Welcome to the results page for the Great Gunpla Census of 2020! This is a follow up to a census, of a similair title, from back in 2018. The 2018 census was a big success with a lot of interest and positive feedback. There was also a good amount of constructive feedback that I brought into this year's survey. This time around there were more questions pertaining to the Gundam franchise in general for all the folks who're into Gundam but not necessarily Gunpla.
This year we got over 1400 respondents answering multiple questions, some open ended. Everyone who answered a simple question with a sentence, I hate what you made me do to my master spreadsheet, but some of your comments are provided great insight. It doesn't help that everyone has 2-3 different ways of spelling the same kit name (looking at you, Mk-II, or was it MK-2, or MK-ii?). If you're interested in the raw results from the survey you can find them here. For the 2022 census I'm thinking of slimming down some of the questions and creating some more comment oriented ones. Instead of just telling me what kit you hate, tell me why you hated it.
On the subject of folks who provided more detailed responses, I pulled out ones that caught my eye and included them here. Spelling errors and all ;)
Sadly this year my chart and statistical skills are in the shiter. Whatever meth I had following through my veins has apparently dried up. I can't get Google Sheets to do the same magic as before, and if I converted everything to Excel and did it there I can't find the document for reference. Apparently I need a long array of lookup and count statements to get basic things done, like sorting from high to low in graphs. And how I managed to correlate age information against kit owernship and favorite series? That's some long lost voodoo magic. That said, I hope you can still enjoy this fun little look at a slice of the Gundam & Gunpla fanbase.
Once again I used this Word Cloud Generator for most of the graphics. If you want to view the raw responses you can do so here or here (hopefully this link works).
Note to self, for the 2022 census, ask what everyone's favorite antagonist suit is. If there's anything you'd like to see asked leave a comment below!
What country do you live in?
As the census questionnaire was shared on Reddit, and English website largely catering to North America, the majority respondents reported as being from the United States. Following the US was Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines. Outside of those top 4 there were a wide range of folks from all over the globe.
How old are you?
In the 2018 census the majority of respondents indicated they were between 19 and 25 years old. For the 2020 questionnaire I changed the numbers a bit to make up for some sloppy work on my part. The charts are similar, most folks are in their early twenties with a gradual aging beyond that. The numbers seem to show a higher number of folks who're less than 20, potentially indicating an increase in the younger fanbase.
Gundam Related Questions
These questions were all about the Gundam franchise from a media perspective. One of the bits of feedback I got from the 2018 census was that it was a very Gunpla focused set of questions. By adding these questions I hoped to engage more of the fanbase as not everyone is into the model kits.
What's your favorite (animated) Gundam installment?
In 2018 Iron-Blooded Orphans and Gundam 00 were the top two contenders, with IBO taking the top spot in a photo finish. This year those two remain the in the top with a considerable lead over third, though this time it was 00 with the top spot. One thing folks was wondering was whether 00 would drop. Looks like it's not just a case of recency bias and left a positive impact on a lot of fans.
What's your least favorite (animated) Gundam installment?
Ah, yes, once again I'm a cheeky bastard and grouped Gundam SEED and Destiny in the same option, only now I've really done it and grouped Build Fighters and Try together as well. Bwahaha.
Yet again SEED/Destiny triumphantly stands apart as the worst series. One bit of 2018 feedback I got was the lack of SD Gundam in the answer pool, so I added it for 2020. Apparently that was just so folks could pick out SD Gundam as their least favorite? It's sitting in 2nd and making me wonder how many folks have watched the numerous series' that fall under that broad category.
What is the most underrated work?
A new question for 2020, with some very interesting results. I get Gundam X, and ZZ, but apparently folks consider general favorites like 08th MS Team and 0080 as underrated?
What manga or light novel most needs an official English language release?
Crossbone and Advance of Zeta would've been my guesses going in. Apparently quite a few folks are interested in Moon Gundam as well.
Some of the comments:
- Crossbones so that people will shut up about it
- that G Gundam retelling manga by Imagawa and the character designer whose name I forget (or Crossbone)
- Don't care, won't read
What's your favorite Gundam design?
