Category: Gundam

Master Grade Tallgeese II finished build log

Motivation strikes once again!

I’ve noticed my favorite “II” mobile suits keep ending up as webshop exclusives, and I, in my infinite wisdom, have purchased all of them. The White Dingo GM Sniper II, the Tallgeese II, and I’ve already put the money down on the Crossbone Gundam X-2. Hopefully, spending lots of money on this stuff won’t be a problem soon *hint hint*. Anyway, I’m glad this came out when it did, otherwise I was going to restore my old 1/100 kit and well, that hasn’t stood the test of time. The new Master Grade Tallgeese may not be perfect, but it’s awesome nonetheless.

The new Tallgeese Master Grade, be it the I or the II, is beautiful in its Katoki-designed glory. Sure, the suit was always a Katoki design, but never before were we able to get a more faithful recreation of the lineart. Really, until the Master Grades became a thing, Katoki’s designs never really translated well into kit form.

First, let’s talk about the verniers. The two massive boosters are mounted onto the back of the torso, as opposed to the backs of the shoulders. Now, there are still some mobility issues however, and there has been some paint scraping, but overall, it’s not very noticeable. It does affect articulation, however.

The boosters are basically all linked together and open to reveal four smaller boosters. The same can even be done for the ones on the rear skirt.

I like how the shield and gun both connect to the shoulders via a connecting mechanism like on the old kit, but with a door to close when not in use this time. There are enough joints here to actually allow for the shield and rifle to be held.

Speaking of the rifle, it has this weird spring loaded gimmick that I’m not sure I understand. I think it’s to simulate what the rifle looks like while firing, but I can’t find any use for it outside of a diorama, so I’ll keep it in the extended position.

The Shield looks awesome, especially with the decals. It can easily be held in the left hand, and contains two beam sabers. Both of which use the slanted blade some of the other Wing suits come with.

Unfortunately, the very design of the Tallgeese results in some limited poseability in the legs. That’s overcome thanks to some creative use of joints, namely in the hip armor. The hip armor is attached to the hips at the skirt and the thighs to keep it stationary while the rest of it moves.

Oh, and if you’re doing the TGII, be prepared to paint the feet black. For whatever reason, these were left gray. I don’t quite understand it…

Also included is a piece for mounting it on an action base, but hey, everything uses those these days!

Oh, and another thing! Getting it into the trademark “hands on the gun” pose is not easy, and I have no clue how to properly do it…

Really, the Tallgeese kit is a lot of fun, regardless of whether or not you have the I or II. It comes highly recommended by me, and if you want one, you should make sure to look for the Tallgeese I at FPNYC!

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Tallegeese II Build log part 1

Once again, motivation hits me like a brick to the face. And that’s a good thing! Especially since in this case, I’m incredibly motivated by what I’m actually building, not by the fact that it isn’t something else. If that makes any sense. I’m a huge fan of the Tallgeese II, and have been ever since 2000. You can understand my disappointment when I first got the original 1/144 kit, which was literally just the Tallgeese I kit with a lighter shade of white and a new head. Things got better when I made the 1/100 Endless Waltz kit, but I just wanted more.

And after ten years of longing, I finally have it. Like always, we’re going to take a look at the upper body of the kit first, before going onto the full product. I feel this makes things a bit less overwhelming.

First, let’s talk about the decals. Here’s a fun fact: This is actually one of only two Gundam Wing kits in the Master Grade line, the other being Wing Gundam. Every other “Gundam Wing” Master Grade is actually an Endless Waltz kit, as far as branding goes, anyway. I guess Japan just likes Endless Waltz more.

Since this is just a Gundam Wing kit, and not an Endless Waltz one, the Tallgeese II is spared the decal hell of the other Wing Master Grades. That isn’t to say the decals here aren’t cool, however. I adore the “TALLGEESE II” and “OZ-00MS2” decals on the shoulders in particular. I wish there was a decal with Treize’s signature, or something. Aside from those decals, most of them are your standard warning decals.

