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14 Bandai Model Kits: Gundam, Star Wars, Star Trek & More

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When I’m in the market for a new Bandai model, I’m looking for three criteria:

  1. High quality in every way.
  2. Great articulation for a variety of poses.
  3. Challenging to build but not impossible or frustrating.

What I don’t want is flimsy junk or a finished piece that won’t stand on its own, let alone pose.

Why waste money on garbage when there are excellent Bandai model kits out there? Right?

Here’s a quick look at the best options:

  • Best overall: IBO Gundam Barbatos – challenging build, awesome poses, piston movement, three weapons.
  • Best Star Wars kit: Boba Fett – excellent detail, great articulation, interchangeable hand parts.
  • Best Pokémon kit: Pikachu Kit – perfect for kids; arms, tail, head, and ears move; no glue or paint needed.
  • Best Dragon Ball Z kit: Final Form Frieza – terrific detail, several hand pieces for posing, fantastic poses.
  • Best Star Trek kit: Polar Lights U.S.S. Discovery – almost 12 inches across, includes display stand, color-molded parts.

Best Bandai Model Kits

Bandai model kits are growing more and more popular and are being seen all over the internet these days.

Some offer pristine attention to detail, while others are known for being great fun for beginners.

Below are some of the top-rated Bandai model kits based on popularity, value, and ease of build.

Most Popular: IBO Gundam Barbatos

[amazon fields=”B07VWMT949″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9686″]

[amazon fields=”B07VWMT949″ value=”button” link_id=”9687″]

The IBO Gundam Barbatos is the most popular Bandai model kit across the board. Builders praise it for its challenging build, function, form, and intricacy. 

This kit uses quality materials, and the construction offers detailed mobility, allowing for many different poses.

While not recommended for beginners or novice builders, seasoned builders love the challenge and attention to detail this kit provides. 

Pros:

  • Intricate detail.
  • Quality materials.
  • Can be built in a variety of poses.

Cons:

  • Expensive price point.
  • Not for beginners.
  • Instructions difficult to understand.

Best Value: Gundam Build Divers #39 ‘00

[amazon fields=”B08BXD7FN2″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9688″]

[amazon fields=”B08BXD7FN2″ value=”button” link_id=”9689″]

For the best in value, I’d recommend the Gundam Build Divers. Relatively inexpensive, this Bandai kit does not disappoint in quality and value.

Customers love the plethora of extra parts it comes with and its ability to make original specifications. 

This model kit doesn’t require paint or glue to assemble, and you can also combine the backpack with beam parts to transform it into Sword form.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Lots of extra parts.
  • Requires no glue or paint.

Cons:

  • No decals included.

Beginner’s Choice: Gundam Revive Bandai HGUC RX-78-2

[amazon fields=”B00WW4F8YA” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9690″]

[amazon fields=”B00WW4F8YA” value=”button” link_id=”9691″]

For novice builders, this kit is the one to try.

It’s been praised not only for its excellent range of articulation but also for the ease at which you can build it and its relatively low price point. 

This HGUC upgrade comes complete with a beam rifle, shield, beam sabers, and bazooka, all made with extraordinary detail.

Its Kusabi gate system also allows the removal of the runner without any noticeable nub marks. Customers also love the numerous gestures and poses you can create.

Pros:

  • Great for beginners.
  • Very inexpensive.
  • Comes with lots of extra parts.

Cons:

  • Small; stands at 5 inches when assembled.
  • Some loose joints.

Bandai Star Wars Model Kits

Star Wars Bandai kits are some of the most popular model kits. Over the past decades, Star Wars has been notoriously known for making prebuilt figurines.

Loyal fans of the franchise love the craft of building their own, especially those with excellent attention to detail and articulation. 

Other great features include an assortment of detailed and easy-to-apply decals and various positioning and posing options.

Below are some of the top Star Wars Bandai model kits.

Star Wars 1/12 Boba Fett

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[amazon fields=”B014BFTMBC” value=”button” link_id=”9693″]

Fans love this Boba Fett model because of its detailed construction and articulation.

It’s relatively easy to paint and assemble, even if you are not the most seasoned Bandai builder.

Build time for the Boba Fett is around one to two hours. The decals are overtly easy to apply and generally stay stuck to the figure.

Pros:

  • Good for beginners.
  • Quality decals.
  • Pieces snap together easily.

Cons:

  • High price point.
  • Does not stand easily in place.

