Buyers Guide

Here are some  things to keep in mind when purchasing models kits. Starting with answers to some commonly asked questions. Followed by my humble opinion of some of the more common mecha kit available on the market today.

How big is that model anyway???
The actual size of a model can be hard to determine - especially if internet shopping. But, with some knowledge of the series that the model
comes from - and a little math, (yes I said the M word), you can find out just how tall that models is. It all comes down to scale. Scale is
read like this: 1/60 scale means every 1 cm of height of the model is equal to 60 cm in the series. Here is the formula:
(The number of centimeters tall the robot is in the series) divided by (the scale factor) = the how tall in centimeters (cm) the model will be.
Here are some examples: 
Name of Model
Height in the series it comes from
Divided by
Scale Factor
Height in cm.
Perfect Grade RX-78 Gundam 1/60 scale 
18 meters which is 1800 cm
divided by
30 centimeters
Patlabor - AV98 Ingram 1/60 scale
8.02 meters which is 802 cm
divided by
13.37 centimeters
Votoms Scope Dog Turbo Custom 1/60 scale
4.017 meters which is 401.7 cm
divided by
6.7 centimeters
As You can see the above 3 models are all 1/60 scale but are drastically different sizes.
Here are some more examples of the same model, but this time at different scales.
Name of Model
Height in the series it comes from
Divided by
Scale Factor
Height in cm.
High Grade MS-06J - Zaku II - 1/144 scale 
17.5 meter which is 1750 cm
divided by
12.15 centimeters
Master Grade MS-06J - Zaku II - 1/100 scale
17.5 meters which is 1750 cm
divided by
17.50 centimeters
Perfect Grade MS-06J - Zaku II -1/60 scale
17.5 meters which is 1750 cm
divided by
29.17 centimeters
Here we can see that even the same mecha at different scales can be very different in size.

How much should I pay for my model?  (i.e. am I getting rooked?)
Here is how I determine what a decent price is for a model. First find the ¥ (Yen) price of the model you wish to buy. You can find the Yen price
by looking at the add you have see the model in or online at places like  If you live in or around Japan you should never pay more than
the listed Yen price for a model. If you live in the United States that will change as local hobby shops often get there Japanese models from
import houses and not directly from the manufacturer.  If you buy a model from a local hobby shop in the US you can expect to pay around
one and one half (1.5) times the Yen price in dollars. For example an ¥800 HG Zaku should sale for around $12.00 US.  This at first may
appear unreasonable, but in reality local US hobby shops end up paying the Yen price or more to stock any given model - and in all fairness
they have to turn a profit to stay in business. But try not to pay more that 1.5 times the price on a model in the US (or on ebay for that matter).

The other option is buying the model you want online, directly from Japan. There are several online shops which are located in Japan that will
ship internationally. I recommend Hobby Link Japan. You will pay the ¥ (Yen) price for the model plus shipping, get the added benefit of the
currency exchange rate (the US dollar is usually worth more than the Yen), and receive the item UPS in a week or two.

Your options are basically this: (A) You buy the model locally and pay more - but have it immediately in your hands - or
(B) order it online and save money - but you have to wait a week or two for it to arrive UPS.
There is no right or wrong answer. What it comes down to is - HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT THAT MODEL? and  DO YOU NEED IT NOW?
or can you wait the shipping time and potentially save enough money to buy 2 models for what you might pay for 1 locally.

Model Buyers Guide
Manufacturers are sorted by color
These are general views by product line for reviews on specific models go to Modelphiles at Newtype Asylum.

Academy Manufactures barely legal copies of  other company's' products. The quality is poor, and to avoid being sewed they change some pieces on the model. This usually results in a loss of accuracy, detail, or both !  Unless you are looking  to simply butcher a model for parts- AVOID ACADEMY MODEL LIKE THE PLAGUE !!!!!!
ARII Manufactured most of the 1/100 scale macross models from the original SDF Macross (Robotech in the US) TV series.
These Macross kits are of the original VF's and destroid and are mostly 1/100 scale. They offered mostly plastic on plastic 
joints some polycaps used. They have acceptable mobility and can still be found for around ¥ 500.  A good deal for the price.
BANDAI Manufactures a great number of models for a variety of series. The quality is seldom less than good and there more recent kits have been excellent in both detail an posability.

