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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:27 pm 
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Bald Wizard
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Location: Miami, FL
I've decided to place this thread here rather than in Feedback so that it gets more exposure with the relevant audiences. Like the Mailbag drop box thread, this thread is designed to serve as an outlet for people to post model/toy reviews section on MAHQ. Now, just because your review is posted here, it doesn't automatically mean that it will show up on MAHQ. The rules are the same as what's on the main site.

MAHQ wrote:
1. All reviews must include the required technical information (# of parts, release date, price, gimmicks, scale, plastic colors).
2. All reviews must be broken into the following categories: introduction, head, torso, arms, legs, weapons/accessories, conclusion and a rating on the 5 star scale.
3. Please spell check all reviews and use proper grammar. Additionally, all reviews should use American English (ie 'color' not 'colour').
4. Pictures are not necessary, but they are appreciated. If you're going to take pictures, at least take 1 large one of the suit facing forward. You may also submit additional pictures focusing on the body parts and weapons. The height and width of pictures cannot exceed 400 pixels. You can also submit pictures for reviews that don't have them, or for reviews with low quality pictures.
5. Alternate angles are acceptable if you feel you can cover something not covered in the original review, or if you have a radically different opinion on a review. For an alternate angle, please only cover aspects not already covered.
6. When submitting, please specify what name you would like to be credited as, as well as whether or not you wish your e-mail address to be made public.


The only difference between submitting via e-mail is the pictures. If you're including pictures with your review, please link the pictures at the bottom of your review (with URL rather than IMG tags) and clearly label them as "zetahead" or "striketorso" as applicable. Right now, obviously, the focus is on anything Gundam. I would like to build up reviews for a Macross section, so right now those are the only non-Gundam model reviews that should be posted in this thread. Good luck.

_________________
"What did catch my eye, however, was a podcast named Gundamn!. At first I thought it was a podcast about firearms and [rednecks] discussing their collection, but after looking at the episode titles I was sold." - Xhavalor

PSN: amuromsz006
3DS: 1177-6671-6035


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 2:05 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Well, I figure I'll kick off the thread, then. I hope I'm submitting it correctly this way. Pictures will come later.

Also: If we're planning on multiple submissions over time, would we do separate posts for each, or put them all in one post?


General and Technical Data
Series: Gundam SEED: STARGAZER High Grade 1/144
Title: GAT-X105E Strike Noir Gundam
Release Date: 06/2006
Suggested Retail Price: ¥ 1500
No. of Parts: 92 PS + 51 ABS + 2 transparent beams + wire + polycaps + stickers
Plastic colors: black, light gray, medium gray, red, blue gray, yellow
Gimmicks: Noir Striker, Striker Pack compatibility

Introduction
To kick off the STARGAZER line, Bandai released a model of the Strike Noir, an upgrade of the original Strike design. Unlike its brethren in Phantom Pain, this particular model isn't a remold in any way; it's a completely new design, and a fantastic one at that.

Head
This is standard construction of six pieces. The V-fin itself is molded entirely in yellow with a separate piece for the red center, but I personally think it looks a bit better this way; it helps break up the kit's overall monotonous color scheme. The head's kind of slim while the V-fin is a bit large, resulting in a pretty mean appearance. Articulation is pretty decent, although the chin bumps into the collar unless the head is raised, and the long extension of the back piece kind of impedes upward movement.

Torso
The torso's construction is pretty standard, too, with a central lower torso that the upper torso snaps onto. Fortunately enough, the gray frame pieces are separate parts, unlike the sticker-covered nightmares of the original Strike mold. There are no shoulder pegs this time around; instead, like on the Akatsuki, there's an ABS cavity where each peg would be, with a little dumb-bell shaped piece popping in to provide arm attachment. The lower torso is red with a gray sticker (bleagh) and there are some yellow vents in the chest, so things aren't too boring color-wise.

The hips are pretty nice, with two ball-jointed front skirt pieces and a swiveling joint for more dynamic leg poses. When this is coupled with the fairly limitless waist range, you can pull off some pretty fantastic poses. The side skirts have indentations for mounting the Shorty beam rifles and the bottom of the hips has a hole for base-mounting.

Arms
The arms are probably the best part of this kit. The ball-jointed shoulders allow for over-the-chest poses, so that two-handed anti-ship sword pose can be pulled off effortlessly. Moving the arms up from the sides takes some getting used to because they don't simply pivot, but also change elevation; the shoulder armor needs to be repositioned sometimes to avoid looking strange, but it ultimately results in some dynamic posing. Those shoulder thrusters are removable, allowing for complete Striker Pack compatibility.

You'll love the wrists on this thing. Gone are those circular polycaps, replaced by rectangular ABS blocks that swivel up and down. As the hands have some extended pegs, you can either push them flush against these blocks (sacrificing articulation), or you can pull them out and increase the hands' ranges.

There are three pairs of hands: one pair is open, one is closed, and one has the index fingers extended. The open hands look fantastic--the fingers are molded just so that they can be used for grabbing poses or throwing poses. Unfortunately, there are only four covers for the hands, meaning the trigger hands and the closed hands have to share. It's not a big deal, but pray you don't lose one of those covers.

Legs
The legs get the job done, really; they're pretty much basic construction with some adequate flexibility. They've certainly got the most detail on them, with some vents and panel lines in the lower legs and some thruster detail in the soles of the feet. While they look kind of short and squat in the lineart, that isn't the case here; like the rest of the kit, they're long and slim, and they look fantastic (especially the feet, which, compared to the Strike's, make the older model look like it's wearing clogs).

Weapons/Accessories
M8F-SB1 "Shorty" beam rifles: These beam pistols are two-piece blue gray affairs that look pretty decent, with plenty of detail that's washed out by the plastic color. Go nuts paneling these things. They're kind of loose in the trigger hands, though, and be careful mounting them on the hips because a wrong look will send 'em to the ground.

EQS1358 rocket anchor: Now this is neat. While you only get one length of wire and one anchor tip, you've got seven different places to mount it (two in the hands, two per feet, and one on the Noir Striker). It looks really fantastic in the hands, so you can reproduce the smashing of the BuCUE Hounds from the second episode.

AQM/E-X09S Noir Striker: This mounts the railguns and holds the beam swords when they're not in use. While the main piece is a pretty simple little block of plastic and polycaps, the wings are a bit more complex and attach by way of two ABS arms. The entire wings can swivel outwards on these arms, or you can just move the weapon-bearing parts of the wings on an internal ABS joint. Thanks to all of the joints and moving parts, though, the wings can be a bit difficult to get posed right, and they sometimes like to pull off of the ABS arms.

MR-Q10 beam swords: These are nice and long, with V-shaped beam blades that snap onto two little projections. Unlike the Sword Impulse, you won't have the blades fighting to get off or bending ever so slightly, and the result is pretty good. The cylindrical handles mean you might be fighting to pose with them at times, but at least they don't sag backwards on the handle swivel.

MAU-M3E4 railguns: By way of ABS arms these thing attach to the Noir's wings, and they've got decent flexibility. You can pretty much point them anywhere, and some little tabs maxe certain they "lock" in place when folded away.

Striker Pack compatibility: Of course, being a Strike design, this kit can interact with any of the Striker Packs out there. However, due to some design differences, you're going to encounter some problems here and there. The Aile and IWSP packs inhibit shoulder motion some, while the Sword shoulder piece needs to be modified to match the regular shoulder due to the Noir's slimmer shoulder pieces; however, the Launcher and Shiranui packs work just fine.

The standard SEED stand is included, allowing for a huge amount of posing options.

Conclusion
This is the first STARGAZER kit and the first of the line's original molds. It looks utterly fantastic with its long, thin design and sharp lines, especially when put next to the original Strike (which looks rather chunky by comparison). A little innovation in joints has gone a long way, and combined with some greats hands, results in plenty of posing potential. The color scheme is kind of monotonous, though, being made up mostly grays and black, but that's what paint was made for.

Of all the 1/144 HG SEED line, this definately ranks at the top, with a great look and some great flexibility.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:11 am 
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Bald Wizard
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A separate post for each, since these reviews can be long. When you're going to add pictures, just edit your original post, rather than making a new one.

_________________
"What did catch my eye, however, was a podcast named Gundamn!. At first I thought it was a podcast about firearms and [rednecks] discussing their collection, but after looking at the episode titles I was sold." - Xhavalor

PSN: amuromsz006
3DS: 1177-6671-6035


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:37 am 
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Mecha Flunky

Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:35 am
Posts: 10
I've been lurking on MAHQ and the forums for a while, but I e-mailed this to Chris back in February and haven't heard anything about it since. It's fairly long, but it covers a surprisingly large kit: two MG-size models, two figures and literally dozens of accessory parts. Not sure if it got rejected for the size, but it can certainly be chopped down to taste.



Name: Gundam Collection GP03 vs. Neue Ziel (Stardust Memory Final Stage)
Scale: 1/400
Series: Gundam 0083
Parts: 45 runners (no polycaps) + 2 loose Dendrobium weapons containers + 4 wires + 1 decal sheet (all adhesive) + 1 1/400 AGX-04 figure + 1 1/400 GP03S figure + 12 extra GP03S arms/weapons
Plastic colors: Dark sea-green, white, off-white, gray, black, red, blue
Release date: November 2006
MSRP: 8500 yen
Gimmicks:
General: pre-painted parts, 1/400 GP03S and AGX-04 figures with stands, display bases for mobile armors with partial equipment storage, limited-edition Dendrobium/Neue Ziel sketchbook
Neue Ziel: deployable sub-arms with beam sabers, detachable forearms with wires for all-range attack
Dendrobium: docking slot for GP03S figure, fully operable 16-silo weapon containers, deployable beam-saber arms, holding clip to impale AGX-04 on main cannon

Introduction
I must begin with a confession: in 15 years of collecting Gundam models I’ve never bought anything outside the 1/100 scale established by my first kit, an elderly HG F90 II with its foil stickers now peeling all over the place. Nothing I’ve seen in other scales has even slightly tempted me, even slightly thrown my fixation on consistency into question—nothing save Gundam 0083’s iconic GP03 Dendrobium. The 1/144 HGUC release came and went, but I couldn’t afford the $400 it would have taken to ship one Stateside let alone a cubic meter of display space in my room; the 1/550 HGM version was a better size, but at $20 clearly could not do justice to the GP03. Instead of buying either, I watched the Gunpla headlines, laughed at the unveiling of the tiny 1/400 Gundam Collection line, couldn’t help but think of its new White Base as a winged dollhouse...but just before Christmas I saw some photos of both the Dendrobium and its main opponent in 0083, the AMX-002 Neue Ziel, beautifully rendered as a single Gundam Collection release. I ordered the kit on sight and received it in a massive box (its bottom is the backdrop for most of my photos) about two weeks later. There were numerous parts within, of course, but the runner count is deceptively high: most are half the size or less of an MG runner, and contain as few as two parts with about half a dozen being the norm. If you’re reading this as a fellow Dendrobium fan, I’m sure you’re breathless with anticipation, so I’ll start where you want me to: the Neue Ziel. [ducks]

Neue Ziel (body)
The Neue Ziel comes molded in a fairly anime-accurate shade of dark sea-green, with gray and red accents but very few panel lines pre-painted. The three main sets of hull appendages (shoulder armor, binders, fuel tanks) have limited articulation and can flex enough to suggest maneuvering without radically altering the MA’s fundamental T-shape. The head, an elongated design oddly reminiscent of an Alien warrior, is mounted on a ball joint but has very little freedom of motion due to the extensive collar built around it. Two long plates trail behind the hull from the chest armor, above an aft-facing antenna molded in rubberized material to prevent breakage; both of these parts were slightly warped in my kit, but can likely be bent back into shape with careful application of heat. A single adhesive decal, an elegant cursive-D Delaz Fleet logo, is intended for a point on the Ziel’s left shoulder disturbed by raised hull detail, so I applied mine to a smoother and more central point on the tail binder instead.

