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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:22 am 
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Cardboard Leo Ace
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first off this is my first review.

General and Technical Data:
Series: Gundam side story "gaiden"
Title: MG Gundam G05 rx-78-05
release date:August 2003
Suggested Retail Price: $45 (rounded est.)
No. of Parts: PS around 236, 50 ABS, wire, 2 transparent beams, 37 (extra PC included) polycaps, stickers (foil, dry, wet)
Plastic colors: white,90%,7.5%,2.5%
red,100%
yellow,40%,30%,30%
dark grey, 100%
light grey, 90%,10%
gimmicks: none (according to the box) but, extra pads, gattling gun.

Introduction: a random release from bandai, with only afew other 0079 MSV models (well alot including B-Club and other companies)the only difference[s] from the G04 is the 2 chest vents.relativly old MG so lets see how it is.

Head: standard head 10 pieces, very well molded, clean and has the katoki style to it a bit, the v-fin is sharp-ish and pops out if touched easily I recommend gluing it into place. rotates easily 360.

Torso: also easy clean looking but very nice. Quite standard one gimmick, the cockpit opens up to reveal ford romfellow, the pilot. 12 pieces to make the torso. the torso could rotate 360 just be careful about the 2 fins hanging off the booster pack... oh yeah! the backpack almost forgot, the backpack is very nice. contains 17 pieces to make. booster can move individually.also the fin conecter can move up and down.

Arms: the arms of this kit, so cool the arms probably more then the torso or every other part of this kit. althought the elbow joint is not strong the arms could support the weight of the shield well, but when you try to use the gattling gun, then with one arm it falls down. thr shpulder joint has a screw in it so that would help a bit. but two flaps on the arms make the "space" arm pads, and the bump on the lower arm is I guess a machine gun like the ones in the head. it could rotate 360 below the shoulder, and at the elbow it could bend almost or very close a parrel bend, if it can then the arms are rotated wrong, the rotation should only bend about 90 degress if you rotate the arms the official way or the way in the hanger pictures in the manuel.the hand is the standard old styled MG hand or the old HG 1/100 scales. thumb is on a ball joint the index finger is seperate on a stiff hinge joint, and the 3 other fingers move together. (I advise not to seperate them because they're all hinged by one hinge about the thickness of the index finger (on the kit not human fingers)

Legs: the legs are also quite standard, wait NVM (nevermind) this model has NO inner frame. theres not much to say about the legs, there a bit bulky and the back thruster restricts the bend to about 125 degress the feet have the ankle joint and fott joint so it can bend 360 ant 2 points the bottom foot is a solid 1 piece so no in or out bend. the foot protecter piece moves up and down and suprisingly it does not restrict the 360 rotation.

Weapons/Accessories: the "hyper" beam rifle is nicly detailed and the scope and handle can move, it is a small hassle to place it into the hand because there is a bump on the hand and it is strait-ly vertical but the beam rifle handle is on a diagonal angle. the shield its cool it can fold into a compact version, like the GP01. its has a large peg that will stick into the bump on the arm, and also has a handle too, the 2 beam sabers are standard i guess, pink beam but the handle it red and im suppose to wrap a white strip around it, using wet decals!? how come they didn't just used a foil sticker? but rsther than litsening to me rant i'll returned to the review. so the beam sabers are stored on the back pack. and now the main attration, the gattling gun, and how sweet looking it is, but the cable is a gay part but it looks very nice, it is a small struggle to keep it in a good action pose and keep it standing up. the shoulder pads for the upgrade make it look quite bulky. and the fuel pods housed beside the thruster fins.

Conclusion: if you like is Gat s**t in games you'll like this, but i'd have to deduct some points for a bad design (not in looks the design for looks in this thing is awesomly cool.)

Ratings: :oops: : embarrised you bought it (garbage)
:x : you really hate it (blah)
:cry: : you regret you bought it over something else. (gay)
:? : satisfied
:) : it's okay
:D : this thing is awesome!
:lol: : this thing isn't awesome, it's uber awesome!
:shock: : this thing is a masterpeice


I give it a :) : it's okay

manuel illustrations: BEE-CRAFT
credit to hlj.com
1999.co.jp/eng
mechatalk.net


PS:i dont care how you credit me as, and dont touch meh email OR DIE :twisted:

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 Post Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 5:32 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this but I'd rather not start a thread just to ask a simple question.

I'm in the process of writing a bunch of action figure reviews but I'm having trouble finding a release date and suggested retail price for them. Is there a reliable site out there that would have that info?

Thanks in advance.

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 Post Posted: Wed May 13, 2009 6:22 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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You can't find them on either HLJ or HobbySearch?


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 Post Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 1:30 pm 
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AceWhatever wrote:
You can't find them on either HLJ or HobbySearch?

Not the American releases. Those sites just have info on the Japanese figures.

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 Post Posted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:52 pm 
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thanatos wrote:
AceWhatever wrote:
You can't find them on either HLJ or HobbySearch?

Not the American releases. Those sites just have info on the Japanese figures.


The MAHQ reviews only use the Japanese release date and price, even if the figure was released in North America (Which, more often than not, they weren't), so just go with those.

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 Post Posted: Fri May 15, 2009 7:25 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Series: Mobile Suit in Action!! (MSiA)
Title: RGC-83 GM Cannon II
Release Date: 07/2003
Suggested Price: $5.99
No. of Parts: 1 GM Cannon II figure + 4 parts
Plastic colors: light aqua, dark green, gray w/painted red, yellow, black, orange, green
Gimmicks: 90mm GM rifle, 90mm GM machine gun, Large-type EFSF shield, beam saber w/detachable translucent blade

Introduction

The GM Cannon II is one of those loveably under appreciated mecha. The dueling Gundams that took most of the screen time in 0083 largely eclipsed its brief appearances. Its design is a curious mix of the NT-1’s armor strapped on to an RGM-79 GM Custom. I was happy to have picked mine up the moment I saw it at the store.

Head

The head is sharply detailed. Its two antennae are bendable enough that them snapping off shouldn’t be an issue. Running along the jaw-line of the head is a bar that is still bendable enough to let the head look down. The entire head can rotate 360 degrees, though the shoulder cannons would obscure its vision such that having it look directly to its left or right makes it look somewhat silly. The orange visor, black side vents and green head sensors are all very sharp. Even the head vulcans have a tiny dab of paint on them, though for some reason, they’re painted green

Torso

Waist articulation on this figure is a full 360 degrees, though the skirt armor makes this movement a little difficult. The tiny yellow V detail on the front and the red on the rear thrusters are the only part of this figure where the paint is outside its proper space. The shoulder cannons, which are attached to the detachable backpack, look nice and have 45 degrees of movement. After moving them up and down a lot, one of the cannons on mine won’t stay horizontal. Most of the torso is occupied by the dark green armor whose only markings are little marks on the corners of each piece of armor.

