Tanks, Jets and Bombers: Support Mecha

By Loran

So, I’m doing kind of a special review this time around. Remember how I mentioned back in the History of Gunpla article that the “support mecha” were the best kits in the original series lineup? Well, here we go, now I’m gonna sink my teeth into three of these kits-the Magella Attack Tank, the Core Booster, and the Dodai YS: a tank, a jet, and… well, I guess I’ll just call it “miscellaneous”. None of these are really essential parts to anybody’s collection, but they’re all fun little projects. So let’s take a look at them one by one…

The Magella Attack is probably my favorite of the three, and has the most balance between ease in construction and paint job. It’s not very large, especially when placed next to a Zaku or something, but if placed next to a real-world tank at the same scale it almost seems gigantic. It has rubber treads which unfortunately don’t move and have a very tedious construction-each wheel is two pieces that have to be glued together and there are about 20 of them. Getting the treads on isn’t too difficult, thankfully.

The turret is removable just like it is in the show. The gun itself is actually pretty stable and can move up and down freely. However, because the engineering at the time was still primitive, the turret can’t move side-to-side. Oh well.

The detail on this kit is REALLY nice, with a lot of rivets all over the kit, and other neat little details like the handlebars in the back and the headlights. Overall, it’s a nice little kit that can be found for about 400 yen, and it’s simple to boot. There’s also an EX Model that comes with the kit in both a desert and jungle color scheme, but this costs around $30-$40. I dunno about you, but I’ll take the one that’s a tenth of the price…

Next up is the Core Booster. Not too much to say about this one, but I’d say it has the easiest construction and hardest paintjob. It’s a bit of a challenge because of all the small areas you have to do. It doesn’t have many parts and despite the fact that it’s supposed to be white, it comes molded in that nasty green color a lot of the older kits came in. The construction is very straightforward although you’re going to need some clamps to keep the two halves of the fuselage together.

One issue I have with it is its scale. It seems a bit bigger than it’s supposed to be, especially if you place it next to the HGUC Core Fighters. Speaking of, this also comes with a Core Fighter to display separately, but I never bothered to build it. This kit also lacks a stand for some reason. Why would a plane kit not come with a stand? It just seems silly to me. Overall, this is one of the more “essential” support mecha because you’ll need at least one for your White Base crew, but even then, the same slot could be filled by the G-Armor if you prefer the TV series to the movies…

Last and, well, you could say least, is the Dodai… yeah. This thing wasn’t used much in the show. It’s a bomber that would carry around Goufs. It has the easiest paintjob, but the hardest construction because of how you need to line the parts up. Also note that mine is green-the actual plane is purple, but I thought that looked awful so I opted for green instead.

Of course, there’s one great thing about it, and that’s its compatibility with the Gouf or Zaku. Yeah, all they do is just stand on it, but it’s pretty neat, and makes your Goufs look pretty awesome. Thankfully, this one comes with a stand so it can actually look “flying”, and it supports the weight of even an HGUC Gouf pretty well. It’s not essentially by any stretch of the imagination, and not something you’d want on its own, but it’s a cool accessory.

In the end, support mecha are really just that-support mecha. They are hardly ever essential, but having them in your collection adds a bit of depth and helps break up all the robots. Sadly, after Zeta Gundam, “traditional” combat vehicles in Gundam became rather passé, and ones that do appear in the shows never receive merchandise. In fact, the only non-UC support units with kits I can think of are a few mobile armors from SEED, and the 0 Riser from Gundam 00, which we carry. It’s a shame to see these, well… I guess “underappreciated” mecha stay in their place.

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