Are gunpla toys? | Are We Adults That Play With Toys?
Gunpla is a term that refers to plastic models of mecha suits from the hit anime franchise, Gundam. However, there is currently a hot debate on whether or not these models are toys or not.
Based on the popular description of toys as objects specifically designed for children to play with, then gunpla are not toys.
A lot of time is put into the building and customization of these model kits by the modeler, so it is much more complicated than a regular toy.
Only People Who don’t know gunpla will consider it a toy
People that consider gunpla as just toys are usually not Gundam enthusiasts, and have little to no idea about the intricacy involved with modeling a Gundam kit.
But the general perception of the word toy seems to have been misconstrued, making it seem like toys are only for children. The word toy is actually a generic word that can be a machine or gadget providing amusement to anyone.
In this context, a Gundam model can be seen as a toy, but it is definitely not what popular opinion describes as a toy.
You can’t really play with a Gundam model
After putting the time and effort into building and customizing your Gundam model, you would not want to see all that work destroyed in a few minutes of “playing” with these models.
Playing with gunpla could very likely lead to it breaking, and you definitely don’t want that to happen.
In my humble opinion, I believe that Gundam models are much better displayed than played with. Gunpla kits are not as sturdy as some other models or collectibles from shows like Transformers, Pokemon, Yugioh, and so on, so it is much less playable.
Playing with your Gundam model could cause the joints to get loose very quickly, which is the same reason you probably wouldn’t want a 6-year-old getting anywhere near your model.
The most ‘playing’ hobbyists do is posing their Gundam models
Some Gundam enthusiasts spend minimal time “fiddling” with their Gundam models.
Most experienced modelers see playing as placing the kits in different poses and possibly even taking great photographs of the kits as they are displayed.
With gunpla, there is no room for slamming the models into each other or making them leap off high places. Much care should be taken when working with these good-looking models.
Gunplas are models, like model kits
The name gunpla is a portmanteau of Gundam and plastic models, so it basically refers to plastic models of the mecha suits from the show.
Just like a model kit of a WW2 tank, ship, or plane, and like a model kit of a beloved car like a Ferrari or a 1960s Mustang, Gunplas are models of a fictional universe. They are collectible display pieces for adults that shows their interest and what they value.
Gunplas are display pieces
One of the most popular uses of Gundam models among enthusiasts is as display pieces.
After finishing the hours of setting up your Gundam to look perfect, you can show it off as a display piece in your home. The end product is usually very satisfying and often quite addictive as well.
We do change their pose from time to time to display them in different situations, but I wouldn’t consider that as playing.
They can be classified as grown-ups toys or hobby-grade toys
Gundam kits can almost be classified as toys, but they are intended to be used by grown-ups, usually as a hobby.
These models are definitely not childish as they require a high level of skill and effort to build, paint, weather, and polish them.
These model kits also require the use of tools that children are advised not to operate, including hobby knives, model nippers, and spray paints.
So, because of the target market as well as the complexity and effort required to build Gundam models, they are much better regarded as grown-up toys or hobby-grade toys.
Most gunplas you play with will probably break apart
You might be confusing Gundam models with action figures if you think you can play with them in the traditional sense and get away without any damage.
Gundam models might be able to take a bit of damage, but they are still very fragile.
No matter what grade of Gundam it is, moving them too harshly will cause them to break. Playing with the models weakens their joints, and it’s much better for you to gently and mindfully try out new poses instead of “playing” with them.
Gunplas are collectible items rather than toys
Collectible items are defined as objects that are desirable, have a limited quantity, and have a good value as perceived by others.
This definition perfectly fits what a Gundam model is, which is why it is widely considered a collectible item. Also, I have never heard of a Gundam enthusiast playing with the models in the traditional sense of a toy.
You Shouldn’t get offended when they are called toys
A lot of Gundam enthusiasts actually do get offended when these kits are referred to as toys, usually because of the price they had to pay to get the model kit, as well as the amount of effort required to build the model.
So, seeing the Gundam model kits as nothing more than toys is quite insulting, even though by classical definition, it is a toy.
The quickest way to deal with this might be for Gundam enthusiasts to accept that they are basically toys, just not designed for children.
It might be impossible for you to prove to someone who knows nothing about gunpla that these models are much more than just toys, so you should just dismiss any comments and go on enjoying your Gundam kits.
Maybe people outside the hobby call Gunpla toys, but we know they aren’t
Every single person has the right to enjoy what they want, and building Gundam models is what we love to do, even if some people consider it as childish. Everyone can have their opinion, but we know what we’re doing is fulfilling, enjoyable, and definitely not childish.
So, dismiss any comments about Gundam models being toys! If you want to get into building Gunplas yourself, I totally recommend it because it is a lot of fun and there are many great benefits you can enjoy from this hobby.