Arms

The arms have more than enough movement for an MSiA. It only comes with two hands, both open to hold its accessories. The right hand has its trigger finger extended to hold a gun while the left forearm holds a detachable beam saber. The left arm comes with a beam saber already inside it, in addition to the second beam saber and blade. Like most MSiA where the beam saber is inserted into some part of the figure, it can be a pain to get it out, so I leave it in and just use the other one. The EFSF decals on the shoulders look nice and crisp. In the right light, it is noticeable that the aqua-colored parts of the forearm were painted while the upper part of the arm were molded in that color, making the latter slightly lighter.

Legs

The dark green skirt armor is very inflexible so the movement of the leg is significantly impeded. The same is true of the bulbous lower part of the leg that prevents it from moving back much. However, the side-to-side movement of the legs is as good as any of its other contemporary MSiAs. The segmented hoses on the back of the knees are a nice touch, as are the black stripes on the calves. The worst parts of the legs are the scruff marks on the calves where the piece was cut off after molding, but thankfully these are on the back. The feet are similar to those on the GM Custom figure in terms of color, though I found them to have slightly better movement. Another difference is a black-striped bar that covers the back ankle. The ankle’s joint is the only thing that inhibits movement, not any part of the design.

Weapons and Accessories

The weapons and accessories are identical to those on the GM Custom. The only exception to this is the beam saber. This is shorter on the GM Cannon II, likely so that it could fit into the arm socket. The two rifles are solid black and about all you can expect for grunt suit weapons. Unfortunately the ammo cartridge on the machine gun makes it impossible to hold properly. The shield has nice EFSF decals and good detailing on the back, especially the two ammo packs, which unfortunately are not detachable. The shield can attach to a socket on the left arm or it can be held in the figure’s hand, though not both at once. I find the l arm socket is a better option, and the shield’s handle can be removed to attach it to the arm.

Conclusion

The GM Cannon II is a solid figure. Obviously it cannot do the extreme and outlandish poses of other mobile suits, but it would look silly if it were to do so. Nor does it have any outstanding weapons or accessories. The figure is simple and well built, just as you would expect the mobile suit to be. It is definitely strong enough to be played with by a child, but I think I’ll keep it where it is on my shelf. A nice little unassuming figure for any 0083 fan.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


I hope this image is acceptable. If not just tell me and I'll take another one.

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 Post Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 7:10 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Series: Mobile Suit in Action!! (MSiA)
Title: RX-79 [G] Ground Combat Gundam (Battle Scarred Version)
Release Date: 08/2001
Suggested Price: $7.99
No. of Parts: 1 RX-79 [G] Ground Combat Gundam figure + 1 Type 74 Hover Truck + 12 parts
Plastic colors: light gray, dark gray, w/painted red, yellow, black, green
Gimmicks: 180mm cannon, 100mm machine gun, beam rifle, beam sabers w/detachable translucent blades (2), shield, severed legs (2), severed arm, hands (6), storage container

Introduction

No other action figure is better suited to the Battle Scarred treatment than the RX-79 [G]. The gritty fighting seen in 08th MS Team saw this suit get torn up and brutalized, so a nice clean figure doesn’t properly convey what makes this mobile suit so special. I couldn’t pass up a figure with so much character.

Head

I was surprised to find that the head of this figure is different to that of the first version of the RX-79 [G]. The detail on the Battle Scarred version is much less sharp. The red chin is blunter and the panel lines are shallower. The V-fin is shorter and less pointed than the original version. As for movement, the head can turn 360 degrees though it can only move up and down slightly. The coloring is fine except for the green head sensor that was painted rather sloppily.

Torso

Despite this being a Battle Scarred version, the torso does not have any damage to it. There isn’t even much of the blackish coating that covers the arms and legs that gives it the appearance of dirt and grime. The backpack is quite banged up and the right support arm for the storage container is bent. All the edges of the backpack are worn down. This makes it look more like it has eroded over time rather than damaged in battle.

Arms

The arms have the same range of movement as the original figure of the RX-79 [G] though this version now comes with more sets of hands. In this case, a set of fists, clasping hands and trigger-finger open hands. These hands do not have a ball joint so the only wrist movement they have is spinning in their socket. On the plus side, they are very easy to change. Sockets on both arms accommodate the shield. The damaged arm is really little more than the shoulder mechanism, and it is mostly covered when the shoulder armor is left on. The shoulder armor is fine, but the left side features two slash marks. These marks should have been found on other parts of the figure and the fact that they are perfectly parallel and the same length do not help make them look authentic.

Legs

In the battle damage department, this is where the figure really shines. Both legs, identical in terms of detail and movement to the original figure, can be swapped out for severed legs. The right leg is cut off at the knee while the left leg is missing a foot and has the beam saber compartment stuck in the open position. What makes these limbs look really grisly are the pistons that dangle off their end. The skirt armor looks fine, but I was impressed that the two beam cartridges attached to its skirt were more worn than the skirt armor. This gives the impression that the cartridges actually were removed from the mobile suit and used, getting dirtier than the rest of the suit.

Weapons and Accessories

The weapons of this suit are identical to those of the original figure. The beam rifle and 180mm cannon can still be disassembled. The cannon, unlike the rifle and machine gun, does not have any of the dirt coating and, unlike the rest of the figure, looks unused. The shield is well worn and can rotate a full 360-degree around the arm socket. You would expect the shield to be banged up or shot but instead it only looks dirty. The storage container and Type 74 hover truck were welcome additions to the figure. It came so full of equipment and extra limbs that Bandai could have left these out and the figure would still be respectable. Both the container and the hover truck are identical to their un-battle scarred versions and in the case of the hover truck, the thin coat of simulated grime really adds to its aesthetics.

Conclusion

This figure demonstrates just how good the Battle Scarred line of MSiAs could get. With a generous offering of accessories and extra limbs, this figure is well worth its price. I don’t play much with my action figures, but I’m sure this could not only survive some harsh play but could still look good afterwards.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Image with battle damage
and without it.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:25 pm 
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I broke down and bought the Gadessa at an inflated price. It was worth it considering this is my first gunpla in over a year (I also built the Destiny for my friend earlier this week, but I don't have it on hand for a full review).
-----------------------------------------
General and Technical Data:
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (HG 1/144)
Title: GNZ-003 Gadessa
release date: January 2009
Suggested Retail Price: 1,575 yen
No. of Parts: 95 PS (+4 for display base), 26 PC (+1 extra), 1 seal (decal) sheet
Plastic colors: Light Green, Green, Red, Dark Grey
gimmicks: action base included, mode-changing GN Mega Launcher

Introduction:
With the second season of Gundam 00 came the second series of interesting non-Gundam models. Kicking off the exotic GNZ series is the GNZ-003 Gadessa. With astounding flexibility to match its gravity defying cartoon counterpart, the Gadessa is a must for gunpla fans looking for something a little different than the usual saber-and-rifle Gundam.

