As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I love Gundam Unicorn, even if it does frustrate me quite a bit. One of my favorite aspects of it as all of the “robot porn” the OVA has to offer. Now, robot porn can mean many things. Of course, there’s the literal definition, but we’re not talking about that here. It can refer to two other things; the first being the technical stuff, showing how things work. The other is my personal favorite, and that’s just showing off all sorts of random mecha variants from over the years. Unicorn has this in SPADES, especially that fourth episode I don’t seem to shut up about.
I have always LOVED the Zaku Mariner. In fact, this was my first glue kit, which I did back in 2001. Yeah, 12 years ago. It was bad. Really, really bad. I’d been wanting to kitbash a new one, but hey, Bandai seemed to save me the time and the effort by giving us an HGUC! Originally, I didn’t want to do any amphibious mobile suits until I had all the normal Zeon MS bases covered for the One Year War, but hey, this is Unicorn, so it doesn’t count!
The Zaku Mariner uses a new style of Zaku frame, one that’s very similar in structure to the Zaku F2. This new style of joint system is easily one of the most fluid I’ve ever seen. Because so much of the Zaku’s body is curved, the joints match this and as such, feel very organic and not forced. This is probably one of the best things about Zeon designs. Unfortunately, because it’s a Zaku, the cables on the legs end up kind of intrusive, and the ones on the waist prevent it from having a full turning axis for the torso. The hips use a hinge joint, like most Master Grades, which works as well as one would hope.
The kit also includes parts for different configurations. It has two sets of antennae, two sets of shin armors, and two cockpit hatches. The alternate set of parts gives it an appearance more like a traditional Zaku, as if it were a standard one that was just modified. While the alternate parts are cool, I find myself liking the main configuration the most.
The accessory loadout is quite impressive, too. Its main armament is a SUBROC (SUBmarine ROCket) gun, which despite its weird, elongated butt, actually sits under the suit’s arm perfectly. A wire-mounted cable comes out of the left arm, and two alternate hands are included… both of which are for the left. WHY?! Ah well. Two of the torpedoes on the left shoulder come out, too, but they can be a bit of a pain.
Like the Nemo, the Zaku Mariner has unfortunately poor color distribution, with none of the red areas being colored. While this is indeed a nuisance, I can deal with it. I’ll accept a harder paintjob if it means the kit is more fun to fiddle with!
I really like the feel of the new Zaku frame, and I look forward to getting the High Mobility Zaku at some point. If you’re interested in getting yours, make sure to check FPNYC!