The history of Universal Models Limited (UML) dates back to 1974 when the company started as a hobby store in Hong Kong. The original UML shop featured an extensive range of plastic kit sets from all over the globe, and it was a real hit with local modelers. UML soon expanded into the wholesale arena, and from 1976 it became the exclusive distributor for various model kit manufacturers in Hong Kong.
To promote modeling as a hobby in the territory, the popular magazine Detail Modeling was first published in 1980. This venture into publishing was organized under the Concord Publications Company brand, which before long had expanded into a leading military book publisher. In 1981 UML launched Gundam on the Hong Kong stage, an immensely popular product line to this day. In 1982 UML also introduced the Japanese sensation Macross.
Building on its success in Hong Kong, UML opened a subsidiary in the USA in 1984 to market kits throughout the well-established North American market. A major milestone occurred in 1987 when Dragon Models Limited (DML) was formed. Designing and manufacturing its own plastic model kits, Dragon rapidly attracted worldwide attention for the quality of its products. Foreseeing a vast market in China as that country opened up, UML set up a distribution facility in Shanghai in 1994.
UML proceeded to expand its business into the sphere of toys and collectibles. In fact, the company now occupies the coveted position of being Hong Kong's biggest retailer of hobby products, and it is an exclusive distributor for many big names in the hobby market. In 2005 UML expanded the traditional boundaries of the doll market when it launched the Mimo brand. This trendy line for girls revolves around two fashionable characters, Mimo and Momo, and they received an exuberant response all over the world.
2011 witnessed another milestone as Dragon teamed up with Disney and Marvel as a licensed partner. The result has been hugely popular collectible Play Buddies sets featuring Disney characters and 1/9 Action Hero Vignette movie figures from Marvel and Warner Bros. The Hong Kong Heritage Collection (1/18 scale play sets that recreate public housing flats and furniture) was introduced in 2012. These sets brought childhood nostalgia to the fore for many former public-housing tenants.
Since beginning in 1974, UML is proud to have today become Hong Kong's largest hobby and toy chain. Stocking a scintillating range of plastic models, action figures, die-cast collectibles, licensed products and collectible toys, UML has something for everyone!