Head:
The head is simple, but of unique design, incorporating the familiar Gundam-face with a flat sensor unit which partially covers the eyes. The simple colors are accented by 5 decals (eyes, face, line sensor, and two flanking the head). As always, the model looks extra nice when you take care in applying the head decals. The head can rotate a full 360 degrees and allows for plenty of motion up and down.

Torso:
In 10 models including 3 Gundams and numerous grunt and enemy MS, the Gadessa has the most interesting body I've encountered. It starts with a typical grey torso unit with two red dot decals, which is then surrounded by a number of colored armor pieces. The head rests neatly in a red brace unit that allows it full rotation.

The skirt is the nicest I've seen to date, with a sturdy front piece that gives way to leg movement, and two side pieces that are easily the most flexible parts I've seen on an HG model. The back piece is immobile, but doesn't hinder leg movement and supports an energy pack (which in turn supports the GN Mega launcher when not in use).

Arms:
The arms are comprised of two large double-finned shoulder units (reminicent of the spiked Zeon-grunt shoulders), biceps, forearm, and hands. The forearms include bright red GN cutter blades on the outside and GN vulcans towards the wrists. The GN vulcans and the shoulder points are uncolored and could definitely do with some articulation. Overall arm movement is exceptional, and the shoulders move with ease and are not in any danger of coming loose.

The hands are simple 2-piece black hand/colored glove constructions. The kit comes with two clenched fists (necessary for holding the GN Launcher) as well as one outstretched hand for poses using the GN vulcan or GN cutters. The hands stay in their arm sockets firm, and because of the nature of the GN Launcher weapon, keeping the hand unit together when posing isn't as much of a problem as some of the other HG models.


Last edited by hotlimit on Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Creepy Bishonen
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Legs:
The Gadessa's legs are composed of a shorter top part and much longer lower leg portions, topped off with three-pronged feet. These leg parts are extremely mobile, making the action base (included) a must for a myriad of poses. The nature of the posing is well displayed on the box, and not a feature to be overlooked considering the Gadessa appears primarily in mid-air and space battles.

For those looking for a more stable, grounded pose, the model's feet do not disappoint. Using some kind of keyhole-lock technology I've never seen in gunpla before, the three-pronged feet can be locked into a single point (as is typically seen on the show and in line-art), but also unlocked to form a stable base with two prongs out in front and the longer prong in back. The three-prong foot base is wide enough to keep the model standing in a number of poses, but the top-heavy Gadessa takes a bit more care than some of the more standard gunpla. This feature is very creative, although it can take a bit of practise to change the feet modes quickly.

Weapons/Accessories:
GN Mega Launcher- The Gadessa's main weapon is a bit different than its season one counterpart wielded by the Gundam Thrones. It is comprised of three long prongs and a central unit with two handles. One of the Gadessa's fist-hands must encase the one handle, but the other handle neatly slips into the other fist for easy posing. The three prongs are on joints and can fit together to display the inactive mode or pulled back to show the weapon as it is being fired.

When not in use, the GN Mega Launcher can be stored on the energy pack unit mounted on the back skirt. While the large weapon is impressive in its transforming, the standard coloring makes it look like nothing more than a hunk of dark grey plastic. I highly suggest detailed coloring, and while I normally don't do anything extra to my kits, I'm seriously considering doing work to the Launcher. Simple yellow coloring to the inside of the prongs and some metallic green decals on the outside should do the trick. Overall, the coloring on this focal point is the weakest part of the Gadessa kit.

GN Cutters- As mentioned before, these bright red blades rest on the outside of the forearms. They are fixed in place and require no extra coloring, but some simple black detailing can make them stand out.

GN Vulcans- Forearm mounted vulcans are pretty standard in the Gundam MS universe, and as always they could use a little detailing to stand out. They look extra-nice when posed with the open-hand unit.


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:30 pm 
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GN Tau Drive Backpack- Not a particularly fancy peace of equipment; mostly a hunk of light green plastic with two fins, aided by two green pincers that fit together neatly to flank both sides (which can separate as well). It's mounted on the back and can move up and down a fair distance. It's very sturdy and doesn't conflict too much with the mounted GN Mega Launcher which is right beneath it.

Energy Pack- Mounted on the rear skirt, this is another big ugly dark grey plastic piece that supports the GN Mega Launcher by locking it into place on the top portion of the pack. Like the rest of the model, it's rather flexible and can move a great distance up and down while the GN Mega Launcher is not mounted.

Conclusion:
The HG GNZ-003 Gadessa is an excellent gunpla kit and a rather unique build, even for people that have dabbled in some of the stranger MS. Its strong point is definitely its superior posing ability, while its weak point are its underwhelming armaments. While more hardcore hobbyists will jump to detail several points, the casual gunpla builder won't be disappointed in the simple detailing accomplished by the decals. I knew from the moment I saw the Gadessa in Gundam 00 that I had to build the model (Bandai: 1, Me: 0), and I haven't been let down.
----------------------------------------
That's it, I can't give it a star rating considering this is my first review, but as far as HG go, it's top notch, but for the lame weapons. Not since the Mk.II's plastic stick-saber have I been as disappointed, but everything else about the model completely makes up for it. (including the fact that I wasn't sure what weapons the Gadessa had to begin with..) If the HG Scirocco's The O kit is a 5/5 (boasting several multicolored armaments and a unique design), this would be a 4/5.


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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Series: Mobile Suit in Action!! (MSiA)
Title: MS-18E Kampfer
Release Date: 04/2002
Suggested Price: $5.99
No. of Parts: 1 MS-18E Kampfer figure + 7 parts
Plastic colors: dark blue, gray, yellow, white, purple
Gimmicks: 2 x shotgun, 2 x bazooka, 2 x Panzerfaust rocket grenade, chain mine

Introduction

The sleek and slender design of the Kampfer is one of the most beautiful mobile suits to come out of the One Year War. It shows that Real Robot designs need not sacrifice style for believability. This figure was not advertised on the cardboard backing of the American releases so when I stumbled upon it, I grabbed the figure immediately.

Head

The head is formed of two plastic halves pressed together. It can rotate 360 degrees though the length of the back of the head restricts it from looking upward. The head cannons are well formed and the unit insignia is surprisingly sharp and clear. The antenna is bendable though it does not snap forward or back as seen in 0080 when it activates. The only downside to the head is that the purple mono-eye is almost entirely hidden within the helmet and can only be seen when looking up from below.

