When the HGUC line first started back in the summer of 1999, it kept things rather simple. Instead of covering all the main character units, fancy new OVAs, and stuff outside of the Universal Century, it focused mainly on support mecha and enemy units-stuff that usually gets neglected in kit form. One of the first releases was the Rick Dias from Zeta Gundam, first coming out in the black color scheme used by Apolly and Roberto in the first few episodes. A red release, used by Quattro in the earlier episodes and well, pretty much everyone else later on, came a few years later. Both kits are identical save for the color scheme. Here I’ll be using my red kit to review.
As one of the first HGUCs, this kit, well… it hasn’t aged well, and putting out the Schuzrum Dias last summer didn’t help matters much either. The thing’s a downright brick as far as posability goes, when compared to today’s kits; but to be fair, it’s a pretty bulky suit to begin with, and works pretty well with what it is. However, it has some high points that were unseen for kits of the time, at in some cases kits today. For one, this was the first 1/144 kit in ten years (since the original 0080 line in 1989) to have a clear plastic monoeye. In fact, it’s one of the few HGUCs to have one at all. It was also the first in the line to have a clear, plastic beam saber-one of the few available in green.
The head on this model is really nicely designed. Aside from the aforementioned clear monoeye, the Vulcan phalanx on the head opens up and will actually stay open with a bit of fiddling. Because the head is mounted on a “stick” joint, however, and thanks to its design, it can’t look up-only side-to-side.
The torso and backpack aren’t much to write home about, aside from the skirt armor, which is actually two separate pieces for once! Yay, no splitting pieces! The two beam pistols mount onto the backpack via two polycap joints, however keeping them even isn’t easy. Also, be very careful when assembling the binders on this kit-if you put them in the wrong way, well, they’re toast. You won’t get them out without breaking them.
The arms have a unique design that keeps the shoulders spaced out from the torso, allowing them an extra forward-backward movement. That’s about the extent of special poseablity, unfortunately. The elbows have the standard 90 degree movement common on most kits at the scale.
The hands are a different story. While great in concept, the trigger finger thing doesn’t work all too well. The weapons fit snugly in the hands, but the trigger finger is just pointless and gets in the way of the weapons when putting them in. Standard “block” hands probably would have done the job just as well.
The legs, while bulky, actually have a decent degree of movement. They have a double joint, but they aren’t able to move all the way up. It does allow them to fold to a 90 degree angle. The feet are big, solid pieces that stand pretty solid. Hips are connected via the traditional “ball and socket” polycap joint.
For the weapons, this kit is fairly well equipped, coming with all the weapons it’s known for carrying-two beam pistols, a clay bazooka, and one beam saber. Nothing special about the guns-no moving handles, but they all mount onto the backpack of the Dias. Also, the beam saber is one of the few in the early line to have a removable clear saber blade.
In the end, the Rick Dias stands out as a decent kit, one of the better ones from the early days of the HGUC line. It’s nothing spectacular by any means, but it’s the only HGUC AEUG grunt on the market. If I have one huge complaint, it’s the boosters. The Master Grade kit has different boosters for the different color schemes to differentiate the two more. Sadly, both of the HGUC kits are identical. In short, recommended if you like the design, want some AEUG grunts, or are trying to complete a Char collection.