By Christopher Troy
I’ll admit. It’s rare for me to pick up a new Gunpla when I’m not familiar with it. I usually wait until I’ve viewed the respected series/movie it originates from before I purchase it, making sure that my money is well spent. On the other hand, it’s been awhile since we’ve actually got an 100% new Gundam movie, so I can break some rules. At best, we’ve had recaps with new footage spliced in here and there (Zeta and SEED come to mind), or promises of a movie that never come through in the end (SEED again). The OO movie is currently out in Japanese theaters though, and like I said in the last “News from the Front” article, it will be shown in the states in New York in about 2 weeks @ NYCC. FPNYC managed to get in the 1st new releases from the movie line, and today we’ll be looking at Irish sniper/gun enthusiast Lockon Stratos’ new Gundam, the Zabanya.
This is Lockon’s 3rd Gundam from the franchise, and if you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that we’ve covered alot of mecha from the OO series over the last couple of months. I’m impressed with the amount of dedication Bandai has put into these kits, as they continue to squeeze in more bang for your buck with every new wave, something I appreciate given the rising cost of imported kits these days (what with the exchange rate being what is it thanks to the dollar being so weak), and the fact that Bandai has a line of toys dedicated to creating super-articulated figures. When the OO line debuted, I had to get accustomed to having poseable wrists for my kits. Bandai has now include a more poseable waist as well, increasing the overall articulation in the kit. The movable antenna and strong ankle joints are awesome as well.
The Gundam Zabanaya continues the trend of having a green/white color scheme, keeping it the same as the previous 2 mechas. I’m also not ruling out the idea that Japan thinks green and Irish go to hand, as if we learned anything from G gundam, they’re not exactly the most cultural sensitive bunch. A much like the other 2 mecha, the Zabanya rocks transforming weapons. By adding/removing two pieces, the GN pistol can be converted into the longer GN Rifle Bit II. The Zabanya comes with 2 of these weapons, giving Lockon a chance to duel wield smaller projectile weapons like the Cherudim, as well rifles like the Dynames. Speaking of which, the Zabanya’s defenses are a hybrid of sorts, drawing inspiration from the wing-like shielding of the Dynames as well as the “blockier” attachments of the Cherudim that serve more than one role. The GN Holster Bits can actually house the Rifles in the first frames if desired, and if not, can be detached for a small shield that can be held together via a clear piece in the back much like the Cherudim.
The Zabanya however is not perfect. I found several 2nd layer armor pieces from the chest and waist pop off from time to time, and man, I still do not like the newer elbow joints on the OO kits, as there’s always one of them that has problems bending or keeping the lower arm on. Despite those flaws (the later complaint could be my fault), I still had a blast building this kit, and it looks great displayed. We have both Lockon and Sestsuna’s new rides in stock at FPNYC store, so swing by soon if you want one for yourself, as anything featured on these blogs tend to sell out quickly!