"What's your favorite Gundam design?" *proceeds to answer with mobile suits that aren't Gundams*
Top three Gundams? Nu Gundam, Zeta, and Freedom. Barbatos and its various forms get a lot of love too.
Some of the comments:
- I absolutely loooooove the G Self (fit bump)
- I think my favorite would be the Gundam Barbatos. In the UC timeline it would be Io Fleming’s Full armor Gundam or the Hi Nu Gundam.
- Kampfer Amazing, hits just the right notes for me and makes me nostalgic for other things
- Master Gundam because Master Asia is my handsome and powerful cartoon husband
- RX-81LA G-Line Light Armor(Technically, it’s a Gundam)
- Turn A, no doubt; Syd Mead is a legend
\What's your favorite grunt/mass produced mobile suit design?
The Zaku II might be the perennial favorite, but GM and it's various forms win the day.
What's the best opening?
Who is the best Char clone?
Where/when do you want to see the next Gundam series take place?
20% of folks want the next franchise installment to be set somewhere new. Though right behind that at 19% are the Early to Mid Universal Century folks. I didn't expect this, personally I thought most folks were sick of stuff being crammed into that timespace.
Would you rather the next Gundam series be...
I expected real robot to win, but not by such a huge margine. Sorry 00 fans.
Gunpla Related Questions
How many kits do you have?
In the 2018 results we see that the majority of folks to respond has 10-20 kits. The 2020 census, with an attempt to reach more non-Gunpla fanatics, shows a shift where the most folks have less than 10 kits. You can also see that quite a few folks (like me) have a bit of a plastic addiction.
What's your favorite line?
Once again Master Grade is everyone's favorite line of kits. Biggest change is the growth in folks who prefer Real Grade which has grown into a dead heat with High Grade.
What are the best Perfect Grade kits(s)?
No real change here as the Gundam Exia wins handedly again. Unicorn and Strike make up the next runners up, though Strike has grown in popularity.
What are the best Master Grade kit(s)?
In first place, with the most mentions, was the MG Barbatos. Second went to the MG Sazabi ver Ka, with third place being a very surprising MG Dynames.
Thought there were a few clear standouts, respondents entered a wide range of different kits. Some of the comments:
- "Shoebox MGs"- RX 2.0, Turn A, Wing Gundam, etc, they're built for stability and last on the shelf. Later MGs like Zero Proto, Freedom 2.0, and Barbatos are also excellent.
- Me. I am the best Master Grade kit. (Ball ver.ka, Freedom, Dynames, Sazabi, Astray)
- Most of the Ver. Ka excluding a few (looking at you V Gundam)
- Sazabi Ver.ka. Is a kit every builder should experience at least once. Just like the MG Zaku, Gelgoog and the Barbatos!
- ZAKU Warrior, GM Command, anything without the awful 2.0 hands. (hear hear)
- ZZ Ver. Ka, a proper transformable kit with ver. Ka goodness, what's not to like
Some of the comments:
- Any non UC grunt I mean honestly bandai its time as much as I love U.C. Im sick of the other series getting screwed
- Asking the hard questions here, there are so many awesome designs which would absolutely deserve an MG! I would like to see something like the Xeku-Eins and it’s variants. I also would like to see the Atlas Gundam being released in the Ver.Ka. Treatment or a Zaku Ver.Ka.
- M G R G M - 8 6 R G M I I I W H E N
What are the best Real Grade kit(s)?
Taking the top spot, the RG Sazabi, followed by the RG Nu, and the RG Unicorn in third place.
- The sazabi ver ka is a show stealer, as well as anything in the past few months, the rg kits are getting extremely well made.
- Zeta (Yes.. it gets way more flak that it deserves)
What are the best High Grade kits(s)?
The listing for best HG kit has a lot more commonality than the previous two categories. The top individual kit is the Moon Gundam, but outside that, respondents overwhelmingly reported that the HG Origin kits are the best.
Some of the comments:
- I never expected it, but the Tieren Ground Type was miles better than I ever expected. For a glorified grunt type, it came out beautifully.
- I personally think the HG Sandrock is really well done? It’s not too complex to maybe get the upper echelons of what HG could be, but it’s very solid overall. I have no issues with this kit and it poses like a dream.
