I certainly do invite the input of any Gundam fan here, whether die-hard or casual, but the main focus of this thread is on the time when Gundam graced our shores as a regular thing in the late nineties and early 2000's. Back when you could go into any Y'all-Mart, Target, K-Mart or TRU and find the pegs bristling with Mobile Suit goodness.
I recently have been going through my "closet that time forgot, which contains toys that I haven't been able to display yet. Many I haven't seen in a very long time. I pulled out five computer paper boxes full of my Gundams and going through them, I was reminded of why I collected them and how much fun I had building the collection. Despite the bendy "Bandai Putty" that they were mostly made of they were pretty well made and detailed. The PVC used back then was heavier and harder than that used on say, today's GI Joe figures, so they held up remarkably well over time being packed together like sardines in storage. And unlike the toys of today, they came with a TON of optional parts.
It started with Gundam Wing, but gradually encompassed a great many of the generations and time lines in the Gundam series. I found them every bit as addicting as Transformers at the time, and would hunt from store to store looking for a specific 3.5 mobile suit figure.
I always had a preference for the Zeon suits because of the extremely stylized look they had and the menace of that single piercing eye that glared out. Suits like the Zaku 2, the Gouf, and even odder models like the Gogg, Kampher, and the Z-Gok are some of my favorites. I even have some of the larger mobile armors that had fairly decent lights and sounds as well as bonus figures to boot. We got a lot more for our money then for sure. G-Gundam tends to be one of my all time favorites for the sheer amount and diversity of the mobile suits. The designs went from traditional to downright freaky. The large 12 inch figures were practically works of art IMO; the Wing Gundam, Shining Gundam, Dragon, and GP 01 and 02 are fantastic display pieces.
The crowning items in my collection, though, are the huge interactive figures of Gundam rx-78 and Char's red Zaku 2. The battle between the two when you connect them is just awesome to behold.
I stopped collecting Gundam figs when Gundam Seed toys came out, mainly because the Suits didn't really offer anything new over the standard design and I was getting bored with it by then. The series shriveled up and died in America after that. But I'm glad I took the time and money to get what I did back then.
What were your favorite toys, what specific story or time line did you like the toys from best, and what is the status of your collection today? What got you into the franchise back then? Are you still into collecting Gundam now as a result to our brief yet satisfying exposure back then?
Come on! I know my Neo Shifters thread was a flop, but I think THIS is something we can all discuss!