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Monday, June 20, 2016

Otaku Empire Albany NY

Nestled in the 1st floor of Crossgates mall somewhere between the Bestbuy and the Apple store is a new store I heard about from user: u/Mega_Manatee on r/gunpla. I wasn't in Albany NY for long and I didn't have too much time to poke around the store but I did have an opportunity to speak with Adam the owner and to take a few photos.

Before you walk into the space you will notice the two display cabinets on either side of the door. All of the kits contained within were basic straight builds.

Click to enlarge for the full panoramic 

Overall the store isn't very large, by my estimate It's probably a 35 x 50 ft space. More than half of the shelf space was full of Gunpla. Most series were represented and there was a good mix of MG, HG, RG, RE 1/100, SD kits as well as stands and builder parts HD packs. I didn't see any PG kits while I was in store, but apparently the day before the store was crammed so it's entirely possible that they were simply sold out. There also was a shelf full of non-gundam kits like Evangelion and Kamen Rider.

Here are a few things that stood out to me while I was in the store:
  • They had a good variety of models. Super Deformed, High grade, Real Grades, Master Grade, Perfect Grade, No-Grade kits. RE 1/100, stands and Gundam weapon kits. It was also nice to see some Kotobukiya kits on the shelves.
  • The kits in stock are a nice mix of old, new and different series and they included very recent releases. The HG prices are competitive with other brick and mortar stores. On average the HG kits I saw were only about $1-2 more than the prices listed on Amazon. 

  • In the future I hope their staff paints, modifies, etc, models in the display cabinets. Gunpla and modeling in general is a highly creative hobby and I think it's  encouraging to show that aspect of the hobby off. 

  • There's also an online shop associated with the physical store: The website still appears to be under construction and the paid membership plan might need some revision overtime.
  • I hope they consider carrying a limited selection of Tamiya or Mr.Hobby paint in the future. Now that Hobby Town USA in Colonie Central is out of business I'm not sure where or if I can buy model paints in Albany anymore.