The plastic Gundam model—or “Gunpla” as they’re often referred to in Japan—market is huge in Japan. Beginning back in 1980, the industry has grown into a monolith. Now, the latest official Gunpla store is opening in Japan, and it’s a thing to behold.
Gunpla are a quintessential part of growing up in Japan. As a child, it is impossible not to either make Gundam models yourself, or know someone around you who does. I was one of the ones who made Gunpla.
The Gundam Base is an official Gunpla shop chain operating in Asia. The latest shop, The Gundam Base Tokyo will be opening this upcoming weekend in Daiba, the place where the life-size Gundam once stood—and where a life-size Unicorn Gundam is currently being constructed. Here’s a look inside.
The entrance is decorated with various models built by various celebrity Gunpla builders as well as displays showing limited and upcoming models.
Pillars in the entrance area show the evolution of Gunpla over the years.
The Shop Zone is massive. It feel more like a warehouse than a store and is filled with what feels like every Gunpla ever released. There are various displays throughout showcasing different series of Gunpla.
There’s also an accessory and apparel section for the Gundam brand, Strict-G.
There’s a Factory Zone which exhibits the inner working of the evolution and manufacturing of Gunpla. There’s a miniature diorama of a Gunpla factory as well as a machine that actually presses mini Gunpla rails. In the back there’s a display of award-winning custom Gunpla as well.
There’s even a Build Room and Painting room that customers can use to put together and paint Gunpla bought in the store. Veteran builder employees are on hand to give demonstrations and to offer support and advice.
In the center is a huge Event Zone space that can be used for various events or displays. Currently, there are various displays for the Gundam Build Fighters series. There are also various limited edition Gunpla available that can only be purchased here.
Overall, the shop is a Gunpla fan/builder’s dream. It’s hard to wander the isles and not feel one’s inner child bubbling up. The shop is conveniently located in Daiba, a location that’s already a must-see stop for any Gundam fan visiting Japan, making it the perfect addition to one’s sight-seeing list.
The Gundam Base Tokyo will be opening on August 19, 2017. The shop is located on the 7th floor of Diver City Tokyo Plaza. Store hours are from 10AM to 9PM.