Torso

The Kampfer’s torso can turn a full 360 degrees. This part of the figure features another quality decal, the Zeon logo on the chest. The yellow vents stand out nicely and there is excellent detail in the area directly beneath the head and on the tube running along its waist. The back features a detachable weapons rack that can hold either of the shotguns. If they are not being used, it is advisable to remove the rack since it can get in the way of the center thruster. The racks that hold the bazookas can rotate about 30 degrees allowing the bazookas to stand up or rest on its shoulders.

Arms

The shoulders on this thing are enormous and their size makes extending the arm outward difficult. The upper part of the arm is attached to the shoulder and to the forearm by sockets that spin 360 degrees. The elbows can move about 50 degree and have the same high level of detail found in the rest of the figure. It is disappointing that there was only one set of hands, open with extended trigger finger.

Legs

The leg movement is best in the hips and foot. However, it is restricted in the knee by the thruster extending out of the thigh and by the armor that extends up from the knee. The figure has enormous feet that make it very stable for display purposes. Its thrusters are as exceptionally well done as on the rest of the figure. The clamps that hold the Panzerfaust rocket grenades do their job well.

Weapons and Accessories

The Kampfer is notable for its unique weapons. Its two shotguns, one with a stock and one without, are some of the best-detailed weapons I’ve ever seen on an MSiA. This best illustrated by a tiny loop at the bottom of the shotgun’s handles that is so small I couldn’t fit a needle through it. The chain mine was rather disappointing since there is almost no flexibility to it. The weapon is stuck in the curved position in which it was packaged. The bazookas have a fault that is a common one among MSiAs – they cannot be held over the shoulder and work best when slung under the shoulder. This fault is shared between the bazooka, which lacks an adjustable bazooka handle, and the limited movement of the arms. The Panzerfaust rocket grenades are simple enough, though the plastic they are made of is prone to bending.

Conclusion

The Kampfer is a stellar MSiA. The detail and quality in the painting are exceptional. The numerous bumps and spikes makes posing a bit tricky as moving one thing often knocks other features out of place. However this is to be expected with such a complex design. My disappointment with the chain mine was compensated with beautiful shotguns. There were a lot of corners that could have been cut but weren’t, and for that I have to give Bandai credit.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

And here's the picture

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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:39 pm 
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Quick question to the webmaster or whoever handles the gunpla reviews.

I'm looking to maybe start submitting a few on the site here, but I'm not sure how I'd best handle the first one I plan on submitting. I'd guess it to be a convention-exclusive HGUC Rick Dom kit, not a Dom/Rick Dom choice but just the Rick Dom part of it. It's molded in a metallic-y sort of plastic, and is colored in Char Aznable colors, so I assume it's supposed to be Char's Rick Dom from the novels. I haven't been able to track it down on any of the modeling sites I know of, not even Dalong has a review of it.

So, in what section of the model reviews would you want it under, and where would I find the parts number for this particular kit? Or could I just use the specs from the standard Dom/Rick Dom kit and make changes as need be?

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:22 am 
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Sorry about the late reply, but as you can see I've criminally ignored this thread for a long time. As to your questions, I don't know what to tell you. If you can determine that it's definitely an HGUC conversion kit, classify it as HGUC. As for the parts, yeah, try to figure it approximately from what the regular kit contains.

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 Post Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Chris wrote:
Sorry about the late reply, but as you can see I've criminally ignored this thread for a long time. As to your questions, I don't know what to tell you. If you can determine that it's definitely an HGUC conversion kit, classify it as HGUC. As for the parts, yeah, try to figure it approximately from what the regular kit contains.


It's most definitely a standard HGUC Dom/Rick Dom kit in all aspects except for the lack of Dom-exclusive parts, and of course the unique color scheme. I'll try to start typing something up for you, and it's your decision whether to stick it in the Mobile Suit Gundam section or if the fact it's essentially a "Char's Rick Dom", if unofficially, would warrant a section for Tomino's MSG novels.

If it helps you out in classifying it, this is a pic I took for the eventual review.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v477/ ... C_0085.jpg

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:58 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Now that the backlog's starting to get cleared I guess I should post the review's I've done so far.

General and Technical Data

Series: 1/144
Title: GAT-X303 Aegis Gundam
Release Date: 10/2002
Suggested Price: ¥ 400
No. of Parts:
Plastic colors: Red, pink
Gimmicks: None

Introduction

Desperate. That would be the best word to describe my state when I gained a serious hankering for Gunpla. I searched every toy store in town and the best I could scrounge up was a fixed pose rubber figurine of the Justice Gundam from ToysRUs. Around this time, several video game stores were having a knack for importing anime-related goods. I caught one of them with a stash of 1/144 Gundam Seed kits, and mustered up just enough mental sparks to negotiate a price for two. I quickly picked up Aegis and Freedom and bolted home as fast as the taxi cab could legally go. When I finished assembly a couple of hours later, I couldn't shake the feeling that I got nowhere near what I wanted.

Head

Simple construction. The head piece is molded entirely in bright red as opposed to the mobile suit's original dark pink, including the v-fin. Stickers are included for the mouth plate and the camera on the horn-like protrusion, but as if the discoloring of the main body wasn't enough, the stickers are in gold(!) color. Mounted on a polycap, the head has a limited degree of movement in all directions.

Torso

Again, simple and straightforward. For some reason, the front skirt armor and the two binders on the sides are molded in bright pink. There're stickers for the skirt armor and the chest which are thankfully in the right color.

Arms

Two shoulder pieces clamp around the top of each arm, which connects to the torso through polycaps. The shoulders can swivel independently but will eventually become loose. Considering that this model can't transform, the shoulders would have been better off immobile. The arms have vertical motion and very limited horizontal motion, as a well as a glaring lack of elbows.

Legs

Each leg is a 4-part construction. Two full halves form the leg, one forms the foot and one is the spike protruding from the tip of the foot. Although the foot polycap gives it a nice degree of freedom, there's not much you can in terms of posing without bending knees.

Weapons and Accessories

Like the rest of this line, the Aegis comes with the bare basic armaments: A rifle and a shield. The former fits snugly in the hands but has a tendency to come loose while the latter attaches securely through a hole in the arm. Both are molded in bright pink. I'm saddened by the lack of beam sabers in this line, especially since in Aegis's case all that was needed were two plastic blades that you insert into the forearms. Not surprisingly, this kit can't transform.

Conclusion

In the end the no grade 1/144 Seed line is just Gunpla for dummies, but frankly I don't see the point. Why bother with such an amateurish construction when the end result will look like crap without any painting. Any kid who's played with Lego's and can follow instructions should be able to build a high grade just fine. Simple construction isn't worth the discolored parts, crappy articulation and inability to transform.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:59 am 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Posts: 266
General and Technical Data

Series: 1/144
Title: ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam
Release Date: 04/2003
Suggested Price: ¥ 400
No. of Parts:
Plastic colors: White, blue, indigo, grey
Gimmicks: None

Introduction

My second Gundam kit along with the Aegis from the same line.

