Okay, so you’ve just started gunpla and you’ve seen the prices for kits, so you start saving up for the kits you want. But then you’re browsing around facebook or the around the internet and suddenly you see kits that are a lot cheaper. You take a closer look and see different name on the box “Daban Model” or “Dragon Momoko”.
You might be wondering what’s the deal with these kits.
In short, they’re bootlegs. Or 3rd party kits based of the original Bandai kits.
Now here’s the thing, eventually you’ll find out they exist, but bringing them up in various internet media usually starts a debate that more often that not draws out a the most horrible attitudes from our fellow builders.
So to spare you guys the trouble, here’s a breakdown of how things are.
*To avoid arguments, comments to this article have been turned off.
At one time or another in the hobby, you may ask the question: Bandai or Bootleg kits?
Here’s the answer: It really is up to you.
A lot of arguments pop up about this, but it’s mostly people posturing and acting stupid. Firstly, if you make up your mind to do something no amount of arguing will change it, if you want to buy a bootleg kit, buy one, try it out. If you want to stick with Bandai kits, then that really is up to you. Secondly, if you make a choice, leave other people to their own choices. You don’t have to be some kind of plamo nazi and dictate their preference.
But for arguments’ sake, I’ll address the most common arguments for both sides:
The arguments for getting Bandai kits are quite simple:
- The plastic quality is superb
- The fittings are great and hardly cause problems
- By supporting Bandai, you support the hobby as a whole
- You have a greater variety of kits to choose from as not all kits have bootlegs
Now the arguments against Bandai kits are usually:
- They’re quite expensive – especially the exclusive kits which resellers hoard and spike prices for
- Additional parts for kits are usually sold separately, or worse, sold separately as exclusives under the Premium Bandai brand
Yes, there are other brands, but for the sake of this article I used the logos of the most common ones
The arguments for bootleg kits are:
- They are cheaper
- They include a lot of extra parts and sometimes LEDs
- Some 3rd party kits are of models Bandai has not yet released or updated designs of kits
- Some kits have parts undergated thereby making it easier to build the model without having to clean up messy nub marks
And arguments against bootlegs:
- Depending on the kit, the fitting of parts ranges from average to really bad and need a lot of adjustment to fit correctly
- Limited selection
- Plastic quality is worse making for lose parts or in some cases warped or destroyed parts
There are the pros and cons for either but nothing is stopping you from getting both.
However being a purist on either side is stupid.
There are Bandai purists thinking that any 3rd party kit is evil and poisonous to the hobby. That kind of thinking is stupid, they would stifle creativity for the sake of fanaticism. There are many talented modelers that use bootlegs, and these people would have all that talent go to waste just because the person wasn’t fortunate enough to get a Bandai kit.
On the other hand, there are Bootleg purists, they think they’re a lot better than Bandai purists because they know how it is on the “other side” they know how to make the Bootleg kits fit properly or something or other. These guys are just as bad as the other ones. These are the kinds of people that cheer everytime there’s a new bootleg and predict the downfall of Bandai. They neglect the fact that without Bandai, there would be no bootlegs at all since the original basis was from Bandai itself.
The thing to think about when it comes down to it is that, you can do whatever you want. Just don’t try to stick your own point of view down someone else’s throat. You can voice your opinion, but you have to keep in mind that someone else might have an opposing opinion and arguing about it for hours on the internet doesn’t mean squat because the other person will probably not change their mind. That’s advice that works for anything you might get into an argument about, not just gunpla.
Now keep in mind there are also some 3rd party companies making parts which are made specifically for Bandai kits. These kits include additional weapon sets or accessories which are very helpful in customizing kits.
There are also companies that release model kits that Bandai has not released such as the MC Model Nu Gundam (Ground Type):
Or the Magic Toys MG 1/100 Hazel Custom:
There are good and bad things about Bootlegs, but that same holds true for Bandai as well. Example: the Sinanju Ver Ka kits suffered from horrible waist joints and many people had their’s inadvertently snap and ruin their kit. Bandai’s answer to this was to release an alternate waist unit which was bundled with a whole other kit; the Sinanju Stein.
Now to reiterate the points:
Enjoy the hobby.
Respect the choices of others
Don’t feed the flames of hate in the community.
You don’t have to like bootlegs or Bandai kits exclusively, that’s really the only thing you have to keep in mind. The choice is your own, as your money is your own to spend. You have the freedom to choose and the freedom to build whatever you want, and however you want.
You want to use a bootleg parts on an original kit? Go ahead.
You want to get a bootleg to practice weathering and scribing effects before you do it to a Bandai kit? Go for it.
You want to work on customizing a bootleg so it looks awesome? Good luck!
That’s all there is to it.