The head is nice, with that awesome Gundam face under the good old centurion helmet. That’s what makes the Tallgeese for me. Unfortunately, there is no shape for the eyes, so you’re probably going to have to use the sticker.

But of course, there’s the Mohawk. I did mine in gold, because I do all of my “mid series upgrade” suits from Wing with it. The trim is a pain to do, but it can be done. It just takes a steady hand and a small brush.

One thing that always bugged me about the old Tallgeese kits was the arm. I never liked the way the fact that they couldn’t go flush on the old kit, and I guess it was just designed that way from the start. The joint is well done, and separates nice and evenly. The Tallgeese also has the standard hand set included with the other Wing suits and the new SEED kits.

One fantastic innovation on this kit is the location of the vernier packs. I don’t have them assembled yet, but for once, they AREN’T attached to the shoulders! This is going to make things a lot easier for poseability, and the old verniers (on both scales) were infamous for coming loose.

The Tallgeese II has been a joy to build so far, and I expect that to continue. Remember, the standard Tallgeese is all you’ll find at FPNYC, so make sure to take a look for

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Master Grade Tallgeese II Preview

I remember back last fall when the Tallgeese MG was announced. I couldn’t even put into words how excited I was. This is something that was LONG overdue, especially since we already got a Katoki-style Epyon two years ago. It just seemed so out of place with the Gundams from the first half of the series. Besides, it’s the Tallgeese. I don’t care what you think about Gundam Wing, if you don’t like the Tallgeese even a little bit, I’m not sure we can be friends. I’ve been excited for this project the moment I saw it.

But guess what? We’re not doing the Tallgeese. We’re doing the Webshop Exclusive Tallgeese II.

Because the Tallgeese doesn’t have pre-cut decals available yet, I decided I’d go with the Tallgeese II first since it actually includes waterslide decals. Gotta love those webshop exclusives. I’m covering it here since it’s the same kit as the Tallgeese I but with a different head. Everything else is the same, save for colors. So let’s take a look!

I’m quite surprised by the amount of parts it comes with. They certainly seem crammed into that tiny little box. No runners are duplicated here, although some are reproduced but with additional parts added on. Bandai was thankfully planning for this release, which is why we saw it so soon, and judging by some of the mold gates, we’ll be seeing a Tallgeese III at some point in the future, hopefully.

The gray color used for all the interiors is interesting, and I’m not sure I like it that much. It’s a very light, neutral gray, which is a color I absolutely love using, but only on certain occasions, and I don’t see this as one of them. Instead, I’m going to use the F-15 Dark Gray I used for the G-Fighter, which will certainly make it look unique.

Despite being a Katoki design, the decals don’t go off the wall crazy here, probably since it’s an animation version. I love the huge OZ-00MS2 and TALLGEESE II decals. They’re just the level of gaudy I’d expect from Treize.

And speaking of Treize, 1/100 scale pilot figures of him and Lady Une are included in place of Zechs! Treize was cool enough, but Une makes an awesome added bonus.

There’s also a spring for the Dobergun. I’m not sure how this works, but we’ll see when I get to it, I guess.

But of course, nothing can be perfect. The head crest needs paint along the trim, which I can tell you now, is going to be a huge pain. At least I’m doing it in gold and not yellow, ugh.

Speaking of painting, this kit has actual painting instructions! These would’ve been really nice for the GM Sniper II Custom, just saying…

I’m REALLY excited for this project, and I think I’ll get through it pretty fast. Thankfully, I’m doing it because I’m excited about the subject matter, and not the fact that it isn’t a huge behemoth. Now I just want a Nataku for it to fight at some point. Remember that you won’t be able to find the TGII at FPNYC, but you should definitely look for the regular Tallgeese when you have the chance!

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Master Grade Duel Gundam Build Log Finished

Man, I have the worst luck when it comes to picking kits these days, don’t I? I love kits with removable armor and just “full armor” variants in general. The gimmick is just really cool and adds extra dimensions of display and such. But unfortunately, I have to be one of those crazy painter types who wants all of her kits looking awesome, and Bandai seems to have it out for us. And really, if I weren’t doing this review, I’d probably just keep the armor on all the time since it’s the superior form, so you guys better appreciate this review because I did it for you guys!