Neue Ziel (weapons/display)
Regrettably, most of the Neue Ziel’s formidable arsenal is molded into the hull as mega-particle cannon and missile ports, leaving only the melee weaponry to display any movable parts. Bandai does a decent but imperfect job here, with the heavy claw arms’ ball-jointed shoulders largely limited to sideways motion by the surrounding armor and most of the arms’ practical range coming from the elbows. Two pairs of interchangeable wires, one long and one short, allow the forearms to be launched from the elbows for an all-range attack...but the forearms are too heavy for the wires and don’t have their own stands like the MG Zeong’s, rendering the pose extremely delicate.

The four beam-saber sub-arms are also a mixed success, the majority of their length folding double and stowing under the shoulder armor but any attack pose relying on the manual addition of their detachable spiked forearms. That said, the assembled sub-arms can straighten and/or twist through 180 degrees, bringing any combination of saber blades to bear fore or aft of the Neue Ziel’s hull; this ability to simultaneously threaten an entire sphere around itself makes for a sexy display piece.

All four forearms and their wonderfully molded beam-saber blades (you’ll never look at an MG blade the same way again) can be stowed beneath the Neue Ziel’s display base, which mates with the hollow tip of the tail binder. The base will also hold the claw arms’ claws behind the fixed-angle pedestal to allow a cruising pose, but making a beast like this look so non-violent borders on blasphemy.

GP03 Orchis (body)
Most of the Orchis’ body is an extremely sleek rocket sled, with the massive mega beam cannon and I-field generator slung from its sides and the weapons containers held above its deck by a plate rising from the sled like a dorsal fin. The engine pods incorporate numerous curves formed by hull plates that fit together perfectly, save for minor gaps around the ventral beam-saber arms. Strangely, a forward section of the hull hinges open slightly to accept the GP03S figure which lies prone atop it but doesn't actually dock the Orchis and Stamen; in practice, only closing the inner set of weapon-container doors to catch the Stamen’s shoulders will prevent it from taking a nasty spill in a dive.

Pre-painted detail mainly consists of gray and black accents of exhaust vents and the like, with some red in the main engines; the Orchis seems to be a trickier paint job than the Neue Ziel, with a faint half-inch dark squiggle along the side of my machine’s main cannon and some gray smudges on other parts. Most of the residue can be rubbed off, but even the few patches that can’t pass as weathering given the fierce battles in 0083.

Dozens of decals help the overall sense of scale, ranging from tiny warning-label rectangles to massive Katoki-style Anaheim Electronics logos that adorn the weapons containers. Normally I’m opposed to seeing my secret prototypes covered in huge lettering listing their names, pilots, armaments and NASCAR sponsors, but in the Federation arsenal the Dendrobium is only exceeded for sheer audacity and brute force by the Solar System; the machine’s already as blatant as it can get. Neat touch: the main Anaheim logo includes “LR” and “AL” tail letters hastily added after the Dendrobium identifier, indicating its assignments to the La Vie En Rose and the Albion. Not so neat: the eight decals meant to highlight painted and inset reaction-control thrusters that instead cover them in crumpled plastic and aren’t worth applying.

GP03 Orchis (weapons/display)
Ah, the literal money shot of this entire kit…something like a third of its parts seem to go solely into arming the Orchis, and the effort is well spent.

Each of the 16 triangular weapons silos visible upon opening the four weapons containers is fully operable: six contain 108-round micromissile pods, four are three-packs of anti-ship missiles (not separable into individual missiles like the HGUC version’s), two are removable panels that reveal attachment points for chain mines (which use wires shared with the Neue Ziel’s claw arms), and the last four are storage racks for the Stamen’s folding shield, bazooka, folding bazooka and beam rifle. Mid-launch poses are slightly loose and unstable, but all of these stow firmly in their respective slots and closing the container doors secures everything completely.

The main mega beam cannon has every feature necessary to recreate Cima Garahou’s demise as seen in 0083: a flip-out trigger handle the Stamen could grip if it had workable hands, a few degrees of horizontal traverse, and a special muzzle plug that allows the included AGX-04 figure to be balanced on its tip if the Dendrobium’s tilted back on its display base. Opposite the cannon, the I-field shares the HGUC version’s coin-like faceplate design, which shows opened innards on one side and closed louvers on the other; you change the displayed side by removing and flipping the faceplate.

Beneath everything, though, the Orchis’ two beam-saber arms nearly steal the entire show. They start flush with the hull but separate from it by sliding diagonally down and forward, then the fin-like opening “hands” move into position by sliding their wrist joints forward from the elbows along tracks in the forearms. It’s a very smooth transition, and the elbows are full ball joints that allow blades nearly as long as the main gun 360-degree horizontal coverage. The arms don’t depress much but the wrists will elevate the blades about 60 degrees to protect the Dendrobium’s face, allowing it to use the beam sabers defensively as well as offensively…either way, they’re a great deal of fun to play with.

Both sets of beam sabers can be stored under the Dendrobium’s display base, along with a cover plate for the GP03’s display-arm attachment slot and the chain mines’ rocket heads and silo covers. The base and tip of the display arm adjust to angles from a 30-degree dive to a 60-degree ascent, but the headpiece tends to work loose of the arm and potentially drop the Dendrobium due to vibration or posing. As a result, I’m seriously considering picking a headpiece angle I like and super-gluing it into place.

Figures and Sketchbook
The tiny GP03S and AGX-04 included with the kit are by necessity much simpler pieces, their excellent paint jobs not quite compensating for their limited flexibility. Small stands for the mobile suits hold them suspended in space, eliminating the problem of trying to make them stand on feet angled for flight poses. The Stamen includes four sets of interchangeable arms molded in a range of poses: one empty-handed pair bent at the elbows for a versatile riding pose, a pair with its sub-arms deployed upward to reach the Orchis’ storage racks, one pair holding its beam rifle and folding shield, and a final pair holding its two bazookas for point-blank work. You “arm” the Stamen by swapping out the arms to taste and removing stowed guns from the Orchis’ racks, which works well for posing but less so for casual play. As for the Gerbera Tetra, no extra parts are included save the muzzle plug to put it on the Dendrobium’s gun, and it’s further limited by having its limbs molded spread-eagled to favor the impalement pose when they’re all twisted forward. Both figures are quite fragile, and the AGX-04’s two-piece sturm booster falls off its back with unintentional ease...another probable super-glue job.

Unfortunately the sketchbook is just an eight-page gimmick, two of which are a Gundam Collection ad, and unless you can read very fine handwritten Japanese in the sketches you won’t learn anything about either MA you didn’t already know. I would have gladly paid another thousand yen for a short action-footage DVD similar to the one that accompanied the HGUC Dendrobium, perhaps with the GP03 episode of Gundam Evolve instead, but in its absence AMVs on YouTube fill the void.

Conclusion
While I haven’t been completely sold on 1/400 mobile suits by the two specimens seen here, the mobile armors are a very different story. Few high-end Gundam kits offer the chance to build one MA, let alone two, and the change of pace from the usual MG repetition of arms and legs was quite refreshing. Each finished model is comparable in size to an MG kit, requiring about a cubic foot of space to display decently, and looks great thanks to the pre-painting; the overall high quality opens the door for Gundam Collection to become the equivalent of MG for anything too large to practically produce in 1/100 scale. The Neue Ziel is admittedly less impressive than the Dendrobium but it’s due to a less toylike initial design, not any real failing of the kit. I bought this for about $110 shipped in December, but since then it's become available for less than the GFF wannabe Dendrobium presently commands on eBay. In the final analysis, if you’ve been holding out for a good Neue Ziel and Dendrobium the laundry list of features, excellent balance of cost versus size and impressive “swoosh factor” make these the ones to buy.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Box contents: two MAs, two figures, tons of accessories.


Scale comparison of MAs and AGX-04 to MG Gundam MkII.


...so I get how many attacks of opportunity?


And now, young Uraki...you will die!


Front decal and ship letters; note the tiny "EFSF" text block distinguishing the Albion as the first Federation Navy ship to which the GP03 is deployed.


Unfortunately the AGX-04 muzzle plug does not snap onto the Gerbera Tetra, preventing the Dendrobium from performing the impalement pose in level flight.


It's possible to pose everything in mid-launch simultaneously, but it's as fragile as it's badass.


This may sting a little.

Mod Edit (Red): Read the Forum submission guidelines and the MechaTalk rules, IMG tags are not allowed.


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:19 pm 
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Bald Wizard
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Posts: 4578
Location: Miami, FL
The size of your reviews is fine. I always mark incoming MAHQ contributions with a star in Gmail, and I don't ever recall seeing this review, so maybe it never got to me.

_________________
"What did catch my eye, however, was a podcast named Gundamn!. At first I thought it was a podcast about firearms and [rednecks] discussing their collection, but after looking at the episode titles I was sold." - Xhavalor

PSN: amuromsz006
3DS: 1177-6671-6035


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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:04 pm 
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HiMAT Spammer
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 899
I plan on reviewing the Kampfer MSiA, S-Gundam HGUC, 1/400 Quin Mantha, Zeta Gundam EMSiA, and MG (1/100) Crossbone X-1 sometime soon (within 3 weeks)... so if anyone else is planning/wanting to do those, lemme know so I don't waste any time.

I've snapped off pics for everything but the X-1, but I'll wait on posting those 'till I write up the reviews. Here are some various pictures I took of the Zudah MSiA and Sazabi EMSiA.

My camera had some trouble focusing, so some are better than others. These are the best of the lot, so pick whichever ones ya' think look best.

Zudah:
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... hFront.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... ahBack.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... sories.jpg

Sazabi:
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... Front3.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... t2BEST.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... Front1.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... ose-Up.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... iBack1.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... ories2.jpg
http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u195 ... ories1.jpg

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:43 am 
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Mecha Flunky

Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 12:35 am
Posts: 10
I must apologize for the IMG tags on my previous post, as I thought the thread would be used to archive everything pending approval for the site; I saw the tags, so I simply used them. I've bought about two dozen MG kits over the years, perhaps a third of which have been reviewed, so I'm trying to review the more interesting ones first. An MG Acguy review follows, with more conventional pictures.



Name: Master Grade MSM-04 Acguy
Scale: 1/100
Series: Gundam 0079
Parts: 15 runners + 4 screws + 1 spring + 1 sheet adhesive decals + 1 sheet wet-transfer decals
Plastic colors: Green, brown, gray, clear, tan
Release date: July 2005
MSRP: 4000 yen
Gimmicks: Spring-loaded right-arm claws, collapsible arms and joints, display base and parts to support underwater poses

Introduction
After Bandai shotgunned three kits of Zeon’s primary marine mobile suits onto the Master Grade market over the course of 2003, I looked into buying one as a representative of the group, but which one? While the MSM-03 Gogg is the iconic sea-monster design of the type with its vicious claws and imposing build, its lack of useful features (it, uh...scratches its armpits?) disqualified it immediately. The MSM-07 Z’Gok and Char’s Z’Gok offered a far sleeker design in two appealing color schemes, but they too were plagued by the lack of features endemic to the MSM kits. Just when I’d given up hope, however, modeling sites announced an MG MSM-04 Acguy: a display base and several posing accessories plus not one but two operable weapons systems, all in a kit that blended the Gogg’s old-school hulking presence with the more streamlined form of the Z’Gok. I bought one the month it came out.

Head
The Acguy has what’s easily the largest discernible head in all of MG Gundam, a monstrosity whose accordion-folded neck alone has a larger diameter than most 1/100 machines’ torsos. Clean body lines leave the neck capable of a full 360-degree traverse, although its tilting range only runs forward to a navel-gazing angle. From a design perspective, the head itself possesses one of the more elaborate monoeye schemes Zeon ever fielded, one track running around the entire head while a second runs from front to back along its scalp; the monoeye can be moved along both tracks, although doing so effectively requires disassembly of the head. The dual-track arrangement seems much more practical than the Gogg or Z’Gok designs, covering a huge field of vision and allowing the monoeye to face forward during horizontal undersea cruises. Holes through both the plastic dome and the armor plates atop it afford the intimidating head cluster of four 105mm vulcans clear lines of fire.

