With Bandai winning their IP lawsuit versus Hong Li, the flood of fake Gundam kits in the market may slow down to a trickle — it could be a good idea to grab a couple now while you still can.
Although the Hong Li kits are fake, there are still perfectly good uses for them — some of which would be sacrilege to use real Bandai kits for. Here are our three favorites:
Bases for mods and aides for scratch-building.
Many Gunpla collectors are also amateur modelers who spend a lot of time modifying existing kits or creating parts from scratch. Oftentimes this will involve cutting into the plastic material — an expensive proposition given that original Bandai kits retail at Php 500 and up. An easy and cheap alternative would be to use Hong Li kits as bases for major body mods. One caveat though: many modelers competitions only allow original Bandai kits to be used — so read the rules thoroughly before your enter your Hong Li kit in a contest.
Cannon fodder for Mobile Suit dioramas.
If you plan to do a full-scale diorama of the climax scene of Char’s Counterattack, you will need a lot of destroyed mobile suits to pepper the landscape. Cannon fodder of that scale can cost a nice chunk of change. Save your money for all the fiddly bits you’ll need like Tamiya paint and airbrush nibs, and instead buy a crap tonne of Hong Li fakes you can break into a million different pieces and decorate the landscape with.
Birthday presents for kids.
Let’s face it: if you were giving a snap-kit SD GUNDAM model to an eight-year-old as a birthday present, he wouldn’t care much if it were Bandai or Hong Li, as long as it was fun to make. Also — knowing how kids’ minds work, he will probably lose interest in it in a week or two and toss it away into his scrap toy box, instead of mounting in on a base and enclosing it in an acrylic box the way adult collectors do. Save your cash, buy him a Hong Li.