Special guest Feral404, a moderator for the r/Gunpla subreddit and Discord server, shares his in-depth knowledge of Gunpla runner dials. Discover what all those numbers mean and how you can find out more about the manufacture dates for your kits!
Hello everyone! My name is Feral.
Today I am here to talk about Gundam model kits and how to determine when your kit was manufactured and/or reprinted.
A reprint of a Gundam Model Kit (Gunpla for short) is when Bandai takes a model kit mold and produces more prints after the initial release. Bandai reprints almost all of their Gunpla kits (even the ones from the 1980s) so it can be useful to see when your print was created.
Bandai includes runner dials on their Gunpla runners that you can use to determine when your kit was produced. These runner dials allow Bandai to keep track of print lots. This can be important when it comes to tracking and narrowing down any quality control related issues.
Each runner will have a tab of plastic hanging off of it. On one side of this tab you will find two clock-face like dials with an arrow in the center. One dial will start at 1 and go to Z, and the other dial will start at 1 and go to 0. Then there will be two digits in the lower right corner (90, 00, 10, 20, etc).
The tab will look like the image below (Image 1):
The 1-Z dial is used to indicate month. 1 is January, 2 is February, and so on. X, Y, and Z are October, November, and December, respectively.
The 1-0 dial is used to indicate the year for the decade. If the arrow points at 1 then it means the year ends in 1 (1991, 2001, 2011, 2021, etc).
The two digits in the lower right corner indicate the decade. If the two digits are 90, then it means the 1990s. If the two digits are 10, then it means the 2010s, etc.
The dials can be rotated to the appropriate month and year each time that the mold is brought back out for printing. However, the decade indicator cannot be changed.
What Bandai does to rectify this situation is to add a triangle notch to the tab each time that we enter a new decade. This lets them (and you) know to add a decade to the two digits in the bottom right corner. For example, this means that a mold created in the 2000s (00) would now have two triangle notches to indicate the current decade (2020s). A mold created in the 2010s (10) would now have one triangle notch.
Below we have the Master Grade 1/100 Sinanju Ver Ka (Image 2).
In the bottom corner of each kit you will find the original release year for that kit (Image 3).
This date is not important for determining the print date of your kit, but it is the earliest that it could have occurred.
Now we can return to our sample runner dial from earlier that was from the MG 1/100 Sinanju Ver Ka (Image 1).
The first dial is pointing at Z, which denotes December. The second dial is pointing at 8, so the year ends in an 8. The decade is 00, for 2000. This kit was printed in December 2008, which makes it an original print of the MG 1/100 Sinanju Ver Ka.
Now let us look at an example of the triangle notch being used to add a decade. Below we have the MG 1/100 Sinanju Stein Ver Ka (Image 4).
It reuses a few runners found in the MG 1/100 Sinanju Ver Ka, but came out the following decade. We will check the same runner K that is found in both kits (Image 5).
The first dial is pointing at 2, which denotes February. The second dial is pointing at 3, so the year ends in a 3. The decade is 00, for 2000. However, notice the triangle notch between the two dials. This indicates to add a decade to the displayed 00. That makes the print date February 2013.
I hope that this information was interesting and useful for you. As a final word, I will include an additional runner dial for you to test yourself on. This is the E runner from my MG 1/100 Gouf 2.0 (Image 6). Do not read below the image before testing yourself!
Print date of February 2022.
Original release date of the MG 1/100 Gouf 2.0 is May 2009.