In our last post we looked at buying Gunpla from Japan and touched on why Gunpla can be considered to be an expensive hobby in the UK.
One reason the availability and price of Gunpla in the UK can seem steep is that Gunpla is still a niche hobby here. It’s hard to imagine that it would ever become ‘the next big thing’ but most people have never heard of Mobile Suit Gundam or ever considered building a Gunpla kit.
The challenge to the hobby is educating people about it. When you mention scale model kits, most people’s minds go to AirFix and other military style model kits where glue, paint and perhaps an interest in history are usually requirements.
From our own modest research, the general demographic of Gunpla fans currently in the UK are males in their late 20s to early 40s with the range of 32-44 seemingly making up the majority. Why that is could be anyone’s guess but it’s clear people are missing out on Gunpla, particularly women and younger folks.
Despite Gunpla celebrating a 40 year anniversary, it isn’t a household brand on our grey island but that could change. Legendary Pictures currently has a live-action Gundam movie in the works and Gundam Build Divers caters for a younger, more casual audience who aren’t familiar with the UC timeline which started in the 1970s.
The Anime is free to stream on YouTube via the Gundam.Info channel so if you do have young ones in your life who might enjoy a new Anime series, get them to check it out!
In the near future we are hoping to start a campaign called #GrowingGunpla (name subject to change) where we try to engage young people in the hobby and ask them to review kits. The new Entry Grade models coming this year might be a good fit for this. If you have children who want to start building Gunpla, please reach out to us and we may feature your stories as part of the campaign (we’ll provide the kit!). Similarly, teachers might also take an interest by offering Gunpla as an after school activity.
We’ve done a run through of buying a kit from Japan so we had to run through the same example from our own store. We’ll use the MG Kyrios as we did in the previous post:
We stock the Master Grade Kyrios for £51.99.
Shipping is FREE. If we have a product in stock, it will arrive within 2-3 days on average. In our previous example we saw wait times of 2-6 weeks from Japan.
No import fees or courier charges to worry about either as the kit is shipped within the UK and VAT is included in the stated price. Nice!
This is an obvious and crude example but we can go further…
If you head over to the offers page you will notice that we have a Gunpla Points system in place and a 5% discount on first orders:
If you signed up and became a member before checking out, you would have also earned 75 Gunpla Points to take a further 75p off the price.
After all that, you’ve earned 52 Points to use against your next order too!
UPDATE 2021: The 5% offer is no longer active but you now earn 150 Gunpla Points for registering.
Since you’ve become a member, you may as well have subscribed to the mailing list too right? If so, you get to know about even more deals and take part in giveaways which non-members would otherwise miss out on. So what are you waiting for?
Growing Gunpla in the UK
A less obvious benefit of buying Gunpla and indeed any niche product in the UK is it demonstrates consumer demand in the market which leads to more availability and more competitive pricing.
We can see this in action when we consider the Vegan and ‘Free-From’ food industry. Just a few years ago, Vegan foods were hard to come-by. Now we are seeing an explosion of products and menu choices aimed at that market as Veganism has gained popularity over the years.
While Gunpla will likely remain a niche hobby, there is clearly room for it to grow as we introduce more people to the joy of building and as existing fans discover buying Gunpla in the UK doesn’t have to inflict massive damage to their wallets.
As a retailer, we hope to help with our Growing Gunpla campaign later this year. As fans, we see the future benefits of buying domestically.
Let’s grow Gunpla together!