Star Wars All-Terrain Scout Transport Walker

If you’re looking for a Bandai that is a little bit more complex and with lots of options, the Scout Transport Walker is a great choice.

This kit pays brilliant attention to detail, and the parts are also quite easy to snap into place. 

It’s perfect for not only the model enthusiast but also for general modelers.

There are many options for positioning, such as open or closed panels or a moving body and guns. 

Pros:

  • Intricate detail.
  • Parts easily snap into place.
  • Does not require glue.

Cons:

  • Does not stand easily in place.
  • Not for beginners.

Star Wars Character Line 1/12 Darth Vader

[amazon fields=”B00O3RUSUI” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9694″]

[amazon fields=”B00O3RUSUI” value=”button” link_id=”9695″]

The Darth Vader Bandai is accurately detailed with impressive articulation as well.

With avid Bandai builders in mind, it requires painting and gluing parts, which offers added fun.

Once assembled, this kit is easily adjustable and comes with a few different hands and a separate lightsaber.

The kit comes with an assortment of decals, although some more experienced builders recommend painting these details instead.

Pros:

  • Can be built in a variety of poses.
  • Comes with lots of decals.

Cons:

  • Requires glue and painting.
  • Not for beginners.
  • Decals not very detailed.

Bandai Pokémon Model Kits

Pokémon Bandai model kits tend to be a little less intricate and complex but are great for novice or more experienced builders alike and are a lot of fun for children to assemble.

Key features include the ease of how they snap into place and their multiple posing and display options. 

Bandai Pokémon Pikachu Kit

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[amazon fields=”B004XQNF68″ value=”button” link_id=”9697″]

This Pikachu Bandai model kit is a classic for Pokémon lovers everywhere.

Perfect for novice builders, this model kit is assembled easily by children and adults alike.

It is fairly small at just about 3 inches tall and doesn’t come with too many parts. No glue or paint is needed either as pieces snap together easily.

Customers love the easy assembly with photo instructions, even though the instructions are often in Japanese.

Pros:

  • Great for beginners.
  • Fun for young children.
  • Snaps easily into place.

Cons:

  • Not very detailed.
  • Instructions written in Japanese.

Pokémon Plamo 42 Eevee Kit

[amazon fields=”B07GWJW1FB” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9698″]

[amazon fields=”B07GWJW1FB” value=”button” link_id=”9699″]

The Eevee Kit might be the most adorable Pokémon Bandai available. Virtually no tools are needed, and it’s beyond easy to assemble.

The construction of its tail, ears, and legs allows for multiple poses and display options. It also comes with additional face decals to change its facial expressions.

The kit is also praised for its incredible value and quality.

Pros:

  • Great for beginners.
  • Multiple display and posing options.
  • Inexpensive.

Cons:

  • Very small.

Lugia Bandai Spirits Pokémon Model Kit

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[amazon fields=”B089FGF7B4″ value=”button” link_id=”9701″]

The Spirits Bandai kit is one of the most highly recommended.

Excellent for children and adults, this kit is easy to assemble with no glue or paint required.

It also comes with a display stand, perfect for collectors and Bandai enthusiasts.

Pros:

  • No glue or paint required.
  • Includes display stand.
  • Pieces easily snap together.

Cons:

  • Not the most hihg-quality materials.

Bandai Dragon Ball Z Model Kits

Dragon Ball model kits are often comparatively easy to assemble and usually don’t require any glue or paint, although paint can add more detail and fun to the building process!

These Bandai kits feature an array of facial expression decal options and have durable materials. Below are the top three Dragon Ball Z Bandai model kits.

Standard Final Form Frieza Dragon Ball Z Building Kit

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[amazon fields=”B01FDBHK7Q” value=”button” link_id=”9703″]

This figure-rise Frieza Bandai kit is an absolute favorite.

The kit includes different hand pieces for various signature poses and two types of energy weapon effect pieces.

It also comes with a stand and an extra facial expression decal. Perfect for intermediate builders, this kit has beautiful colors and great attention to detail.

Pros:

  • Includes signature poses.
  • Very detailed.
  • Lots of pieces.

Cons:

  • Requires glue and painting.
  • Not for beginners.

Standard Son Goku Ultra Instinct “Dragon Ball Super”

[amazon fields=”B07K3FCRN2″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9704″]

[amazon fields=”B07K3FCRN2″ value=”button” link_id=”9705″]

The figure-rise Ultra Instinct Goku is excellent in quality and articulation.

While painting is not required, some Bandai aficionados love the extra detail painting provides.

