Hello again! I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a full writeup here, the Youtube channel takes a lot of my time these days. These Gundam Wafer cards are just so good that I had to get a full review out there. Get ready to learn all about an even weirder corner of the trading cards hobby: wafer cards.

Table of Contents

You really should skim through the video to see just how cool these look in person

Wait… Wafer Cards?

Before we jump into Gundam, we need to talk about wafer cards, sometimes also called Shokugan cards, in general, it’s kind of a wild product category with a surprisingly deep history. It all comes down to taxes. Many countries either don’t apply tax, or apply only a small tax to their food items. This is because people need food to live so heavily taxing food is a losing proposition politically. What’s something people don’t need to live? Toys. So that same government will make up their tax revenue on entertainment products, things people want but don’t need.

Now lets say you are a toy producer. Your target audience is usually pretty young, maybe too young to drive and go to the store on their own. They also have very little money, typically only what their parents will give them. So if you sell your toy in a toy store, your target audience is probably only there once or twice a year – trust me, parents do not like taking their kids to toy stores to avoid all the begging and tantrums when they don’t get what they want.

So what do you do? How can you lower the price of your product and also get it on the shelves somewhere that your target audience goes more often? Grocery stores are the answer, parents usually take their children shopping with them unless they have a full time babysitter or nanny. If you can somehow make your product into a food item then you could avoid the higher entertainment taxes and also sell it everywhere since food is sold in so many more places than toys are.

And that’s exactly what the “Wafer Card” category is. It’s both a tax loophole and a wider audience play. In a Japanese grocery store the candy isle will be full of all kinds of toys that are somehow also food. Maybe it’s a model kit that includes some hard candy. Or maybe it’s a gashapon capsule with some gum in it. The biggest category is trading cards, we’re focused on Gundam today but you should know that there are 100s of releases in this category for nearly any franchise you can think of.

Wafer card sets are typically smaller, maybe 50-100 unique cards in the set. They will still have rarity levels and chase cards of course. There is a key difference though, to sell their product as a food item it has to be more food than toy. So each pack typically has only 1 card in it so that the food item is the thing you are buying and the card is just a free add-on. At least, that’s what the companies making these tell their governments.

Gunpla Package Art Cards

Now that you understand what these are, let’s look at two sets that I’ve personally opened, starting with my absolute favorite: Gunpla Package Art. If you’ve ever read the post on how this whole project started, you know that I used to build Gundam model kits, called “Gunpla”. While I loved that hobby and still do, it just isn’t feasible for me to keep and store so many huge kits. I had to sell a bunch and trading cards are my backup hobby – much easier to store.

I miss those boxes though, with the incredible artwork on the front, it was very sad to have to sell or throw out all of those. This set of Gundam wafer cards feels like it was made just for me! Of course it wasn’t, this series has been running for a long time now with 8 full releases – you can see on the pack art above that the packs I bought are from series 8.

That’s what the cards look like, exactly like the box art. That one is from the Sazabi RG model, a kit I actually owned. The card back then has a great writeup on not just the Gundam, but also the model kit and what made it special in the line. Remember that while these look exactly like the model kit boxes – they are in fact small plastic trading cards, much easier to store and collect.

The rarity system in these sets follows the model kits. They start with the HG line as the most common cards, those are also the cheapest kits you can buy with the least detail. Then RG is next, these are like advanced HG kits with tons of detail and full inner structure. Then MG is are the big kits, both HG and RG at the 1/144 scale, the MG kits are at the 1/100 scale – so they are physically larger. Finally there is PG, or perfect grade, these are 1/60 scale and costs hundreds of dollars.

I didn’t pull any PG cards in my box. The box cost me about 60$ all in, which is a little high for this type of product but then again – it’s difficult to find anyone selling these in the west. You can buy a box of Gundam wafer cards from Hobby Link Japan for just 20$ – but then shipping is going to be like 100$. They occasionally show up on Ebay, but usually just the cards – I’ve never seen a full sealed box sold there.

There is a reason they are so tough to source, and it’s that same tax reason we talked about. These are classified as “food” and there are a lot of country-to-country restrictions on importing and exporting food. The food is only labeled for sale in Japan, in the US it would require FDA compliant labeling to even make it through customs – and it does not have that. So, what usually happens is you buy the box but the vendor opens it, removes all the wafers and sends you the cards. That’s why I paid a little more, I wanted to buy from a vendor I could trust.

I ordered my boxes from the Big Player Model Store on AliExpress, I know that sounds like a shady name but they are one of the biggest vendors on that entire site. They carry many other franchises too if you are interested in other cards of this type.

Zodiac Gundam Cards

The other set I bought a box of are the “Zodiac” Gundam cards. This is a set focused on the Chinese Zodiac calendar and animals. Each of the cards features either original artwork or SD Gundam model kits with some element of their Zodiac animal. The artwork on these is simply incredible, I’ve never seen Gundam’s drawn in this style before.

Above are three examples of the zodiac cards. You can see that on the first 2021 card, the SD Gundam has a bull crest on the head. 2021 was the year of the bull. 2022’s card features another original gundam, this time in a tiger motif. Then 2023 features a rabbit on the shield. It’s such an original design and art style – and these cards were much cheaper than the Gunpla set at only 20$ a box shipped from that same Big Player Model Kit vendor. Unfortunately they are sold out at the moment.

There are two other card types in the set. On the left above is the primary chase card and features the actual Zodiac SD Gundam model kit posed. You can buy those kits too if you want, and can find them, they were only released in China. ON the right is a clear PVC card featuring more of that incredible art style, this time the Gundam has a pig face on it’s chest plate – for the year of the pig.


Now you know what wafer cards are generally, and you’ve seen some excellent examples of Gundam wafer cards specifically. Above I’ve included a scan of the wafer tray that is in each pack. This little insert would normally hold the wafer cookie, but like I said the vendor had to remove those before shipping.

The trading card industry is full of weird little corners like this, it’s one of the best parts in my opinion. I’m always learning about new franchises and also entirely new product styles, just like these fantastic Gundam wafer cards.

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