Friday, December 14, 2012

Knockoff your socks off...

(shelves at a knockoff store)
I was having a discussion recently with a fellow gunpla otaku and I felt like I had to clear the air and set things straight regarding my stand on knockoff models. I do not promote bootleg kits, nor am I encouraging anyone to buy them. The quality is always poorer than the original. I do not deny purchasing and building knockoffs, but that doesn’t mean you should…You do not see a guy jump off of a bridge on TV and decide you can do the same because you like jumping..or bridges…that’s  just plain stupid. My advice would go like this: before you get into this hobby, decide what kind of collector / builder you want to be. Are you a purist? Someone who likes to have the branded stuff because you don’t like worrying about quality? Do you like the prestige of an all-original collection? Do you hate the idea of a replica? In that case, go Bandai…That is, if you can afford it. How often do you intend to buy kits? How fast do you build? Do you like to paint or modify, or do you just put a kit together as fast as you can, shelve it and move to the next one? Do you intend to compete? Are your kits for your eyes only? All these things come into play when getting into a hobby like this, or any hobby that involves stuff getting displayed in some manner...

Like any other hobby, gunpla costs money…and quite a lot of it, at least for one of my stature.  This means that I would need to make do with what resources I have. If you hate on one of my models because it’s a knockoff, guess what - I don’t care - I didn’t build it for you. I build my models with the intention of putting them on my shelf so I can admire my own handiwork. I might join a competition, in which case I save up for a Bandai kit for my entry. I never pass my knockoff kits as original. 

(knockoff sinanju box)

If you have an all Bandai collection, don’t throw it in my face. I’m happy for you because you are happy with your stuff, but don’t expect any envy from me because I’m happy with my stuff as well. I’m not a collector, I’m a builder. I build my kits, post pics on my blog, show them to fellow gunpla enthusiasts…but I do not look at someone’s Sinanju and ask if it is an original kit…that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is how good it looks…how it appeals to my taste…how clean the build is. If a kit is done well and you can really tell how much work was put into it, does it really matter? Does the source or type of the canvas matter more than the art itself? If Picasso painted on a rag, would the piece cost any less today?  

(my sinanju and hi nu evo)
If that is not the issue, then I guess it comes down to how it affects the manufacturer. I believe the customer base between Bandai and the bootleggers hardly even overlap due to price range – in the same way that people who collect Ferraris do not drive a Toyota, and vice versa. In fact people who own a Toyota dream of driving a Ferrari and aspire to buy one some day.  At the moment I own 12 kits, 7 of which are Bandai. I can say that I would never have purchased those 7 Bandai kits if I didn’t even try the knockoffs.

(backpack mods courtesy of 2x bootleg SD sinanju)
My point is this: I do not promote knockoff kits. I’m just glad they’re around, because I wouldn’t have gotten into the hobby otherwise. I am a Bandai customer because of the knockoffs. I will still purchase knockoffs whenever I see fit, maybe to practice on, or maybe because I cannot afford the Bandai counterpart. That said, if someone shows me tangible evidence that the knockoffs I purchased somehow funded a drug cartel, then I will stop buying them.  This is a hobby and we should all be able to enjoy it which ever way we want to. Let’s not get self-righteous here. How many of the MP3s on your iPod are pulled from an original CD? Now how many have been downloaded or copied from a friend? 



  1. agreed.

    My finished kit collection:


    2 HG, 1 1/100 NG.


    5 MG, 1 PG

    I am a poor guy but still interested in gunpla.
    Builder create finished products which can be unique and still look pretty.
    Brand do not and never concerns me.
    The final product is the most important thing.
    And also the stressfulness but also fun I got during the building process.
    I do collects but also learn from each gunpla I built. Each gunpla have a story.

  2. Completely agree with you! I don't have a knock off yet but, I think in the near future I would buy some for my own purposes.