The Gunpla Phenomenon in the United Kingdom: A Model Hobby Invasion


The United Kingdom might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Gundam plastic model kits, aka Gunpla, but the truth is, this incredible hobby has taken the British Isles by storm. From humble beginnings to a thriving community of builders and collectors, Gunpla in the United Kingdom is a fascinating journey of passion, creativity, and camaraderie. In this article, we'll delve into the origins of Gunpla in the UK, the growing fanbase, and the unique aspects of British Gunpla culture. So, buckle up, and let's dive into the world of mecha model mania!

The Gundam Invasion: Gunpla Lands in the UK

A Japanese Hobby Crosses the Pond

Gunpla's journey to the United Kingdom began in the 1980s, following the immense popularity of the Gundam anime series in Japan. Initially, the hobby's presence in the UK was limited, with only a handful of enthusiasts and hobby stores importing the kits. However, as the years went by, British fans couldn't help but catch the Gunpla bug. Thanks to the internet and the ease of global communication, the British Gunpla community began to flourish, and today, it's stronger than ever.

Building a British Gunpla Community

The British Touch: Local Builders and Enthusiasts

In the UK, Gunpla builders and enthusiasts have come together to create a vibrant and welcoming community. The British touch is evident in the unique customizations and paint jobs that often incorporate British motifs, such as the Union Jack or famous British pop culture icons. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, play a significant role in connecting British Gunpla fans, offering a space to share their creations, exchange tips, and support one another.

Mecha Meet-ups: Events and Conventions

The United Kingdom has seen an uptick in Gunpla-related events and conventions, with enthusiasts gathering to showcase their latest builds, participate in workshops, and even compete in contests. Events like the London MCM Comic Con and UK Gundam Builders Championship have become must-attend affairs for British Gunpla fans, providing opportunities to network, learn new techniques, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow builders.

Gunpla Resources and Availability in the UK

The Hunt for Gunpla: Online Shopping

Though Gunpla may have been challenging to find in the UK in the past, today, a plethora of options are available for builders to acquire their kits. Bandai authorised online retailers like Kidultverse now stock a wide range of Gunpla kits, while their sourcing team are specialised to sourcing the most rare and difficult to find model kits such as P-Bandai, The Gundam Base and Gundam Factory Yokohama cater specifically to the needs of British Gunpla builders. Additionally, global e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay offer British fans the chance to purchase kits directly from Japan.

British YouTube Builders: Learning from the Best

The United Kingdom has its fair share of talented Gunpla YouTubers who share their knowledge, techniques, and passion for the hobby with fellow enthusiasts. Channels like TheRealSteveAben, Jabman025, and MechaUde offer tutorials, reviews, and custom builds, providing invaluable resources for the British Gunpla community.