A Beginner’s Guide to Anime Garage Kits – For Collectors & Crafters Alike

Anime merchandise can get expensive, especially for collectors who love scale figures. These can range from around $25 for the smaller, chibi-like Nendoroid-style figures from Good Smile to the more elaborate figures that sell for hundreds.

Searching on Amazon Japan yields results that go even further, with some selling for over $2,000. These prices can put a pretty big dent in the pocket of someone who wants to collect these figures, but there is a (somewhat) cheaper option: garage kits. Whether one's anime of choice is One Piece, Sailor Moon or Gundam, there's a garage kit for everyone's favorite character.

Garage kits are resin figures that buyers paint and assemble themselves. The benefit of doing this is that the figures can be cheaper if they're bought as a kit rather than preassembled. For example, this figure from CardCaptor Sakura is about $250 preassembled and painted on Amazon Japan -- but it can be purchased as a garage kit on E2046 for around $77. This isn't the case for all figures, as some garage kits can go for hundreds of dollars as well, but there are a wide variety available at affordable prices.

These types of kits are fairly popular among Japanese anime fans, with Gundam models known as Gunpla being the best-known. While the Gundam models are officially produced by Bandai, the anime figures were independently produced for years until the hobby became more popular. Conventions used to be the only place to buy these kits, but over time professional companies began producing their own resin kits. Many fans still like to distinguish the difference by referring to the unofficial kits as "garage kits" and the professionally-made ones as "resin kits," but the terms are interchangeable and refer to the same thing in a looser sense.

Sukima Sngyo painting eyes on Gura

There are several YouTube channels that primarily focus on garage kits, from process videos to tips for beginners. Sukima Sangyo mainly focuses on the former, though there are a few tutorials available. Their most recent assembly process video featured a figure of popular VTuber Gawr Gura. Another channel, Leona's Workshop, not only produces process videos but offers tips for those looking to get into the hobby. Their most recent video highlights the benefits of 3D printing and features Attack on Titan protagonist Eren Yaeger.

Thanks to more easily accessible information, it's easier now than it was 10 years ago to get into the garage kit hobby. Sites like E2046 and GKModel provide options for enthusiasts to purchase these kits and even pre-order new ones, while 3D printing allows more people to have access to a single type of model.

Resin kits are normally sold in limited quantities due to the time and materials it takes to produce. 3D printing, however, allows garage kits to be more accessible and skips the months it takes for a single model to be shipped to the buyer. While there are benefits and downsides to both methods, as long as fans are enjoying the hobby, there's no wrong way to get a kit and start creating.

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