I really don’t understand the logic Bandai takes in their MG and HGUC releases.
Bandai likes to release suits based on the series they appear in, like, for a period of time, they do a bunch of suits from say, Zeta, mixed in with suits from Char’s Counterattack or 0080. But the suits that get releases always come in some weird order, like don’t you think that a GM Kai would’ve come out about six months after the Powered GM? Most of the parts were all there! I mean the Ball came out how many years after they finished the original series? Geez.
Well, last year Bandai finally released one of the suits from 0083 I’ve wanted for quite awhile: The Zaku F2. Using his updated take on the classic Zaku as a basis, Katoki introduced this design in the OVA as a late-run model of the Zaku II. It has a lot of Katoki’s trademarks in its design, namely the “minus mold” on its right shoulder and its stouter, meaner look. I’ve longed for this kit in HGUC form ever since we got the Master Grade back in… 2002? Wow, this was a long time coming. And to think, we all thought the first HGUC Zaku’s F2-like pale green color was a sign that we’d be seeing this suit in the near future.
The F2’s head is constructed in almost the same manner as the regular HGUC Zaku, but it has some of the enhancements the HGUC Zaku I brought to the table; namely, the “switch” for the monoeye. With the assistance of a small tool like a paperclip you can move the monoeye side-to-side without having to take the whole head apart.
And speaking of taking the head apart, you get two optional headpieces: the command antenna (actually the first mass-released HGUC Zaku II to come with an optional one) and one with the weird metal plates attached. I never understood that one, but it actually has tiny rivets molded on it. Now that’s detail.
However, all is not well here, as the tubes restrict any horizontal movement on the torso. The ball joint does give it some movement, allowing for some more dynamic poses. The tubes are connected to the backpack by actually going INTO the backpack, instead of stopping right where the hole is. The groves on the tube are a bit more noticeable on this kit, however.
Thanks to its design, there is actually no way to split the skirt armor on the F2. Disappointing, but well, it’s a Zaku. The hips have a good deal of movement that is hindered thanks to the skirt. They do use that pseudo-Marvel Legends style, making which I think makes this the first HGUC Zeon mech to use them. The rest of the legs are nothing fancy. While there is a double joint in the knee, the tubes hinder them.
Like the 30th Gundam, the F2 incorporates ball-jointed and hinged shoulders, giving them a great range of movement. It allows the kit to wield weapons with both hands without looking unnatural. The rest of the arms aren’t noteworthy, though.
It’s a Zaku, and of course, it’s got weapons. Quite a few, in fact. Leg missile pods, heat hawk, 120mm machine gun with grenade launcher, grenades, and my old favorite, the MMP-80. The leg missile pods are actually not as good as the ones included on the regular HGUC Zaku, which had removable missiles. The (one…) trigger hand has a slot for the weapons, allowing for a tight grip. It has a slanted wrist which allows the guns to be held at a good angle, preventing the weapons from hitting the top of the forearm. A second ammo drum is included for storage on the hips or rear. I like the 120mm here a lot because it actually has a hinged handle, unlike the Gouf’s fixed handle. The heat hawk is easier to paint than some previous ones and comes with a hitch for the hip. It’s a decent assortment of weapons, but I would’ve liked to see a bazooka included. Not like I’m lacking those, though!
While it’s lacking in a few departments, they’re no worse than what most of the other Zaku kits have. It’s a great kit, and probably my second favorite HGUC Zaku thus far, just a little behind the Zaku I. It comes highly recommended. There are two versions: one in the Federation colors, and the other in Zeon. The colors and stickers are the only differences, with neither getting exclusive weapons. I painted mine up in Zeonic Front colors, and if you get yours at FPNYC, I’d suggest doing the same. Maybe I’ll do my next one in Kinbareid colors…