But before I get to the Assault Shroud, I’ll talk about the standard weapons this kit has.

The main beam rifle is pretty simple, but a cool unique shape. It actually has a scope cover, but not one mounted on a hinge. At least that prevents it from breaking, I suppose.

The shield is really cool, but I have some issues with it. I love this shield design, but it cannot sit in its hand worth anything. This could just be a painter problem, but the handle just won’t fit. Thankfully, it can still stay on its arm via the post in the back. This is how it fits on the forearm with the Assault Shroud equipped.

It has two standard Gundam beam sabers that peg into the hands. I like the hand pegs here. They’re hard to get in, but they’re incredibly stable.

My favorite weapon of all of them on the kit is the bazooka, which the Duel Gundam doesn’t exactly use. In canon, it’s used by the Astray Gold Frame to escape one of the colonies, and since the weapon is too powerful for it, it blows its arm off. That’s why all of the Gold Frame’s forms have Blitz Gundam’s arm. It’s a shame there’s no proper Astray MG because I’d love to give this gun a proper home.

But on to the Assault Shroud…

Really, it looks AWESOME. But it shares the problem every other swapping parts kit I’ve had, and it might be because I lack a proper paint sealant. All sorts of scratches end up on the armor underneath, but whatever, I can leave it on. It works pretty well when it’s all on, and I love the missile box on the left shoulder. My biggest issue is the front skirt armor, which has the hardest time staying on. It ended up with the most scratches, too.

In an awesome twist, the mounted cannon on the right shoulder is removable, and can be used as a handheld weapon. I love this idea, and I can just imagine Yzak wasting all of his ammo then pulling this off to use for more efficient firing.

It also has a little mount for Action Bases on the bottom. Very nice.

This is another one of those “if you’re a painter, you might have a bad time” kits, but it’s still a good kit. I’d recommend displaying it in one mode and not changing it if you build it. I still suggest this kit, and I definitely welcome it to my collection. If you’re after it, make sure to check FPNYC!

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Master Grade Dual Gundam Build Log Part 1

Sometimes, I can get extremely motivated when working on kits. Usually it happens when it’s something I’m really excited to build, like the Nu Gundam ver Ka MG. Others, it’s because of what it isn’t. You see, the past two projects (the G-Armor and the Sinanju) have both been incredibly draining, from the gigantic pieces, to the breaking pieces, to the slew of tiny and long decals. After a couple projects like those, it’s nice to kick back and relax with a simply Gundam-type mobile suit. Some people may not care for the Duel Gundam’s design, but I personally think it’s great.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Duel Gundam utilizes the same common frame as the Blitz Gundam. As a result, pretty much everything I’ve said about that kit rings true here. The frame represents much of what Bandai seems to be doing with their Master Grade kits these days: simpler and more stable. It seems that all the crazy details and functions go into the smaller (and more complex) Real Grade kits, with the Master Grades take a more “action figure” approach. Given my personal philosophy with toys these days “big, detailed, and stable” is pretty much the ideal combination.

The decals I’m using for this kit are by SamuelDecal, which they pretty much always are when I can’t get ahold of the official sheet (or the kit doesn’t have one, like this). These ones are great, and much sharper than the ones the Blitz Gundam had. Unfortunately, these decals aren’t lettered/numbered, so I’ve had to match them up with the ones on the included sticker and dry-transfer sheets. It’s gone a bit better than I expected, though I may have messed up one or two. That said, I love the silver on some of the decals.

The face on the kit looks great, and has that great “prototype” look the Duel Gundam rocks. For whatever reason, I love orange as a prototype color. I guess it just screams out “safety color” so they can monitor the suit from far away or something, I don’t know. Interestingly, almost all of the colors I’m using for this kit are actually straight from the jar. The only ones that aren’t are the color you’ll see on the weapons, and the orange. It’s nice when I don’t have to mix a lot of colors for once.

The articulation is excellent and smooth. Many of the joints have extra pistons on them to make them look cool, and thankfully, they actually work. They add some depth that wouldn’t be there already. It has the proper level of articulation I’d expect from this grade. It also has a pair of auxiliary waist joints for added articulation!

