Every good science fiction or mecha series needs a good-guy cannonfodder of some sort, and of course, Gundam was no exception-heck, it pretty much gave it to the genre. The GM is pretty much the epitome of the “redshirt” mecha, and no, that’s not a reference to the design-these guys get torn through pretty easily in just about every series and incarnation you see them in. But hey, they get some pretty awesome variants, and that’s why I love using them for kitbashing purposes. While the classic GM is far from my favorite incarnation of the suit, it’s a classic with a special place in my heart.
Coming out right before the HGUC Gundam, the GM shares a lot of parts in design, but no actual frames. It uses the updated Hajime Katoki and BEE-Craft-influenced take on the suit, with much more angled designs; appearing less “soft” than the Master Grade kit does. While not as complex as the later RX-78, it’s still good for what it’s worth.
The head is only three pieces: front and back halves of the head, and the visor. As you can see, the visor is molded out of translucent green plastic with extra molded detail on the inside.
The torso is much like the one for the HGUC Gundam, but more simplified-the shoulders don’t have the little internalized joint that allows it to move the arms forward; instead it just has standard peg joints. The joint connecting the torso to the waist is the same as the Gundam, with the little block piece inside helping the side-to-side movement. The waist itself has the front skirt molded in one piece for nice screen-accuracy and moves forward thanks to a polycap joint. The backpack has a hole to store the shield on it when not in use.
The arms on this kit are exactly the same as the HGUC Gundam-no double joint but a very smooth 90 degree angle. The best part of this kit is the one thing it has that the Gundam DOESN’T have-a second left hand! Yes, you get a nice open, splayed-out left hand like the Gelgoog Marine and Dom Tropen have. A nice little bonus for the cowardly cannonfodder mecha.
The legs are mostly the same as the Gundam in terms of construction but lack some of the flair. While the thighs are the same, the lower legs consist only of the two halves and the polycap joint. There’s no separate ankle joint so the poseablity isn’t as high. The feet are the same as the Gundam, with adjustable ankle armor.
The weapons are a bit of a mixed bag. You get the hilariously-named-but-still-cool Beam Spray Gun and the shield (identical to the Gundam’s), and a beam saber. Problem is, you don’t get a clear blade for the beam saber. OK, I can deal with that since the design has the visible saber in the backpack. But would it have killed them to put a hole in the saber so you could give it a clear blade?! Argh. Well, I suppose if it REALLY came down to it, you could give one of these saber hilts to the HGUC Gundam, and use the other one for this…
The HGUC GM is a decent little kit and a welcome part of any collection. Any Federation army should have at least one of these guys-if not 3. I’d have to say the best part of this kit is the price-they tend to be priced at no more than $10 each, and can be easily bought in larger numbers for squads or kitbashing. Besides, someone’s gotta take the fire from the Zakus, right?