Special guest Feral404, a moderator for the r/Gunpla subreddit and Discord server, joins us again to share knowledge about different types of Gunpla releases. Learn the differences between Premium Bandai, Gundam Base Limited, and other Exclusive releases.
Hello everyone! This is Feral again.
Today I am here to expand your knowledge of Bandai’s many exclusive releases within their Gundam Model Kit (Gunpla for short) lineup.
My hope is to alleviate some of your fears when it comes to missing out on a specific Gunpla release.
To start, does Bandai stop making their Gunpla kits? The short answer is, no.
The long answer is that Bandai does not discontinue their Gunpla molds, and instead they may release the mold under a new branding.
It may come as a surprise to learn that Bandai has yet to discontinue the majority of their Gunpla products. This means that as of today (2023) you still have access to the thousands of wonderful Gunpla that Bandai has produced since the very first kit in 1980.
If you are seeking a specific retail Gunpla product then you can wait for a reprint. However, the wait times will vary because Bandai’s catalogue is large and continues to grow with each passing year.
Premium Bandai (P-Bandai) is the name of Bandai’s online web store which began operations in 2009. P-Bandai exists as an online storefront for Bandai where items are sold to the consumer without the use of any middle parties. It operates within Bandai’s largest markets, which includes a portion of Asia and the United States.
Bandai uses P-Bandai to sell both retail and exclusive Gunpla of all types to their consumers on a print-to-order basis using preorders to gather order numbers. These preorders are limited in quantity by the nature of production schedules, so they may sell out before the preorder period ends.
P-Bandai Exclusive Gunpla can only be purchased from the P-Bandai web store at MSRP. They are not available on store shelves, and they do not get allocated to any official Bandai vendors or partners. If an online or physical store is selling a P-Bandai kit then they purchased it via the P-Bandai web store.
P-Bandai Exclusives are not one-run-only Gunpla. They receive reprints much like their retail counterparts. However, the gaps between reprints for a specific P-Bandai kit may be longer than retail kits.
I have provided two photographic examples of P-Bandai Exclusive Gunpla.
MG 1/100 F90 Gundam
MG 1/100 Stark Jegan
P-Bandai Exclusives are not easy to spot at a glance as the boxes can be in full color or monochrome. This has been the case since the beginning of P-Bandai. P-Bandai Exclusives tend to be recolors of existing retail kits, or provide additional equipment to a retail kit. Some of them are brand new kits, like MG 1/100 F90 Gundam.
A common misconception here in the west is that “premium” stands for a superior product. That is not the case since we are applying our western definition to the term. Japan’s meaning of the term premium is “exclusive,” hence Premium (Exclusive) Bandai.
Gundam Bases serve as physical Bandai storefronts. They operate across the world with a focus on Japan and Asia. In recent years Bandai has started to open temporary Gundam Base pop up locations, including here in the United States.
At these Gundam Base locations you can find a large selection of retail products sold by Bandai, as well as Gundam Base Exclusives.
Gundam Base Exclusives are only sold at Gundam Base locations or events. This means that if Bandai is conducting a Gundam Base online event then you may even find these items for sale on your region’s Premium Bandai web store.
Gundam Base Exclusives tend to get reprints at a steady rate since they are designed to stay on the shelf at Gundam Base locations.
I have provided a photographic example of a Gundam Base Exclusive Gunpla.
HG 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam [Beyond Global] [The Gundam Base Color]
Gundam Base Exclusives are easy to spot due to having Gundam Base imagery on the box. In the provided example you can see the Gundam Base logo on the front near the bottom left of the box art. These exclusives tend to be recolors of existing Bandai molds of all types.
Event and Expo Limited Gunpla have the most ways to purchase them out of all Bandai Exclusives. They are sold at Bandai sponsored events/conventions, on Premium Bandai during events, and at Gundam Base locations.
These exclusives are only recolors of other Gunpla kits. Reprints for these Gunpla may end without notice since they do not contain any new molding.
I have provided a photographic example of an Event Limited Gunpla and an Expo Limited Gunpla.
HG 1/144 RX-78-3 Gundam [Beyond Global] G-3
HG 1/144 G40 Gundam Industrial Design Ver Clear Color
Event Limited Gunpla can be identified by the Limited Item logo present on the box. You can see this logo on the provided example (HG 1/144 RX-78-3 Gundam [Beyond Global] G-3) in the upper right corner of the box art.
Expo Limited Gunpla can be identified by the Gunpla Expo logo present on the box. You can see this logo on the provided example (HG 1/144 G40 Gundam Industrial Design Ver Clear Color) in the upper left corner of the box art.
Collaborations, Region Limited, etc
The most difficult to acquire Gunpla are the ones exclusive to a specific region. Collaborations are the most common type of exclusive to have such a narrow window of access. Bandai also produces region limited Gunpla that are not a part of any collaboration.
The method in which you can acquire these Gunpla will vary depending upon the collaboration type. Sometimes Bandai is able to sell the kit on their P-Bandai web store, and other times the collaborating brand may offer the kit via redemptions or their own web store.
These Gunpla are recolors of existing products. They only receive one print run, and total units printed will vary.
I have provided two photographic examples of Gunpla kits with a collaborating partner.
EG 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam [Big Mac Color]
HG 1/144 RX-78-2 :Chocoolate Ver.
Collaboration kits can be easy to spot since the partnering brand will have their name and logo present.
The Big Mac Color kit was a collaboration between Bandai and McDonald’s of China. It was exclusive to China.
The :Chocoolate kit was a collaboration between Bandai and :Chocoolate, a Hong Kong based fashion brand. It was exclusive to Hong Kong.
I hope that this guide helped answer some questions that you may have had about exclusive Gunpla products. In addition, maybe it alleviated some fears that you had around retail and P-Bandai kits and their reprint cycles.