Torso
Even as it’s being built, the torso stands out as something special: not only does it skip the usual jointed chest-and-pelvis build in favor of a solid reinforced ovoid shape, it’s also much larger, in keeping with the reputed presence of two Zaku powerplants aboard. Immense internal detail is presented here, but much of the construction work goes into collapsible shoulder and hip joints that pop inward as part of a space-saving fetal/storage position seen on the box; the hip joints don’t quite seem capable of collapsing to their intended extent, but it’s barely noticeable in the finished model. On the Acguy’s back, a very simple two-nozzle jetpack appears to be responsible for what little thruster capability it has ashore. Added features include a sliding piece at the back of the waist that covers the attachment point for the Acguy’s display stand, as well as an entire plate of belly armor that hinges downward 180 degrees, presenting a ladder up the inside of the plate to a two-seat, side-by-side cockpit. The latter isn’t very elegant, but very few Bandai kits even have built-in boarding mechanisms; only the Feddie 08th MS Team machines come to mind as precedents.

Arms
As a marine mobile suit, a disproportionate amount of the Acguy’s appeal is based on its arms and the built-in weapons that replace heavier artillery carried by more conventional designs. Bandai’s done some good work here, with fully flexible shoulder joints and telescoping arms that can extend about two inches between collapsed and full length (the new HGUC version boasts greater extension but uses detachable pieces to achieve it), but the kit’s main gimmick is flawed as designed. The Acguy’s retractable right-arm claws are spring-loaded and meant to be deployed by pushing in the mega-particle cannon muzzle at the tip of the arm (good for practical jokes), but internal hooks meant to keep the claws retracted don’t reliably engage. I was able to fix the problem by trimming down a 1/8th-inch compression spring from a local hardware store to fit sideways between the base of the tines on the offending piece, I-10 in the instructions; the spring puts outward pressure on the tines, which makes the hooks at their tips work as intended. My experience may be subjective, but I would advise against using the four metal screws that seal the right-arm unit shut until you trust the claw mechanism to work consistently.

Fortunately the left arm’s rocket launcher is much easier to construct, its six removable rockets clustered around an internal “reload” piece that depicts six more (non-usable) rockets. On its own the rocket launcher is rather boring, but the kit’s accessories include a brilliant addition: four transparent bubble/smoke plumes that plug in between a removed rocket and its tube to permit launch poses. One pair of plumes is shorter than the other, suggesting a ripple-fire sequence in progress when they’re used together. It’s a small touch, but a neat one that really makes the weapon work. Kitbashers will be pleased to know that the Acguy’s arms and forearms are as interchangeable as the weapons loadout, so the arms can be readily swapped if you want a southpaw Acguy; if you buy two you can just as easily create an all-rocket or all-claw machine.

Legs
One look at the Acguy’s short, stout legs is proof positive that it will never be a kickboxer, but they conceal some interesting features. Massive backward flexibility in the knees is the defining feature here which lets the legs bend through almost 180 degrees, in turn allowing both the stowed position and some surprisingly extreme gymnastics. The sole of each foot contains a turning propeller in lieu of a rocket thruster, a design decision that shifts their ball joints to the front of the feet and makes the trailing foot in a walking pose look like it’s stepping out of a shoe. It’s a weird place to put a ball joint but it works well for keeping the flat feet firmly on the ground, enabling some nice melee poses for such a heavy model.

Accessories
Several accessories compensate for both the kit’s lack of extra weaponry and 4000-yen price point, although some are definitely better than others. Chief among these is a display base mimicking part of a Jukon-class submarine’s deck, intended to show the Acguy in a submerged pose. It’s fairly convincing when backed up by the plumes for the rocket launcher, as well as conical trails of disturbed water that snap on to the props in the machine’s feet. The real surprise is how many human figures come with the kit: not just the standard internal pilot and standing scale figure (this one a maintenance crewer holding a case), but a diver on the display base swimming near the Acguy and even a plate with the three White Base kids to reprise the Jaburo scene where they unwittingly walk across an Acguy’s head...in case, you know, you ever feel the need to.

Conclusion
Completely aside from the merits of the kit, the first question to ask yourself is whether the Acguy actually appeals to you. While this is a well-designed version of a mobile suit that’s both a unique building experience and a unique display piece on your shelf, marine mobile suits have always been one of the more retro love-it-or-hate-it elements of First Gundam, and this kit probably won’t convert you if you don’t already love them. That said, I’ve had one visitor to my room promptly blurt “Aggai!” when he walked in, despite the MS-07 Gouf parked squarely in front of the machine on my crowded Gundam shelf; in the week since I put it on my desk to type this review two others have asked about its distinctive shape and what it does in the show. Like all the MSM kits it could use more moving parts, and I do have to assess a half-point demerit for the faulty gimmick since it’s probably broken some kid’s heart. On balance, however, the Acguy looks loaded for bear empty-handed and its parts allow a variety of cool action poses that sell the image of underwater combat; should you want something unique to build for your collection, it’s well worth your time.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars



http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h234/tajisdurmin/Acguy-Assault.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h234/tajisdurmin/Acguy-Displaybase.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h234/tajisdurmin/Acguy-Flexibility.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h234/tajisdurmin/Acguy-Melee.jpg
http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h234/tajisdurmin/Acguy-Pullyourfinger.jpg


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 Post Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:15 am 
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AEUG Slapping Boy
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this will be my first review on mahq. I just hope it does good... :D

Name: MSiA MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom (Re-packaged Version)
Series: Gundam: The 08th MS Team
Released Date: 2006
Suggested Retail Price: 1500 yen
Number of Parts: 1 Gouf Custom Figure + 8 Parts + Collector's Card
Colors: sky blue, red, gray, white, yellow, black, blue green
Gimmicks: Gatling Shield, Heat Wires, Heat Saber Type D III

Introduction
The infamous Gouf Custom from the OVA Gundam: 08th MS Team, piloted by Norris Packard, this single suit was the greatest mobile suit obstacle the 08th MS Team had to face. This was first released way back on 2002-03, now Bandai has offered us a re-packaged version with a new package and a special Collector's Card. Now let us see how it does in MSiA form.

Head:
The head is finely sculpted. It is mostly painted in sky blue with the main monoeye camera painted in blood red (perfect for an infamous machine!) with the "monoeye rails" painted in black. It captures the infamous face the Gouf has on the animation, perfect IMO.

Torso:
The torso is perfectly sculpted with no physical defects at all. It is mostly painted in blue green with a Zeon logo in the center portion of the front torso. The "tubes" are painted in sky blue. The backpack is painted in gray, with the thrusters insides painted in red and black. As for movement, guess what? The torso cannot move at all and because of this, it gets minus 1 from my rating.

Arms-Shoulders:
The arms are painted in sky blue and it is attached to the torso via a ball joint. This MSiA features the infamous curved spikes on its armors (even though they rarely use it in combat), the shoulder spike armor is painted in sky blue with some parts painted with a white line. The arms are single jointed like the version 1 MSiAs, and on its right arm is a removable plastic part in which the heat wire is attached, the left arm features a rectangular hole where the 3-barrel 35-mm machine gun is mounted. The hands are painted in black and sky blue. It is attached to the arm via a peg in hole.

Legs:
The legs are mostly painted in sky blue with the knee armor parts painted in black with a panel line of red. Its legs are single jointed like the old version 1 MSiAs. The feet are painted in sky blue with its bottom part painted in black. The feet are attached via a ball joint to the legs and the legs are attached to the torso also via a ball joint.

Weapons and Accessories:

3 barrel 35-mm machine gun: It is mostly painted in gray with the "camera" painted in red. It is attached to the left arm via a rectangular peg in hole. It also has a circular hole in it in which the Gatling shield is attached to.

Gatling Shield: The centerpiece of 'em all! wow! The main reason why I loved this machine! The gatling shield mounts a 75-mm Gatling gun which is drum and belt fed. The shield is mostly painted in sky blue with some of its parts painted in gray and on its center is a Zeon logo (SIEG ZEON!). The gatling gun is mostly painted in gray. It features a removable barrel and it is attached to the 3 barrel 35mm machine gun via a peg in hole and it also has a grip for the MSiA to hold on to, and I almost forgot it also has a storage rack for the heat saber type D III.

Heat Saber Type D III: I never got it why the heck it is called a heat saber when it doesn’t actually have the yellow "turned-on" feature of the heat hawks, well what the heck, if it could chop up Luna-Titanium armor why not? It is a chunk of plastic painted in gray with its handle painted in blue green. It can be stored on the Gatling shield and it fits snugly on the hands of the MSiA.

Heat Wires: This figure has two kinds of heat wires, one with grappling "claws" while the other doesn’t have the "claws" deployed. It is attached to the right arm by removing the rectangular plastic first then attaching it. As usual it is via a peg in hole.

Shield: I don’t know why Bandai added another shield when it cannot be attached to the 3-barrel 35-mm machine gun! Nothing too special about this, mostly painted in sky blue and blue green with some of its parts painted in gray. It is attached to the arm via a rectangular peg. (YOU CAN’T MOUNT IT ON THE GUN! DANG!)

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Conclusion:
It is a near perfect MSiA in my opinion, but the one thing that irritates me is the other shield. I just don't know what kind of drink the people in Bandai took before they designed this MSiA. Didn’t they know that the other shield is just a waste of plastic?! They should’ve just had the other shield attachable to the gun to re-create the scenes of the final moments of the Gouf.

Gouf Custom Front
Gouf Custom w/ Accessories

since the Zudah still doesn't have a picture, here's a picture..

Zudah Front

i also plan to make reviews for the MSiA Versions of the Gundam Unit 4 (RX-78-4), Gouf Ignited (Production), Zeta Gundam (V2), and the Z'goks (Char and Production Colors) within 3 weeks, so please if anyone has plans of making reviews for the said items, please kindly inform me so that i wouldn't waste my time, thank you

EDIT:added pics for the Zudah and Gouf C.

_________________
"There's no point on blaming on who's right and who's wrong, all there is left to do is hope and wait for tomorrow to come."


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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:34 pm 
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AEUG Slapping Boy
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my second review on mahq. ty chris ^^

Series: Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: From Place Beyond the Blaze
Title: RX-78-4 Gundam Unit 4 (Limited Version)
Release Date: 2003
Suggested Price: N/A
Number of Parts: 1 Gundam Unit 4 Figure + 10 Parts
Colors: blue, white, yellow, black, gray, green
Gimmicks: (1) Trigger hand, (2) Open hands, (2) Beam sabers, Shield, Prototype Hyper Beam Rifle, Beam rifle, cooling tank, wire attachment from cooling tank to Prototype Hyper Beam Rifle.

Introduction
One of the main Mobile Suits from Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: From Place Beyond the Blaze. It is piloted by Luce Kassel. It is a Limited Version MSiA and can only be obtained by having the Japanese Version of the Encounters in Space PS2 game. Technically speaking, the MSiA is the [BST] form of the Gundam Unit 4, but Bandai labled it as Gundam Unit 4, well what the heck? Let's just go on with the review.

Head
It is painted in white and the main cameras painted in blue while the secondary camera painted in green. The V-fin is painted in yellow. Overall the head is sculpted well and is proportional to the body of the MS.

Torso
It is painted in gray with the main exhausts painted in blue with its insides painted yellow. The skirt armor is painted in white. The backpack is painted perfectly, even the cameras back there! The beam saber handles are painted in blue and is attached to the backpack via a peg in hole. The propellant tanks are painted in white and panel lined black with small rectangular holes on the top ends to attach both the Prototype Hyper Beam Rifle and cooling tank.

Arms
Quite a disappointment since this was released during the times of the 2nd Generation MSiAs. It is single jointed and painted in white. The shoulder armors are painted in white with some blue and yellow on it.

Legs
It is also quite a disappointment since it is only single jointed. It is painted in white, with some of its parts painted in blue and yellow. The feet is painted in blue and white and has a 2 fake joint cylinders on each foot and is painted in gray.

Weapons and Accessories:

Beam Rifle
It is painted in gray with the scope painted in yellow. It doesn't even offer a movable scope or handle. Another disappointment.