Head

3 piece construction mounted on a polycap as usual. There's a sticker for the eyes and a red cross-shaped sticker for the chin. Okay, the eyes I can understand, but the chin? For God's sake, Bandai! You went to the trouble of pre-painting the yellow part of the double v-fin. A splodge of red wasn't going to kill you.

Torso

The big difference from the Aegis is that the Freedom is mostly molded in the correct colors. There's a sticker for the red part at the tip of the chest. The wings are simply two pieces that clamp around a polycap and attach to the back of the upper torso. This gives them a nice range of vertical and horizontal motion, which a small consolation for the fact that the wings don't open up at all. Any fancy improvised pose you make for the wings will end up looking pretty awkward. For accuracy, the vents at the front, as well as the back thrusters and wings need painting, but don't look terribly bad as they are.

Arms

Same as the Aegis sans the droopy shoulders. Straight arms that go vertical and a bit horizontal with no bending at the elbows. There aren't any red stickers for the shoulders so that'll need paint.

Legs

Again like the Aegis except a bit bulkier and without the foot spike. It should be fair to note that the legs in this line generally have no problems supporting the weight of the model. The leg part is all white so it's missing some minor details and the foot is all blue so it needs some white at the top.

Weapons and Accessories

The standard rifle and shield combo, mounted on the hand and side of the arm, respectively. Both are molded in Grey, it's not bad for the rifle, but atrocious for the shield. Its other built-in weapons are available, but only in a certain sense. Since each wing is a solid piece, the plasma cannons are out. The rail cannons are a single piece each welded to the beam saber handles. The have vertical rotation but can't fold out, obviously.

Now, let's say that you rotated the wings so that their tips are above the Freedom's head and facing forward, then rotated the rail cannons so that the bottom side is facing the front as well. You COULD pretend that Freedom is in a mock HiMAT mode. Just don't expect anyone else above eight to take it seriously.

Conclusion

The Freedom fares slightly better slightly better than the Aegis thanks to more correct colors and more moving parts, but frankly I still wouldn't recommend anything from this line to anyone wanting to get into Gunpla.

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:00 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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General and Technical Data

Series: Gundam Fix Figuration (GFF)
Title: GFF#0031 XM-X3 (F97) Crossbone Gundam X-3/XM-X1 (F97) Crossbone Gundam X-1 "Skull Heart" Full Cloth
Release Date: 08/2006
Suggested Price: ¥ 3980
No. of Parts: 1 Crossbone X-3 figure + 1 Core fighter + 49 parts
Plastic colors: White, blue, red, indigo, yellow, grey, black
Gimmicks: Conversion to three forms, tons of accessories, display stand with name plaque.

Introduction

My very first honest-to-God Gundam action figure. When I finally got tired of the lack of decent Gunpla where I live, I had scrounged up enough pocket money to have a shop order something online for me. After months of inquiry and browsing websites, I settled for this GFF figure as my first item. Though I hadn't known about the "quirks" of the GFF line at the time, I still immensely enjoyed this figure once I got the hang of things.

Packed with a large amount of parts, everything is held down either by duct tape or wire. It took me nearly half an hour just to cut everything loose. Then the real "fun" begins.

Head

In any form, the Crossbone's head is made up of two parts. The face part which consists of the mouth plate and the eyes and the helmet part which constitutes the rest of the head. There are two versions of the face part and three of the helmet part. One face part is the normal version while the other is the mouth-open version. It's a nice detail but without lining I'm hard pressed to tell the difference without looking at them real close, so I just use one for the X-3 and the other for the X-1. The helmet parts slide over the face parts easily. Though the connection is a bit loose for some combinations, you shouldn't worry about the helmet slipping off if you have no plans to hang the figure upside down. Though the face part is small, I had no problems attaching/removing it from the torso.

X-3:
The X-3's helmet has a red and white v-fin and a stylish number three on the blue bulge on its forehead.

X-1 Skull Heart:
Same as the X-3 helmet but with a standard yellow v-fin and an indigo forehead with a Jolly Roger insignia.

X-1 Skull Heart Full Cloth:
Same as the above except with a small antenna sticking out of the left back half.

Torso

X-3:
There's a hollow space in the back for accommodating the core fighter and two slots on either side of the head for the beam saber handles. The skirt armor plates are mounted on ball joints that allow movement to free up space for leg poses. There are three hardpoints (one on each side skirt armor and one in the back) used to mount the weapons when not in use. Although they hold the weapons securely if you press hard enough, the slightest amount of pressure tends to pop them off instantly so expect to reattach the weapons every time you change poses. The back hardpoint as well as a hole at the bottom of the torso can also be used to attach the figure to the display stand.

X-1 Skull Heart:
Mostly the same as the X-3. The chest sports the Jolly Roger insignia instead of the old X-1's Crossbone Vanguard emblem. One difference is that the rear skirt armor plates have detachable pieces that act as the handles for the screw ships. What I find a bit weird is that these pieces are purely ornamental and the actual screw whip handles are separate pieces that don't attach to the armor plate. Attention to detail is nice, but this feels pretty superfluous for my taste.

Arms

X-3:
Shoulder rotation! Elbow rotation! Where have you been all my life?! But seriously, the arms on this thing are pretty good and sturdy. I've had them hold up the somewhat heavy weapons for a good while without sagging. The I-Field generators (the blue armor piece on each forearm) can also be opened up. You can also remove the shoulder armor, which makes it easier to attach the Full Cloth parts to the Skull Heart torso. The figure comes with three pairs of hands: Closed fist, open palm and grips for holding the daggers, screw whip handles and some of the other weapons. The right arm has two extra hands: A looser grip hand for the bigger weapons and one specifically for holding the buster gun. The hands are secured inside the arms using very tight-fitting balls joints, so exchanging them is a painful process.

X-1 Skull Heart:
Same as the above, but instead of I-Field generators there are two hardpoints for the beam shield/brand markers that can swivel 180 degrees to the front of the hands.

Legs

Since there's no difference between the three forms' legs of this figure other than the skirt armor plates, it only comes with one pair. Nice posability thanks to the moving skirt armor, but don't expect MG articulation here. Since the back thrusters are pretty light, there's no problem getting the figure to stand upright. It's to my understanding that the legs are pretty similar to those of the GFF#0016A X-1. So if you have that figure you can use its legs to have both the X-3 and Skull Heart without having to buy another X-3. Presumably the #0016B X-2 legs work as well, but due to the coloring it would look pretty awkward on the other torsos.

Weapons and Accessories

The crowning jewel of this figure and the GFF line in general is the large pile of extra doodads it comes with.

