On the founding of GunplaPrices.com

When I was about 8 years old, I vividly remember watching Gundam Wing on television as soon as I got back home from elementary school. As a child, I didn’t really get the story. The political aspects of the plot went over my head. And so did the moral implications of the use of child soldiers. It didn’t really help either that due to other important obligations (read: playing soccer with other kids), I missed several episodes in a row every now and then.

So, what caught my attention back then? Mainly the mecha designs and battles. In my opinion, the Gundam Wing designs are still one of the best since then. And although the animation may not always be that fluid compared to todays standards, a recent rewatch made me think that it wasn’t all that bad.

Anyhow, about 15 years later I got back into watching anime. With the internet, I could watch all Gundam series that had aired up to that point. This includes Gundam Seed and Gundam 00, the latter of which has also gained a special place in my heart at that point. Somehow, the whole Gunpla phenomenon went right past me though.

That is, until about the launch of the first season of the Witch from Mercury. After another long span without anime, I signed up for Crunchy Roll. And before watching the Witch from Mercury, I had to give both Gundam 00 and Gundam Wing another go. About that time, I got an ad on a random website for a high grade Gundam Wing kit.

Now, some friends of me had been into Warhammer in the past. I tried to join them in this hobby, but at that point in my life I was impatient to say the least. Especially the painting part was really tedious to me, so I quit soon after. However, I noticed that the Gunpla kits were already painted and ready to go. I realized that painting the kits would probably make them look even better, but at least I could get started this way.

Disregarding any further comparison, mainly because the price of that specific kit wasn’t that high, I went ahead and bought the kit. Having built my first one, I immediately got addicted to this whole Gunpla thing. Engaged in a search for my next kits to buy, I noticed that many websites has different models. And prices differed significantly for some kits. For a kit with an average price of €30, prices ranged from €25 to €45. And since the number of websites was relatively high for such a niche market, this took a lot of time every time I wanted to buy a new kit.

And thus, the idea for GunplaPrices.com was born. I had dabbled in WordPress some 10 years earlier, but now I had to build a whole new website from scratch. And I had some Python experience beforehand, but none related to scraping price and product data across a multitude of different websites. In other words, it hasn’t been an easy journey, but definitely an enjoyable one. And I have learnt tons of new things ranging from WordPress, various plugins, website hosting, and transforming the data scraped from the web into a curated dataset.

The downside of this is that the website is not always as perfect as it might be, especially in terms of fancy graphics. Nonetheless, my hopes are that my fellow Gunpla enthusiasts will find as much use in this website as I do for myself. And be sure to reach out if you have any questions or suggestions. For now, thanks for reading and until the next blog!