Taking Bandai Hobby Head-on: SMP [Shokugan Modeling Project] 100 Next Evolution

As preluded in a previous post, the SMP [Shokugan Modeling Project] line is reaching its 100th release milestone and along with it are several announcements that would take the brand beyond your conventional candy toy offerings and could be right up the same alley as Bandai Spirits’ Hobby Division model kits.

But before going further, let’s take a quick retrospective of where the line has gone so far. In 2016, Bandai Candy Division started the Super Minipla line, which is an offshoot of their long running Minipla line aimed at creating more premium kits, which generally included better color separation and better articulation, especially for their coverage which mostly included classic transforming and combining super robots, and Super Sentai robots.

And just a year ago, the line was rebranded to SMP [Shogukan Modeling Project] which, as the name suggests, is now a dedicated model kit line, offering a more diverse set of kits that normally won’t get a release from the Hobby Division. S

SMP 100 Next Evolution

As the line reaches its 100th release milestone, they’ve announced SMP 100 Next Evolution, four projects that will kick off at the same time as the aforementioned milestone.

First is set no. 100 which would be SMP Gao God from Gaoranger. As much as I like building these Super Sentai, I wasn’t really a fan of the Gaoranger stuff, so I ultimately skipped on them. But if you’re a fan of the series and would love to complete all the mecha, then you’re in luck as Gao God is finally in the SMP line. For all intents and purposes, this is an extensive retool of SMP Gao King, but no one can deny the regal presence of this design, from the gold and brown colors to the ornate design patterns.

SMP [Shokugan Modeling Project] Gao God
September 2022 / ¥7,000

To coincide with this set, Bandai Candy also decided to reissue other Super Sentai kits from the line, including those from Liveman, Zyuranger, and Kakuranger. So, if you missed those kits, including me who missed King Brachion / Titanus, then this is your chance to pick up a copy.

The next project would further expand their coverage of the Brave Series to include Brave Express Might Gaine. I’ve already expressed my preference towards Kotobukiya’s Brave Series kits, but those who wanted fully transforming and combining kits, then SMP has you covered. They have teased a Might Gaine kit but expect them to release the other robots from the series, including Might Kaiser, among others.

They also reminded us of their SRX kit, which I guess is still in early development phase as no gray prototypes were shown. I would still keep my RIOBOT version, though that has yet to arrive, but if you want something you’ll build yourself, and ultimately costs less, then the SMP version is for you.

Shifting gears to the SMP Alternative Destiny line, we have Live Robo as the next entry following Gunbuster and King Exkaiser. To recall, the SMP Alternative Destiny line basically takes existing designs and give them a different spin, either though the design or functionality. For example, King Exkaiser was stripped of its transformation so for a Super Sentai mecha, there’s a good chance the same would be the case. But then again, the whole design wouldn’t make much sense when you take out the transformation and combination aspect. In any case, they’ve shown CG renders of the design to give you an idea of how it would look different from the original.

This last bit has me quite curious. Model kits were previously limited to machines and mecha, but there’s a great increase in demand for non-mecha kits recently. These include a bunch of Kotobukiya’s products as well as Bandai Spirits’ Figure-rise Standard line. So, it’s no surprise that Bandai Candy wants a piece of that market with the new SMP Kit-Makes-Pose line. I previously thought this was covered by the Shodo/Super Shodo line but those are more of smaller-scale pre-painted figures with a little assembly required and not full-on kits.

As for the tease of what they’re currently planning, we have a silhouette of Rockman EXE, the same character Kotobukiya has also announced kits for recently. It would be interesting to see how this would be different from the rest of the character model kits on the market.


And there you go, that’s a good chunk of what the folks over at Bandai Candy is planning with the SMP line. Overall, I’m interested in what they have here though my biases lean towards their Super Sentai and super robot stuff, especially the SMP Alternative Destiny ones. I just hope more of these kits get regular releases as most of them are Premium Bandai releases and getting those get harder by the day.

They’ve also dropped this promo video so if you don’t want to read everything I just said above, then you can just play this one.

Thoughts?

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