When most people think of model robots, they generally think of Bandai and their seemingly neverending line of Gundam models. Especially here in America, we don't see much in the way of Japan's other model kits, though even a brief perusal of Hobbylink Japan
will show that Japanese model companies make models of all sorts of things, from tanks to planes to spaceships.
So its unsurprising that in the Giant Robot category, Bandai is not alone, though their "Gunpla" certainly dominates (just watch an episode of Keroro Gunso!). Bandai's Gundam lines are famous for their accessibility, with all kits being fully snap together, and looking very good with absolutely no paintwork and only the simplest decaling, using Dry Transfer Decals and stickers of various types. How good they look depends on the line, but the 1/100 Scale High Grade (though now generally known as just "1/100" models, the High Grade designation being reserved for the 1/144 lines, where there is much more variation) and their flagship line, the 1/100 Master Grade models. Master Grade Gundam models are perhaps the greatest achievement in plastic modeling, with highly detailed, fully articulated models that can be built by virtually anyone.
But what about giant robots that aren't Gundams? Well, in that case things can be a bit more hit or miss. Occasionally Bandai will release models of mechs from other series (such as Code Geass, or RahXephon), but they are very much the exception. But one company has established its own line in what could be argued is the second most popular set of mecha, the Super Robot Wars original mechs. These models are produced by Kotobukiya, and provide an interesting counterpoint to how Bandai does things.
Their models are almost all 1/144 scale, and do not have the same amount of interior detail and posability as a 1/100 Master Grade, but they have their own areas of excellence. Kotobukiya's SRW kits tend to be much more finely detailed, with more small parts, this leads to more accurate coloration without any paint at all. In addition, almost all the kits come with some prepainted areas, such as the eyes and face, or particularly difficult to detail areas. This is something Bandai does not do, though I understand that they did in the past. A Kotobukiya 1/144 will frequently have as many parts as a Bandai 1/100, or even a Master Grade.
Now, for the Showdown! My model kit backlog has been building up for a while, and I'm making an attempt to get some of it cleared out. I've already built one of my most recent acquisitions (Ibis Douglas's Altairion, which can be seen in the banner for this blog, and in this
blog entry), but what I'm going to focus on for this project is one model from each company.
From Bandai we have the 1/100 GN-0000+GNR-010 00-Raiser from Mobile Suit Gundam 00
. Piloted by Setsuna F. Seiei it is arguably one of the strongest Gundams ever produced, its abilities prompting awe and amazement (and the occasional flamewar)
From Kotobukiya, we have the PTX-007-03UN Rein Wei▀ritter, originally from Super Robot Wars Impact
. Piloted by Excellen Browning, its a fusion of both human technology and the mysterious biogenic Einst, its true nature is still unknown.
I plan on building each model, and documenting my impressions of both. I'll do an entry discussing each model in detail, and then an entry comparing them. Look forward to it!