One awesome feature on this kit are the shoulders. They’ve been redesigned so they can accommodate the Sword and Launcher packs from the Strike! Unfortunately, I don’t have those yet sooo I can’t exactly demonstrate this…

The Duel Gundam is going well so far, and I’m excited to get it done. Remember, make sure to look for your Duel Gundam when you come to FPNYC!

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Master Grade Duel Gundam Preview

This kit, and the one I bought with it, are just a testament to horrible model kit buying habits. A few months ago, I needed some new Master Grades to build once I had my current backlog cleared out, so I went with a pair that actually went with each other. I received them in early November, finally, at about the same time as my GM Snipers. I bought a G-Armor shortly afterwards. After I did that, I bought the Crossbone Gundam. And I got the Guncannon from my friend. Then my Nu Gundam came in. Then I bought the Sinanju. I’ve done all of those in time since I’ve had this kit purchased. Now I’m finally getting to it, thank god.

The Duel Gundam was the first of the new Gundam SEED models to be released in honor of the TV show’s tenth anniversary. Quite appropriate, considering that the Duel Gundam was basically the “prototype” for the other four initial Gundams. The Duel was never one of my favorites, but its pilot Yzak is easily my favorite character in the Cosmic Era, so I figured I might as well get his Gundam (and his best friend’s as well).

This model introduced us to the SEED X-Frame, the inner skeleton used on all of the new SEED MGs (save for Aegis, of course). I’ve already experienced this frame with the MG Blitz Gundam, and I have to say, I quite like it. As the first kit to utilize this frame, I believe it’s the only one so far to use all of its pieces. Some people don’t like universal parts like these, but I love them. It adds a more uniform look to the kits and makes them feel more like they would in the show’s actual universe.

The shield is also designed like a more “universal piece”. I guess an MG Strike 2.0 was inevitable from the start! I’m looking forward to it, myself. Makes me glad I never bought the 1.0, ha.

One thing about this kit I’m really looking forward to is the Assault Shroud. Not only will it be my first “full armor” kit at 1/100 scale, it also leaves me with the opportunity to use my favorite paint color: Intermediate Blue! Awww yeah.

Once again, I’ve got the nice third-party decals from SamuelDecal. I’ve always found the custom waterslides for the new SEED MGs to be pretty cool. They all have these markings that wrap around parts of the bodies, but they’re asymmetrical. This sheet actually includes decals so, if one were inclined to, you could make them all symmetrical. I’m not into it, personally. I like the asymmetrical look, as I feel it adds a bit of uniqueness to the designs.

The Duel Gundam, while far from my favorite design from the series, is going to be a great project. I hope to build all five of the initial Gundams plus Freedom, and, if they do it; Justice. Buying this guy and his partner already put me ahead of the first five Wing Gundams, ha. Remember to look for this guy whenever you happen to find yourself at FPNYC!

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Master Grade G-Armor Build Log Finished

When I was younger, I had the combining Gundam/G-Fighter from the American action figure line. It was great fun, switching around the parts for all the different combinations. Sure, the figure quickly went obsolete when Bandai put the Gundam 2.0 figure out for that line, but hey, all that had was a Core Booster!

Problem is, sometimes ideas that are really fun as toys don’t exactly work out well as models, no matter how hard you try. That is, unless you don’t paint. I thought transforming the Zeta Gundam 2.0 would be the most nerve-wracking thing I ever had to do. It didn’t hold a candle to this.

Most configurations require the Gundam’s legs to be placed inside the B-parts, which is a really tight fit. I’m honestly regretting painting the inside of the G-Fighter now, because it ended up getting on parts of the Gundam’s legs. Ugh. I even scratched up a decal or two…

I’m going to break things down by each component.

First, we have the G-Sky. This was always my favorite configuration, using the Gundam’s legs, the Core Fighter, and the B-Parts. It just looks like a heavy version of the Core Booster, and is honestly one of the least silly-looking components.

