Can Kids Play and Build with Gunpla Model Kits?
When going to a play store, a parent might see those flashy Gundam model kits and wonder if they’re good for their children. Can kids play with Gundam plastic models? While they look cool, should children play or build them?
Kids can have fun playing with Gunpla models. These models are great toys and have movable joints that allow them to do poses that children love. However, children can swallow the small parts if they fall off, so playing with these models isn’t recommended for children younger than 3 years old.
This post will discuss if kids can play and build Gunpla model kits. We will introduce the recommended age for assembling these model kits. Furthermore, We will also talk about the things to take note of when giving these toys to children as gifts.
Can kids play with Gunpla?
Generally speaking, kids can play with Gunpla models because they are figurine toys. These models are poseable, and some have a variety of accessories that encourage playing. However, their small parts can be a choking hazard, so they aren’t recommended for children younger than 3 years old.
Another thing people should note is that most modelers don’t like children playing at their builds.
Seeing memes about children coming to play with their built kits is common on Gunpla online communities, and I can’t blame them for not wanting children to play with their models.
Building a Gunpla model can take weeks since some would paint and polish their models, which takes time. Furthermore, some highly-detailed models, such as the Perfect Grade Gundam kits, have many small parts that need to be put together.
These small parts are why most toy manufacturers put a recommended age on the toy’s box.
Based on my experience, Gunpla models don’t have this recommended label, unlike other kits like Revell.
However, I believe that Gunpla kits will also have this label in the future. More on that later.
But the point here is that some model kits have an age recommendation because of the small parts, and the truth is, Bandai, the makers of Gunpla kits, also have an age recommendation.
Bandai recommends people who are 15 years and older for their model kits. However, other model kits come with an 8+ age recommendation. Furthermore, they specifically said that children 3 years old and younger should never play with model kits as they can be a choking hazard.
Most Gundam model kit boxes don’t have this age recommendation. This might be because age-labeling laws for toys vary from country to country.
For example, in the USA, age labeling is a must. That’s why most toys sold in the USA have age recommendations.
However, Bandai’s Gunpla Kits are often sold and manufactured in Japan. So it might be that Japan doesn’t have a strict rule for manufacturers to put an age label on their boxes.
In the future, this might change as Bandai is trying to get into the US market with attempts to sell Gundam kits on numerous hobby and online stores.
Before, buying Gundam model kits from hobby stores could be challenging. However, they are now available in almost all hobby stores.
Furthermore, an increasing number of Gundam kits come in English instead of Japanese labeled boxes.
One thing you might wonder is why Bandai recommends 15 years old when 8-year-old children can start building these kits.
We will discuss that later.
Can Children Play with Gundam Model Kits?
Children can play with Gundam model kits if they are old enough to know of choking hazards. Children younger than 3 years old are often curious, which leads to swallowing parts and accessories that fall off a Gundam model. Other than that, Gunpla kits are great toys.
A common issue I hear is that the Gundam model’s joints often loosen through use. Unfortunately, that’s also why most modelers don’t change their model’s pose often.
This is also why they don’t let children play with their models.
To be honest, I understand what they mean since loosened joints are a big factor when buying built kits.
Because of this, do not let children play limited edition and expensive model grades.
Children can also break these models if they fall to the ground.
As a general rule, choose an HG or SD model if you plan to give it as a toy since they aren’t as expensive as RG, MG, and PG models.
Furthermore, HG and SD models have fewer parts, making them easier to build.
Some say that since MG and PG models are often larger than HG and SD, they are better since they have larger parts.
However, my experience shows MG and PG models also have small parts since they are more detailed than HG kits.
Recommended Read: One thing you might ask is how hard it is to build these models. If you give a very hard-to-build model, children can get frustrated and won’t want to play with it. That’s why it is crucial to know what specific models are easy to build. The good news is I already made a post about that topic here: Are Gundam Models Hard to Build?
However, Gundam models are great toys as children like seeing these toys they see on TV in real life.
Playing with models is one thing, but how about building them? Well, that’s what we will discuss in the next section.
Can Children Build Gundam Model Kits?
Generally speaking, Bandai recommends children under 15 not to build Gundam model kits because their small parts are a choking hazard, and building them may require sharp tools and objects such as a model nipper and a hobby knife.
That’s why Bandai indicated that playing with model kits is suitable for 3 and up, while building these kits is suitable for 15 and up.
Both the hobby knife and model nipper are essential if you want a clean build.
However, these sharp objects aren’t recommended for children since they can cause injuries.
That’s why Bandai specifically said that they recommended building these kits for people who are 15 years old and older.
However, children who already know how to be careful when using these tools can start building Gundam kits.
That’s why it is pretty common to see children 8 years old and older who can build model kits.
As long as they know the dangers of using these tools incorrectly, they are a great way to pass the time.
Building Gundam models improves creativity as young modelers are taught how to build and design their kits.
They can also be free to choose the accessories and stickers they want to include in their build.
In the end, as long as you teach the child how to properly use these tools and ensure that they understand what you are talking about, this hobby is a great way to get children off the screen.
Is Gunpla good for kids?
Gunpla is good for kids, provided they are old enough to know the hazards of playing and building one, such as its choking hazard and sharp tools. Other than that, this is a great hobby to boost a child’s creativity and teach them how to use simple tools.
Right now, you completely understand the age recommendations and things to take note of when building Gundam models.
Other than those, building these models is fun both for children and adult modelers.
When I was in grade school, I had a younger schoolmate who built Gundam models as his hobby.
He is still building models up to this date.
In the end, it depends on how you teach the child. Make sure to tell them the hazards when building one. If you can keep them company on their first builds, then better.
For parents, it can be a great way to spend quality time with their children.
Lastly, it is perfectly fine to build Gundam models without a nipper and knife. However, don’t expect a clean build.
Either way, most children wouldn’t care about building the Gundam kit perfectly.
Recommended Read: Maybe you’re still unsure if buying a Gundam kit is a good idea. I made another post that can help you decide since it discusses why building these kits is fun. Here is the link: Reasons why Gundam Models are Fun.