UPDATE: It looks like Dragon Momoko has not been shot down as of this posting. The veracity of the "raid" is in question...but the only outcome seems to be the delay of one of their latest kit releases. Was this a legitimate copyright raid and DM was able to evade prosecution somehow? Or was this a publicity stunt to sell kits? It is too early to tell.
The 'About' page on the Dragon Momoko website (www.dragonmomoko.com) used to boast:
Dragon Momoko models are high quality sets that provide the best experience to the builder, without the high budget, which is why Dragon Momoko is highly praised for their high quality models for a low price. Here at DragonMomoko.com, we strive to bring you the latest Gunpla kits as fast as possible. Dragon Momoko kits were almost unattainable in the US, until now.
And for a long time, DM made good on that promise. Dragon Momoko was known as an "alternative supplier" of plastic gundam model kits. They made the kits Bandai wouldn't make, but that the fans craved. Everything was looking up for Dragon Momoko.
But there's that little thing called "copyright law."
You see, DM didn't license the intellectual property from its rightful owner, Nippon Sunrise. With all the money they saved in license fees, they were able to become one of the most advanced designers and producers of mecha models in the world, mastering techniques that Bandai only seldom used (undergating sprues, for example, was a classic DM casting technique which minimized the need to clean nub marks).
But at what cost?
Well, at this cost:
Dragon Momoko appears to have been raided and shut down. The images above show boxes full of soon-to-be-released inventory and an empty factory floor in various states of packing.
Below you can see 7 packaging machines with conveyor belts. For a "small" bootleg operation, DM sure had a lot of hardware!
And check this out: Injection molds upon injection molds:
Each mold could cost up to $50,000 to design and tool. There are about 25 in this picture.
Stay tuned for more updates as this story develops!