Gundam is a staple in anyone’s childhood that grew up in Asia, of course this included Koreans even though the importing of Japanese entertainment goods was fairly tight due to Korea’s censorship back in the day. With the notion that Japanese anime were too sexual and violent for kids in Korea, a lot of manga were censored and banned.  Despite that, Japanese anime and toys did manage to slip in here over the years and Gundams of course have a special place in Korean boys hearts young and old!

 

Korea has various hobby shops throughout the city (although most are a bit hidden and random finds for me personally) dedicated to all sorts of kits or hobby paints imported from Japan nowadays, but now finally Seoul has become home to one of the best shops for Gundam fans of all ages- GUNDAM BASE located in the i-park mall of Yongsan right in the heart of the Electronics market district.

The electronics market district has started to seem a bit sparse and run down in recent years with the rise of online shopping, but Bandai-Korea has come in to open a fairly large sparkling wing in the mall complete with a few other expensive hobby shops including Tamiya.

Perhaps this is the start of a new ginormous import hobby zone if things go well?? only time will tell!

For now, the shop sure is magnificent-looking with details you would expect in a tokyo location + fully stocked with kits of every size, shape, color, and price tag!

Gotta love the giant Gundam figure on display when you enter~ perfect photo buddy!

Nara grew up with Gundams in the 80′s and 90′s of course, he was a fan of building the little SD Gundam kits and was very excited to see this store when I found the photos online!

I grew up with some gundam, but my cousin was really into it so the kits and anime always floated in and out of my life.  I love the soundtrack from “endless waltz” and love them visually (I take photos with them whenever I can, nothing is cooler than a giant robot)  but forgive me if I can not dive into fine details with what models are available.

Lets just say, they have a LOT…like a WHOLE LOT and prices seemed extremely fair and did not seem to suffer a horrid mark-up considering they are imports.  I knew they made lots of Gundams, but wow… I had no idea this many existed!

 

Aside from the flashy GUNDAM BASE exterior complete with the latest Gundam anime playing on screen, they also had glass cases with all sorts of goodies~ check out these uniforms!  I am not sure if you can buy them since I only saw them in the window though….having one of those jackets would be pretty awesome though *_*

Gundam inspired guitars??? WOAH!!

 

One thing I loved about this location was practically every model for sale or that had been on sale was on display for you to view.  It made picking out models so much easier based on details for the price and seeing just how cool they looked finished VS what was on the box.

Nara was telling me how he felt disappointed countless times when the model in the box did not match up to the flashy cover art. Here at Seoul’s GUNDAM BASE you can see exactly what your gundam will look like once it’s made (correctly) without extra paints added to them.

Nara drools over some of the more detailed Gundam figures with loads of weapons. Robot violence is just so much more fun.

This Gundam even had the little people loading into the cockpit with the ramps and stuff. This model is pretty huge btw!

Under maintenance perhaps? love all the little pieces that open!

 

Suddenly Nara is 10 years old again and I am hit with the “Mommy buy this for me BECAUSE OF REASONS” face

Samurai Gundam? Pretty awesome!

I freaked out over these lady Gundams!!  I really want to buy one, but both styles they had are sold out and the staff said they did not know if/when they would be getting more T_T anyone know anything about these? One is called “nobel gundam” I hope they are not hard to acquire!

Giant foamcore kit! This guy was almost 5 foot I think!

choices~ choices~ choices! The store was filled with all sorts of people~  boys and girls both young and old!

Several aisles dedicated to Nara’s favorites the SD mini Gundams! These are so cute!

Aw!!  I really want some of these kits, they are cute, badass-looking, and have amazing details.

Hey C-3PO~ What are you doing here?

In the back corner they have a nice basic craft area for model supplies if you need some for your kit! Mr. Hobby paints, decals, Hobby Japan books, and I think they had some of the paint markers as well.   Very nice addition to the store.

Next to that they had a few small tables set up for people to put together models if they could not wait to get home!  Lots of younger boys were there that day with Mom’s trying to help them out haha. A nice fun activity space for little kids to enjoy their hobby.

In the back they had another large area of the store just for other (non-gundam) bandai figures~

Most of what this area had seemed to be what the Korean market would want~ namely loads of One Piece and Dragon Ball…. Koreans really love one piece, pretty much anything with a fun and goofy style seems to catch on here a lot.  I also spotted some “Tiger & Bunny” and “Evangelion” figures in small numbers as well.

“Space ship Yamato” model

80% of what they have stocked is One Piece~ but it was nice to see at least some anime-related figures!

Retro robo!

Another great addition to this giant store was B-Base, an area dedicated to card games! These games are something that is really huge in Japan right now (they have these arcades and games just filled with card games for SO many kids shows now, it is insane and hard to explain..some even work with arcade games) so a little of it is starting to overflow into Korea now that they have really open op the floodgates of Japanese imports lately.