Beam Sabers
It is sculpted in translucent pink and its quite flimsy yet better than the CCA MSiA beam sabers.

Shield
It is painted in white and the center painted in blue. It is attached to the arms via a peg-in-hole. Note though that it doesn't offer an adjustable handle.

Prototype Hyper Beam Rifle and Cooling Tank
A LARGE BEAM RIFLE! and the main reason why I bought this. The rifle is painted in white, blue, and some yellow. The primary scope is painted in yellow and the secondary one painted in green. It also has a secondary handle for the left arm to hold on to. The cooling tank is painted in white and has its bottom part painted in yellow. The wire attachment is painted in orange and is attached by inserting the pegs from the cooling tank and from the beam rifle.

Conclusion
The Hyper Beam Rifle is the only reason why I bought this MSiA. The only problem I see with it is it was released together with the Version 2 MSiAs and it didn't feature the double-joints offered by them. Quite a disappointment but what the heck, the Prototype Beam Rifle lightens it up.

Overall Rating
3 out of 5 stars

pictures are to follow, gotta buy myself a new camera XD

_________________
"There's no point on blaming on who's right and who's wrong, all there is left to do is hope and wait for tomorrow to come."


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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:18 am 
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AEUG Slapping Boy
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another battlescarred review. I hope it does good.

Series: Mobile Suit in Action!! (MSiA)
Title: Battle Scarred RX-79[G] Gundam EZ-08
Release Date: 2003
Suggested Price: ?
No. of Parts: 1 Battle Scarred EZ08 Figure + 9 Parts
Plastic Colors: dark gray, gray, dark blue, dirty white, black, red
Gimmicks: (2) trigger hands, (2) open hands, 100mm machine gun, bazooka gun, beam rifle, parachute pack, shield

Introduction
From Gundam:The 08th MS Team OVA comes the Gundam EZ-08 which is a rebuilt RX-79[G] Ground Type Gundam with many improvised modifications. It is piloted by Shiro Amada of the 08th MS Team, Kojima Battalion. This is a Battle Scarred MSiA which is different from the MSiA EZ-08. Now let's go on with the review.

Head
The head is quite proportional to the body of the MSiA and painted in a dirty white scheme. The main cameras and secondary camera are painted in red. The traditional V-fin on the heads of the gundam were replaced with a communications antenna and it is painted in black.

Torso
The torso is painted well in dark blue and dark gray with the chest armor plating painted in dirty white. The chest armor has a big dent on its center(probably hit by a projectile weapon). The chest mounted vulcan gun is painted in black. The backpack is painted in black and has some scratches on it to show its "battle-scarred" image with its thrusters painted red inside. The skirt armor is painted in a dirty white scheme with scratches and on both sides we have removable magazines for the 100mm machine gun.

Arms
The arms are painted in dirty white with a hole to attach the shield via a peg. It is single jointed like the normal version of the EZ-08. Its shoulders are also painted in dirty white and has battle scars all over it. The right shoulder armor has a faded EFF logo but nothing special about that.

Legs
The legs are painted in dirty white with the feet painted in dark blue and dirty white colors. The legs are like from the generation 1 MSiAs since they are only single jointed. On the right leg we have an exposed beam saber storage rack with the insides painted in gray, however this MSiA does not come with even 1 beam saber and that's quite a disappointment.

Weapons and Accessories

Hands: The trigger hands serve their purpose well, but why give us opened hands when there is no beam saber to hold on to? A waste of plastic.

100mm Machine Gun: It is painted in gray with a swiveling butt and a magazine painted in dirty white. The magazine can be removed.

Bazooka Gun: It is painted in black and has some scratches on it. It has a removable magazine on the back.

Beam Rifle: It is painted in dirty white and gray with the gun camera painted in green. Nothing special about it. It doesn't even have the swiveling scope and handle. Quite a disappointment actually.

Shield: It is painted in dirty white with the bottom part painted in dark blue and the handle painted in black. It has a faded 08th MS Team logo on its center. It can be attached to the arms via a peg-in-hole. It has some scratches and bullet "wounds" to show the battle-scarred image of it.

Parachute Pack: It is painted in black with the thrusters' insides painted in red. It has 2 thread-like ropes which is attached to the shoulders. The pack is attached to a backpack equipment rack and can be removed from it. The whole thing can be attached to the back by removing the backpack first. A huge chunk of plastic actually.

Conclusion
The thing looks like it came out from the garbage. It has a very sticky "battle-scarred" paintjob on it. Heck, I only removed the garbage-like look from my MSiA by using detergent and a toothbrush and it took me about 6 hours just to remove only some of it. There's also the problem about that exposed beam saber storage rack. Why have it opened when there's no beam saber at all? And finally why give us opened hands when there's no beam saber included at all? Overall this thing is just a let-down and if I were you just pick up the normal version of the EZ-08.

Overall Rating
1 out of 5 stars

pictures are to follow as usual ^^

_________________
"There's no point on blaming on who's right and who's wrong, all there is left to do is hope and wait for tomorrow to come."


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 Post Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:18 pm 
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Series: Perfect Grade (PG) 1/60
Title: MBF-02 Strike Rouge + Skygrasper
Release date:
Suggested Price:
No. of Parts: 782
Plastic colors: Red, Pink, Light pink, White, Black, Blue, Yellow
Gimmicks: Skygrasper support fighter, Aile pack, light-up eyes, action base, foldable armor schneider knives

Introduction:

Cagalli got a hand-me-down Strike made up in a very girly red / pink colorscheme at the end of Gundam SEED. And, Bandai being Bandai, they smelled the opportunity for a quick yen and brought out a recolored version of the already existing Strike Gundam PG. To try to get even more of our hard-earned cash, they included the also already existing Skygrasper and Aile Pack PG models as well, for one all-inclusive set. Let's see if it's worth the dosh, shall we ?

Head:

The head is an interesting build. A departure from earlier Perfect Grades in that the electrical system is deceptively simple to set up. No wires, just two small metal bits and a single led. Together with a few pieces of plastic and the battery this forms a 'block' that slots into an opening in the head, which is then covered by a detail piece and an outer armor piece. The led lights up pretty bright, and gives the Strike Rouge a menacing, green glare. The head is a very faithful, sinister reproduction of the Strike's own mug from the show. Very good piece of engineering.

Torso:

The torso is also an interesting build. First you build the cockpit area where the miniature pilot sits. Then you just keep slapping on detail parts and joints until the Strike's characteristic, sharply angled torso takes shape. There are many small-ish pieces of armor that cover the details, and the cockpit hatch is annoyingly difficult to open without removing some of the armor pieces. The range of motion in the shoulders and waist area is nothing short of spectacular, due to very intelligent design. Etch-stickers are provided for a nifty looking gold trim on the upper torso armor plating, and the back of the torso has a small hatch that hignes open to allow the Aile Pack to dock. The torso is has a sleek and sinister look to it, to match the Strike's overall appearance. My favorite part to build of this PG.

Arms:

... And these were my least favorite. Not that they are poorly engineered or annoying to build, not because they are fragile or don't hold their post - they're not and they do - but because they are so difficult to pose well and have a tendency to partially disassemble when posing them. They are interesting enough to build, and actually have a lot more joints than you would expect - all of which can only move a little bit, but the end result is a patchwork of tiny armor pieces sliding in, over, under and through eachother, instead of a single, elegant whole to make up the arm. Bonuspoints for the new style hands, though. The entire hand is now cast in a single go instead of having to put five individually cast fingers into fragile slots which always end up breaking. Instead, it's all one bit now, that you put a palm and some outer armor on. Very, very good. The biggest nitpick though is that some of the light colored armor which should be a very light pink is actually white, breaking up the uniform look of the finished arm, even more.

Legs:

A better build and a more uniform whole than the arms. The knees are weighted with solid iron blocks, which helps a whole lot in stability when posing the finished Strike Rouge. The legs are solid and easily posable though they hold their pose very, very well. (As all PG's do in my experience) One very interesting bit to note is that some of the outer armor is constructed so that if you pose the leg, the pieces all slide in interesting ways, adding a sense of complexness and intricate design. Unfortunately, some of the armor pieces that should be light pink are white here as well.

Skygrasper:

A very interesting build, if a bit simplistic. Why they call this a PG I don't understand, it lacks much of the internal detail PG's have and is closer to being MG in quality. Ofcourse, PG in scale, but still. It is a single, solid feeling piece of kit, with a slot in the back to which you can attack the Aile pack, and it looks absolutely spectacular with the Aile pack attached. Unfortunately, it looks a bit wimpy without.

Aile pack:

Now this is more like it. I was very pleasantly surprised by the solidity, posability and sheer wingspan of the Aile pack. The amount of inner detail is also surprising, especially when you consider it's overall sleek, slender and thin build. The main wings and main thrusters are movable. The vents at the rear of the main thrusters are movable, the flaps on the main wings are movable, there are even clear parts at the tips of the main wings to simulate the port / starboard lights that airplanes have. The Aile pack comes with a built-in bonus of +4 to bad-assedness, which applies whether you attach it to the Skygrasper or the Strike Rouge - both of which hold the Aile pack very firmly.

Weapons and Accesoires:

The action base is a large black thing that either the Strike Rouge or the Skygrasper can firmly attach to, which helps greatly in posing and adds a ton of stability to whatever pose you put your Strike in. It even has mounting points for the shield and rifle. Speaking of which, they are both fairly standard PG fare. A good bit more pieces to build up than MG shields and rifles, but firm constructions. I only wish Strike could hold them both a bit better. The armor schneider knives are cast in a single folding piece, using the same technology that makes the fingers posable. They slot in perfectly in Strike's waist armor, and Strike looks mean wielding them. The beam sabers are attached to the Aile pack like in the show and are fairly standard fare. Finally there's the Grand Slam sword which is huge, but a bit flimsy, and a very simple build. Nothing special, but it looks cool.

Conclusion:

This is truly an impressive piece when completed, and it took me a great many fun-filled hours to build. Also interesting is the fact that the only screw in the kit holds the battery lid closed, yet the entire kit remains firmly posable despite this. However, a few very minor flaws keep it from being a perfect piece. It's large size, expensive cost and slow posability make it far more a display piece than an action figure. The Skygrasper has great Zoom-ability, and the Aile pack makes it truly bad-ass - which leaves Strike Rouge looking a bit wimpy. But then you can swap the Aile pack around a bit and have Strike looking awesome while Skygrasper is left looking a bit silly. The only reason this kit hasn't gotten a perfect score from me is because of the .. 'interesting' engineering of the arms and the fact that the lighest pieces of armor plating are a patchwork of (proper) light-pink and pure white. It was almost like Bandai accidentally included two of frame D from the regular Strike PG instead of pinkish ones for Strike Rouge - but the kit that Dalong reviewed has the same 'issue'.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5

Pic

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:42 pm 
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General and Technical Data:
Series: Gundam Crossbone
Title: 1/100 MG Crossbone X-1 Ver. Ka
Release Date: March 2005
Suggested Price: ¥ 3500
No. of Parts:
Plastic Colors: Transparent Pink, Yellow, Blue, White, Red and Dark Gray.

Introduction:

I bought the MG Crossbone X-1 for two pretty stupid reasons. First, it was on sale. Second, it was the only MG in stock that was NOT an RX-78-2. Between my purchase of the X-1 and my eventual construction of the model, I was able to at least partially educate myself in the design be reading through the first two volumes of the Gundam Crossbone manga, which details the latter exploits of Seabook Arno after the events of the F91 movie. I'm very glad I was able to read the manga, because it enabled me to have a much greater appreciation of the X-1 model. The MG X-1 is, by the way, most definitely the single best model kit--of any scale, grade or franchise--that I have ever been lucky enough to see, let alone own. Every aspect of the model exceeded my expectations; it is the only model that I can honestly say deserves nothing but praise.

