One of my only regrets from our visit to Japan last year was that I didn't invest in any sort of Mobile Suit Gundam model during our visit to the the magnificent life-sized version on Odaiba Island.
Bandai's polystyrene Gundam kits are legendary - Bandai has set the standard for modelling since the company's inception in 1950. The initial boom in the popularity of the Gundam series is often attributed to the release of the first generation of Bandai Gunpla (Gundam plastic) models in 1980, and the current lineup of Gundam kits offers a comprehensive range of subjects, scales and levels of complexity and detail.
However, just because I missed my window of opportunity at the Diver City mall, that didn't mean that I couldn't pick up a Gundam model elsewhere. And let's be honest: a model from the Gundam Front store would have been a great souvenir, but in practical terms, adding a thin-walled cardboard box full of fragile plastic parts to one's soft-walled checked luggage when flying back from Japan might not have been the smartest thing to do.
One of my birthday gifts this year was an Amazon™ gift card from my friend Laurie, and while browsing through the various options on the Amazon.ca website, it suddenly occurred to me to check on the availability of Gundam models.
I was gratified to see that there was a wide selection of prices and types, and ordered a Master Grade Version 3 Gundam RX-78-2 at 1/100 scale, which works out to an assembled height of about seven and a half inches (or 18 cm). The Master Grade models have a high level of detail and poseability, but are intended for somewhat experienced modellers - hopefully careful reading of instructions and methodical assembly will see me through. The good news is that the Gunpla models snap together, and the parts are molded in the appropriate colour, so neither glue nor paint is required.*
I'm pleased to say that my order arrived from Japan at least a week earlier than expected. To my astonishment, the box was packaged in nothing more than a layer of bubble wrap under transparent plastic.
I honestly can't decide if this is foolhardy or not. It seems a bit optimistic to so blatantly advertise the contents of a package that will pass through many hands on its way to the receiver, although obviously no one in the supply chain fell prey to temptation. Regardless, I'd like to suggest to the good people at Shop Takam that maybe an opaque wrapping of some sort might be a prudent precaution - plain brown wrapping doesn't have to be restricted to items that are rated R.
* Although I've seen some very interesting Youtube™ videos on how to detail and accentuate panel lines using ink washes!