This isn’t exactly a conventional entry in our “what’s the deal” series, but we felt that all the insanity warranted a thorough explanation.
You, much like us, are probably wondering what exactly is happening and why this one model kit is as hard to get as the Playstation 5 and RTX 3080. Easy explanation, 2020 is punishment for something we all must have done in our past lives. A more difficult answer requires getting into some business background:
Every major PG release going back through our decade in business has gone a very specific and functional way. We anticipate demand for a kit, order an amount that we think will carry us through 3-6 months post-release, and then list half of that quantity for preorder and immediate shipment to customers up front. This way, in the event of any quantity cuts, no one who preordered early misses out.
Part of why this has worked so well over the years is that Bandai has been able to produce enough units of every major release to meet demand. After all, why wouldn’t you produce thousands (or tens of thousands) of units of the highest-demand item of the entire calendar year? In the past we have seen dips in production numbers for other kits specifically so those resources could be allocated to producing the Next Big Thing.
When Bandai announced the PG Unleashed, we could tell the energy was a little bit different. People were worried about whether it was limited like a P-Bandai kit and we were barraged with questions about when it would be available for order from minute zero. Given that the MGEX Unicorn is a kit at a similar price point with similar lighting gimmicks requiring special manufacturing processes, we shaped our expectations off the manufacturing allocations for that kit. We expected we would get between 50-70% of what we ordered up front.
We also thought we had our bases covered by giving 24 hours of advance notice and opening orders on a Saturday afternoon so that everyone would have their shot. (In the past we’ve just sent out a newsletter and posted on social media “it’s live!” and nothing has ever gone wrong). In addition, we listed an EXTREMELY conservative number for preorder—for reference, we listed less than half of what we ended up selling of either the PG Exia or PG Unicorn from their respective first runs throughout their entire preorder period of 3-4 months.
Turns out we missed the mark! After a literally website-destroying amount of traffic took us down for 90 minutes, the entirety of what we listed was gone in less than 20 minutes (remember—this is a number that would have taken the PG Unicorn or PG Exia two months to sell out of). We promptly organized all the orders into the order in which they were received and numbered each invoice according to priority that way.
Just yesterday, we received notice that the number we sold was STILL too much to be fulfilled in the initial January shipment to the NA market. The number we were allocated from the January shipment was less than 5% of the total number we were able to order. We have never seen or experienced a quantity cut this severe for a marquee item—or ANY item—in our company’s history. As a result, we had to move some orders placed on Saturday back to the April production run. We have already reached out to everyone whose order was affected, but we wanted to write this here to more thoroughly provide additional transparency as to how exactly this ended up happening.
In the past, we have always—with the one exception of the G40 earlier this year—received the full amount of kits we ordered from Bandai. From what we can tell, Bandai is operating at severe production capacity limitations through the end of this year, but they still decided to go ahead with this release as if it would be available "in December." To be completely candid, we feel very strongly a more reasonable course of action in this case would have been to delay the PG to a full release in April and save all of the madness in the US market, especially since Bandai has already delayed two model kits this year. If we could go back and do this over, we simply would not have listed any from the initial production run. We know that this has been a completely awful situation from customers to retailers and even distributors. Every level of the supply chain has been negatively affected and we are sorry that we allowed it to reach our customers as well.
We want you to know that we take our responsibility to get these items to you extremely seriously. It is always our mission to be efficient, professional, and transparent in our processes at every step of the way, and we sincerely apologize for the confusion with this item and any inconvenience it caused. Rest assured all additional preorders will be fulfilled in April/May as soon as the kit gets to us the second time around!
To everyone who is mad about the way this shook out, we completely understand your frustration. All of us who work here have been customers and gone through hell for concert tickets or limited edition items and wanted to put our heads through a wall when we missed out. We're on the other side of it now, and let us tell you it is just as horrible. This was an immense learning experience that has definitely re-shaped the way we will take preorders for any Bandai model kits in the foreseeable future.
We will be taking additional preorders for the April manufacturing run, but we will not do so until everything has been completely squared away with the first round of preorders. To everyone who has been patient and gracious with all these turns of events, we cannot thank you enough. If 2020 has taught us anything it's that patience is a dying virtue and it gives us strength to see that it's alive and well in so many of our customers. If you did not get an email and want to check where your order is in line, feel free to send us your order number and we'll be happy to look into it for you. As always, thank you for your continued support of Gundam Planet. We look forward to finally being able to build this kit with you once we’ve fulfilled every customer order next year!