Head:
The head of the X-1 is amazing. Stunning. The neck that it's mounted on is actually set on a pivot in the torso, allowing it to angle forward or backward at a sharp tilt in addition to the actual ball-mount higher up, allowing for unprecedented mobility. A large skull and crossbones adorns the front of the "Mohawk" portion of the head, replacing the more traditional secondary camera, and is detailed very well for its small size--though you will want to use a Gundam marker (or other fine-tipped instrument) to darken the eye-sockets of the skull. The V-Fin may not seem to be anything new--and it's not, really--but I was pleased to note that the plastic runner that held the V-Fin in place only connected at the base of the V-Fin, so you don't have to worry about any specks of torn plastic or discoloration running up the lengths of the fins. The face of the head, too, is very well detailed. There are tiny slashes going up and down from each eye that are little more than indented onto the surface of the plastic; in the pictures and lineart, these "tears" are colored red, but I chose to fill them in with black because I felt it looked better. With those lines colored in, the face of the X-1 gains a LOT of definition. Finally, between the eyes and the red beard of the X-1 is a faceplate in a similar design to that of the old F91. Unlike the F91, however, the faceplate on the MG Crossbone is movable, sliding up and down from either open to closed positions. Closed, the head retains the feel of the original Gundam, even better than later incarnations of the original, simple design like the Victory. When open, however, the faceplate resembles an open mouth with two large canines--or fangs--pointed downward. Coupled the the iconic skull-and-crossbones at the top of the head, the Crossbone's visage becomes truly frightening.

Torso:
The torso is the simplest aspect of the Crossbone's design. Although it's essentially hollow, and completely open at the rear to accommodate the entry of the core fighter, it's extremely sturdy and very stable. The arms connect to small pivots on the shoulders which allow for extreme flexibility forward and backward, and a small hatch at the front of the torso pops open to see the cockpit of the Gundam when the core-fighter is inserted. In addition, two small clamps are located on the side of the torso that latch on to the cloth cloak, holding it in place. These clamps are very small, yet stay in place with ease; and their bright coloration makes for some nice contrast with the dark-blue of the torso. The lower portion of the torso, however, is a bit odd. The middle torso connects to a lower torso by way of a ball joint in the center, which seems to imply some degree of mobility at the waist. However, the lower and middle torso pieces fit together so snugly that no noticeable movement is possible, thus negating any effect the ball joint would have had.
A large chunk of the torso is the core-fighter that slides into the rear of the mobile suit and lends the Gundam it's distinctive X-shaped maneuvering thrusters.

Arms:
The arms look very simple, and they are very simple. They're also very posable, and very well-detailed. The internal skeleton of the arms is a bit less logical than other designs; in several instances I found myself unsure of how exactly to connect the pieces, and at times I had to force them together so forcefully I was certain I would break the model. Fortunately, nothing was broken and the excessive amount of force used to assemble the various pieces worked to my advantage, allowing for incredibly strong appendages. At the backside of the elbow, each harm has a small rectangular beam-shield/beam-brand marker which swivels forward over the hands and can rotate sharply to either side. Although the X-shaped brand is molded in clear pink plastic, no beam-shield is present. The elbows of the model, of course, are double-jointed. The hands, however, are a bit of a disappointment. They are no different than the hands of any other MG model, and in this isolated case, the lack of a polycap for the wrist makes for a slightly less stable grip. It's rather sad because the large beam-scimitar looks like it could make a very intimidating pose, but the hands themselves are too weak to support its weight.

Legs:
There's not much to talk about with the legs. Design-wise, they're pretty much a combination of all the "best" features from previous Gundam designs. The fins at the back of the anklet-armor are a nice touch, and if you have an action base to suspend the model in the air, you can also work in some very, very cool poses. There are also small blades that can be placed at the bottom of the feet, they look kind of cool but mostly come across as gimmicky. But the key part to detail when it comes to the legs is that they are very, very sturdy and very flexible, allowing you to pose the X-1 in nearly any manner you can imagine. There's an insane amount of flexibility here--far more than I have seen in any other Master Grade model kit.

Weapons and Accessories:

Next to the Crossbone X-1 Full Cloth, I'm pretty sure this baby has more weapons and accessories than any other model out there. You've got your typical beam sabers--molded in clear plastic with solid hilts--the same as always, but you also have giant knives coming out of the feet, a giant beam scimitar--a beam sword that can double as a very spiffy looking beam rifle (or pistol) hearkening back to the same weapons used by privateers in centuries long past. You also have the anti-beam cloak and two X-brands on the elbows--also with spiffy-looking clear-pink plastic beam molds. There are hardpoints on the skirt armor that allow you to attach the main weapons, and the beam sabers themselves are part of the core fighter and slide into little grooves at the sides of the neck. The core fighter itself is pretty cool--you can open up the front torso to reveal the clear cockpit with a tiny Seabook sitting inside. Sadly, there's only 1 core fighter--unlike the MG GP01 and MG GP03 models that gave us two--so you can't display your core fighter without removing it from the torso--which can be a bit tricky. There isn't a shield, which is a bit odd for any Gundam unit, but there's so much other stuff here that I really doubt you'll notice.

Conclusion:
On a scale of 1 to 5, if "5" represents the ideal model that is everything you want it to be, then the Crossbone X-1 most definitely warrants a 6--even with its flawed hands. No matter how good of a model you think it will be, it will surpass your expectations (well, maybe not after you've read this). I'll admit, I was a bit nervous going in--I'd never before assembled one of the new no-polycap models--but in the end, I have to agree that the X-1 is far more stable and durable than any of the polycap models I've seen. It is nearly infinitely posable--nearly any pose I, myself, can take can be absolutely mirrored to within the smallest of degrees with the X-1. The only area where the X-1 cannot approach humanlike posability is the lower torso, which is a shame because it appears that the X-1 was designed to be able to accommodate some degree of stomach-mobility.

Rating: 5/5

_________________
Another Day, Another Mishap.

Gundam Seed Fates
ASA (comic)


Last edited by Mwulf on Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:50 pm 
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General and Technical Data:
Series: Gundam 00
Title: 1/144 HG Union Flag
Release Date: October 2007
Suggested Price: ¥ 1000
No. of Parts: 88
Plastic Colors: Black, dark gray, gray-blue, white, and transparent orange.
Gimmicks: Transforms into Mobile Armor mode.

Introduction:
Say what you will about Gundam 00, whether we love it or hate it all of us can admit that the mecha designs are a breath of fresh air for the Gundam franchise. Chief among these designs are the Union Flag and Tieren. Both are fantastic designs; honestly, I haven't been so enthralled with a mobile suit design since Victory. The Union Flag is small, even for a 1/144 model, but it is amazing regardless. The Union Flag manages to claim a level of posability and flexibility that most master-grade models fail to reach. It's an astounding model and definitely a must-have for anyone interested in Gunpla.

Head:
I was impressed by the Flag's head. It's very simple, yet very sturdy. First you have the lower part, with a flat plate in the center to attach a silver foil sticker. In front of the silver sticker goes the clear orange-plastic visor (with a properly-molded mono-eye at the top) and on top of that goes the "cap" of the head. There are two asymmetrical "ears" on the Flag's head. Rather than simply peg into the sides of the skull, they have pegs on the side AND they wedge down into the wide "chin" at the bottom of the head. Once they're in place, they're virtually immovable. The head itself cannot move very much, but I do not think it was ever meant to.

Torso:
The Flag's torso is fairly odd. Essentially, there's the cockpit sphere at the bottom (with the 20mm machinegun, as my instruction manual, uh, instructed me) a pointy chest, and very wide saggy breasts. A single pillar runs laterally through the torso, sticking out of either ends. The shoulder armor is snapped on top of the pillar, and the arms are popped on to either side. The main wings are on the back and each one can move independently of the other (all four wings can also move from an active to an inactive configuration--swept forward or back). There are also two triangular black pieces that fit into the base of the neck, though they are fairly loose. If you're not careful, you might lose one.
This is where things get tricky. The main mechanism for the Union Flag's transformation is the lower torso sliding forward. To do this, it moves the bottom of the cockpit sphere. Once the cockpit sphere is turned so that the lower-torso is "up" you push the head down. The neck with the ball-joint you attach the head to is actually a long peg that will fall down when the lower torso is in this position, and lock the configuration in place. To return the suit to MS mode, you will need to raise the head up to unlock the legs.

Arms:
The Flag's arms are pretty simple, and fairly self-evident. What you see is what you get. They're not quite as flexible as the legs, but still allow you to move them a lot more than in most high grade kits. Sadly, the Flag only comes with a single set of hands, and they're huge. They grip the weapons well, but they're still huge. The only particularly interesting thing to note on the arms is that the hands attach to a ball joint snugly, but are open enough that the wrist can rotate in and out nearly 100 degrees! It's pretty cool. It's also worth noting that the shoulder armor (dare I say pauldrons?) are not, in fact, part of the arms but are rather attached to the Union Flag's upper torso.

Legs:
The Flag's legs are rather interesting, and not only because they manage to capture a good amount of detail with a small number of parts. The waist/pelvis part of the flag can rotate to accommodate the transformation. Two large spokes extend from either side of the groin area, but rather than attach the legs directly to these spokes (as is done in nearly every model I've ever built) there are two different sets of rotating caps that go on each spoke. The outer two are used to hold the lower wings in place, and the inner two thrust forward to attach to the thighs. The rest of the leg is pretty straightforward. The knee and ankle joints allow you to move a great deal forward or backward, but allow for very little movement from side to side. Luckily, that hardly matters since the pelvic joints I described earlier allow you to pose the legs however you wish--literally. The Union Flag's legs are far more flexible than most human legs--and heads above better than a majority of the master grade models out there. The only problem with the legs is that because they are so long and slender, the slightest bump will jar them out of place and send your model crashing down. It can be a bit of a pain to re-pose your model, so it might be better for some people to simply keep the Flag in its mobile armor configuration.

Weapons and Accessories:
You don't get much with the Union Flag. There's the shield, which is just a solid hunk of black plastic--with foil-stickers to make the white markings on the tips--and the plasma sword, which is no more than a single piece of white-molded plastic. It's a real shame they only do transparent beam weapons for HGUC releases. There's also, of course, the linear rifle. It's only four pieces of plastic, but they all fit together snugly and the two foil stickers are set at just the right places to make the rifle look pretty cool. The handle of the rifle can move back and forth about twenty degrees to accommodate being stuffed into the Flag's pelvis in mobile-armor mode.

Conclusion:
The HG Union Flag is, very nearly, the perfect model. In fact, I daresay that it is the best High Grade kit I have ever seen. It does, however, have a single (rather important) flaw. Yes, it's very flexible and you can pose it any number of ways... but it is not well-balanced. If you want to display the Union Flag standing up, you either have to have both legs side by side, or one in front of the other. There's not much room for variety here. This is the sole detriment to the model. If you have a base or stand for the flag--you can do anything. Anything. The waist can move the torso a full 360 degrees, and because of the shape of the torso any angle looks functional and normal. As always, I think panel-lining is a must, but honestly the construction of the Flag is already so well-thought out that it hardly matters.
The high-grade Union Flag is a masterpiece. It exemplifies the level of quality that recent HG models (I'm looking at you, Stargazer!) have lacked. If you like models, you'll like the Flag. It's great if your starting out--but it's also a great model to build if your getting sick and tired of gunpla in general. The design and construction of the Union Flag, though partially familiar, is a very different affair than any other gundam model out there. And for the price, you just can't beat it--and why would you try?

Rating: 4/5

_________________
Another Day, Another Mishap.

Gundam Seed Fates
ASA (comic)


Last edited by Mwulf on Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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General and Technical Data
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam
Title: 1/100 scale Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Ver.One Year 0079
Release Date: 2007
No. of Parts: 252 (28 parts unused) + 2 screws and 2 nuts
Plastic colors: white, blue, yellow, red, light gray, and transparent pink
Gimmicks: none

Introduction:
Well, this is my very first model review and hope you bear with me because I don't much of the terminalogy and also I'm from the UK. I have built loads of model kits but this is my very first RX-78-2 Gundam model kit ever. You may notice the long name of the model kit. That's because this is one of the recent releases of this year. This is a amazing piece of kit ever.

Head:
The head is very simple. It's comprised of two halves. The eye piece is in clear plastic, and attach the eye piece sticker because I don't have paint and also feel a bit lazy. Apart from that, when finished, it has the style of Hajime Katoki put into it.