- Anything from the "The Origin" line, but really it's whatever your favorite design is.
- The Origin line is a solid one as a whole. Those Zeon suits are nice. The best HG kit for me personally would be the Gouf Custom, it’s one of my favorites. I also have high hopes for my Varquil and Efreet Nacht in the backlog.
What are the best kit outside of the four main lines?
So, I don't know if this was a confusion question or whether folks just lack a strong opinion on this. The question, as asked, was "Whats's the best non-PG/MG/RG/HG kits?" Basically a catch all for non-grade kits (1/60, 1/100, 1/400, etc), SD, HiRM, Full Mechanics, HY2M, RE/100, Hard Graph, EX, Mega Size, etc etc etc.
There were a handful of answers from Zoids, Amored Core, 30 Minute Missions, the highest ratio of folks who entered "N/A" instead of skipping the question, and folks who just called the RE/100 line specifically. Clearly, in 2022, I've gotta branch outside the Gundam franchise a tad.
That said, the Full Mechanics Barbatos was singled out quite a bit, but there was also lots of love for the RG/100 and SDCS (SD Gundam Cross Silhouette) line.
I like this comment because it seems to cover both the just of all the comments and what I've heard outside the census: I really like what I’ve build from the RE/100 line. My only issue with it would be my Hamma-Hamma which doesn’t pull off poses in the best way. The Efreet Custom and Schneid were both pleasures to build though and I’ve got more in the backlog. The IBO Full Mechanics line was also nice to experience but the MG Barbatos has spoiled me.
What's your favorite kit?
It's a small difference, but this was about what kit folks really like. Maybe not the best kit Bandai's made, but the one they love the most. Tons of different answers for this category, but showing a lot in common with the top kits chosen earlier. RG Sazabi and Nu Gundam come up quite a bit, along with the MG Barbatos.
Some of the comments:
- RG Unicorn. It was the first kit I ever built, and the amount of engineering put into it was just unbelievable, including the parts separation and transformation gimmick.
- Wing Gundam Fenice. First one I built, panel lined, learned to glue with, overall an amazing kit that I have a personal attachment to.
- MG Sinanju (Titanium Finish). It's absolutely beautiful.
- MG Dynames, what's not to love about this beauty of a kit...and a big sniper robot with two handguns, this is so cool.
- Man, it’s hard to choose between anything from my Zeon collection, I can’t choose. Goddamn, I’ll say either the Psycho Zaku Ver.Ka.or the Sazabi Ver.Ka.
- I absolutely adore the MG Turn A because I get to admire the intricate line work and design (remember this comment for the next section)
What's the worst kit you've built?
Once again, these results are all over the place. Somethings I expected, like the RG Zeta or HG Tristan, or MG Unicorn and variants. But others, the MG Kampfer, RG Sinanju, RG Zaku I didn't expect.
- Death scythe hell *Dragon momoko edition Thanks Jason*
- Gusion Rebake; too many stickers, not super well balanced, broke my God Hands...
- HG Deathscythe Hell EW. It feels hollow and cheap, it doesn’t have a clear beam effect for the scythe, the wings aren’t even articulated, it’s hell for stickers, and it’s got seam lines everywhere. It was the first kit I bought when getting back into Gunpla because I thought I might use it as painting practice for the MG Deathscythe EW. Thank god I didn’t build it first; I would’ve probably dropped the hobby again.
- Hg Z'gok (tho he's still a cute crabby boi)
- HG ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam. I haven't even finished yet beof how angry it made me.
- MG Turn-A; my friend gave up on theirs and made me do it, it has a ton of fiddly breakable parts and looks cheap for a MG.
- RG GP-01 Gundam. It's such a grenade
- RG Sinanju. I knew all about the negative news before buying it. Everything was working so well until I reached the waist and shoulders. From that point on the thing just wouldn't hold.
- RG Zeta RG Quanta and 00 (Fuck those toes man)
- SD Byg-Zam. Not only is it just a shitty meme build with 6 steps and only 1 color, but they couldn't even be bothered to *make sure the holes are big enough for the pieces that slot into them*. If we're not counting SDs, then it's definitely the HG Death Army. Absolute trash quality kit.
