HGUC Zaku Sniper (Yonem Kirks) Review

Okay, I think I’ve made it to the last of my Gundam Unicorn Episode 4 kits; for now, at least. Of all the new releases for the episode, this one kind of bugged me. It just felt redundant. The additional equipment is cool, yes, but because the color scheme is pretty much the same as the original version, the existence of this kit felt kind of pointless. The only additions to this design were minor. It felt more like something that would have gotten conversion parts packed with a magazine or something. Still, it’s another release of the Zaku I kit, and that’s one I just can’t get enough of.

I can’t remember if I actually reviewed the regular Zaku I kit or not, but I know I’ve talked about it, and I KNOW I’ve never reviewed the Zaku Sniper, so here we go. This is Yonem Kirks’ custom Zaku Sniper from Episode 4 of Gundam Unicorn. For the most part, it’s a Commander Type version of the Sniper with some additional equipment. Because of all the additional equipment and this kit being made several years after the original, this one has a lot of spare parts left over.

The Zaku I is my favorite HGUC mold, hands down. Even more than the GM frame. It’s just so functional and poseable. It just makes you wonder where it went wrong. This is the only Zeon suit with double-jointed elbows and they work incredibly well. Heck, this was the first modern 1/144 Zaku to have a working waist swivel! People still take this frame and combine it with the Zaku II to make a more functional kit. I personally can’t blame them.

Be careful with the waist, though. It still uses the old solid plastic ball joints, not the separate piece most modern kits use. If you aren’t careful, you might break it.

This kit uses clear plastic for both the monoeye and sight on the gun. They’re both in clear plastic, like a Master Grade, so you’ll need to paint them.

One of my favorite parts about this kit is the “base” Zaku used: the A-type Zaku. If you wanted, you could easily grab this kit and kitbash it with a regular Zaku I to make an A-Type or Ramba Ral’s unit!

Another cool part about this kit is the right knee. The piece here is different than the one on the left knee. It slides down to make support for when it fires the sniper rifle. I love it when Katoki thinks ahead on his designs!

The equipment on this kit consists of the big beam sniper rifle, four or five hands, and the Zaku I machine gun. I say “four or five” because it only has enough top pieces for four hands, but it includes five. The fifth hand is the outstretched hand for the Zaku I’s shoulder smash attack, and has been replaced by a standard palm.

One point of irritation with the sniper rifle is the cable connecting to the backpack. It uses a wire inside one of those stupid fabric tubes, which are really hard to work with. Just make sure that once you have them in, you don’t take them out.

The differences between this and the regular Sniper are minor, but make all the difference. The head has a Commander antenna, the shoulder has extra details, and the backpack houses containers for extra Sniper rounds. Little grip things (?) like the Geara Zulu are also included, but they need to be glued on. I’m waiting until I paint my kit to put those on.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering if this is worth getting if you have the regular Zaku Sniper. I’d say no. But, if you’re looking for a Zaku Sniper in general, this is the one to get. You get all the parts from the first version plus new ones. The only issue I have with this one is the coloration: the body is molded in some weird green color instead of a darker tan. Still, it’s a Zaku I, a kit I totally love, so it gets recommended based on that alone. If you want your own, make sure to check FPNYC!

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