Core Fighter: The component responsible for giving the F97 series their signature cross-shaped thrusters. It comes in the blue colors of the X-3 but can dock with both torsos without looking discolored because all the blue parts are hidden inside the torso in docked form. The core fighter is made up of two halves, with the main body being the front and the thrusters being the back. The two halves connect using the two alternating pegs. Unfortunately, the connection is only strong enough to hold during poses like the side skirt hardpoints. Any kind of fidgeting with the figure will most likely pop the thrusters right off. I'm still contemplating super gluing the two halves together since there's no need to separate them except when you want to apply the anti-beam cloak and don't want to remove the entire fighter.

To dock the fighter into the body, you swivel the nose cone downwards then push the entire cockpit in a sort of wide L-shaped path inside the fighter's body. Now you stuff the fighter into the torso while taking care to properly align the beam saber handles into their slots. As a sad anecdote, my first attempt at this was what shattered my idealistically naive belief that Gunpla was nothing less than perfect. When I removed the fighter, the nose cone and the two white flaps at the top and bottom of the body had been grinded off their brittle connecting joints. This was quite a shock to me, but I received solace in the fact that none of these parts was of any significance to the overall look of the figure.

Converting from the X-3 to the Skull Heart is a simple matter. You separate the X-3 into the head, torso, core fighter and legs. Then attach the latter two parts to the X-1 torso and head and switch out the skirt armor plates. It gets tricky when we start adding the Full Cloth parts:

1- Remove four locking tabs from the chest and shoulders
2- Attach the frontal armor parts to the chest area
3- Attach the front and back armor parts through ball joints to the skull-shaped shoulder pads/I-Field generators then attach those to the figure's shoulders.
4- Attach the two collar pieces

The first time you attempt this, you may find that you have to be forcibly persuasive in order to get the pegs into their holes, then it stops being a problem. Unfortunately no amount of aggressiveness seems able to secure the collar pieces in their place and the slightest provocation pops them right off. Which means you probably have to reattach them every time you change poses. But when all is said and done, Skull Heart Full Cloth just looks badass even when just standing.

Since the equipment is mostly shared between forms, I won't bother pointing out which piece belongs to which form. Also, all the weapons other than the whips and the daggers can be mounted on the hardpoints on the lower torso.

Buster Gun:
Basically a MS-sized flintlock pistol. Looks ok, but you'll probably use it more in its combined form.

Beam Zanber:
Boy, when Katoki picks a theme, he sticks with it the whole way. With the media commonly depicting pirates to be armed with cutlass swords, it's only natural that a pirate Gundam would have a beam cutlass! There probably isn't a beam blade this big outside of the one for ZZ Gundam's mega beam saber, and it looks pretty damn cool.

Zanbuster:
The combined form of the buster gun and beam zanber, achieved by folding the buster gun and inserting the concealed peg into the hilt of the beam zanber. This'll probably be the weirdest beam rifle design to come out of the franchise in years to come. There's also an optional grenade round that can be attached to the nozzle. The grenade round has its own holster which can be mounted on the hardpoints. The only sore point is that it's a bit annoying to wrap the hand around the enclosed trigger.

Anti-Beam Cloak:
You attach this rubbery thing by putting it over the figure and securing it with the shoulder locking tabs. You need to at least remove the core fighter's thrusters otherwise they'll get in the way when you put the cloak on. The cloak restricts the arm movement so don't expect to pull off any crazy poses with it on.

Brand Marker x2/Beam Shield:
You can attach the marker beam parts to the hardpoints on X-1's hands. The beam shield is a large kite-shaped piece molded in clear pink. There's a separate attachment you can put on the X-3's arm if you want to use the shield with that. Mo problems here.

Screw Whip x2:
This consists of three pieces you need to connect. There's the handle, a coated wire and the drill point. It'll take a bit of fidgeting to insert the wire in both pieces and you may have to tighten the tips so they fit in the holes. Once you do you'll have another cool weapon and I suggest you never separate the pieces unless necessary since you don't actually have to store it in the rear skirt armor.

Heat Dagger x2:
The only weapon other than the whips that you can dual wield. They're small and are one piece each. The grip is semi-enclosed so you need to twist it around a bit as you insert it into the hand, but it's pretty firmly held once that is done. For the life of me I never managed to figure out how to it put in the hand with the blade facing down so either it's impossible or I'm not twisting right.

Peacock Smasher:
I guess I'm one of the few people who isn't terribly excited by the idea of a beam crossbow. It looks ok but it's pretty front heavy, so good luck getting the figure to hold it straight without the arm drooping.

Murasama:
This is my favorite weapon. It's a combination beam rifle/multi-bladed beam saber that was the X-3's primary weapon. At some point the Skull Heart Full Cloth also received it. I never keep the figure without this thing, it's either held or mounted on the right hardpoint and looks awesome in either position. Unfortunately, it's not perfect. For starters it doesn't come with any beam blades but it's not as bad as the lack of blades for the normal sabers, and secondly you need different hands for holding the grip or the enclosed trigger when using it as a rifle.

The beam saber handles mounted on the core fighter can be removed but it's completely pointless because no hand can hold them and they don't come with beam blades. The figure also doesn't have the scissor anchors or the ability to mount the dagger blades on the underside of its foot, but the latter two are only minor nitpicks.

As usual the figure comes with a display stand that has the names of all forms printed on it.

Conclusion

It's nice to see all the Crossbone Gundams available in one line that isn't preposterously expensive resin kits. Granted it's a line riddled with faults like bent parts and loose pieces, but endurance pays off. Definitely get this if you can't spare the time and effort for the MG version.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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Posts: 266
General and Technical Data

Series: Mobile Suit in Action!
Title: XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero
Release Date: 12/2003
Suggested Price: ¥ 1500
No. of Parts: 1 Wing Zero figure + 13 parts
Plastic colors: Red, ivory white, blue, yellow, grey
Gimmicks: Transformation, big frakkin' gun.

Introduction

Sunrise's retconning of the GW Gundams in Endless Waltz split the fanbase cleanly in two: Those who embraced the Katoki redesigns and those who labeled them as bastardized abominations, particularly in Wing Zero's case. I belong to the latter camp, and my love for the TV version set me on a quest to obtain it in every Gunpla line it's available in. For some reason, the MSIA version I got has thick black panel lines which aren't in the product photos or review photos on another site.

Head

Nothing special. Horizontal articulation and limited vertical articulation. It has my favorite double v-fin design molded in bright yellow which I like.

Torso

The upper torso is fully rotatable to accommodate the transformation mechanism. The lower torso's skirt armor can move a bit to allow the legs some flexibility. The back houses the wing binders, which can be slightly rotated vertically and have a 90 degree horizontal rotation arc. In order to open them up you need to push the binder out slightly and sometimes this causes a binder to pop off its rail but you can easily put it back.

