Bandai’s First Non-Gundam Real Grade Kit Is Evangelion Unit-01

Pilot the tiny EVA, tiny Shinji.

I have — without consulting any of my superiors, editors, or co-workers — decided that Fanbyte is now a website that talks about Gundam models. Not exclusively, mind you, and not all the time; new Gundam models pop out of Japan faster than lewd hedgehogs pop out of Deviant Art. But when there’s something especially cool or noteworthy on the horizon, you might see it here as time permits. No one told me not to.

After nearly a decade of producing its Real Grade (RG) line of 1/144th scale Gundam model kits, Bandai has announced its first ever non-Gundam Real Grade kit. (Yes, the first Gundam model post on this website is about a Gundam model that isn’t actually a Gundam. Welcome to Fanbyte!) The honor of being Bandai’s first un-Gundam RG kit goes to EVA-01, the flagship mecha from Neon Genesis Evangelion — or as Bandai is calling it, “RG Regular General-Purpose Humanoid Battle Weapon Evangelion Test-Type 01.”

Bandai’s RG EVA-01 kit is based on the Rebuild of Evangelion version of the iconic mech, rather than the EVA-01 you may have recently seen in the original series on Netflix. As with all Real Grade kits, EVA-01 features a highly articulated, posable internal skeleton, onto which dozens of pre-painted pieces snap, forming the model. As can be seen in the production shots below, the kit comes with EVA-01’s trademark Progressive Knife, Pallet Rifle, Umbilical Cable, and Entry Plug, along with 12 different hands (six for each side) for maximum pose customization. There’s also a deluxe version of the kit that includes the EVA’s rocket-propelled transportation sled, along with a seventh set of hands.

EVA-01 is expected to arrive in April or May of next year, depending on the hobby website you’re looking at — I’ve seen pre-orders going for anywhere from $35 to $45 for the standard kit, and $50 to $65 for the deluxe kit. As is usually the case in the world of Gunpla, you can expect these prices to go up once the model kit is actually on the market, provided that you can even find one. Western Gunpla retailers really stress their pre-order campaigns, what with these being enthusiast imports and everything, and while some lower profile kits can be easily acquired without a pre-order, an event kit like this will probably sell out before it’s even released.

Traditional Real Grade kits are 1/144th the size of their “real” counterparts in the Gundam universe, which means that they’re usually about four-and-a-half to six inches tall, as your standard Gundam universe mobile suit clocks in at around 18 meters tall. An EVA is much taller than a Gundam, however — 75 meters tall based on the original sketches — and that would make the finished model over 20 inches high. I can promise you that Bandai is not shipping the world’s largest RG kit ever at this price, so we can expect EVA-01 to be the first Real Grade model to buck the line’s 1:144 standard ratio. It does not appear as though final dimensions for the completed model have been announced.

Bandai has made non-Gundam model kits in the past, but this is the first Real Grade kit to source its mecha from another franchise. This opens up a lot of exciting possibilities, and I hope that Bandai plans to continue broadening its horizons. Dare I dream of owning my own Real Grade Megadeus? Am I willing to be hurt again?