Torso:
The torso is made up of the insides (which is made up in two halves) while the front armor (with air ducts) attaches to the front, and the back pieces which is comprised of the backpack with thrusters and the actual back which closes in. The torso has a cockpit hatch in front which opens in the front revealing (I think), the Core Booster. Unfortunately, the model kit does not come with a separate Core Booster. But that does not affect me anyway. The waist is well done. You got the skirt armor with separate yellow squares to attach to, and the crotch is made of three parts (the white crotch, the part part, and the yellow V symbol). After making the torso, when rotating the torso, it doesn't move much because of the skirt armor and crotch. The Gundam can also be positioned to pose the exact image where the Gundam slashed the Zaku in half. According to the instruction, you push this peg on the bottom of the waist. I have problems with this, so I didn't bother with it.

Arms:
The arms are nicley done. The arm is made of pieces which makes into the internal skeleton, then the white pieces which makes up the arms. There is also a elbow piece to attach to the arms as well. The arms has excellent articulation. The hands are made of a thumb, finger as separate pieces, and the last three as a combined piece. I sometimes have problems with these hands but they are still reliable for holding the weapons (unlike the 1/100 MG Strike Freedom Gundam, which I also made). The hand has a rectangular peg for holding the weapons. The shoulder is made of two halves and can be moved into different poses, especially the headless Gundam firing the beam rifle upwards pose.

Legs:
The legs are interesting and also weird in some way. The legs are made of two long grey hard polypropelen (not sure how you spell it from Japanese) Parts J1 and J2). They also come with rotating syringes, cyclinders and hinges attached to it, and two pieces has two pull-out little plastic (which is very hard to pull out without fear of breaking it) whihc supposedly used to pull the cyclinders of one of the rotating pieces. The instructions did confuse me for a while and so I did that part first for fear I don't finish the kit. All rotating parts are lined up, and two of them are clipped into a hook. After that's finished, you need to screw two grey halves with a thin screw and nut which is provided. This is very easy to do, considering I never done any screwing for ages. (My first one was the 1/100 MG RX-78-04 Gundam) After that's done, the white pieces are attached. The legs feel stiff and has some nice poseability. The feets can bend, so you can stand it up properly or pose knee-down poses.

Weapons and Accessories:
Beam Rifle: Comprised of two halves, with the yellow scope, and a handle that rotates 180 degress on either side so you can hold the beam rifle with two hands if desired. The beam rifle comes with a peg so it can be attached to back of waist or shield.

Hyper Bazooka: Also comprised of two halves,the only thing I am disappointed with is that the entire weapon is made of light gray plastic. It's supposed to have white parts, but apart from that, I don't feel like painting it. The handle has a bit attached to the front which can be broken easily if not careful, especially when taking the piece out. It's also come with a peg to attach to the back, or shield.

Beam Sabers: Nothing much about them. Just two pieces, the light saber plastic and the handles. The handle can be attached to the top of backpack or inside the shield.

Gundam Hammer: Now this is my favourite part of this model kit. The Gundam hammer is made of a long strong plastic chain which is already assembled to save time making, and the mace is made of two halves, and 14 spikes to attach. It comes with two clips to attach the mace to one end, and another to the handle. I don't normally pose the Gundam with it, but I prefer to play it by swinging it and stuff, it makes look like a key chain of some sort.

Shield: Nothing much. It's made of the big red plastic, the white plastic, the yellow cross, and a clear plastic for the rectangular hole on top of shield. The shield has a handle which the hands hold onto and one which attaches to the side of the arm. The handle can be attached in three different slots, if you like to hold the shield in different heights. The shield can also be attached to the back.

Conclusion:
Considering this is my very first RX-78 Gundam model kit, I am very impressed. This model kit is amazing from the look, the poseability, weapons especially the Gundam hammer. I recommend this kit to anyone who likes Gundam or not.

Rating. 4.5/5


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General and Technical Data:
Series: Gundam 00
Title: 1/144 HG Gundam Exia
Release Date: October 2007
Suggested Price: ¥ 1200
No. of Parts: 126
Plastic Colors: White, Blue, Dark Gray, Red, Yellow, Clear, Light-Blue (Rubber).
Gimmicks: None

Introduction:
Ah, the Exia. Where the Freedom emphasized ranged combat, the Exia is all about melee—yes, by all means another RX-78-2 clone. Or is it? The Exia's original lineart is far from impressive. I daresay, on paper the Exia looks pretty dull. Watching the 00 anime, however, it's slick. It's badass. It's amazing. The difference between the animated Exia and the static Exia is enormous—and the difference between the animated Exia and it's three-dimensional gunpla counterpart is nearly as great. I am immensely impressed with the design and themes of the Exia, and find that it is already one of my favorite high-grade models. Though there are a few things I don't care for in the model's design, it is (for the most part) the most "human" gundam models I've ever seen. It may be small, but it's impressive.

Head:

The head is simply, generally the same two skull-halves, faceplate, chin and V-Fin we're all so familiar with. There are a few differences, however. What I like best is the new cut of the eye-stickers. Traditionally, the foil stickers with the eyes were a single band that was almost impossible to place. Now, however, there is a large triangular part to the sticker that unerringly guides the eyes into place. In addition, the red "chin" of the model is the same chunk of plastic the eyes are on, allowing for a nice red outline along the bottom of the eyes—giving the illusion that the model is far more detailed than it actually is. There are a pair of ears on the rear of the head (that I will talk about toward the end) and two clear plastic domes that go on either side of the head. Now, because the "black" is actually a foil sticker, someone could easily replace the color before putting on the clear plastic cover. I'm not sure what to call it (as we've yet to see a label in-series at the time of this review) but it is not only possible to make the clear parts glow—it's easy! The head can move up and down a good forty degrees, but it's horizontal mobility is hampered by the gold V-fins on the shoulders. Yes, you can fold those fins down and out of the way, but doing so makes the Exia look, well, odd. Overall, the head looks great, and evokes the sense of a bird-of-prey. Honestly, I haven't seen a gundam head (in animation) as distinct as this since the Zeta.

Torso:
The torso is weird, and a bit hard to explain. Part of that stems from the fact that I have to use words like "breasts" to describe what's going on, and it feels like I'm being a tad immature (even though I'm not). Essentially, there is a single gray cylinder in the "core." A large blue plate fits on the back, on top of which is a large white cone—the GN drive. Unfortunately, the GN cone is pretty nondescript. You really don't have any option but to add panel lines, and even then it seems a bit too mundane. Now, a white circle fits around the front of the torso with little notches for the gold V-fins, which pop into place. The gold V-fins can also be folded down, so that you can hardly see them. There is an indentation for the clear circle in the front, which is essentially the same as the parts in the head.
Now it's time to talk about boobies. Er, the Exia's breast parts. I was actually kind of disappointed, as the breasts of the crummy NG models seemed to be a lot firmer. Basically, there's a single piece of blue plastic that fits onto the arm joints and curls around the front of the Exia's torso, partially covering the central sphere. Each breast has a single yellow vent that easily pops into place. Unfortunately, the breast armor mounts onto a square fitting with a rectangular opening, which makes the armor slide up and down. When you're posing the arms, expect to constantly adjust the positioning of the breasts to keep the Exia from looking ill.
At the bottom of the torso is the familiar red stomach, essentially unchanged from any other gundam. Ever. Nothing to see there, folks. Move along, move along.

Arms:
The Exia's arms are pretty damn cool. Sure, you've got the boring-old two panel giant rectangular shoulders (the worst possible design motif to survive G Gundam, I would say) but make up for them with double-jointed elbows, cool hardpoints on the top of the forearm (which is cool because they're usually on the bottom) and spiffy little rubber cables running from the shoulders to the arms. Very spiffy. Easy to construct, and they look pretty good. They're also pretty simple, so there is little else to say. The hands, again, are simply two pieces of plastic—either a gripped fist with an armor cover, or outstrechted fingers wiith an armor cover. The arms also have little clear-plastic circles (w/ black foil stickers underneath), as well as several areas for panel lining... but if you attach the large GN Sword and/or Shield, neither the clear plastic nor the panel lining will be visible.

Legs:

The Exia's legs are pretty cool, if only for the double-jointed knees AND ankles. That's right. These legs have a LOT of joints, meaning you can do a lot of different poses. Balancing is a different issue... but you'll be happy to note that the Exia is bottom heavy, so if you can balance it in a good pose it will stay that way. The legs, again, have the clear-plastic circles on the outside of the knees, and are built around a dark-gray piece of plastic (resembling, somewhat, a MG model's internal frame) making them look very detailed. Foil stickers do need to be attached into the two small grooves running down the legs, but because that area is indented into the plastic the foil stickers pretty much stay there, and you don't ever have to worry about them peeling off. Since I live in a rather humid area, I am very thankful for that.
The back of the skirt armor has two little pegs that slide open for the GN sabers (read: beam sabers) to attach, which is pretty cool in theory... but the pegs that the sabers slide into are too small, so you'll have to glue the sabers on if you expect them to stick.
The surprising part about the Exia is the pelvic area. Yeah, finally... Bandai's done something new! And it's a great change. Rather than attach the legs to a static pelvis, we actually have an axel running along the center of the pelvic armor allowing for "hip" movement! You can have the right leg further forward or backward than the left, and the left leg higher or lower than the right. It may not sound like much, but it makes the Exia a LOT more posable, a LOT more human-looking, and a lot more realistic to boot.

Weapons and Accessories:
Interestingly enough, the Exia's weapons are both one of the best aspects of the model, and one of the worst. The best: the GN Sword. It's awesome, there's no other way to put it. You've got the small shield attached to the Exia's forearm via the hardpoint, which is then attached at the other end to the "muzzle" of the Exia's GN Pistol (or the "hilt" of the GN Sword). The end of the gun/hilt is a rotating handle which allows you to move the GN Sword up and down and still look pretty cool. There's a large blue-plastic guard attached to the bottom of the gun/hilt, which is how the blade itself attaches to the whole thing. The large blade is a single slab of dark gray chocolate, but it's well-detailed and looks downright menacing combined with everything else. It's spectacular, and something you really have to see and touch for yourself to understand how cool it is.
The shield is nothing special, though it is a tad more detailed than most 1/144 models go. Basically, there's a gray slab under a blue slab with a white foil sticker on top. Personally, I think they could have easily molded the shield with a single blue part and a single white part and ended up with something looking a lot better. Too bad.
Then there's the atrocious part. Seven swords... seven swords, and six of them are crap. I've already mentioned my issues with the GN sabers—mainly that the lower two simply will not stay in place on the skirt armor. The upper sabers stay in place, and look ind of cool—but that's about it. There's only a single GN saber with a blade, and it's molded in solid white plastic. Yawn.
The GN blades themselves are pretty dull too. Each one is a single chunk of white plastic with a tiny blue clip on one of the sides. The problem is that the blue part doesn't attach very well to the white blade, and will often fall off. Now, the cylindrical locks for the GN blades are pretty cool looking (way better than any old hardpoint) but when you actually have the blades mounted, you find that your model's mobility is severely hampered. With the GN blades mounted, you cannot swivel the hips too much without the blades popping out of place. The only alternative is to angle the GN blades completely vertical so that they're obscured by the leg itself. Not a wise design choice.

Conclusion:
The Exia has some problems. The accessories/weapons and torso all leave you wishing for more. It's a shame, really, since the rest of the model is far superior to any previous HG offering. The rotating hips are amazing. I can't believe no one thought of it earlier. The shoulders look damn cool with the torso, head and pelvis, and the whole design meshes together in an unbelievable way. The Exia is still identifiable as based-off the original gundam, but it also has it's own (rather distinct) charm. The best way to say it is... the Exia is spiky. It's very triangular, and a lot of that doesn't come across in the animation. Essentially, the Exia has lots of triangular components that all point in the same direction at a similar angle. The V-fins (both on the shoulders and on the head), the ears, the shoulders, the breasts, the hip armor, the shield—everything is at just the right angle to create a beautifully designed mobile suit. A harmony of angles. I'm confident that a master-grade Exia would be even better, but for the price you cannot beat this high-grade model. It may not be the best model out there, but in terms of aesthetic design it's at the top—just build it for yourself. I'm certain you'll agree.