Next, the G-Sky Easy. Basically the same thing, except this one uses that big filler block from the G-Fighter with the Core Fighter on the end of it. It’s a lot less silly, and I think I like it a bit more like this. It actually feels practical, like something they would use if the Gundam was needed and the rest of the G-Fighter needed repairs.

The G-Bull is… well, the silliest configuration. This is the A-parts with the upper body of the Gundam and the Core Fighter. If I remember correctly, this was used by both Amuro and Sayla. I don’t really get it, either. It just looks silly, and the added piece on top of the Core Block just seems superfluous.

The G-Bull Easy is basically the same thing, just without the Core Fighter. Still incredibly silly.

Speaking of incredibly silly, how about the Gundam Sky? Yeah. It’s the Gundam with the lower half of a plane for legs. It was even used against the Zakrello. 2x silly combo, I guess. I should stop saying silly.

But of course, there’s the G-Armor… and as much of a pain as it is to form it, it’s pretty freaking cool. The finished product is massive, measuring well over a foot in length, I think. The transforming bits are cool, too, with the back wings folding out and retracting into the radiator vents. The two shields aren’t held in the hands, but instead on little platforms that come out of the B-parts. This keeps things from becoming a bigger cluttered mess than it should be. Everything nicely locks into place better than you’d expect, and it even stays on the action base with the assistance of an adaptor piece.

While it’s been an overall frustrating and paint-scratch-laden process, the G-Armor is a kit I’m glad to have built, because it has some serious shelf presence. Just be warned that that paint scratches are probably going to occur. Remember that FPNYC totally has your back with whatever Gundam kits you might be interested in!!

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Master Grade G Armor Build Log part 3

The good old G-Fighter… an absolute testament to the era in which the original Gundam aired. Back in those days, things were even more “to sell toys” than they are now. That’s what lead to the origin of the Gundam’s now iconic white/blue/red/yellow color scheme, and the origin of the Core Fighter. The G-Fighter serves little purpose in the TV series than to give the Gundam all these silly combinations to form, most of which aren’t even pivotal to the plot. That’s why the movies replaced it with the Core Booster, something far more manageable.

But hey, that doesn’t make the G-Fighter any less fun.

When I purchased this kit, I’ll admit to not knowing what I’d gotten myself into. I figured, “hey, it’s Gunpla. It won’t be so bad!”. Well, little did I realize that this would feel less like Gunpla, and more like an actual aircraft kit. It didn’t help that I bought the color used for F-15s to paint it, ha. No, part of the reason why I didn’t do any build logs for this portion in particular was the fact that, well, there was nothing to cover. It can’t function as anything other than a fighter, at least not alone. It’s all made up of gigantic panels that are an absolute pain to handpaint.

On its own, the G-Fighter is very “what you see is what you get”. It’s a big hunk of plastic. The only articulation to speak of in this mode are the elevating/pivoting cannons and the missiles hidden on the nose of the plane. They’re pretty cool, and it reminds me of using it in Federation vs. Zeon.

Two little plates fold up on each side to provide a mount for the Gundam. Ha, I bet you thought gravity held the suit up, didn’t you? See, even the silliest of designs can be made somewhat practical!

There are numerous ways to work with the bottom of the kit. The first is the most known method: treads. These are attached to the front portion of the fighter with a series of arms. Really, it makes me miss the simplicity of the old toy, which was just “take off when not in use”.

And when not in use, they can fold up and store inside the back portion. A small plate also gets added to this equation, which allows for the use of landing gear. They make the improbable thing seem just a bit more plausible!

When the treads are in use, a big block piece can be put in, but honestly I don’t see it as being needed. It’s more for the G-Sky Easy configuration which I’ll get to later.

When the treads are up, a big plate can be used to securely hold it onto an action base for flying poses. It fits into the landing gear ports really snugly.

The kit also comes with a second shield for the G-Armor, and the Gundam’s Hyper Hammer, making the Gundam 2.0 the only 1/100 scale RX-78 with a full arsenal! It’s always nice to have it all, isn’t it!

