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!
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 shop! TAMIYA 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
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 Blue, Yongsan 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.
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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!!