Man, was 2001 really ten years ago? I remember back then, the 08th MS Team Gundam kits were showing up on American toy shelves. I got the Gouf Custom in the fall that year, and boy did I love it. I remember back then we still considered kits from the 0080 line–released twelve years ago at that point—to be good kits. I guess we never expected to see them outdone. Technology started improving drastically, and kits were getting better and better. The time to replace your old 0080 and 08th Team kits with their shiny new HGUC counterparts had come. And personally? I wasn’t willing to reject it.
The Gouf Custom is technically the second 08th MS Team suit to get an HGUC update, since I don’t think two versions of the Ground Gundam should be counted as two. It was a bit of a surprise to see this one before we got an Ez8, since that one would just reuse parts from the Gundam. Besides, what’s the fun in having a Gouf Custom with no Ez8 for it to beat up? I guess my old 08th Team one will have to play the role of punching bag for the time being.
Structurally, this kit is almost identical to the Zaku F2 kit I reviewed a few weeks back. Note that the key word there is almost. While the two are built almost the same way, they do NOT share parts. They’re not like the 0083 GMs, which all share a tree of joints. There are still plenty of differences that set these two apart. I guess Bandai was just trying to play up the fact that they were both designed by Katoki.
The head is constructed just like the F2, with the same switch feature for positioning the monoeye. I hope this feature becomes standard in the future, but I can’t really think of any more One Year War-era suits that would need it. Gerbera Tetra, maybe? Please?
Again, the torso is constructed just like the F2—same ball-jointed shoulders, same useless waist. I really wish they’d find a way to give a 1/144 kit a turning waist AND tubes. The Gouf has a great improvement over the original kit—the cockpit is made out of translucent orange plastic and it looks awesome. No more annoying triangles to paint!
The arms are where the kit starts to get different. The shoulders are like the F2, but the forearms took a different approach. Instead of going for the more “traditional” gray joints, this went for the classic look of the joints being the same color as the rest of the suit. This threw me off in painting, because I thought I needed to paint the inside of the arms! Whoops. It looks good, however. Also included are five hands-two standard “holding stuff” hands, an open right palm, and two CLOSED FISTS!! I know, I’m amazed, too.
The legs are constructed like the F2—no surprise there. As such they inherit the ever-wonderful double-joint, and since the Gouf lacks leg cables, it can actually use them! I do have some issues with the waist-it isn’t very effective. The front skirt doesn’t move like you’d expect, and the movement is a bit limited. I ended up scratching the paint a few times during construction (and on the final product—argh!).
The weapons are where this kit takes off. The 3-barreled gatling gun now mounts on the forearm via a square peg. This looks cool, especially with the shield on, but there’s now no way for the shield to mounted WITHOUT the gatlings. So if you wanted to make a Zeonic Front Gouf Custom with a machine gun or something, you’re out of luck.
Also, in further proof that Bandai hates painters, the Gatling Shield is now made by combining the large gun. You now have to slide the shield piece in. It’s… very scary which is why I didn’t do it until I took pictures for this, and I think I’m just gonna leave it that way for awhile. But hey, it’s worth it, as it’s as intimidating as always. The Heat Saber slips in, which now has a more grooved look. Much better than the old kit’s butter knife.
Unlike the original kit, the new whip just plugs into the wrist with no real part swapping, aside from taking out the original whip “tip”. The new deployed whip is properly extended, as if it’s latching onto the other suit. Preeeetty cool!
I like the new Gouf kit a lot more than the old kit, but that goes without saying. It isn’t without its flaws, but it’s certainly worth a go even if you have the old one. It’s more in-line with the HGUC aesthetic, and looks great next to the F2. Stop by FPNYC and get yours. Now if only they’d give us a new Ez8…