On its own, there’s really no reason to buy the G-Fighter. It’s just a silly gimmick from the original series. When paired with the Gundam, however, the usefulness skyrockets, and we’ll cover that in our last part. For now, make sure to go to FPNYC for all you Gunpla needs!

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Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin Activation review

With the exception of Gundam Unicorn, new Gundam merchandise in the US has been kind of rare these days, to say the least. Ever since Bandai Entertainment kicked the bucket, all DVD sales have pretty much ceased, with Turn A Gundam’s highly anticipated release getting canned and the aftermarket prices for the Mobile Suit Gundam boxsets now reaching absurd prices on the aftermarket. With no plans to show Gundam AGE in the US, it seemed like Gundam was pretty much dead out here.

Thankfully, a little publishing company called Vertigo decided to step up to the plate and give us a new English reprinting of Gundam: The Origin.

For those unfamiliar, Gundam: The Origin is a manga adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam written and drawn by character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, better known by his fans as “Yas”. Unlike his mecha-designing counterpart Kunio Okawara, Yas hasn’t lost his touch at all. The art for the mecha and characters alike are fantastic, and the updated mobile suit designs are fantastic as well. I especially like how it’s clear where the Zaku’s cockpit is located in this version, unlike the original design which seemed to change depending on which piece of media you were watching.

Origin is a very faithful adaptation of the TV series, but it still does a few things differently. Unlike most manga adaptations which compress many events down and even omits some others, Origin actually has MORE to it than the TV series did. For example, instead of three Zakus attacking Side 7 at the start of the story, six do, and three of which are destroyed while taking down the RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam in combat. It takes over 150 pages just to tell the events of the first episode.

Some story events are different as well, and characterizations stronger. Amuro learns how to pilot the Gundam by hacking into his dad’s classified military files instead of just picking up a book that got dropped, and Sayla’s personality is much stronger and less passive. Also of note is Captain Bright, who is far less confident than his anime counterpart; essentially putting on a face during combat to avoid seeming insecure.

The first book covers the events of the first episode through the White Base first breaking through the Earth’s atmosphere. Essentially, this book is equal to the first disk of the DVDs.

I do, however, take some issues with the localization of the story. While the transfers art-wise are much better than the old Viz release, there are some issues with the dialogue. Many of the translations differ from the ones we have become so used to over the past 12 years, namely the opening narration. Character names are all correct, as are mobile suits, but the slang terms for Federation and Zeon (“Feddie” and “Zeek”) aren’t used at all, and instead we only see “Fed” used. These names have been used by the fanbase so much, they were canonized in several official works.

Additionally, some character ranks are odd. Bright is always referred to as “Lieutenant Junior Grade” instead of just “Lieutenant”. While an accurate translation for sure, it’s odd and clunky, as LTJGs are usually just referred to as “Lieutenants”. Hopefully this is just a learning curve that will improve with time.

Despite a few bumps, I find the new release of Gundam: The Origin to be an incredibly welcome addition to any manga library. You can pick it up for $30 at FPNYC, and the second volume should be out in June!

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Upcoming Tamashii Nations Products for Spring 2013

It’s been even longer since I’ve taken a look at stuff from Tamashii Nations, so let’s take a peek at those…

From this year’s Kamen Rider Wizard, both Kamen Rider Beast and Kamen Rider Wizard Flame Dragon are getting a nice pair of Figuarts. Each is slated to come with a selection of Tamashii Stages, each one for a different Kamen Rider from the Heisei era, or one for their specific figure. These stands will be spread across three releases, and cover each series from Kuuga up through Wizard.

Also included for this campaign is Kamen Rider Wizard’s bike, the Machine Winger. I believe this is the first bike to be released as a main-line figure for several years, which is fantastic for those of us not living in Japan. It actually makes me wish I was watching the series, since I own several Kamen Riders and well, nothing for them to ride…

Since Bandai can’t seem to get enough of him, Kamen Rider Den-O is getting a new Figuart, in the much underappreciated Liner Form. Liner Form is, in my opinion, his best incarnation, so it’s nice to see him get some representation in this scale! I’d rather see this than some weird new movie design, but that’s just me.

