Welcome back! My Zaku is as finished as it’s going to be for now, but I still have a bit of progress and other advice to show you.
This modification here is rather commonplace on kits these days, and it’s one I suggest for any kit that allows it. All it entails is cutting the skirt armor down the middle to allow for better movement, and to look better in the process. You’ll need to sand it down a bit to make it easier to work with.
One problem you may encounter when rebuilding kits is the presence of gaps. Stuff won’t fit together as easily, so you’re going to have to make some use of putty on top of your typical assembly method. It’s probably one of the more frustrating parts of reassembly because you won’t even notice it right away.
So what’s the final kit like? Well, I’m not sure how clear I’ve made it, but the Zaku I is quite possibly one of my favorite kits ever, and I’ve always loved this iteration of the design. Something about the detailed chest, blue color scheme, and symmetrical shoulders just makes me smile. Besides, the fact that Ramba Ral is awesome only helps matters further.
This kit also has a pretty rare feature for HG kits-double-jointed elbows. I’m not sure what it is with Bandai and these things, as I can only think of three base kits (Zaku I, Gundam Ground type/Blue Destiny, GM Quel/Hazel) with these. After the Hazel came out around five years ago, I would’ve expected these to become commonplace.
Here’s an illustration of what I mentioned earlier with the skirt armor. Such a simple modification, and once again, one must wonder why Bandai doesn’t make them like this in the first place.
As for the weapons, you have a wide arsenal to choose from for this kit if you opted to give it the ones from Garma’s Zaku. This suit is typically seen with either version of the Zaku Machinegun, or the Zaku II’s bazooka. For mine, I chose to go with the bazooka, since the suit was shown carrying one in the opening cutscene of Gihren’s Greed. Another key weapon is the custom Heat Hawk, which only comes with Garma’s Zaku, and unfortunately isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s the closest you’re going to get.
As an aside, the HGUC Heat Hawks are an absolute nightmare to paint, because there’s no defining line where the blade is placed, so you’ll have to eyeball it. It’s a nice looking weapon, but it requires a lot of work, and this one here needs to be redone…
So, would I recommend doing this kitbash? Well, that depends. On one hand, it’s a very easy kitbash that anyone can do, assuming you know how to paint. On the other, it’s not very cheap, as it requires you to purchase two High Grade kits that would cost you a total of $25-$30. If you’ve got the money to spare, I’d say go for it. There’s a lot of other designs and custom suits you can make with the two kits, so let your imagination run wild.