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’s plenty of non-powered Gunpla kits out there to build in the meantime!