MG Black Tri Stars Zaku II Build Log Part 1

Ah yes, the Master Grade Zaku version 2.0… I remember how excited everyone was for this kit five years ago. Back then I couldn’t accept the idea of a new design for the Zaku because I became so attached to the 08th MS Team’s Zaku. At the time, though, I didn’t really care to get a new Zaku Master Grade since, well, I didn’t really need one. I hadn’t gotten into Master Grades again, and something as basic as a Zaku didn’t really interest me.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from getting the Black Tri-Stars Zaku for only $45 when I saw it at a convention the following summer. What can I say, I’m a sucker for MSVs. I’m sure you all know that by now.

When I bought this kit, I immediately had a bit of buyer’s remorse. Yeah, the High Mobility Zaku is awesome, but why did the lead with the Tri-Stars version?? They’re nowhere near as cool as Johnny and Shin!! But I’ll explain why they lead with the Tri-Stars at the end of this series. For now, let’s look at the 2.0 Zaku itself, since pretty much everything I’ve built is shared between the other 2.0s.

The head is really cool! You build the entire mechanism with a “glass” screen over the monoeye. The monoeye moves when you turn the head back and forth. It’s much more effective than the little switch used on 1/144s.

I remember there being much debate over the location of the Zaku’s actual cockpit many years ago. One side of the chest houses the generator, while the other has the cockpit. This wouldn’t matter normally, except this was kind of an important plot point in the first episode of the original TV series. The solution? Make a cockpit that switches sides using a slider mechanism. It works pretty well! Brilliant idea on Bandai’s part.

The arms are incredibly nice, too. Both the shield AND the shoulder armor are molded as solid pieces (save for the spikes), making for a nice, clean piece. Obviously you still need to sand the seam but it’s not as hard as sanding a glued seam. The spikes are all separate pieces, which can be a pain to sand, but there are some sites that make metal replacements which I’ll be looking into for when I do Johnny’s Zaku.

The arm joints themselves are incredibly fluid and sturdy, even with a nice, functional wrist joint in the hand. I’d dare say they’re better than some contemporary Master Grades. Of course, the individually jointed fingers are still a pain…

One point of irritation is the backpack: it needs a LOT of paint. I wouldn’t be so bothered by this, especially since most of the parts are divided out already, except so many of them are white or red, two of the most annoying colors to paint. Oh well, nothing a little primer can’t fix…

When I was painting this, I attempted to go for the “dark blue on black” look, but the dark blue came out so dark it’s almost indistinguishable from the black!! Oh well, it’s still cool either way.

Yeah, this has been a pretty fun project, and I apologize for how long it’s been taking me to get started on it. I’m still not used to being back in school yet, oops. Either way, next time, you’ll see the legs, the weapons, and why I hate the little tubes. Til then, you should look for this kit at FPNYC—it’s totally worth it!

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