For today’s article I’m gonna do something special. Originally I was going to do a two-parter but I haven’t had much drive or energy to put the other kit together. Anyway, a few months ago I did an article commemorating Gundam Wing’s tenth anniversary in the United States. While not Gundam’s first appearance in the US by any stretch of the imagination, it was a first a lot of us. But Gundam Wing’s broadcast on TV brought one other thing with it-model kits and action figures to US stores!
What I have here is the 1/100 scale Gundam Epyon kit. The original release came in 1995 (possibly early 1996, not entirely sure), with the first American release coming first quarter 2000, I believe. This here is actually an original US release-denoted by the big red sticker covering the Japanese name on the front of the box. Full-English boxes came with the second waves of kits later on in the year. This, along with a 1/144 scale Tallgeese, were both birthday gifts given to me by a friend this past year. They’d been sitting in her room half built and unbuilt, respectively for ten years and they needed a home! So I figured, what better way to commemorate my-and probably many of yours’-ten years of Gunpla building, with a kit that some of you may have had as your first!
At first look, one thing has to be said about this kit-that’s a LOT of panel lines. For some reason all of the 1/100 scale kits from G-Gundam through Gundam X were LOADED with panel lines. Detailing these things takes forever. Also, I still need to do a little more work on this kit, and fix some gaps that are still around. Whoops.
The head is made up of several pieces-nicely distributed colors. Like all the 1/100s of the era, the eyes come molded in translucent green plastic, but because it’s molded in the same type of plastic the polycaps are, detailing the black around them is kind of difficult. Also, maroon parts tend to fall off easily so I’d suggest gluing them on. Head is attached with a polycap joint, with the soft plastic socket in the head.
The torso and waist seem a little wide to me, probably due to the transformation gimmick. Like some of the Wing Gundam and Wing Zero kits in the line, the “jewel” on the chest is a sticker-it looks very nice, actually. The gold parts are all molded in that nice, non-reflective chrome. The part the “jewel” is encased in is molded all in white so it needs some maroon paint. The skirt and waist have your normal articulation for the time-polycaps all around.
The issues come when you reach the kit’s back, however. The wings, while imposing and badass, have the common paint scraping issue when you want to adjust them. The biggest problem is a result of the transforming mechanism. It’s already clearly visible when the armor is in place, and the butt armor is like a pair of double doors. It sticks out WAY too far and almost looks silly, not to mention that you need to take the butt plates off to actually move the legs up to transform it.
Its arms are just like the other 1/100s of the time, not being hurt too much by the transformation gimmick. The left arm has a mount for the shield while the right arm holds the sword. The elbows have the two-piece polycap double joint, that is actually somewhat hindered by the design of the Gundam-the full circle look doesn’t allow for the joint to go in all the way-a simple cut would have fixed it. The claws on the arms look nice, but the chrome was only done on one side of the part tree, and boy does it show…
The legs start of normal but get weird as you go lower. The upper thighs are no different any other kit in design, with a double joint at the knee. Below that is where it gets strange, however. Possibly due to the transformation gimmick, the lower legs are in two “segments” connected by a polycap joint. I think it’s because the “dragon” heads in Mobile Armor mode are supposed to be tilted? I don’t know. The feet are also fully adjustable thanks to the gimmick. They don’t support the kit all that well, however, probably due to the mass of the wings…
As for the weapons, well, really, what you see is what you get. You get the chain shield thing (which, may I add, is a PAIN to put together, especially if you’re gluing and painting it). It’s nice and flexible, however, but looks odd in any other pose aside from “on the ground looking menacing”. The sword is cool, though, because the rubber tube fits into both the holster on the side and the hilt without much effort. The blades come in two sizes-huge and small. When not in use, the hilt clips into the holster easily.
Now for the Mobile Armor mode… yeah, like I said earlier, the transformation itself is a mess. Part swapping aside I think I like it more on the 1/144 kit. In the animation this mode looked really cool, but here it just looks like Epyon woke up drunk in a dumpster. But hey, you get those neat little clear green effects parts to put on it that all of the Wing 1/100s had! ZOOM!
After all the innovations we’ve gotten in model kits in the past 15 years plus all the Wing Master Grades we’re getting in the future (Ver Ka series, UNF!), I can’t give this kit my full recommendation. If you’re really desperate, I’d hunt one down, especially since bad guy mecha from AU shows are hard to come by, and it’s a nice design, but if you really want Epyon in some form, track down the second version action figure they released here in 2004. Now THAT’s a cool toy.