No glue is required when assembling, and even children find this kit easy to do as pieces snap into place.

Customers love its remarkable likeness to the Goku character as well as its ability to stand alone on its feet without needing a stand.

Pros:

  • Good for beginners.
  • Can stand upright without a stand.
  • Snaps easily into place.

Cons:

  • Materials not very durable.

Dragon Ball Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta

[amazon fields=”B07TXD9BMW” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9706″]

[amazon fields=”B07TXD9BMW” value=”button” link_id=”9707″]

Loved by Dragon Ball Z fans, this figure-rise Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta stands out in its durability and design.

It comes complete with shouting and smiling facial expression decals, “big bang Kamehameha” pieces, hands pieces, energy effect pieces, and other detailed decals.

Customers love the extra facial expressions together with proper height and body proportions.

Pros:

  • Comes with extra facial expressions.
  • Good for beginners.
  • Snaps easily into place.

Cons:

  • Very expensive.
  • Not very many pieces.

Bandai Star Trek Model Kits

Star Trek model kits are not typically filed under the Bandai category but are a favorite among assembly and builder aficionados.

These kits tend to be more generous in size and usually geared towards intermediate or advanced builders.

They feature lots of intricate and authentic decals, and some even come with decorating guides. Below are the top three Star Trek model kits available.

Polar Lights Star Trek U.S.S. Discovery NCC-1031

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[amazon fields=”B07QGYHXYL” value=”button” link_id=”9709″]

The U.S.S. Discovery model kit will certainly not disappoint. This snap kit comes complete with a display stand and spans as large as a foot wide.

Not suitable for more novice builders, this kit requires patience and attention to detail. It comes with an array of decals for added elements.

Although it is a snap kit, some builders recommend using glue on some areas for added stability.

Pros:

  • Generous in size.
  • Lots of pieces and decals.
  • Very detailed.

Cons:

  • May need glue.
  • Not for beginners.

Polar Lights Star Trek U.S.S. Defiant 1/1000

[amazon fields=”B0734B6VCT” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9710″]

[amazon fields=”B0734B6VCT” value=”button” link_id=”9711″]

The Polar Lights U.S.S. Defiant is one of the most popular assemble kits on the marketplace. Parts fit seamlessly together and create a durable figure.

Novice builders can attempt it, but typically it’s geared towards more intermediate builders.

Pros:

  • Made with durable materials.
  • Snaps easily into place.
  • Inexpensive.

Cons:

  • Not for beginners.

Polar Lights Star Trek Klingon K’t’inga 1/350

[amazon fields=”B07GVHZ7P9″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” link_id=”9712″]

[amazon fields=”B07GVHZ7P9″ value=”button” link_id=”9713″]

The Polar Lights Klingon K’t’inga assembly kit is a clear favorite for Bandai builders. Users love the detailed authenticity and its impressive size of 24 inches.

Paint is required, but it does include a full-color decorating guide for beginners and water-slide decal sheets, which will appeal to assembly enthusiasts.

This kit might run you a little bit more than most, but with its impressive size and intricate model detail, it’s worth every penny.

Pros:

  • Very big; 2 feet wide when assembled.
  • Comes with decorating guide.
  • Intricate detail.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Requires painting.

Related Questions:

In the world of Bandai model kits, the options – and questions – are endless! Here are some frequently asked questions concerning Bandai or assembly model kits.

Do Bandai Models Need Glue?

Bandai model kits don’t always require glue, and if so, they will usually specify. Many models for novice builders tend to snap together easily.

Some more complicated kits might advertise as snap kits as well, but having glue handy just in case is always a good practice.

What Tools Do I Need for Gundam?

Gundam kits’ essential tools include side pliers, a manual model tools file, a penknife, a polishing cloth, a double-sided polished bar, and tweezers.

You can find relatively inexpensive kits available online (I recommend this one) that come with everything you need for Gundam kit building.

Let’s Wrap It Up

Now that you have a clear idea of how varied your options are, all that’s left is for you to choose one (or two) and go for it! 

If you can’t make up your mind, I’d say to get the IBO Gundam Barbados. Tough plastic parts, tons of posing options, and just enough challenge to keep it interesting.

It’s a great model to improve skills and confidence, and did I mention that it looks really cool too?

If Gundam is just not your thing, go with the Dragon Ball Z Final Form Frieza.

Why? Well when you see the amazing energy attack and flying poses you’ll understand.

It’s a fairly easy build, and the included weapons (fire ball and finger laser) put it over the top in my book.

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