Ah, the Hi-Nu Gundam. If you told any of us 5 years ago that Hi-Nu would have not one, but TWO plastic kits, we’d think you were crazy. Well, the Master Grade came out in 2007 to mixed reactions. The design was changed by Yutaka Izubuchi, the original designer, to streamline the design further. Some people loved it, others hated it. Personally, I really liked it. It captures the essence of the design while updating it to fit in with the rest of the Char’s Counterattack suits.
The HGUC kit came out two years later, using the same basic design. So does the kit measure up to what we all hoped and dreamed for it to be? Let’s take a look.
The boxart is very nice and striking, a lot more “dynamic” than its Master Grade counterpart. It really stands out and won’t go unnoticed on any store shelf.
Assembling this kit is surprisingly fun, thanks to the color ratio. It doesn’t have many “right half/left half” parts so seems go virtually unnoticed, making glue less necessary than you’d think. The kit comes equipped with the expected accessory loadout of bazooka, shield, beam rifle, and two beam sabers, with clear blades for one of them.
A problem I’ve had with this kit while taking the pictures is how backheavy this thing is! The combination of Fin Funnels and propellant tanks is really pushing it, but that’s mostly due to the design itself, no real fault of the kit. Of course, this is the kind of kit you want to be putting on an Action Base, anyway. 😉
The pose-ability isn’t anything new or spectacular, but the joints are very nice and smooth, and it can hold poses really well. Unfortunately, it lacks those double-jointed elbow joints I’ve come to love so much.
The neck on this kit is really cool, which allows it to look up. It doesn’t give much side-to-side movement, but it lets the kit go into some “flying” poses very suited for the design.
Another thing I would’ve really liked was a hip joint system akin to the 30th Anniversary Gundam, which allows for far greater movement, but I guess that style is still being gradually implemented.
The weapons, while nicely detailed, were a bit of an annoyance for me. They came molded in plain silver/gunmetal, making them an absolute pain to paint. Also, only one trigger finger hand? It would be nice to have two so you don’t have to take the hand apart every time to switch weapons.
Now for one of the bigger disappointments on this kit-the Fin Funnels. Only two (one on each side) are removable. Well, okay, they ARE all removable, but two on each side are attached and don’t open up. However, the ones that do open up come very nicely detailed. Unfortunately, the funnels also just kind of sit there, and don’t have any cool mini-stands to sit on or energy beams to make it look like they’re firing.
The shield is probably one of the best parts of the kit, mostly due to its construction. The white and blue parts are separate, which makes painting a breeze.
The dual-bladed beam saber is pretty neat, and they can both store nicely into the… I guess I’ll call it its backpack. It’s a shame they only included one set of blades, because the Hi-Nu holding both of those swords would be pretty intimidating.
Painting this kit was quite a chore. First, mixing the shade of blue isn’t easy because it requires cobalt blue-a color with the consistency of pudding. It’s a mix of that and white, and if you can get that shade right, it looks VERY nice. Second, this thing has tiny silver details all over the place, and they’re very easy to miss, mostly thanks to the lighting in some of the pictures in the instructions. Every time I thought I had them all, more popped up. Also, those little copper bits that connect the propellant tanks to the torso need to be painted.
In the end, Hi-Nu is a very nice kit that I’d put pretty high on my recommendations list. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly one of my most favorite kits in the past few years. Still, Hi-Nu has a lot of fans, and I’m pretty sure most of them would be picking the kit up regardless of how good the model actually is. It’s solid, has some nice pose-ability, and a very fun construction. Overall, 4.5/5 stars, in spite of some of its shortcomings.
Now Bandai, give us an HGUC Nightingale for this guy to fight!