Upcoming kits and a HG/MG/PG rant

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. 

First up the Titanium version of the Sinanju.

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.  

Next up the Unicorn OVA SP Pack.

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?  

Lastly, the MG Trans-am Exia. 

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.

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27 thoughts on “Upcoming kits and a HG/MG/PG rant

  1. Hmm as much as I like the MG line, I am drifting more and more into the HGs and hell even SD lines even more. I feel like I am getting more value for money by buying HGs. The HGUC unicorn pretty much owns the MG version in my books. Less problems as it doesn’t have that transformation feature plus, the details are equally good.

    And a recolor trans am exia, metalic sinanju…lol…forget it. I won’t be milked by bandai on this one 😀 There is nothing a good spray can can’t do ^^

  2. Just after I posted this I noted that Ngee had the details regarding the SP Pack. Looking at these makes me want to call this Unicorn Version 2.0, not an SP Pack.

    New color for the body
    * New design elements incorporated, including the Vulcans on the head.
    * Improved joints for the waist and leg – waist can rotate for 360 degrees, leg’s movable range upgraded by 150 percent.
    * New customized cage included. Extra parts can be stored in the cage. The beam saber can be stored at the back of the base. Can combine with Action Display Base 1, all arms are movable.
    (Something like the factory container as seen in PG GP01/Fb I think)
    * 3 figures in 1/100 scale included: Banagher Links, Audrey Burns, and Marida Cruz
    * 3 types of antenna included: transformable, opened and closed types
    * Weapons: Beam Magnum, Hyper Bazooka, shield, beam saber
    (didn’t say anything about the double beam Gatling)
    * 25 runners in total. Foil sticker, clear sticker and dry transfer decal included.

  3. Wow thats a lot of changes. Hmm if the base is good then this price might be worth it. Thought they would include the double beam gatling gun 😀 Looks like I’ll have to wait for the pictures to be sure!

  4. Wow, when I first read about MG Exia Trans-Am mode from Ngee Khiong, I wanted to kick something really hard. Did the Trans-Am kits really do so well that they needed to re-release Exia in Trans-Am colours?

    I’m not too surprised about Titanium Sinaju, but like you I’m curious to know what MG Unicorn SP Pack has. I’m calling beam gatlings!

    I wonder if rising raw material prices may have contributed to the higher prices. People compared Astray to Strike, 00R to Strike Rouge, but Bandai can’t keep absorbing costs forever. It’s either lower quality of products, pass costs down to customers, or both.

    As for PG 00R, I’ve always believed that part of the reason why it’s so expensive is because of the new technology like the GN Drives and the joint-locks. PG Zeta was 20,000 yen, a full 8000 yen higher than PG RX-78-2 or Zaku, and it came with more gimmicks like a beam saber that lights up and the Wave Rider transformation. I’m sure PG Zeta was considered overpriced in its time, and it probably still is now. I guess what I want to say is that the gunpla technology doesn’t come free. For every one gimmick in each kit, there are probably 5 other ideas that didn’t make it in, and a whole lot of research and development going on. All those R&D can’t have been cheap.

    But I feel you. I wish the PG had more details that made the PG line. They didn’t even bother to colour the clear parts for the GN Sword II! I haven’t touched my PG 00R yet, and every time I look up at it, I wonder if I had been too hasty in getting this kit. :/ Apologies for the tl;dr! I got a little carried away.

  5. Like CB, I’ve been driftitng in to the HG line more and more as time goes on. It’s affordable, I only need one can of paint and the only difference lately between HG and MG is the scale. I feel like my HG 00 is just as good as the PG, just a little bit smaller, plus it didn’t rip my wallet in two and stand screaming over it’s corpse.

    The new Unicorn MG will definitely be a must buy since it’ll have friggin’ LEG articulation (What, you guys JUST NOW noticed that? Just in time to make us pay 80 bucks for it too!), and the MG GN-X is looking like fun times as well….and MG Red Frame Kai. Luckily, the GN-X is pretty fairly priced at 3800-something from what I recall, and the Red Frame being averageish MG price…If nothing else, the Unicorn is a must buy for me since it’s become my favorite UC-era Gundam unit. Plus Sinanju needs a nice new playmate since my old Unicorn is a bit beat. 😉

    EXFs = not happening. I’m sure most of us out there are done with Sinanju either straight building or painting the everloving hell out of and don’t get me wrong, I love that kit…but I’m not paying 130+USD for a metallic red version that will have ugly snip marks all over it. No sir. Exia…you already tried that with the 1/100, Bandai.

  6. @Chubby: I will admit, the new Unicorn Version 2.0 does indeed look to be tasty, after seeing the changelog… Will wait for more pictures though before considering. And if there’s no first run stuff, then there isn’t any rush to get it when it comes out either.

    @evangelisque: Rising costs are always a concern, but I think if that was so, we’d see a general increase across all lines, if plastic prices increased, and so on. Now on the PG 00R, there are springs and screws, and all that, but the Zeta came with much more “little parts” and cost less. The GN Drive Assembly though, is where I see them charging money. In the manual, to get a replacement costs 1,800 yen per drive. I wonder if they went the pre-built route as it would have been to troublesome to have people make themselves?

