am going to join again, and hopefully, I’ll be bringing home the bacon.




For more information, please visit

Gundam Philippines for posters and details.



Author: Arthur Malicse 


Photo source:

Top photo –

The Gundam Guy –

Other photos/reference:







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