Thursday, April 4, 2013

What is an "ECOPLA"?

Ok. You go to your local hobby store. You buy a Gundam model kit. "It's kinda strange", you thought. The box is black & white for some reason. Unfortunately, you can't read Japanese. "Maybe it's a limited edition?" is what came to mind while you're staring at the box. But then you thought "If it's a limited edition, why is it this cheap?". It looks just like a normal Gunpla kit (except for the black & white box, that is) and the only thing that you see that's out of place is an "ECOPLA" text/logo that's printed around the box. Hmmm... "Eco.. Pla..?" As you open the box, you're surprised. But not really. This is my first impression when I bought an "ECOPLA" Gundam Model Kit. And if you've bought one in the past, this is probably what your reaction is like as well.

Have you bought a Gunpla that had this logo before?
So, what is an "ECOPLA"?

"ECOPLA" is a contraction of the words "Eco" (most probably from "eco-friendly") and "Plastic" (from "plastic model kit"). ECOPLA is an environmental-friendly version of a Gundam Model Kit.

"How are these Gunplas eco-friendly?"
Well, these Gunplas are molded using recycled materials, made from excess plastic from creating Gundam Plastic Models, like the ones from the sprues/runners.

Ecopla parts are made from excess plastics, like from these sprues.
"So, how are these Gunplas different from the ones that are not eco-friendly?"
Most of the parts are similar. In fact, they're exactly the same when compared to their non-Ecopla counterparts except for one thing. Since these were molded using recycled plastic, Ecopla Model Kits are all molded in black. Which means that you have a lot of painting to do if you want the model kit to be in their proper colors. Nothing else is left out, though. The Construction Manual and the seals that normally comes with a non-Ecopla kit are included in Ecopla kits as well.

Ecopla Model Kits are molded in black.
Closer look at first set of runners.
Closer look at second set of runners.
"I don't want to paint my kit! How can I tell if I'm buying an Ecopla kit?"
Ecopla Kit boxes are printed in black & white. It is similar to its non-Ecopla model kit equivalent in everything else except that it's printed in black & white. Also, if you look at the box, you should see a few "ECOPLA" logos printed on it. Look for it just to be sure.

SD RX-78-2 Gundam Ecopla Model Kit
Ecopla logo printed around the box.
Some are printed at the side of the box. There are 3 logos in total on this kit.
But, really, I don't mind the black mold. I actually like it. It makes it look unique. It also makes the model kit look like a statue. But it's not yet time to open this Gunpla. Consider this an additional Gunpla Preview. Watch out for this Ecopla's Review in the future, where we'll do an in-depth look at the quality of the plastic parts and, hopefully, I can find more Ecopla kits to review. (Like the SD Zaku II, so I can pair it up with this kit!)

SD RX-78-2 Gundam Ecopla Review coming soon!

See you in the next post!

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