         In 2000 Bandai started re-tooling there Dunbine line into HG quality models complete with ball joints and high detail.
         Bottom line don't buy the original plastic on plactic models , buy the new HG versions.

         Bandai did 3 sizes of evangelion model. The small 'LM' models are worthless and stiff.  The LM+HG are larger and 
         perfectly detailed.  I highly recommend these.  And lastly there is the now out of production Perfect Grade EVA-01.
         If you can find it, and afford it  get it hands down.

         -Original 1979 Gundam models.  Plastic on plastic joints and disproportionate.  Try to get the new HGUC versions
          Great if you want parts or to make a diorama.

         -MSV - Mobile suit variations.  These have surprising detail - and though they have plastic on plastic joints, this 
           series does offer some engineering marvels for the time they were created in.  Perfectly proportional and nicely
           priced at ¥500 to ¥1000 each. They are worth picking up if you like a particular design.  Also the Zaku variations
           combined well with the newer HG Zaku.

          -Zeta and Double Zeta Models.  Were the first to use polycaps and some are worth having , but If they produce 
            an HG equivalent  - then go for the HG.

         -Chars Counter Attack models.  All are cast in color and nicely detailed. However the ReGZ face is wrong.
           Also the elbow joints on the Jegan, Jagda Doga, and Sazabi are reversed so all they can basically do is scratch there
           armpits.  Still at ¥500 to ¥1000 they are still worth having.

         -F90, F91, and Silhouette Formula Models are all 1/100 scale, cast in color and nicely detailed. The only 
          downside I found was with the F91-Heavy Gun model. One of the hip ball joint sockets is misformed -so one leg
          will be prone to fall off.

         -The rest of the 1/144 models all qualify as HG models.  All the HG models are cast in color, offer great detail and posability.

         Bandai produced a number of 1/100 and 1/72 scale VF-1 models all were nicely done and superior to there ARII
         counter parts.  The VF-2 from Macross 2 OVA is very well done - Basically HG quality.  The 1/144 Macross Seven 
         models are all worth having. They are cast in a single color but go together and pose VERY nicely.  HOWEVER 
         the 1/100 VF-19 transformable are total Garbage, they don't go together well and the attempt at duplicating the 
         transformation sequence leave REALLY bad looking gaps.  Bandai should have been ashamed to release the 1/100 VF-19.

        Nadesico model boxes say HG but the kit only barely qualify.  All the Nadesico kits are basically the SAME kit with 1 differently
        colored plastic tree. This wouldn't be bad except the parts don't line up quite right on any of them. They are still nice, but 
        expect alot of sanding.

        All the Patlabor kits are very nicely detailed, However the vynal sleeves that cover the upper arms and lower legs  put too 
        much tension on the joints.  This can cause the joints especially at the knees to break. Ruining the model.

Tekkaman Blade
       All these models are HG quality, fully posable and it you are a fan of the series truly a must have.

Takara Manufactures models from the Dougram and Votoms series. One of the nice things about Takara is they almost always put at least one in-scale pilot figure with all there mecha models for these two series.
Wave Manufacture models for Macross, Votoms and Five Star Stories. Although Wave initially only produce resin garage kits, recently they have been branching out into the plastic model market with some impressively detailed models.

Five Star Stories



Wave took its highly detailed RESIN , Five Star Stories models and recast them in plastic - at a MUCH lower price. The plastic kits are HIGHLY detailed, are either 1/144 or 1/100 scale and retail for ¥2800 to ¥4800.
Many have weapon options and have good mobility.

The Macross models produced ny Wave are ALL resin but well worth ¥13000 price as the detail is perfect. However  the Wave YF-19 is off scale - its actually 1/120 not 1/100.

Waves Votoms kits are actually the Takara kit (Wave bought the rights) with newly injected parts offering excellent detail. The 1/24 models retail for ¥ 3000 and are well worth it.