A bit of a rant about the current pricing of the gunpla lines. But first up, courtesy of fellow Gunplar Gundam Guy we get some pictures of upcoming releases, including one I mentioned a passing interest on yesterday.
And the lovely price tag of 12,600 yen. Seriously, What the F? You could buy a PG with that kind of money easy, and the color, it looks like all they did was spray Tamiya Metallic Red on it! I wouldn’t buy this even if I found it for half off, because you could take the current Sinanju and paint it for less than that.
Hmm, unfortunately from the picture we can’t really tell what makes it so special. I would imagine they’d have to include something to sweeten the pot since they’re increasing the price from 5,000 yen to 7,875 yen. I wonder if it will include the Gatlings as well which was only available in the first edition of volume 4 of the Gundam Unicorn novelization?
Price: 6,090 yen. This right here is flat out highway robbery. It’s a PALLETE SWAP! There is nothing different than the regular edition of the MG Exia save the color by the looks of it. If they don’t even give you the parts to make the GN drive light up then you’re getting screwed over. You can get the standard Exia for 3,800 yen, or cheaper in Japan, around 2,660 in general at 30% off stores. Yet they want to charge 6,090 (Or 4,263ish in stores most likely) for what looks to be seriously a color swap. That’s a price difference of roughly 1,600 yen to 2,300 yen depending on if you buy at 30% off or retail. That’s a $18 to $25 dollar difference to importers. Definite pass here.
You know what this comes down? Inflating costs while not inflating the quality or quantity. Well, I take that back, slightly. I will agree the quality of an MG kit produced in the last couple of years totally outshines most kits made 5 – 10 years ago, but I don’t feel it’s worth the very odd range of price with MG’s. You have new kits like the GN-X at 3,600 yen, the Victory Gundam at 3,800 yen, and older kits even at 2,000 yen or less, but then you turn around and have kits like these at abnormal prices. The MG as a line should hold the same standard of quality along all kits, and while techniques and quality of course improves over the years, and leads to advances that give us version 2.0’s, these version 2.0’s are still being cheaper than some of the other newer version 1.0’s that we get.
I guess this comes down to me having dabbled in 3 Gunpla lines over the last year, HG, MG, and PG.
HG comes across as amazing well balance of quality and price. You can get an with a price range generally from 500 to 2000 yen, you feel like you get what you’re paying for. Even when there are a couple that are outside that range (Kshatriya, Psycho Gundam) you feel like you get what you paid for. Kshatriya was an extremely great example of this. It has size and gimmicks to justify the price.
The MG line is as I said above, we’re starting to see a poor balance of quality and price and some extreme ranges where the price isn’t justifying the quality. In fact releasing kits that cost 8,000, 10,000, 12,600 yen starts making the MG line compete directly with Bandai’s premier line, the PG line.
The PG line used to be well, a perfect, example of balance of quality and price. The RX-78-2 and Zaku II are both 12,000 yen, older kits, but still worth the money. The Strike itself is only 14,000 yen, and is an excellent kit. The W-Zero at 15,000 yen and the GP-01 and Zeta at 20,000 yen are both worth it. Yes, it does have its excess with the limited edition kits that have appeared at conventions before, but that is the nature of the limited edition beast. The 30,000 yen W-Zero Pearl Edition isn’t worth it, but well, ok, we can have one regular kit at excess. However, the quality/price balance changed with the Astray, and most definitely was screwed by the 00 Raiser. 18,000 yen for the Astray, which is somewhat of a Strike 1.5 model wise. We grumbled, but they gave us another sword and we said OK with that. It could have been done at 15,000 yen, if the Strike was 14,000 yen. But the 00 Raiser. No, not at 26,000 yen. Not at all. This is a kit that should have been 20,000 max, 15,000 for the 00 Gundam, 5,000, hell 4,000 for the O Raiser. Especially if the bonus was a stand that is given to you in other kits and clear parts that you have to purchase, and practically break off your old parts to use.
Does it sound like I regret getting the 00 Raiser? In a way yes, I can only justify it because I got it at 16,000 yen from Amazon, but even then I feel like I paid too much. But the point I get at is, perhaps Bandai is screwing themselves, and us over by messing up their own idea of that HG is cheap, MG is medium, and PG is premiere, and thusly these lines don’t trip over the other line’s boundaries. 95% of HGUC kits don’t fall into MG price range, but we’re seeing more and more MG kits creep up in price, approaching PG kit price lines. If MG prices increase, then PG prices must increase too, to keep the “boundary” clear between MG and PG. That’s a line of rationale I can see being used in the board room, and it’s something we see happening now. Think about it, 2 PG kits will now be cheaper than the new Titanium Sinanju. For an additional 1400 yen you can by a PG Strike. For 2400 yen, PG Gundam Mk-II or W-zero. It’s mind-boggling. I’m afraid if something like a PG Unicorn was announced, they’d figure a way to charge 30,000 yen for it by using an excuse that it has LEDs in multiple places…
So, that’s my take on the lines at this point. I still love the MG line, it’s a great balance of quality for size, but unfortunately quality for price is starting to become another matter. The PG line, some great kits, but the rationale behind pricing is just becoming inane. And the HGUC, while I’m sure there are some hits and misses in quality, especially with earlier kits, all the ones I’ve built have been nothing be superb for the price and size.
So all, what are your thoughts on the lines and current trends in pricing?
Man, I feel like I’m starting off 2010 with nothing but bitching and ranting. Guess I was hoping for more “things to look forward to in 2010” or something like that.