If robots are not really your cup of tea I have great news~ attached to the Bandai Gundam Base in Yongsan is a Bandai Toy Factory for even more Japanese toy import goodies!!

The selection is quite nice~ slightly modest compared to Japan of course, but it seems they are mainly selling items that are officially being sold here as brands/lines vs imports (Note the packaging is all in Korean in this shop).  Many of these items you can buy in larger toy stores here in Korea, however they hardly ever have a nice large area like this.

Lots of craft kits and electronic goodies.

If you love magic girl goodies they have several of the magic items from shows like Puricure~ man they make such amazing girls toys nowadays, I want some so bad!!  The Perfume bottle makes a spray noise, swishes liquid, and you can swap out the color chips. Sadly these are not very cheap, about 30,000 ~ 45,000 won so I keep putting off buying one… about to cave though.

Another show they had a lot of products for was Power Rangers~ More robots of course, but also lots of other toys and role-play items for the show.

You can find capsule toys scattered around Korea in small amounts, but the Bandai Toy Factory has a whole wall of them!  Some seem to be a bit newer vs what I normally see around Seoul.  These toys are always so much fun, the details are usually amazing

 I Park mall~ Hobby Shops in Korea

The whole general area around the store has other toy and hobby shops/kiosks~

one worth mentioning right away is the TAMIYA model shopTAMIYA has a lot of car and military models, but they are also quite famous for their model paints!

You can find all sorts of model supplies and very nicely stocked shelves of “TAMIYA Color” paint here!

Tamiya has a large selection of military-related models! Figures, Tanks, Planes etc.  Since i-park mall is right next to the Yongsan Military Base I would assume they get a lot of people into these kinds of models.  Much like Japan, I have noticed Korea has its own share of older Military Otaku as well… may have a lot to do with the required 2 year service all boys have to fulfill.

Tamiya had a whole section for military ships!  Some of the parts on these are so tiny, they must be very hard to build!

Lots of car kits!

Samples of the kits out for you to check out before buying~  I love it when places do that.  Nara remembered having one of these ‘HORIZON’ model as a kid haha this is quite a nostalgic day for him I guess ^^

Boys of all ages really like the Tamiya racing car kits~ these things go SO fast!  If you are a fan of these cars I saw lots of flyers for clubs and racing leagues posted outside the store, nice to see they are coming together!

across the way is a Korean shop “VICTOR” with even more car-related goodies and other “boys toys”

and how about some extra EXTRA fancy toys? These RC planes will set you back a few hundred!

If you enjoy building things and want a unique Korean kit, you should try the vendor selling wooden building models!  They have a lot of traditional Korean buildings and the detail is amazing! Lots of these kits cost 30,000 won or less and make for a fun cultural activity or gift I think.

Aw mini Korean Terminator poster!

If you want a little visual entertainment but to not feel like sitting through an IMAX movie at the Yongsan theater, you can hop on a 4D Rider movie!  I have not tried these in many years, but I always enjoyed them when I was younger ^^

Robot prize machine!

surfs up pikachu! This tank was filled with all sorts of electronic water toys

They also have a few regular toy stores if hobby shops are not your thing! Yay Sylvanian families!!!

Directions to I Park Mall  아이파크몰/ Gundam Base 건담베이스

Hours: 10am – 8pm (Mall hours are 10-10 though)

Yongsan Seoul Location: I Park Mall  서울 용산구 한강로3가 40-999 아이파크몰

Located on the 7th floor with all the other hobby shops

Additional Korea Locations: Daegu and Busan have a Bandai Gundam Base apparently as well

I Park mall 아이파크몰 is now the pink building on the left side of the image with the aqua name label.

I Park mall is one of the larger buildings in the Yongsan Electronics area and fairly easy to find.  If you need lengthy directions to the general area please check out my related post HERE for alternative directions at the bottom.

For those of you already familiar with Seoul’s subway, you will be happy to know you can use 3 different metro stations to get to this shopping center! Yongsan Station Line #1 Dark BlueYongsan Station on the Aqua Jungang Central Line, and Shinyongsan Station on the Blue Line #4

 

This building is very large and clearly labeled “I-Park” with a large orange E-mart sign on it as well. The IMAX theater for Yongsan is also located in this building, so if you are confused someone should easily be able to point you in the right direction.

 ♥ Links ♥

Gundam Base Korea Official Site

Gundam Base Korea Official Facebook

I Park Mall Official Site

Do you like Gundams? Did you grow up with them?  Do you enjoy model kits of any kind? Ever visit Gundam Base in Yongsan? Comment below and share with everyone!!

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19 Responses to “I Park Mall’s Bandai Gundam Base & Hobby Shops (Yongsan)”

  • Such an awesome store,I love gundam so much! I used to have 3 kits that I had put together but… somehow my son got ahold of them and DESTROYED them.That’s what I get for leaving anything around a 2 yr old. So sad… I guess I’ll just have to get some new ones to put together!