What's the most important in a kit?
Another question with results pretty similair to the 2018 numbers. Most people favor the overall appearance of a kit before anything else.
Top three kits folks want made into a Master Grade kit? G-Self, Kshatriya, and Virtue. Though answers were very diverse, Lupus Rex, Moon Gundam, and yes, Tequila Gundam.
The RG when answers were even more diverse than MG When. Barbatos, and its various forms, show up the most, but beyond there didn't seem to be any other standouts. One thing I see quite a bit is the desire for more GMs and other grunt suits. Since there's so many individual variants it skews my simple word counting.
Some great comments:
- All GMs (Bandai pls I'll sell my kidneys for everything GM related)
- barbatos, I'll even buy the expansions as P-bandai. Just do it.
- Gundam Double X. The Twin Satellite Cannon would be amazing in RG form. Also, I just love the Double X with the sole exception of those stupid cheek fins.
- Gundam The Origin Zaku II, I really want that perfected Katoki hajime tech in a big and simple MS, just something durable to bring around and impress people with, what’ve conversion kits for the one platform to turn it from a Zaku I, to a Zaku II, to a Zaku II Kai, and so on with the other variants, but that said we should have something like that in real grade quality and size, make parts interchangeable with huge amounts of weapons that Zaku’s are actually never seen using but in theory could use, I’d also like to have the accessories be modular, like the rifle could be used with a Kampfer shotgun parts, they never said a zaku couldn’t use it, and that it couldn’t work so... they should just seek the Zaku 1 and then sell the extra weapons with the conversion kits, and then we make sure that they all are durable and have the quality of the Gundam beyond kit, with the Gundam designer version articulation
- I have been looking at the RG line for a while now and do feel like I’m missing out on some amazing builds. I’m sure to pick up the Zeong once it comes out! A nice design to put out in the RG line would be the Gelgoog. It has a ton of lovely detail.
- The end (eureka 7)
Yes, someone wrote a paragraph in there.
And yes, Eureka 7 RG kits would be bloody amazing.
In other words, what kit need a refresh? Well this was all over the place too, but this time it's all over the place because all grades are considered. Unsurprisingly the MG Kampfer shows up quite a bit. But top of the charts is the MG Exia which I don't get. Sure it's 'older' by some standards, but it's still a damned fine kit. Other notables include the Strike Freedom, God Gundam, and Zeta Gundam (both MG and RG are called out, though many lack a grade).
Some great comments:
- The HG kshatriya could use more detail. After seeing what the current HG kits are capable of, a remake would be stellar.
- HGUC Hi-Nu Gundam WITH SIX WORKING FIN FUNNELS GUNDAMMIT
- Literally any of the IBO kits that weren't the jobber units
- Season 1 HG 00 kits. They're missing a lot of needed features (GN Pistols for Dynames, Missile container for kyrios, and BETTER GUN/HANDS FOR THE FLAG
- HG Kampfer, MG Kampfer, JUST GIMME NEW KAMPFER!
Also, all y'all asking for a 2.0 MG Unicorn need to built the MGEX.
What kit would you like to see as the next PG?
It's at this point I realized I need to be more selective in some of these responses. Yes, I too would love a PG Big Zam. Guess what we're not getting, ever. A PG Big Zam.
Not even going to do a chart for this one, but y'all really want a PG Barbatos. Lot of interest in Nu, Sazabi, and Sinanju as well.
Out of nearly 900 entries, only two folks asked for an updated RX-78-2. Guess what was announced mid answer collection period? A PG RX-78-2 2.0 (or whatever extreme adjective Bandai is using instead of 2.0).
Which do we need first
Okay, this was totally a loaded question on my part as I want both of them. Question was what do we need first, MG kits from Reconguista in G, or those MG AGE 3 kits that Bandai showed prototypes of years ago. Clearly Bandai needs to come out with those G kits ASAP.
The Final Question
In 2018 I made everyone choose a side, Federation or Zeon. This year I went off the deep end and asked folks to pick either Flay Allster or Nina Purpleton. Nina, of course being the best answer, because she can at least build you cool Gundams.