Rating: 4/5

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Another Day, Another Mishap.

Gundam Seed Fates
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General and Technical Data:
Series: Gundam Seed Destiny: Stargazer ONA
Title: 1/144 HG Slaughter Dagger
Release Date: August 2006
Suggested Price: ¥ 1200
No. of Parts: 138
Plastic Colors: Light Gray, Dark Gray, Red and Black.
Gimmicks: None

Introduction:

It ought to be awesome, but it's not. Yes, the slaughter-dagger. Cool design, cool colors, but once you build it everything just falls apart. It's a shame, really, because it could have been oh-so-much. In the end, the Slaughter-dagger suffers from to worst possible illness—the poor proportions. You see that pretty image of the slaughter dagger on the box? Unfortunately, the real model hardly looks a thing like that. If anything, the Stargazer HG models make me think that the "smart" designers were already hard at work on the 00 line, leaving models like this to the less-competent employees.

Head:
Yawn. I'm bored. You're boring me. No, it's not you... it's this slaughter dagger! The head's composition is the same as every other gundam model. Two halves for the skull, a faceplate, and a foil sticker for the visor. The S-Dagger also has a tiny red triangle affixed to the top of the forehead to give it that "evil gundam" vibe, but that can only go so far. The only redeeming part of the head is that the two antennae are already molded into the plastic of the skull instead of being separate parts. Tht makes the head a bit more sturdy than it could have been. A win, I suppose.

Torso:
Nothing to see here folks, nothing at all. It's a GM's torso, but with darker colors. Just dark red and gray, nothing else. There's hardly any texture to the plastic so it looks like gunpla from the dark-ages—you know, the old no-grade models from the 1980s. The backpack is kind of cool because it's molded in black, giving the illusion of a more diverse palatte. It looks like the Strike Gundam's Aile pack, but don't be decieved. Although the main "backpack" and lower thruster pods are indeed copies of the Aile pack, the giant wings that ought to be on top of the pack are completely absent. Instead, we get two little black stubs with gray foil stickers. These wings are WAY too small, especially compared to how incredibly big the rest of the backpack is, and give the entire model an air of absurdity. The thruster pods can rotate and move in two directions, and the joints are fairly sturdy, but all of the details are the result of foil-stickers placed on textured plastic that makes them peal off easier than dead skin. Ulgh. And they don't look all that much better, either.

Arms:
The arms are boring, too. There's no texture to them, and the only detail comes from foil stickers. To parts for the shoulders, two for the forearm, one for the joint, tow for the upper arm, and two for each hand. You know the drill. The joints are firm and you get an average amount of posability, but that's about all.

Legs:
The legs are probably the only decent part of the S-Dagger. There are no foil stickers, and a few opportunities for panel-lining which help to give them a bit more definition. The skirt armor doesn't allow for too much movement, but both the knees and ankles have double-joints, so you can pose the Slaughter-Dagger several different ways with relative easy, and everything is firm enough that it will hold the pose. The feet are pretty heavy and wide, and this also helps with posing.

Weapons and Accessories:
You have a beam rifle, and two beam sabers. The beam rifle is nothing special. A few pieces of dark gray plastic snapped together. The beam sabers really piss me off, if only because they're way too good for such a crummy model—there are clear green beam blades! Amazing! Most HGUCs don't even get that. It's very nice, and if you can find a cool pose with both beam sabers active and stand several feet away from the Slaughter Dagger, you can actually manage to make it look rather cool.

Conclusion:
Homogeneous colors. You've got black and gray and red, but virtually no panels to line making everything look like a cheap toy from before you were born (or when you were a kid, depending on your personal level of decrepitness). It's horridly ill-proportioned with gigantic forearms, enormous thruster pods, and ridiculously tiny wings. It's posable and sturdy, which is good, but none of that means a thing if the molding is up to par. The Slaughter Dagger might be a good model to buy if you never built a gundam model before, or if you're gung-ho enough to do your own painting, detailing, or kitbashing. Otherwise, don't waist you're money. If you absolutely MUST have a model of the Slaughter Dagger, you'd be far better off buying some spray paint and merging a HG Dagger kit with a HG Aile Strike kit.

Rating: 1/5

_________________
Another Day, Another Mishap.

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ASA (comic)


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 Post Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:48 am 
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General and Technical Data:
Series: Harmony of Gundam*
Title: 1/144 HGUC GM Striker
Release Date: December 2006
Suggested Price: ¥ 1200
No. of Parts: 120
Plastic Colors: Transparent Red, Transparent Blue, Light Green, Dark Green, Light Gray and Dark Gray..
Gimmicks: None

Introduction:
I've heard a lot of people berate the "Harmony of Gundam" line, but after building the GM Striker I have to say that a lot of those complaints are superfluous, if not wholly unwarranted. The GM Striker might be the hellish spawn of Bandai's indiscriminate desire to sell more and more gunpla, unto the breaking of the world—but the GM Stiker is still a great model. It's posable, it's detailed, and it looks incredible. Buy it. Now. It's awesome, and it's got some great accessories.

Head:

The GM Striker's head is typical GM fare. You've got the two parts of the skull, the faceplate, and the visor. The visor is molded in clear plastic, which makes it look very nice. There are a few areas to ink-in with a marker to add definition to the head, which makes it look very nice. The weird part about the head is that the rear is light blue and the front is dark green, evenly divided down the middle. It looks pretty odd, even if that's how it's supposed to look. Now, technically the dark green is supposed to be extra armor on top of the pale blue GM head, but because we don't get an extra part, we have a solid green front. It's a shame, really. To get the face to look right, you have to use paint.
In terms of mobility, the GM Striker's head is nothing special. You can put it at pretty much any angle, and the ball-joint the head is mounted on is fairly stiff, so you won't ever have to worry about it falling out of place.

Torso:

The Striker's torso is pretty cool, if only because it's essentially a giant chunk of armor. You've got bright yellow plastic for the chest vents and neckline, as well as a red foil sticker for the cockpit hatch—but everything else is dark green. The dark green armor has tons of indented panels for inking, which really makes the model look impressive once done. The backpack is pretty standard as well, just a chunk of dark gray with a few yellow thrusters to pop in. There's also a pale green beam saber hilt, but given how cool the Striker's other weapons are, I doubt you'll do much with it. The torso can rotate from side-to-side a full 360 degrees, but, sadly, there is no up or down movement.

Arms:
The arms are standard. They're molded in a few more colors than usual, which is nice, and the double-jointed elbows allow you to move them pretty much however you please. The forearms and shoulder armor also have a LOT of areas to panel-line, which is always a major plus. The tiny specks of yellow on the forearms are foil stickers, which is too bad, so you'll have to be careful to put them on straight and try to prevent them from peeling off.

Legs:
The legs are nice. While the newer Gundam 00 high-grade models are utilizing a pelvic-axle, the GM Striker achieves a similar (though inferior) level of pelvic mobility by recessing the inner calves, allowing for better positioning of the legs. Coupled with the double jointed knees and the wide-range of movement for the ankles, you end up with a very posable model that can shift its weight from side to side with ease.

Weapons and Accessories:

First, the boring. There's a machine gun and a beam saber. The beam saber comes with two clear-pink blades and three hilts. The machine gun has a wire butt that swivels back, but mainly seems designed for one-handed use. But don't kid yourself, you don't be doing a thing with the beam sabers or the machine gun. When it comes to the GM Striker, it's ALL about the beam trident. Basically, you have a pole with two rotating fixtures at the end. Each fixture can hold a beam saber, into which you can place an active beam blade. Very cool. What's more, the beam sabers at the edge of the trident can move a full130 degrees! And the two blades are linked together, so moving one of them will move the other—so both blades are always at the same angle. It's wicked, it's awesome, and it's big. You could not ask for a more intimidating weapon—especially on a grunt.
Finally, there's the shield. It's got every color of plastic on it except yellow, and looks pretty dam cool for it. There aren't many places to do panel-lines, but it's nice nonetheless. The cool part of the shield is the twin pile-driver at the bottom. Very spiffy.

Conclusion:
The GM Striker is little more than a standard model, in virtually every way. The legs are a bit above-average in terms of mobility, but virtually everything else is mediocre. The accessories are pretty damn cool, you have to admit, but is that alone what makes the GM Striker awesome? Nope. Not at all. What makes the GM striker so cool is a very simple, mundane thing. It is well-molded. There are lots of indented lines all over the dark green armored parts, and the moment you ink them in the GM Striker attains a remarkable level of depth and detail. That, coupled with the cool accessories, makes for a very, very nice model. It's not a must-have, but if you're looking for a good, out-of-the-ordinary design, you definitely ought to give the GM Striker a look.

Rating: 4/5

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General and Technical Data:
Series: Gundam 00
Title: MSIA Gundam Exia
Release Date: November 2007
Suggested Price: ¥2000
No. of Parts: 23
Plastic Colors: White, Yellow, Light-Purple, Black, Green, Red, Dark Gray, Light Gray, Clear Pink, Blue.
Gimmicks: None.

Introduction:

Ah, the Exia. The RX-78-2 of Gundam 00. Let's hope it meets a better fate than the Impulse Gundam. The figure itself is very decent. I cannot stress that enough—it's decency. What I mean, precisely, is that the figure has no great flaws to it, but neither does it excel in any one attribute. It's good enough to act as a benchmark for the line that the MSIA should never dip under, but that's about it. When you first get a good look at the Exia, the first thing you'll notice is how big it is—or, rather, how big it isn't. It's small! The figure itself is roughly the same size as the latter Gundam Seed: Destiny action figures, but because of it's design (everything is much slimmer than the old Seed mecha designs) it seems smaller. There are a few problems in terms of posability, molding and inaccurate molding, but for the most part this MSIA is a solid rendition of its animated counterpart, and well-worth a buy if you're a fan of the show.

Head:
The head is small, and well painted. Not all the details are inked in, so if you want to use this figure for display, you'll want to do some panel lining. Since the lines are present, however, we might expect to see a second release from bandai with the lines inked in. I can only remember this happening with the Wing Zero figure, but it is a possbility. The head can move up and down about ten degrees, and to each side roughly twenty degrees. Horizontal movement is hard because the Exia's chin will hit the base of the gold v-fins on the chest. Despite that, however, the head can move around enough to establish most poses. Now, if you've paid attention to the animation or own either the HG or MG Exia, you know that it has a very distinctive shape. Unfortunately, the head on the MSIA figure of the Exia does not retain it's proper shape. To put it bluntly, it's too fat. It's about 35% wider than it ought to be, and loses a lot of it's design in the process. Instead of the sleek, predatory head the Exia is supposed to have, instead we get a ball. I'm thinking that the inaccurate molding may be a case of Bandai reusing molds from their previous Destiny line of figures.

Torso:

The torso is a solid hunk of plastic. The GN drive in the front is solid black, but it doesn't look too bad. The shoulder and breast parts are fairly simple, establishing the joints needed for double-jointed shoulder and allowing the shoulders to swing forward and backward with ease. The torso can move a full 360 degree circle on the pelvic mount, but cannot move from side to side—even though the molding of the lower stomach seems to indicate the possibility. An extra joint there would have done wonders for posability. Everything is well-painted and looks rather nice. The large yellow v-fins stemming from the top of the torso were a nice surprise: I'd expected them to be frail and delicate because of their small size, but they're actually molded out of a very tough, very thick plastic. The v-fins do not fold down, but given how unexpectedly strong they are, I say it's a fair omission.