Arms

The arms can rotate 360 degrees just above the elbows which are double jointed. There's a hardpoint on each forearm for mounting the shield. Three pairs of hands can be interchanged with ease: Closed fist, open for holding the beam saber, and trigger fingered for holding the combined or separate Twin Buster Rifle (TBR). I find that the trigger finger hands can hold the beam saber just fine so I leave that pair on all the time. The panel underneath each shoulder can be opened to reveal the booster concealed within. The downside to all this is that the joints are two flimsy to lift up either the shield or the TBR, so don't expect to pull off any fancy poses that don't involve pointing those two pieces straight up.

Legs

Good articulation but horrible balance. This is due to the weak foot structure (because of the transformation mechanism) and the wing binders making the figure back heavy. So getting this thing to stand straight is a delicate balancing act. It helps to have the shield mounted on at all times. As a side note, the booster at the bottom of the left foot keeps coming loose so I need to get around to super gluing it.

Weapons and Accessories

Shield:
One big heavy piece. This thing is pivotal to keeping the figure balanced when not using the TBR. Mounts on the fore arm hardpoints in MS mode and on the back in MA mode.

Beam Saber:
The figure only comes with one sadly. The beam blade is molded in the clear green color used by Gundam X and F91 instead of the usual clear pink. The one with my figure came slightly bent at the tip but it's nothing grossly noticeable.

Twin Buster Rifle:
The Wing Zero's claim to fame. This big boom stick of fiery colony-destroying death can split into two smaller boom sticks for all the guns akimbo shenanigans that the figure's forearms would allow, which sadly isn't much. The two halves are held together by two pegs on the inside as well as the trigger, which is less of a hassle than the dual locking tab mechanism on the Extended Custom version's rifle. There're also two separate triggers to attach to each half when the rifle is split and the trigger hands hold the rifle snugly enough. Again, the flimsy arms and the MSIA line's tendency to super size the weapons out of proportion makes it very difficult for the figure to hold the rifle anywhere except straight up or straight down, even when split.

Transformation:
1- Twist the head and lower torso 180 degrees so that they're facing the opposite direction from the chest.
2- Pivot the shoulders downwards.
3- Raise the hips 90 degrees upwards and bend the knees so that the legs are in a sitting position.
4- Open the panels at the back of the legs, rotate the feet 180 degrees.
5- Pivot the heel outwards so that the booster is facing the back of the foot, the swivel the foot into the leg and close the panel.
6- Lower the binders so that they're parallel to the back and open them up.
7- Attach the shield to the back and you're done.

It's been a while since I watched the show, but I'm at least certain that the Wing Zero either never transformed on screen or did so in a very ambiguous manner. Even when looking at the lineart, I never knew that the legs did much of anything during transformation, and they do a lot. Frankly I don't see why they had to overcomplicate the mechanism. All the original Wing's feet had to do was stick out and bend inwards. Now this new transformation causes a problem for all versions of the Wing Zero because the foot articulation gets compromised and the legs become a bit hollowed out and deprived of the needed weight to keep the top heavy body steady.

Anyway, the resulting Neo Bird mode still looks nice and the shield design helps, though it doesn't lie straight on a surface due to the chest sticking out. As of this writing I've yet to try putting it on an Action Base.

Conclusion

If I'm not mistaken this is the last version of TV Wing Zero that came out and there haven't been any new versions since, especially when the Custom versions are official replacements. However, considering the five original Gundams were recently released in the HCM Pro line, I'm hanging on to a thin strand of hope that Wing Zero will see the light of day again in a form that fixes all its predecessor's faults. This MSIA isn't perfect and a little on the stubby side, but it's still a decent representation of the original Okawara design.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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 Post Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:43 pm 
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Newtype Emo Guy
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General and Technical Data

Series: 1/200 High Complete Model Progressive
Title: RX-93-2 Hi-Nu Gundam
Release Date: 12/2007
Suggested Price: ¥ 4200
No. of Parts: 1 Hi-Nu Gundam figure + 23 parts
Plastic colors: White, blue, silver, black
Gimmicks: Special display stand

Introduction

When it comes to Gunpla, I always have a soft spot for Gundams from MSVs or manga side stories. While shopping for a new action figure, I decided to give the HCM Pro line a try and figured the Hi-Nu would be good choice because I didn't want to pay 70 bucks for the Master Grade version. At 10 cm, this is one of the tallest HCM Pro figures around, rivaled mostly by its UC brethren and the massive Destroy Gundam from Seed Destiny.

Head

Being a 1/200 scale, these things' are pretty tiny. The head is smaller than my thumb but has decent articulation. As per the norm in this line, the head comes equipped with a removable rubber v-fin by default. There's also a spare solid one in case the first one got bent during the packaging process. Despite the Hi-Nu having double v-fins, I didn't bother changing the bent ones since they were too small to notice.

Torso

The upper torso can rotate and the skirt armor can move, which is quite impressive considering the size of this thing. There's a hardpoint in the back of the lower torso to store either the beam rifle or the hyper bazooka. Two movable funnel racks are mounted on the back with a tail booster between them and two long propellant tanks stick out downwards from under them just above the waist. Small openable compartments in the funnel racks allow you to store the spare beam saber handles. When the funnels are mounted, the back becomes quite busy and it becomes a bit difficult to manipulate the figure without having the rifle or bazooka pop off its hardpoint.

Arms

The most flexible appendages on this figure. The shoulder armor can pivot upwards and the wrists are articulated! At first I thought this was overkill for such a small figure but I've slowly grown to appreciate it. The left arm has a small compartment that houses the custom dual-bladed beam saber handle. Two pairs of hands are available: Closed for holding all the weapons (quite firmly I must say) and spread open palm.

Legs

The panels on the back of the lower legs can open up. The legs are pretty good but they're not heavy enough to support the weight of the heavy funnels when they're mounted. I wish that they could slip in some lead inside the legs of these back-heavy mobile suits so we don't have to spread them wide to prevent the whole figure from toppling backwards.

Weapons and Accessories

All the accessories for this figure come in pieces on runners and need to be cut out and assembled. Since I'm reviewing this as an action figure and not a model kit, the part count above are the individual pieces of equipment and not the number of parts that make them up. And as a word of caution, be careful when cutting off some of the parts as they're pretty thin and fragile.

Beam Rifle:
Looks slightly different than the original Nu's rifle and can be mounted on the hardpoint on the figure's back.

Shield:
A big piece that mounts on the left arm's elbow, which a good thing because you'll need all the weight you can get to counterbalance the funnels.

Hyper Bazooka:
The handle can pivot which helps when the figure is holding the weapon over its shoulder or has it mounted horizontally on its back, which is like how the RX-78 and the Mk.II mount their bazookas instead of the original Nu's vertical placement.

