If you’re new to customizing gunpla or doing or just doing some simple kitbash, here’s a personal list of spare parts for gunpla modification and customization. Now some of you may know that I also have a guide for gunpla replacement parts and that’s a separate article dedicated to getting replacement parts for kits meaning the ones that come off the official sprues.
This article is intended as a resource for those looking for spare parts like metal parts, custom bases, LED-enabled weapons and so much more which many in the hobby use to improve their work. This does assume you know which part you’re looking for.
Popular Gunpla Spare Parts for Customization
I assume if you’re reading this article you’re aware of what gunpla customization is and what parts are generally available. If you don’t, let’s breeze thru some terms used in this field:
- Gunpla – refers to Gundam plastic model kits, alternatively plamo is a more general term for plastic model kit
- kitbash – is the act of mixing kit parts and modifying kits to create an original creation. It can be as simple as taking weapons that have the same plugs for a different kit all the way to fully scratch-built parts that mount either permanently or via a custom mounting assembly
- scratch-build/scratch-built – a scratch-build or scratch build is a noun when used in gunpla terms is something made from scratch. It can refer to a complete mecha or just parts
- Custom parts – similar to scratch builds, a custom part may be something completely made from scratch or customized. They can be hand-made, machined or 3D-printed or more but they generally refer to custom-designed parts
- Etching or photo-etched parts – custom detailing materials used to add texture and details to plastic model kits. mostly metal but occassionally can be in plastic
- Resin parts or resin kits – custom-made parts that usually add more detailing or complete assemblies to a kit. As the name suggests, its molded from resin but more advanced garage kits or builders use 3D-printed parts for their conversion kits
- Conversion kit – sets of parts that convert one kit to a certain-looking kit by resin parts as well as other parts including metal parts and sometimes electronics
- Waterslides/Water-slides – refers to decals that are placed on kits using water. Bandai may sometimes include waterslide decals with their premium kits but most commonly include rub-on decals or just plain stickers
I know I’m missing a lot of other terms but as said, this just a primer. This is not meant to a bible of sorts and I some of use other terms differently, let me kow what I’m missing in the comments.
Now you have an idea of what you can buy, here’s my list of go-to stores for gunpla spare parts for Gundam model kit customization:
HobbyLinkJapan may not be the first destination for most advance builders but if you’re just starting out and want some basic tools as well customization parts, HLJ offers a lot of items from some of Japan’s top plastic modelling hobby brands. For gunpla there’s metal parts as well dome stickers. You also photo-etch parts and of course a lot of gunpla. If you’ve been watching a lot of Youtubers, you’ve probably heard of them already and as a long-time customer I have no reservations in HLJ.
Please note that this is not a ranking list so just because I put HLJ here, doesn’t mean they’re the best but if I want to get some Japanese parts, chances are HLJ is the better then the rest of what I’m going to list down because going forward, the rest would be either from China or supplied by a Chinese manufacturer and distributed from somewhere in Asia.
Ebay is perhaps the best source for out-of-circulation gunpla kits as well as Gundam spare parts. You can get full resin conversion kits to obscure parts or even 3D-printed custom designs. The marketplace is large so its best to research first about part you want, what you can expect as well as the average prices. Make sure to check the seller rep before purchasing especially as some resin kits and custom parts can soar past $500 or more.
An alternative to Ebay especially if you prefer the platform, AliExpress features China-based sellers who specializes in custom parts. And by this point I have to say it now, AliExpress is also bootleg kit heaven whether its model kits to die-cast metal build figures. Outside of that other toy line and more hobby stuff can be found here including tools and supplies for scale models even compressors, airbrush and spray booths.
I’ve come to love SamuelDecal over the lockdown years and with all those time I have on hand, once shipping freed up I used the service more. As a specialized model kit store, aside from decals, SamuelDecals sells 3rd-party model kits, as well sa photo-etched parts, metal customization parts, conversion kits and as the name implies, waterslide decals!
I apologize ahead of time for my western readers if I don’t anytime more local for you like Shopee or Lazada. For us here in Southeast Asia, these 2 sites are probably the most reliable and both local and international sellers who may already have a presence above also sells here. The advantage of this site is the large assortment of products available but the reason I kept them here is that unless you’re savvy enough to weed out the fake listings, its really tough to get a read of some of the parts and sellers here.
Final Thoughts on Gundam Spare Parts
I am aware of online sellers advertising their presence but I’m avoiding recommending site I have not personally used. If you do have a testimonial of a source and want to sound off, do share in the comments and if you can share your more details to help other builders, that’d be great.
Anyway, depending on how you customize and your skill level, these may not just be the sources you can go to. I know full well the Japan, South Korean and Hong Kong scene are extremely advanced but Southeast Asia got their game, too unfortunately sourcing parts isn’t as easy as walking up to a hobby store as those are few and far between.
Not included are paints, tools and supplies for scale modelling or building gunpla. But if you’re new and won’t touch a can of Tamiya spray paint yet but are willing to glue in some metal parts or replace those plastic thrusters with metal ones, then I hope this guide can get you started.