For real gunpla builders it is BANDAI hands down, but to some, deciding whether buying one BANDAI kit in exchange for three bootleg kits, makes them think twice. But does it really matter which to buy?
If you can buy three bootleg kits why not settle to buy an original BANDAI branded one now that you obviously can afford it? yeah, it looks like it’s hard to exchange bootleg branded Dynames Fighter, Reborns Fighter and Strike Noir Fighter for just one BANDAI branded Dynames Gundam… you get three kits, and one of them is the very same kit as that seemingly pricey BANDAI kit. “very same kit” is a loose phrase in this matter, A bootleg Dynames versus a BANDAI Dynames is a no contest. A BANDAI kit will always have the higher quality, but then again you’ll say “but I’ll get two more bootleg kits”, well I’ll rest that decision to you whether you buy those or buy BANDAI, but let me tell you why your decision matters. It is a good purchase if you buy the BANDAI kit because you are paying the people who are constantly setting the bar up to push the quality standards to higher echelons, if you study the history of BANDAI kits, you will clearly see the progression in quality series after series of plastic kits. The materials used are different than those of the bootleg kits, the details on the molds are so sharply embedded thanks to the funding of better machines to do the job, these kits are processed through rigorous quality control before they are put in their boxes, it takes a lot of money to run the creation of these kits, the support of re-manufacturing older kits, maintenance costs a lot, and to top all that; the effort of the model engineers and the design team from BANDAI that makes BANDAI kits (and the copycat model kits) so cool. So think again, you are giving everyone (fellow gunpla builders, and BANDAI itself) a favor by buying the original product for the best quality to a level where bootleg manufacturers are playing catch up but never gets there (It’s because they don’t the same dedication that BANDAI has for their kits for you to enjoy the experience of this hobby).
But heck, from where I live Gao Gao Model (TT Hongli) that produces these bootleg MS SEED kits costs around 4-5 dollars, if you buy a BANDAI counterpart kit directly from Japan it only costs 7-9 dollars, so that is hardly a 3:1 ratio. The difference in cost is not that high, you just need to have a bit of luck to have a very good shipping price and slip away out of customs duty tax.
I myself still buys bootleg kits, I have some reasons (I give it, there is some acceptable reasons to buy bootleg kits; like when you need a spare parts or you want to challenge your self and try make a bootleg kit look as good as you possibly could or use it as a practice dummy for you painting skill). But I always make sure that I will always have a budget for the real stuff, the BANDAI gunpla kits and so should you.