The History of Gunplay part 3: the Late 90s

By Loran

With Gundam’s popularity waning after Gundam Wing’s success, the model kit lines died down, and Bandai began to focus more on their “nostalgic” lines like HGUC and MG. As such, there weren’t as many individual model lines in the late 90’s.

Gundam X: 1996-1997

Largely the same as Gundam Wing, in terms on construction. The 1/144 scale models included every Gundam in the series save for the Ashtaron Hermit Crab, and the 1/100 scale kits had every hero Gundam plus the Gundam Virsago. Aside from three of the four “evil” Gundams, no enemy mecha were released in this line. Of note is the 1/100 scale G-Falcon Unit Double X, a repackaged Gundam Double X kit with the G-Falcon fighter-very impressive kit.

Limited Model: 1996-1998(?)

A line developed my Bandai to include kits from many of its series (Evangelion, Escaflowne, etc), this line naturally featured a few Gundam mecha. However, these kits were limited in almost every sense of the word-limited colors, limited poseability, limited edition. The line included suits the Ball K-Type from 08th MS Team, the Leo and Taurus (which can’t even transform) from Gundam Wing, and the Daughtress, Jenice, and G-Falcon from Gundam X, all at 1/144 scale. They’re all primitive, unremarkable models, with the only decent one being the G-Falcon, which of course, can combine with the 1/144 Double X. These kits fetch absurd prices on the aftermarket, and I certainly hope we’ll see these designs in the current High Grade line…

Gundam Wing Dual Story: G-Unit: 1996

One of the very few model kit lines being based on a manga, G-Unit featured only five models, all at 1/144 scale. They have the “HG” label on the box, but aren’t that much better than the Wing line aside from clear beam sabers and better transforming gimmicks. Not much to say about them, but if you want yourself the Hydra Gundam we all came to love from Gundam Battle Assault, this is where you have to look.

Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz: 1997-1998

The Gundam Wing OVA spawned its own line of model kits that took a strange departure from the established norm: releasing the 1/100 scale kits before the 1/144 scale ones. Thankfully, both scales got the same kit lineup of the five Gundams, the Serpent, and the Tallgeese III. All 1/100 scale kits came with 1/20 scale character figures, and the Tallgeese III is extremely notable because it includes parts to make the first two Tallgeeses. The 1/144 scale kits all included “fighting action” pieces-alternate parts like repositioned torsos that allowed you to put the kits in specific poses from the anime. Conversely, the Tallgeese II kit is the one you want to avoid in this scale, because it’s just a modified Tallgeese from the Wing line, molded ENTIRELY in white. It doesn’t hold up well to the kits made for this line.

Turn A Gundam: 1999-2000

The oddly-lovable designs from the far-future got a small line of kits, with much nicer details than the kits from previous years. Six models were released at 1/144 scale, and two at 1/100 scale. The 1/144 scale kits are all fairly decent, with the Turn X being very nice, although requiring a lot of paint. The lovable Kapool that first appeared in Double Zeta made its model kit debut here, and displays well amongst its UC brethren. The 1/100 scale Turn A is rather unremarkable, now dethroned by its superior MG counterpart, but the gold-chrome SUMO is VERY nice, and one any fan of the design or series should own.

High Grade Universal Century: 1999-present

Refer back to the “guide to scales and grades” for information on this line.

G-Savior: 1999

Yes, the infamous live-action movie spawned a single 1/144 scale model kit of the titular mech. And you know, it’s a pretty impressive kit, featuring engineering better than that of the early HGUC kits. The skeletal frame is partially recreated and looks very nice, and it even comes with a clear plastic beam shield. However, if you want it to look more like the rendering, you’d have to paint it a more silver color. Overall, if you like the design or are one of the two people that enjoyed the movie, definitely pick this up.

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