The famous life-sized Gundam21 December, 2011 by Chad
After making its debut at Odaiba back in 2009, the giant Gundam was moved to the Shizuoka Hobby Fair where it stood until March this year. Since August, parts of the famous life sized Gundam statue were returned to Odaiba where they were put on display. But last month, work began on reassembling the statue Gundam once more at Odaiba.
We had the chance to pay the fair a visit prior to its closure at Shizuoka and witnessed the amazing sight. Here are some more photos from that trip.
The 1/1 Gundam model was conveniently located at a carpark just beside Higashi-Shizuoka station. The city is famous for its clear views of Mt. Fuji, at least on clear days. The grounds which contained the statue also housed a hobby museum and various food stands as part of the Hobby Fair, though we decided to give the rest a miss. Entry was free and mostly paid for in souvenirs (see below).
The Real Grade Gundam was actually built to commemorate Gundam’s 30th anniversary back in 2009. But they figured that it’d be a waste not to display it after. Thanks to its popularity and exposure in media both locally and overseas, the Shizuoka Prefecture Tourist Association felt that it’d would be useful to promote tourism to their city. It seems to had worked, considering that there were quite a few visitors here on this afternoon even though it had been around for more than half a year here. Though I’m sure many (like us) took it only as a stopping point to our destination.
Though I did play around with some Gundam figures as a child, the level of skill required is quite off putting for kids. So while not a Gundam enthusiast myself, it was still a worthwhile and enjoyable visit. The size and amount of craftsmanship put into the thing was definitely impressive. The level of “realism” (for the lack of a better way to describe it) was uncanny and it doesn’t look pre-fabricated at all. You can imagine it coming alive at any moment.
While you won’t be able to own your own life sized Gundam anytime soon, fans could still take home a piece of the experience. The Real Grade Gundam Project shop sold various merchandise exclusive to the fair, from actual model kits, to Gundam-themed omiyage. Prices were actually rather affordable, though the more popular items were sold out by now.
Perhaps as a result of being awestruck, many of the things put up for sale looked liked particularly attractive purchases even for me. I was particularly interested in one of the guide books they had that documented the statue and the entire process of the Real Grade 1/1 Gundam Project in great detail. Blue prints, all the way down to a step-by-step breakdown of the construction and assembly of the life-sized figure were provided. Alas, this was one of the more pricey items at 3,800 yen, so I resisted.
There was also Gunpla 30th Anniversary Official Guidebook that showed their entire model kit and anime history. These were a more affordable 2,000 yen and would had been a must buy for fans. That or the 1:48 Perfect Grade kit versions of the Real Grade model.
Last week, most of the final touches of the 1:1 sized Gundam seemed to had been put in place at Odaiba already. However, the renewed project will only open to the public in Spring 2012. It will stay there for one entire year this time, until March 2013.Get your favorite novelty toys and figures from Japan at PlayAsia.
Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.
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