    After actually having built the Zeta, W-Zero, Zaku-II, Strike, and Astray PG’s, the 00R feels overpriced, that’s pretty much it.

    Also, R&D costs have got to be spread out, since they apply so many techniques to new kits, that it would be hard to pin the cost to one kit.

    @Lupes: Yeah, EXFs are passible on an HG level, but MG is just going to be atrocious, spots of discoloration from the snip marks, and so on.

    As for the Red Frame Kai, it makes me feel a little betrayed. It’s like, hey you got the PG, but we’ll up the MG with the same goods, plus alpha. No double dipping for me there, sigh. But that’s what you get for being an early adopter, eh?

  7. No kidding man, I’ll take solace in the fact I have some BITCHIN’ CLEAR PARTS for my PG. I’m not sure if I’ll get the MG even though the tactical crossbow is awesome as hell, but I’m going to go ahead and assume we’ll be seeing a lot of Astray MGs with the advent of the Blue Frame.

  8. Yeah, your explanation makes a lot more sense. After reading, I went to check to see if there were any difference in prices of the HG line; nothing significant. Same for the MG line – the prices of the clear kit campaign kits don’t differ from the original kits by much.

    As for the pre-assembly of the GN Drives, I remember reading on a forum that suggested that Bandai probably did it to eliminate the risk of non-working GN Drives if people assembled it themselves. I’ve never built a PG WCZ myself but people have complained about wiring problems and how some even gave up entirely on the wiring. Maybe Bandai learned from that particular experience.

  9. Things sure have changed.

    The MG line was originally intended to be a line for contemporary/modern versions of designs from years past. Designs like the original Gundam had no good kit that was up to par with the fairly accurate stuff released in the 90s. So when the MG line was first announced in 1995 it was hyped tremendously as being the premier line for the older Gundam shows. At the time obviously, this was all Universal Century stuff.

    HGUC models were released as inexpensive small scale models that were of high quality that may or may not incorporate technology from the Master Grade line. They were intended to be “MG” kits that were more affordable and more suitable for small living spaces.

    The PG line was about excess and was intended to be a power toy for the serious Gundam fan and was targeted at only those with money and the desire to build the mechanisms that a “real” Gundam would possibly have.

  10. @evangelisque: That makes sense on the drives, because I never had much luck getting my wiring to work for both zeta and the w-zero. It would work, but once closed up and built, pfft.

    @Derringer: Indeed they have. Although, when you’ve got over 100 HGUC kits alone, in addition to probably over 100 HG00, HGSeed, and other HG series, plus around 120 MG kits, with only 8 or so PGs, you really set the definitions there now. It’s just suprising that you don’t see more blurring of techniques and the line so to say between HG and MG that you’re now seeing between MG and PG. With the advent of the MG Exia with lighting and want not, we’re seeing less difference aside from number of small pieces and scale size.

  11. 126,000.00 JPY = 1,890.98 SGD !!!! Singaporean dollar is closely similar to Bruneian dollar!! damn you’re right, I can spray the whole thing with metallic paint and call it titanium myself! LOL

  12. This has pretty much decided it for me, I’m never buying a MG aside from a well-executed new model or Ver. 2.0. After my experience with the PG 00, I’ll probably never buy a PG either. I’ve fallen in love with the HG models, especially the recent ones. I just finished my HGUC Jegan, and I’m more satisfied with it than I was with MG Exia or Zeta 2.0.
    I like the price difference the most, though; my usual order from HLJ was 2, maybe 3 MGs, now it’s up to 10 HGs. XD

  13. Oh, but I guess it’s alright, since most of the overpriced MGs are the kind of shit you could replicate with metallic paints or glossy topcoat. Heck, looking at all the overpriced MGs, they’re all gloss/extra finish/bonus parts. Of course, there are still a few like the Sinanju, Infinite Justice, Unicorn, and Astray are a little expensive to me. I guess it’s still pretty subjective.

  14. Just like CB, I’ve also been getting more HGs than MGs. Is definitely more affortable. And with extra work, a HG kit can be made to look like or even better than their MG counterpart.

    Also Since there is less part in a HG kit, that means it will take less resources to finish one (time, space, paint, putty…etc.). Real estate in my house is limited, I am always fighting for space with my other half’s Pooh bear collection. One bear is a bit bigger than the size of a MG, she has 16 so far. LOL

  15. omg 16! wow. yeah i find myself going for hg’s a lot more too for all the reasons you guys mentioned. its high reward with low risk. im quite conservative when it comes to mg’s. even more so with pg’s. i dont like the red frame pg but i bought it on principle so i dont regret it. anyways the only new kit coming out that im going to get is mg red frame (also on principle). we just have to show bandai what we like and approve of by not buying some of the more ridiculous things they put out. surely the extra finish/trans am versions of those things cant be THAT popular. i was really suprised about transam mg exia to be honest. but its all good. really… its bandais money to waste. not ours. we can just buy the reasonable stuff. actually caution might be the better part of valour here. we shouldnt get things right away if you think about it. read a couple reviews first see if its worthwhile and then make your decision. i took one look at pg 00 in person and realized that i didnt want it especially for that price. overall id have to say that because of my buying habits im pretty happy with every gundam model i have. i mean… hg gm command for 500 yen?! come on! theres enough good to balance out the bad imo.

