Today, roboticised model kits. Tomorrow, the world!
Gunpla — the scale plastic model kits of Gundam mecha that have almost been around as long as the franchise has — are usually just alarmingly detailed plastic models of your favourite anime giant robots.
But this new set (spotted by Anime News Network) being made by Bandai’s BN・Bot brand — a company-wide initiative to inspire interest in STEM fields through Gundam-inspired projects — in collaboration with Japanese robotics companies, will mix model-making with actual electronics and basic programming to make your very own, although incredibly miniature, working mobile suits.
The “Zeonic Technics Robotics and Programming Kit” — named for the tech company that provided the Principality of Zeon with Zaku mobile suits in the original Mobile Suit Gundam — comes with parts to build either the more common Zaku II suit, or the hilarious tread-driven Zaku Tank Cannon, and pack them with batteries and motors to light up and move around.
It’s a very cute way to encourage people to learn basic programming functions and electronics, until someone eventually builds a giant plastic robot of their own to terrorise the world with. Don’t be surprised when it happens!
The Zeonic Technics Robotics and Programming Kit doesn’t have a release date in Japan yet, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer before you begin your own career as a budding mobile suit mechanic. There are plenty of non-powered Gunpla kits out there to build in the meantime!