Chiba Days #26 - Gundam Base

Hello everyone and welcome to another chapter of Chiba Days here on Tiro Finale. Yesterday, we got to see the newly erected Unicorn Gundam statue outside Diver City and, today, we will be taking a look at another one of Bandai's new additions to Tokyo, the Gundam Base. 

Like the original Gundam statue in Odaiba before this, Gundam Base is not actually a new addition to the mall. Rather, Bandai has spent some time rejuvenating the existing Gundam Base into something much more in-line with their vision as the Gundam series' flagship store.

Previously, the Gundam Base was largely a shop selling almost every Gunpla imaginable produced by Bandai. There was a small section meant for permanent and temporary displays but, they were never particularly noteworthy. Fast forward several months of renovation and the revitalized Gundam Base now sports an entirely new look with an obvious emphasis on showcase rather than retail. 

In order to kick things off with the unveiling of both the new statue and Gundam Base, Bandai also hosted yet another event in Diver City simply called, Gundam Docks in Tokyo, Japan. Essentially it is a stamp rally where visitors would go around the entire Diver City mall on the lookout for 1/10 scale "hero" Gundam, collect their respective organization stamps and collect a reward after obtaining all the stamps. But, more about that later. 

Gundam Base is located on the top most floor of Diver City and is instantly recognizable upon entering said floor. The large open entrance greets visitors with a lineup of ever "hero" Gundam in the entire series thus far. Each and every one of the heroes are lined up in chronological order with Master Grade kits (with the exception of Barabatos) completed by professionals. It was certainly a sight to behold and an obvious reminder of the blue, red and white hero colors that we have all grown to love. 

Towards the left of the hero suits are various Gunpla built by notable members of the Gunpla community and several celebrities. Some were rather wacky while, some were surprisingly good. But, they all certainly did not lack creativity. 

Remember earlier when I mentioned that Bandai had taken a more showcase and exhibition approach to their new Gundam Base? This is immediately apparent from their careful collection and display of all their retro Gunpla from the decades past.

As the years pass by, you get an idea of just how much Gunpla have improved over the decades into what it is today. Of course, none of that would have been possible without the support of the fans and the dedication of the team at Bandai with their continuous love that they put into the Gundam universe. 

Just like when it was released many years ago, each kit has been built as-is with no professional touches. So, the next time you complain about poor articulation or color separation in your Gunpla, just remember how different things were back then. 

That being said, the original Perfect Grade RX-78-2 launched back in 1998 still stands the test of time extremely well. Despite having gone through multiple iterations of designs, the Perfect Grade still seems to strike a balance that is very much timeless. 

The Build Fighters series is one of Bandai's recent surprise hit with a fanbase present throughout the world. Aside from being a very competent series in and of it's own right, I also have to praise Bandai for the way they have approached the distribution and marketing of the series. 

At the time of my visit, Bandai was preparing for the launch of its latest Perfect Grade kit, Exia, and made sure to have a lot of promotional material surrounding this new kit. One of the key features or gimmicks of the new Perfect Grade was its multi-colored lighting system which was demonstrated with this neat projection effects onto a billboard. 

The choice of selecting Exia as the new Perfect Grade for this year was no coincidence either as Gundam 00 was celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017. The series was the first ever Gundam series to be aired in High Definition while marking a successful new Gundam universe for Bandai. 

Of course, not to outdone was this 1/10 scale Wing Gundam Zero Custom statue which was placed in the center of the entire Gundam Base. Despite only ever featuring in the OVA, this iteration of Wing Gundam has gone on to be one of the most recognizable and influential Gundam among the general public. 

Aside from the large showcase space, there was even a work space section where anyone could come and build Gunpla where dedicated booth are provided. Visitors only need to pay a fixed fee and are ale to utilize much of the facilities already in place. The Gunpla exhibited on the shelf are also works from the public. A very good way for promoting the hobby of Gunpla building to the masses.

Towards the end of the Gundam Base, Bandai has arguably saved the best for last with four kits made by Gundam Builder World Champions from all around the world.

Bandai contacted each of these four champions personally and offered them a top secret project to build any Gunpla of their liking with no limits in terms of budget or theme. Everything from the tools to kits would be provided by Bandai themselves for this one of a kind showcase.

The resultant four kits on display are the absolute pinnacle of Gunpla building that the community has to offer and, trust me when I say this, photos absolutely do not do justice to these meticulously detailed works of art. 

Right next to the four champion kits is a miniature reproduction of the assembly line in Bandai's Gunpla factory featuring the all important plastic injection machine. Aside from the replicas, there is also a brief history of the actual production of Gunpla. Covering topics such as manufacturing scale, custom made craft tools and key improvements made over the years.

There is even a replica of the actual Gunpla factory located in Shizuoka. If you are wondering what the RX-78 is doing standing there, that is because the original 1/1 Gundam statue was initially erected there and has subsequently returned home following its end of tenure. 

Next to the plastic injection machines were the plastic bits used for the production of Gunpla and these were the actual thing. Visitors were even allowed to touch the plastic bits. When seen from afar, it is clear that not only yellow plastic bits are used to produce yellow parts but, a hing of red and green too. 

Aside from the exhibition space, there was space to for retail. Namely three main retail section which focused on different products. One focused entirely on limited edition or Gundam Base exclusive Gunpla such as the special color, clear color and metallic color version. While another, focused on normal Gunpla that you could find in stores. 

The third one featured merchandise relating to the Gundam Universe mainly in the form of clothing. Be warned though, if you think Gunpla is expensive, wait till you see how much these officially licensed apparel cost. 

Earlier I mentioned Bandai's promotion of the new Unicorn statue and Gundam Base with the Gundam Docks at Tokyo event. Essentially a stamp rally with different checkpoints scattered throughout the Diver City mall, the goal is to find every one of the 1/10 scale Gundams and collect their respective stamps. 

If the 1/1 scale Unicorn outside was not good enough, there was even a 1/10 scale on located inside. If you are there, do not forget to collect the stamp as well!

Located at one of Diver City's entrance is a 1/10 scale RX-78-2. This time sporting a design more reminiscent of the new Version 3 Master Grade rather than the 1/1's Real Grade design. As usual, this is a checkpoint too to collect the Earth Federation's stamp. 

Together with the 1/10 hero Gundam located throughout the mall, Bandai has even included screenshots of important moments in the anime all around the wall. Indeed some of them do include spoilers and key moments in the series so, you have been warned.

Once you have collected all the stamps, just head on up to the top floor next and collect your free reward from the booth next to the Gundam Base. The event lasts until the 8th of January and features two rewards during different half of the event as a way to entice visitors to return. 

What did I get for all of that running around? An Earth Federation "Mobile Clean Sticker", a microfiber cloth used to clean the screen of your devices. While it is not much, it certainly serves as a lovely memorabilia of the event. Needless to say, if you are a Gundam-fan and ever find yourself in Tokyo, I strongly recommend paying a visit to both the Unicorn statue and Gundam Base. As always, if you have any questions about the place, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments section below. Until the next time, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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