Which “Gundam” toy is best?
In 1979, Japanese viewers first laid their eyes on a Gundam. In the “Mobile Suit Gundam” anime TV series, large robots, also known as mecha, would be manned by brave soldiers tasked with protecting the planet in a universal war. The show became a massive hit in Japan, and years later, “Gundam” would become an important part of the country’s pop culture. Nowadays, Gundam appears in numerous TV shows, films, manga, video games and an entire industry of “Gundam” toys.
These toys represent the planet-saving Gundam mech suits and include wings, weapons and soldiers that pilot them. The best choice is the Bandai Gundam Infinity. This unique retro-style mech suit displays the original style of the “Gundam” robots and comes with a red sword and red shield.
What to know before you buy a “Gundam” toy
“Mobile Suit Gundam”
This is the anime that started it all. Created by writer and director Yoshiyuki Tomino, “Mobile Suit Gundam” followed the fictional story of a yearlong war between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation. As all hope was thought to be lost, Federation mechanic Armuro Ray stumbled across the RX-78 Gundam. He piloted the mech and held off Zeon troops forcing them to retreat. From there, the battle continued as Ray and his new Gundam counterpart attempted to save the planet.
RX-78 was the first-ever Gundam and would pave the way for all other mecha in the future. It had elaborate battle-ready armor that jutted out from its shoulders and chest. Its all-white base suit gave it the nickname of “White Devil” from its enemies. The production studio insisted that it include some color, so writer Yoshiyuki Tomoni added blue and red accents. The RX-78 would eventually inspire dozens of designers to recreate the iconic “Gundam” style and make their own television shows, films and manga comics.
“Gundam” models vs. “Gundam” toys
When it comes to “Gundam” figures, there are two basic types. Hobbyists and collectors generally purchase “Gundam” models as they admire the mecha design and use them for displays. These more serious figures come in various scales to match the massive size of the fictional Gundams. The biggest difference is that models come in pieces and require delicate and precise assembly. The toy figures, on the other hand, are similarly designed but do not require assembly. They come pre-built and ready to be played with by kids of all ages.
What to look for in a quality “Gundam” toy
Gundams can’t operate on their own. They’re mech suits that soldiers would control from the inside. Because the soldiers themselves were an integral part of the “Gundam” lore, many toys come with them included in their set. These Gundams are unique because they often have portions of the head that lift and let you place your soldier inside. Many sets color-coordinate the soldiers with the mecha, so you know which characters go with which Gundam.
Weapons and accessories
Every Gundam has its own set of weapons and abilities they use to fend off its enemies. The original RX-78 used a Saber, Vulcan Gun and Beam Rifle. It also had artificial intelligence capabilities that helped it learn from each battle. Most high-quality RX-78 Gundam toys come with these weapon accessories to add value and realism to the product. Many Gundams can also fly, which means their toys will have a set of detachable wings or rocket-boosted back pieces. Almost all well-made toys will have some sort of gun derived from the “Gundam” series from which they were created. Shields are another common accessory, especially for the RX-78 Gundam.
“Gundam” toy size
Unfortunately, toy Gundam’s can’t match the size and scale of the mecha from the show, mainly because the ones in the anime were nearly 60 feet tall. Toy Gundams usually come in around 5 inches tall. This is plenty of height to get a feel for the stature of the fictionalized Gundam mecha while not having to lug around a larger toy. Some toys can reach up to 8 inches, while miniature Gundams are around 2 inches.
How much you can expect to spend on a “Gundam” toy
You can expect to pay $13-$41 for most “Gundam” toys. However, collectible editions that are extremely rare can reach as high as $8,000.
“Gundam” toy FAQ
Do “Gundam” toys have to be assembled?
A. No, “Gundam” toy figures do not have to be assembled. To make sure you’re not purchasing a model that requires assembly, make sure the listing doesn’t mention the words “hobby” or “model.”
Are “Gundam” models collectible?
A. Unlike “Gundam” toys, their model counterparts are collectible. There are hundreds of different models to build and collect, some of which are very rare. The RX-78 comes in an incredibly rare gold model that can be worth up to $8,000.
What’s the best “Gundam” toy to buy?
Top “Gundam” toy
What you need to know: This classic Gundam suit reflects the original RX-78-2 robot from the “Mobile Suit Gundam” TV show from 1979.
What you’ll love: This design from the first-ever “Gundam” anime show in Japan includes an off-white shell with bright red and blue accents. The figure has a red sword and red shield matching the original suit’s colorway.
What you should consider: This Gundam does not include the sharp-edged suits of modern-day anime.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top “Gundam” toy for the money
Bandai Candy Division Mobile Suit Gundam Micro Wars
What you need to know: This is one of the best “Gundam” sets due to its low cost and numerous figures and accessories.
What you’ll love: Ten pieces in total come with this set, with each Gundam being a different style and color. The figures stand a few inches tall, making them much smaller than traditional Gundams. There are also small soldiers to put inside the mech suits.
What you should consider: This set contains small pieces, which makes it unsuitable for toddlers or young children.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Tamashii Nations Strike Mobile Suit Gundam
What you need to know: This modern-day Strike mech from the “Mobile Suit Gundam” series is designed to look tactical and intimidating.
What you’ll love: Standing 6 inches tall, the Strike Gundam comes with a large black assault rifle and two handheld knives. The suit is silver and gray with the classic red shield.
What you should consider: This is a pre-assembled toy, not a hobbyist model.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.