Gundam models are model kits depicting the vehicles and characters of the fictional Gundam universe by Bandai. These kits have become popular among mecha anime fans and model enthusiasts in Japan and in other nearby Asian countries since the 1980s. Gundam modeling spread in the 1990s with North America and Europe being exposed to Gundam through television, video and manga. Gundam models, as well as the hobby of assembling and painting them, is known in Japan as Gunpla (ガンプラ Ganpura), a portmanteau of "Gundam plastic model", plastic being the most common material for the retail kits.