I feel really weird building and reviewing the older HGUC Gundam kits these days. I remember when these things were the best kits you could buy at the scale. Back then, the only prerequisites for a “good model” were “doesn’t need glue” and “isn’t from the original 0083 line”. We had no double-jointed elbows, no ABS plastic for joints that wouldn’t work for polycaps, no Action Bases. Things were simpler then. But were they better? Hell no, we’ve gotten so much awesome crap that nobody needs those old kits anymore! When the HGUC series started revisiting the suits that got kits in the original 0083 line, things were changing. It was time for the kits to start getting better and better.
Ah, the GP01. For those who weren’t aware, this suit was designed by Shoji Kawamori of Macross fame. In a sense, this is his answer to the RX-78, in the same way that the Gundam NT-1 “Alex” was Yutaka Izubuchi’s answer to it. This is, of course, the GP01fb, or “Full Vernier” version of the Gundam Zephyranthes, which was essentially the space type version of the regular suit. Originally I had planned to get all of the “GP” series suits in order, but I figured I’d grab this guy to bolster my Federation Space Force.
From a construction standpoint, there isn’t anything too remarkable about this kit. However, it does manage to share several parts trees/runners from the regular GP01 and not end up with a single spare part. I can’t think of any other kit that does that off the top of my head. This kit was engineered during a time where Bandai, possibly to cut costs, produced kits that had identical parts; meaning, instead of building a left arm and a right arm, you build two completely identical arms. I personally found this process to make the building frustrating, like it felt like you were just backtracking through the instructions.
Articulation-wise, there isn’t much to write home about either, but I do have a few complaints. One, the backpack is fixed in its position—it can’t move up and down, which kind of limits dynamic poses. You can’t do a good “blasting off” pose. Second, it has unsplittable skirt armor (without modification). This is what I hate about old kits…
What makes this kit (and the regular GP01) great is the inclusion of a Core Fighter, one of the first HGUC kits to do so. Unlike the RX-78’s Core Fighter, this one is nice and big with a lot of colors and parts, making it MUCH easier to paint. Shame that it doesn’t come with parts to properly make the landing gear look “up”.
The rest of the weapons are what you’d expect; gun, sword, shield. The sword is the awful one-colored blade that’s annoying to paint. But even worse is the shield… while it may use the modern connector style, the thing is basically one solid, white chunk that gets in the way. They REALLY cheapened out on this part.
Despite being an older HGUC kit, there isn’t too much wrong with the GP01fb here, and it’s miles ahead of the Master Grade. Recommended. If you want one, look for it at FPNYC!
Also, I never noticed how goofy this thing’s shoes are, geez…