Beam Sabers:
The figure comes with three beam sabers in two versions each: Handles only that you can store on the figure and ones with beam blades in the unusual clear light blue color instead of pink or green. Two of the sabers are the standard type while the third one is a cool dual-bladed version. All three are toothpick-thin so you might not even spot them if you look from a distance.

Fin Funnels:
Six foldable funnels that can be mounted on the storage racks with a dual-tab mechanism almost identical to the Master Grade version. This allows the mounted funnels a nice degree of cross-shaped movement which is nice for those pretending that they're wings, though that may be a little too much freedom for the obsessive compulsive who just want the funnels to be perfectly symmetrical. The connection is sturdy enough to not randomly fall off but is prone to popping off if you move it too much. As I noted already, mounting the funnels makes the figure very back-heavy. This becomes quickly annoying because your standing pose options become hampered by the need to counterbalance using the other weapons as well as spreading the legs wide.

Display stand:
The base is a cross shape attached to a thin long piece looking like a bent lamppost. This is because the stand allows you to mount the funnels on it and display them in the Fin Funnel Field formation, and that's...pretty lame. The Master Grade version's stand allowed you to display the funnels in attack mode with effect parts for both the boosters and the flash before the funnels fire. The HCM Pro's gimmick simply pales in comparison. And if you use all five funnels required for it, you'd be left with a single funnel sticking awkwardly out of one side of the back which needs to be removed.

Conclusion

It's sad that the biggest gimmick of this figure is also its greatest weakness. I'm hard pressed to justify the price tag on this thing, which puts it as the third most expensive single HCM Pro figure after the Akatsuki and the Destroy Gundam, not counting special painted and super versions. Even the latter two's prices at least make sense, Akatsuki's gold painted and has two interchangeable backpacks while the Destory is simply enormous. Ultimately the Hi-Nu's appeal as a non-animated design will be its biggest selling factor.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Size comparison with 1/144 HGUC Nu Gundam HWS


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:24 pm 
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Mecha Flunky

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Maybe I should've posted this here instead...

General and Technical Data
Series: Master Grade (MG) 1/100
Title: MS-06J Zaku II Version 2.0
Release Date: 2008?
Suggested Price: $37.94
No. of Parts: Unknown
Plastic colors: light green, green, dark green, gray, black, transparent
Gimmicks: heat hawk, 120 mm machine gun, 3-tube missile pod (2), Zaku bazooka

Introduction

Like others I got my start on Gundam models with the original release Master Grade kits, and I was disappointed with the lack of mobility the original Zaku II possessed in their legs. When I heard about the new version coming out and its promise of the ability to kneel and crouch I was quick to act in acquiring one. Is the new release worth the price?

Head

The head is nothing but pure improvement over its original incarnation. The iffy gear system that operated the mono-eye with a lever in the back of the head has been done away with, and in its place is a system that allows the eye to move when the head itself is rotated. No messy grinding noises, no slipped gears, no stuck eye or anything.

Unlike the original Zaku II release the aspects of the helmet are much improved, and switching between grunt and commander configurations is as simple as popping off the skull cap and popping a new one on.

The level of internal detail on the inside of the helmet pieces is impressive, but not excessive and overburdening in design.

Torso

The torso of the Zaku II kit is loaded with all manner of details, internal, external, and functional. If anyone had doubts that the 2.0 kits were simply revisions with minor design changes then this will be enough to change their minds quickly. The cockpit seat of the Zaku II is designed in a way that allows it to be switched from either the right or the left with a simple lever movement on the back.

Perhaps the biggest change is the fact that the kit possesses an actual waist and waist movement, along with movable skirt armor that would give any Gundam kit a run for its money.

A major improvement over the original kit is the fact that Bandai has seen fit to string most of the hose beads at the factory, making it a simple and easy matter to assemble the hoses and attach them to the torso and the head.

Arms

The arms are well thought out in terms of design and construction. The shoulder pad and shield are no longer attached by a flimsy ball joint and polycap system and prone to popping off at the slightest touch. The shoulder pad is now a single molded piece, attached to a black skeletal piece underneath which the shoulder spikes snap onto, making it a bonus for those who wish to custom paint their kit. Most of the seam lines found on the arms are hidden by blending into panel lines.

As with all 2.0 kits the fingers feature a greater degree of articulation in the wrist and fingers, similar to that on the Dom and Rick Dom kits. However Bandai has partially retained the three finger block design of earlier kits, simply articulating the second half of the lower three fingers.

Palms come with a raised tab to allow for plugging in weapons for a firmer hand hold. However the tab and resulting slot are so shallow the 120 mm machine gun doesn’t tend to stick any better with this kit than it did in the original kit.

Legs

In terms of detail the legs have it. Internal details are plentiful on the frame and the panel pieces. Most of the seam lines are hidden by the present panel lines. The heel and toe pieces of the feet move individually, the ankles pivot from side to side for a wide stance, and the knees bend at the top and bottom allowing for a proper kneeling position.

But with everything that’s good there must also be something bad to go along with it. And these legs certainly qualify as being the bad part of the kit. While mobility and articulation is greatly increased, the stability has been compromised. Unlike the original Zaku II release the legs are held in place by short plastic pegs, only an 1/8” long, plugging into a central polycap. In my opinion this is one of the worst possible designs that could be thought of. This design feature offers no solid mounting ability and the legs easily pop loose anytime the model falls over for whatever reason. Should the leg fall off while the kit is being held, the foot has a tendency to fall off as well Why Bandai couldn’t have recycled the leg mounting provisions that came in every previous model kit, I’ll never know why. This is one area where the original kit is head and shoulders above.

Weapons and Accessories

280mm bazooka: The bazooka is a major improvement over the original design, and a testament to the level of detail that can be expected from a Master Grade kit. The handle is its own separate piece that slides into place on the main body. The scope even comes with a hinged and folding scope cover.

3-missile leg pods: No more worries about individual missiles sliding out of their designated ports. Instead of being slid in through the front and simply sitting there, the missiles are a single piece that slides in through the rear and remain held in place with an integrally molded piece.

Heat hawk: The heat hawk is a major improvement over its original incarnation. No longer molded in the color of the main body, it’s an all business gray color, and lacking the annoying tab on the side, instead it attaches to the main body through a separate snap on piece.

120 mm machine gun: The machine gun follows the trends of newer Master Grade kits and shows a great deal of improvement over the original incarnation. The handles, stock and barrel are all individual pieces that snap onto the main body, with the drum magazine showing highly detailed individual rounds.

Conclusion

I was really excited about this kit coming out, and I had a great deal of fun when putting it together. There was a great deal of improvement over the first Zaku II kit and I had high hopes for it. But the fragile nature of the legs is a big detractor in overall enjoyment, and in my opinion is the worst design feature since the original Master Grade Zeta Gundam. Bandai really dropped the ball on this one.

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars


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