Arms:

The arms are small. Very, very small. The shoulder armor, too, is pretty small and pretty dull—just slabs of blue plastic, actually. Because the arms and shoulders are not connected, the "fiber" running from near the elbow up to the shoulder armor simply re-attaches to the top of the shoulder instead. This makes the shoulder armor look empty and dull from the side. The ends of the shoulder do have small notched for the GN beam sabers to slide into, and the pegs are big enough that once in place you will not have to worry about the sabers ever falling out. The Sabers on the shoulder,s by the way, are set at the exact same angle as the sabers on the buttocks. The shoulder and elbows are both double jointed, which is very nice, but because the arms themselves are so thin and light the Exia cannot hold it's heavy GN Sword too high up without falling down. The Exia comes with three different sets of hands—clenched fists, open fists and trigger-pulling fists—and plenty of accessories to fill them with. The hard points on the arm (for the shields) are actually located on the top of the forearm rather than the bottom, which allows the Exia to support its accessories far better than other figures.

Legs:
What can I say about the legs? They are set into the pelvic armor by a very widely-placed axle and fit onto large ball joints, and with both the knees and ankles double-jointed they can move around quite a bit. In a null-gravity environment, I'm sure that the Exia would be an insanely posable figure—but here on Earth it's top heavy, so you'll have to be careful standing it up so that it does not fall over. Now, the legs look pretty good in terms of molding and painting. There are even a few inked panel lines in the calf and upper knee (though not as many as there could be). The feet can be bent at nearly any angle,making the figure seem even more human-esque. The tail-end of the pelvic armor can flip up or down (the whole thing, not just the beam saber hilts) and has two more pegs for the GN beam sabers to fit in. The saber mounts on the legs are just as snug as the ones on the arms, and are set at the exact same angle. The circular plates on the outsides of the upper thigh can snap off for the GN blade mounts to be attached, though doing so can be quite difficult at times, and the Blades themselves do not fit onto their mounts perfectly.

Weapons and Accessories:

The Exia has seven swords. And one shield. The shield, surprisingly, is superior to the version found in the high-grade model kit. It's just a solid triangular slab of plastic, but it's extremely well painted and detailed and clamps onto the Exia's arm with a nice, snug feeling. Very nice. The Shield is mounted on a ball joint, so it can spin in circles and tilt from side to side. Very nice.
Four of the seven swords are GN beam sabers, which I've discussed already. Each hilt is identical, and the figure comes with four different removable blades molded in clear-pink plastic. Two of the blades are long (sabers) while the other two are short (knives). Each blade fits into the hilt snugly, as it should be.
Next are the GN blades. The long blade, and the short blade. The blades themselves are well-detailed and colored, and are made of a very rigid plastic—I'd almost say it's the exact same plastic and molding as in the high-grade model. And indeed, even though the MSIA Exia is quite a bit smaller than the HG model, the GN blades are identical in size! I'm of half a mind to use the MSIA's blades on my HG model, they look so much better. The only real problem with the GN plades is that they fit onto the Exia's thighs by way of single pegs attached to cylindrical extension pieces. It's easy enough to pop the cylindrical extensions onto the Exia figure, but it's quite another matter to pop the blades onto the extension. In my own case, I could only get one of the cylindrical connectors to attach to a GN blade—the other one seemed to have a molding problem, as the peg was nearly two times too large to fit into its hole.
Last and most-certainly-not least is the massive, extraordinary GN Sword. I have a feeling no one at all would care for the Exia, if not for this monster of a weapon. The GN sword fits into the Exia's hand like a pistol (which it kind of is) and is supported by a small shield that attaches to the top of the Exia's forearm. (Note that the GN sword can ONLY be placed on the Exia's right arm, although the Shield can be placed on either arm). The Giant blade and guard can swivel up to meet the pistol, and even further up into a giant sword. Very cool. The plastic molding of the blade in particular is very strong and sturdy, and has some cool silver paint along the edge of the blade, making it look all the more menacing.

Conclusion:

The Exia is a nice MSIA, but it's nothing grounbreaking. It's a solid, durable design that is mostly well-painted and molded, but there are just enough problems with it to avoid buying it. Although the legs and arms are very posable, the heavy shield, sword and torso weigh the figure down, making the more elaborate poses impossible. Well, rather let me say that you can pull off pretty elaborate poses thanks to the figure's posability, but balancing the thing and getting it to stand on its own is a whole different story, entirely. Because of some of the ill-proportioned areas (the head and shoulders, and rear hip-armor) I cannot recommend this figure to a fan of the Exia's design—to them I say "buy the high-grade model, instead." For a fan of the MSIA figures, in general, too, I cannot recommend this designs. It's a bit better than some of the uglier Seed figures, but not much better. I can only really recommend this figure to people who are absolutely in love with the Gundam 00 anime—otherwise, just grab a model kit instead. You'll be paying just about the same amount, and though there may be some assembly required, you'll end up with a better final product in the end.

Rating: 3.5/5

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:41 pm 
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General and Technical Data:
Series: ZZ Gundam
Title: 1/400 Quin Mantha
Release Date: March 2005
Suggested Price: ¥ 2400
No. of Parts: 150
Plastic Colors: Pale Green, Light Green, Yellow, Black, Red, Dark Gray and Blue.
Gimmicks: Display Stand, Miniature ZZ Gundam mounted on display stand.

Introduction:
Have you ever opened up a model kit box and said, "Good God! This is going to be awesome,"? I have, but only once. That single moment was when I first opened up the box to the 1/400 Quin Mantha model to look at the plastic trays. I was impressed. Thoroughly impressed by what I saw. There aren't many models still around from ZZ. Not including the horrendously expensive master grade ZZ Gundam and its full armor counterpart, there's hardly a thing. You might be able to find a few no-grade models lying around from way back in the day when Tomino's comedic sequel was airing on Japanese television, but they won't be all that nice to look at. Find this Quin Mantha, though, and you'll think you underpaid for it—by about a hundred dollars. Yes, it's that good. I've never built a perfect-grade model, but I can't imagine one looking for feeling any better than this. The plastic is smooth, and tough—just be feeling it I could tell it was a substantially higher grade of plastic than the models I am accustomed to—and it's pre-painted. That's right! Straight out of the box, each part is already painted—and it looks fabulous. Even a novice modeler could put this together and wind up with something that looks professionally made.

Head:
Because of the Quin Mantha's coloration and shape, I'm sorely tempted to think of it as a "queen mantis." The head is very insectoid, almost like a pale-green a yellow gundam head, sans the v-fin. It also has two massive antennae sprouting out the back. Very cool. The head is very flexible and can move in just about any direction. It's pre-painted and looks immaculate.

Torso:
The torso ends up as a solid ball of plastic. There are too many parts inside to count, and most of them are very, very samll. It was a bit of a pain to put together (a personal issue; I have the hands of a giant) but it looks fantastic once its built. Two mega-particle beam cannons line the upper sides of the torso—the start out as a light green, then the edges of the barrel are painted a pale green, followed by red lining the interior of the cannon and a black circle in the very center. What's more, there are tiny ridges all around, and tiny black cables running from the side of the cannon all the way around the mobile suit's torso to the rear. Everything is unbelievably well detailed—you can hold this model directly in front of your face and still not see all the tiny details there are without straining your eyes. There's a large blocky guard-armor mounted directly behind the head, and just behind it is a large tale that flips up (mounted on the top of the back) that's essentially a more streamlined version of the Qubeley's funnel dispenser. On the back of the funnel-tail is a very small, perfectly formed Neo-Zeon emblem painted on. Stunning.

Arms:
The Quin Mantha's arms are wicked-cool. There's a reason why this design was re-envisioned for the Gundam Unicorn novel—it's amazing, and a big part of that is the arms. The shoulder armor for the Quin Mantha is actually a bit odd—you've got two giant, flat-rectangular pieces that attach the arms to the torso. To the top of these rectangular shoulder blocks attach the giant, bulbous "wing" thrusters. Very well detailed, with lots of color underneath. There are also little mounts under the wings for the Quin Mantha's beam swords to fit into. They look amazingly nice, and everything fits together very snugly. The arms themselves are pretty simple, and look just as nice as everything else. Thought the shoulders have a whopping three joints (more than ANY other model I've seen in my life) the elbos only have the one joint—up or down. There's a large armor guard covering the hands, and beam sabers located just below the palm. The Quin Mantha also comes with several varieties of hands—closed, open, and "grabbing" hands (for the beam swords). The arms can move with a lot more mobility than you would expect, given the model's tiny size and the complexity involved. But this Quin Mantha... it is a model kit that will continuously surprise and impress you.

Legs:
The legs attach to the torso by way of a massive pelvic piece. You have a very large fang-like structure coming down in front, and in back you have a secondary funnel-tail. Like the upper funnel dispenser, this one can move up and down. The only difference between the two is that the lower funnel tail is longer and narrower than the upper one. If there's a downside to this model, it's the legs. They attach to the pelvis by large ball joints and can move at the top in virtually any direction, but the knees have only a single joint, and don't allow the lower leg to move very much. The feet are massive, but are only a single piece when assembled, and can only move up and down a little bit. If you want to pose the Quin Mantha on its feet, you're not going to have a very big library of poses open to you. Fortunately, the Quin Mantha does not want you to bother with that, so a small display-stand is included with it—and, fully, airborne, the limitation of the movements of the lower legs are not an issue at all. Another problem with the legs, depending on your perspective, is that they might be too-detailed. If you look at the sides and back of the legs, or even below the feet and knees, you 'll see a lot of painted details. It all looks fantastic, but there's just too much in too many areas that simply are not visible, no matter the pose. It's a shame, that this model is simply too good for its own good.

Weapons and Accessories:
The Quin Mantha does not have very many accessories. There are two small blades that fit into the saber hilts below the palms, and two beam swords that fit below the giant thruster wings. That's all there is for the Quin Mantha, but everything looks so good and moves so well that you really don't need any more than that. The display stand is a nice touch, and holds the modle about six centimeters above the surface you have it on. As a bonus, the Quin Mantha also comes with a pre-painted figure (also 1/400 scale) of the Double Zeta Gundam—and it's tiny. You can really see how much Puru's monster dwarfed Judau in the closing battles of the ZZ Gundam. The ZZ has it's own small stand and is very well detailed and colored. The ZZ iteslf is only two pieces of plastic (the right arm w/ double beam cannon being separate) and looks fantastic. The plastic that the ZZ figure is made out of isn't quite as nice as the plastic the Quin Mantha is constructed of—it's much more flexible. The ZZ is roughly made of the same material (and is the same size) as the figures that came with the collector's edition Zeta Gundam boxset, when it was first released in North America.

Conclusion:
Have I said that the Quin Mantha is awesome? Have I said that it looks fantastic? Have I said that even a complete novice could build it, and end up with a stunning model that is more-than-fit to be the centerpiece of ANY collection? Well, I'll say it again. And again, and again, and again—as many times as I need to. I don't care what you think of ZZ Gundam, or even Gundam in general—if you like building model kits, you absolutely MUST purchase this one. The Quin Mantha may be a bit small, but it looks fantastic. It is the epitome of what modeling is. I'd say my Quin Mantha model was worth over $100 USD—but to buy it for yourself, you'd spending less money than most new HGUC models. Not building a Quin Mantha is a disservice, not just to yourself, but to the model-making industry in Japan as well. Trust me, models simply do not get any better than this. You can try all you might to find one better, but the Quin Mantha is perfect. Utterly perfect.

Rating: 5/5

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:54 pm 
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*phew*

With those two reviews, all I have left to do are...


1/100 MG Turn A Gundam
1/100 NG Vigna Zirah

1/144 HGUC GP01fb
1/144 Rick Dias (red)
1/144 HGUC S-Gundam
1/144 HG Tieren
1/144 HGUC TR-1 Hazel II
EMSiA MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam
MSiA Akatsuki (Shiranui)
MSiA MS-18e Kampfer
MSiA Re-GZ

If anyone else wants/plans to review any of those, lemme know so I don't waste time. I'm mainly writing review because I love gunpla, and think that generally the more reviews out there, the better. I just got the italicized stuff today (merry xmas, folks!) so I dunno when I can review 'em. Everything else I'll have finished and reviewed by New Years--which brings me to the problem of pictures. I've got about seven review here already, which added to the coming stuff is going to be a LOT of pictures.

Rather than uploading each image to an imagehost, could I simply put them all into an archive and megaupload/rapidshare the archive? It would save a lot of time....

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