HG30th Gundam versus HGUC Gundam review

By Loran

Over the years, the original RX-78 Gundam has seen a lot of changes, be it in animation, video game, toy, or model form. It’s a staple of anime and science fiction history, and should be a mainstay of almost any Gundam or general robot collector’s collection.

With Gundam’s 30th anniversary, Bandai released a new High Grade kit of the original Gundam (pictured right) in 1/144 form, with a design based on the 1/1 scale statue erected last summer. This marks the second RX-78 released in 1/144 scale in the past ten years-the last being the HGUC Gundam (pictured left). So, let’s see how these two kits stand up against each other.

(Note: The HGUC Gundam pictured here is the one from the three-pack that comes with the HGUC Guntank and Guncannon, hence the different colors and stickers. The single release does not include these stickers. The 30th Gundam shown here is fully-painted.)

In many realms, these two kits are pretty similar-their elbows, ankles, and knees are all more or less the same, with typical 1/144 scale articulation. I’m a little disappointed by the 30th’s lack of double-jointed knees and elbows, like the GM Quel and Hazels, but that could be due to budgetary reasons.


Taking a closer look at the two, you can see that the 30th version is LOADED with detail, an almost absurd amount. The kit is very slim, as opposed to the bulkier look of the HGUC kit. Different parts of the kit are more defined on the 30th kit, like the cockpit hatch.


Maybe it’s just me, but the 30th Gundam looks taller. It also has less depth than the HGUC, giving it a more streamlined appearance.


Lots of detail on the backpack here. Almost looks like the Master Grade’s!


Both kits have shoulder joints that allow you move them out more forward. The difference between the two is the style of joints-HGUC uses “stick joints” like most other kits from the line, but the 30th has ball joints on the shoulders, allowing a MUCH greater range of movement.


The leg joints are just the opposite of the arm joints. The HGUC kit has ball joints while the 30th kit has stick joints. You’d think the ball joints would offer more poseability but…


The joint construction on the 30th kit allows for MUCH greater motion, because it is given more planes of movement. Not only that, but the upper part of the hip (which allows it to connect to the waist) is separate, with another joint connecting it to the thigh. This gives it poseability akin to some of Hasbro’s Marvel figures, like the new Iron Man figures.



Another awesome feature of the 30th kit is its double-jointed neck, allowing it to look up and down instead of just side to side. The joint is like a typical neck polycap, but with a second ball joint on the bottom.



The waists are also different animals, too. The waist on the HGUC kit is the traditional hole-and-stick style, with an extra middle piece that I never really understood the purpose of. I guess it’s there to add some mechanical innards if you’re going to put the kit in the “last shooting” pose?



The waist of 30th Gundam is divided into three parts, which allow for somewhat more poseability thanks to the two ball joints (the second one is stuck inside the upper torso-I couldn’t get it out!).



The Beam sabers were the Gundam’s first weapon, and one seen on just about every Gundam since. This is one of the few areas where the HGUC stands above the 30th-the 30th Gundam has a single beam saber, with the blade mounted on. These always annoyed me because of how hard they are to paint. In fact, the poor 30th Gundam doesn’t even have hands that allow sabers to be held in both hands, as the only left hand is completely solid. The HGUC, however, has two removable beam sabers with clear plastic blades. For once, the HGUC did something better!


of course, the deactivated sabers on the backpack of the 30th Gundam have little holes in the center that can fit the clear sabers from any 1/144 kit that includes them, and since most kits come with two blades, if you have any extras, you can just give them to the 30th Gundam.



The beam rifle (Top: HGUC, bottom: 30th) is probably the most known of all of the Gundam’s weapons. They’re pretty “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”, as they both have the same gimmicks. In fact the only difference is the scope, which is a separate piece on 30th, making it much easier to paint. It’s a matter of taste here, and personally I like the less cartoony look of the HGUC design more.


The shields of the kit are both pretty basic, with the red, white, and yellow parts all being separate. Both are able to comfortably sit on the back of the kit. The big difference is the mount for the shield. The mount on the 30th, pictured left, has two modes: the peg sticking out for storage on the backpack, and with the peg down, it can be placed on the arm. It fits in rather snugly. The HGUC on the right has a rather strange mount, with a handle that doesn’t work no matter which way you try to get the kit to hold it, and a peg on a ball joint for no reason that can be placed into either the forearm or the backpack. 30th wins again.


The only real difference between the bazookas (top picture: HGUC on top, 30th on bottom) is size. Both look rather nice. The handle for the on the back of the bazooka (I guess for removing the magazine?) moves up and down on the HGUC kit, while it’s static on the 30th. It’s a rather pointless gimmick, to be honest, as the magazine isn’t removable. Also, the design of the wrist on the 30th Gundam allows it to be held in a much more comfortable, natural position.


Both kits also include clips to mount the bazooka on the rear. These replace the little white clips that serve no other purpose except for covering the hole for the bazooka clip. You’re probably wondering why the HGUC doesn’t have its bazooka mounted. Well, I couldn’t get the previous butt clip off! It’s really hard to get out. 30th, on the other hand, has a little hook that allows it to be taken out much easier. More points for the 30th, I guess.

Both kits have little extras, too. HGUC Gundam includes a Core Fighter consisting of less than 10 pieces. It’s nicely detailed, but that’s about it. It has so little part distribution that it makes painting it nearly impossible due to its small size. A shame, cuz it looks really nice.


While the 30th Gundam has no Core Fighter, it has one bit that truly shines: the first ever Gundam hammer included with a 1/144 scale kit. The first Gundam Hammer came with the weapon set released back in the early 80’s, which unfortunately did not come with a metal chain. This hammer is really nice, and more or less a scaled-down version of the one included in the Master Grade kits. Very, very nice.

Yeah, the 30th Gundam is the clear winner here, but that’s not to say the HGUC kit is bad by any means. It’s still a nice kit, just one that’s been usurped by a much nicer model. It really boils down to opinion, but I’d recommend the 30th Gundam over the HGUC-the Gundam Hammer just seals the deal!


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