  • Wow !! Amazing !! I wish I was there !!!! ♥♥

  • Such a huge mall of gundam and anime goodies! I especially love the wooden building models (house is overflowing with them) XD Thank you for featuring this great place and giving directions~!

    With love,
    Amaya

  • Custom avatar Cara:

    Aaaah, I love this! I grew up building models from the Wing series, but I love seeing the others. The lady gundam is from the G Gundam series which is… hilariously terrible. But at least the Nobel Gundam is cute! It’s on Amazon, so I don’t think acquiring one would be too hard.

  • Impressive how many Gundam models!! my boyfriend loves and was fascinated with this post, so thank you very much for sharing all this with us! <3
    That desire to visit this site!

    xoxo

  • Custom avatar Shin:

    Hi Elle! Thank you for sharing this informative post! Would love to visit there with my boyfriend if I travel to Seoul next time! May I know what’s the price range for the gundam model kits there? For example, this picture you took: http://cuteinkorea.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/gundamyongsan14.jpg

    Thank you in advance!

    • Custom avatar Shin:

      To clarify, I meant the price of strike rogue (red box) and 00 Raiser (white box at bottom)!

    • Elle:

      You are very welcome ;) sorry, as I said in the post I do not collect so I can not say much about the prices since they ranged a lot! Some cost 20,000- 40,000 for the snap together kits while others cost way more. It is an official Bandai store though, so the prices will be Bandai’s prices and should be typical I would assume. Everything seemed to be priced what it should be anyway… Not dirt cheap, but not raised up silly high due to being an import. Hope that helps!

      Enjoy Gundam base Korea and if you have any thoughts about the selection or pricing you wosh to share as collectors please do come back and comment! I am sure others will be happy for more info!♥

      • Custom avatar Shin:

        Hi Elle, no worries! Thank you for the info once again! Just want to know how the pricing is like over there~ Glad it’s of reasonable price. From what I know, they have many different models of different sizes so the price varies, some can be 20,000-40,000, some can go up to 80,000-120,000? Depends on the size and model~ :)

  • Custom avatar John:

    I saw Gundam Nobell at 박서방 near Anyang Station. Their number is 031-466-0031. The guy that runs it doesn’t speak English.

    • Elle:

      aw thank you John! I went back to Gundam base last month and got her, I will be updating the post as soon as I get her assembled :D

  • Custom avatar Flit:

    Not sure if you would know, (I’m hoping to visit this store in the next few days after stumbling upon its existence while doing a google search) but does the store accept American debit cards Or will I have to get some money exchanged?

    • Elle:

      You know, I never really tried! I think you can use any credit/debit card with visa or mastercard in korea at shops like this though! I would give it a try (please do let us know if it works) if not you can visit almost any atm in that mall and withdraw money from a usa account complete with english instructions. Thankfully atms in korea are very foreigner friendly vs the ones in japan. Im about 80% sure you can just use your card as-is though, pretty sure I have done it before and I know for a fact I have done it in japan.

      • Custom avatar Flit:

        Well I wasn’t able to go this last week, but I plan to sometime soon. I’ll report back with a yes or a no whenever I try it out!

  • Custom avatar Stan Tran:

    Thanks for posting this, It was helpful last June when I was in Seoul and went crazy at the gundam base. I recently got back into Tamiya Slot cars and will be back in Seoul in June again. I was wondering if you or your Fiance know of where they have the slot car racing or sell more parts?

    thanks

    • Elle:

      My pleasure! So glad you got to visit :) I believe they have a tamiya shop right around the base that sells tamiya paints and kits including the car ones ( plus they have a racing club if I remember right) did you not see it?? I think its on the same floor as gundam base. Another area worth looking would be the “technomart” mall located at Sadang, I recall them having lots of hobby shops on one of the floors, however it was a quiet area so im not sure if it is still there since I have not been in a year :)

  • Custom avatar Pat:

    Hi! since I found this while googling for a Gundam shop in Seoul I thought I would write here that there recently has opened a new Gundam Base (side6) right inside Gangnam station. Look for the big Gundam posters, and then the shop is at the side, in to a smaller “alley”. It’s well camouflaged (with camouflage net..) so hard to miss.

    • Elle:

      Oh wow I had no idea! Thanks so much for telling me, I will try to snap some photos when I go back to Seoul this fall to update the info :D is it a full size gundam station or just a smaller shop with popular kits? Thank you :)

      • Custom avatar Pat:

        It’s smaller than the one in Yongsan, but I couldn’t see any major difference in the variety of kits, offers etc. It does however look waaay cooler.

        Oh, they close at 8.30PM, so if you work ‘normal’ Korean hours it could be hard to make it. If you can’t find it, find exit 11, then walk in the opposite direction towards line 2 and you’ll see it.

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