  16. ASM – love the rant btw. it seems that tech in all 3 scales are being increased along with the prices. i dont think thats so bad to be honest because you get more bang for your buck at the lower end. its about time for hg’s to start getting some props!

  17. this thread is getting to be a very interesting read 😀 Seems like most of us are leaning towards getting more HGs than MGs!

    @ GG lol 16 Pooh bears man…I feel your pain. I have like 4 of them in my room and I am very very short of space with those 4 pg scale teddy bears…

    • yeah I agree with you I post 3 times something to avoid being milked what next MG V2 gundam all v gundam owner will scratch their head or what MG sinanju Ova ver ….,Hg 00 gundam ultimate pack that will include GN sword III,o raiser.7 swords system,and 00 itself xd what about zee zulu will they released that or even more astray stuff I build gundam since 11 years ago(when I was 7) and now I so turned off with this milking idea do you remember susanowo,masauro GNHWS ,trans-am variant,and now bandai not wait after rezel released bandai released rezel commander unit bang @_@ a lot of milking

      this year I will let magical girl character(or shrine maiden) turn my money with happiness (figures) with their magic wand not mecha that will appear the variant that make me regret get the first released and blast my money with their new weapon

      • Eh, to me, some releases aren’t quite milking, at least not to me. HG 00 Gundam, then designer’s color 00 Raiser, then Trans-Am, then 00 Raiser w/ GN Sword III; that’s pretty much milking it, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want the HG 00 7 Swords.
        Releasing somethig like ReZEL Commander type after ReZEL or having the Masurao and Susanowo isn’t quite milking because, even though they are barely different, they still are. This is really up to the individual to decide.
        A MG V2 Gundam or Zee Zulu are a little further removed from the idea, since they’re pretty different from the Victory and Geara Zulu, even though they’d share a runner or two. They’re legitimately different mobile suits.
        I apologize for adding to this already huge comment section. XD Looks like everyone is a true Gundam fan; we’re only talkative when we’re complaining! XD

  18. All, some great comments here, and some great discussion. I think it’s obvious all agree that the price for a lot of kits are increasing here without noticeable increases in quality to justify the cost. On the other hand, we’ve seen some great improvement in the HGUC line, and I find that fairly obvious when building say a newer kit compared to an older one such as a Zaku II. Especially now that the HGUC line is moving forward with Unicorn kits, this will be an exciting year. One thing I think they should have done with the ReZel though is given you the option to choose between building the regular and commander type rather than making two separate kits. But, alas, we all again agree that Bandai are money whores. But Val makes a valid point in that they are indeed different, just like most of the MG Zaku II kits are different variants (and thankfully different colors) and not simple palette swaps like the trans am and designer versions of many OO kits….

    It in fact just occurred to me that we may see a PG 00 Raiser Trans-am color in the future. I can see it happening in an expo environment as a limited kit actually…

    Still great discussion all, and I’m glad to see my rant got some good talk going!

  19. The new Unicorn looks awesome! I have already preordered mine. You can get 15% off if you preorder from HLJ quickly but I think this will be limited because it’s related to the movie so preorder option may end soon. I will be building it at my desk during my lunch breaks.

  20. similarly for me, I’ve have become a HG convert just like the rest of you after my recent experience with the HG 0 Gundam Type A.C.D.

    The more recent to-date HG line has been a revelation for me and they are definitely more value for money as compared to the MG line. In terms of articulation/quality, I feel the line between HG & MG is starting to blur. In the past, MG would meant paying more for the articulation & details but no so in the current situation. I feel the MG Unicorn vs HGUC Unicorn is a good example. I have 2 MG Unicorns and I’m definitely not too happy after seeing what the HG version can do to be frank. If time could rewind, I would ditch the MG Unicorn for HG Unicorns.

    As for recolor/trans-am colors release, I think those are nonsense and I honestly don’t really see the point in them.

    The lesson I’ve learnt over the couple of years would probably be to adopt a wair-and-see attitude for new MG releases and not jump into buying them despite the discounts that they are offering for pre-orders.

  21. I’ve been mostly been buying HGs ever since I started. I do also buy NGs and MGs as well, but only the few really nice ones.

    The weird thing about the MG Trans-AM Exia is how can the price be upped like that? Look at the HG Trans-AM Exia – its the same price as the normal colored one! And, look at the NG Trans-AM Exia – its more than double the normal NG Exia (5000 Yen VS 2300 Yen). o.O Does the bigger scale makes the colors harder to do or something? I think not. Lame, Bandai, lame.

    As you have stated, prices are going up. Lets just hope that the HGs won’t have MG price of yesterday and MGs have the price of PGs yesterday… etc. @_@

  22. Pingback: The State of the Gunpla Union – 093010 « An American Salaryman in Osaka

  23. Pingback: The State of the Gunpla Union: 2010 in review « An American Salaryman in Osaka

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