At long last, Bandai’s releasing another Rider from the Showa era, this time, Kamen Rider X. X is FAR from one of my favorite classic Riders, but it’s nice to finally see him get released after being previewed alongside all of his brothers several years ago. He looks like a lot of fun, but ultimately nothing to really be surprised from with the old Riders in SHF form.

Switching gears to giant robots (of course), Bandai is finally releasing two more Gundam Wing Robot Damashii figures: Gundam Heavyarms Custom (TV Version) and the Aries. Heavyarms comes with the dual-gatlings to go with Sandrock, Altron, and Wing Zero. It seems that the suits from the first half of the series will be webshop exclusives. The Aries is a welcome addition, since it’s gone without official merch for far too long. I believe we’ll be seeing a Noin Custom version at some point in the future, too.

In a move that surprised nobody, the Unicorn Mode versions of Full Armor Unicorn and Banshee Norn are coming as well. There isn’t much to say here that hasn’t been said when I covered the Gunpla preview, so moving on…

At long last, Grendizer will be joining the Super Robot Chogokin lineup! As one of the world’s most popular giant robots, this figure will prove to be a HUGE seller (my friend calls him “the soccer of giant robots”—popular everywhere in the world except America), I think, and something tells me he won’t be hard to find. I’m glad Bandai’s finally rounding off the three Mazingers with this release. Now they just need to give us Getter Robo in some form. Come on, I’ll even take New Getter at this point!

While not as exciting as the upcoming Gunpla for this year, the Tamashii Nations offerings promise to be lots of fun. Make sure to look for yours at FPNYC!

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Upcoming Gunpla for Spring 2013

Since it’s been awhile, let’s take a look at some upcoming Gunpla for the next coming months!

Just released in Japan are the HGUC kits of the Banshee Norn and Shin Matsunaga’s High Mobility Type Zaku! As I’ve mentioned before, the Banshee Norn took me by surprise as a kit actually appearing in the OVA, since it just reeks of random MSV. That said, it’ll be nice to have a Shield Booster in 1/144 scale, and the open claw will look really awesome on the Destroy Mode version. Shin Matsunaga’s Zaku is a kit I’m really excited to own, especially since it means I don’t have to kitbash one. I was going to go for the Tri-Stars version, but since I already have the MG, I should break things up a bit!

Out later this month are the Defenser-Type ReZel and the OVA version Sinanju. These aren’t took exciting, all things considered, since they’re really just variants on kits that are already available. But hey, that means we get two in a month! The ReZel looks like it needs a support just to stand. Yeesh. The Sinanju is going to be a great release, since it’ll have the same hands as the Sinanju Stein, and a frame made out of polystyrene, meaning it probably won’t break as easily. It also includes the bazooka, which was originally a magazine pack-in. Man, if only I waited a few months to get mine…

Out in April are the HGUC Gundam Ez8 and the Real Grade Destiny Gundam. The Ez8 is LONG overdue, in my opinion, considering that we got all three Blue Destiny units before this one. I did my old HG Ez8 back in 2008, and I was afraid we’d get an HGUC shortly after. I’m glad they waited five years just for me! The Real Grade Destiny looks fantastic as well, but it’s not a big draw for me, since I did the Master Grade. Still, I’m just glad to see Bandai acknowledging a SEED suit in this line that doesn’t belong to Kira or Athrun!

Out in May is the HGUC Full Armor Unicorn Gundam. It’s a shame well have to wait so long for the Destroy Mode version, but for those who just want the suit for the weapons, this will be certainly hold them off. I just want the green Psychoframe in 1/144 scale…

But if there’s one thing the long wait for Unicorn 7 will bring, it’s a chance for Bandai to clear out their backlog. They have plans for nice new HGUC kits of the Doven Wolf, the Messala, and the Zogok. I am SUPER excited for the Doven Wolf; it’s just such a cool design that’s gone far too long without a decent kit. I’m amazed it took Bandai this long to do the Messala justice, as it was the first suit of one of Gundam’s most famous villains. The Zogok is… well, it’s the Zogok. After the Juaggu, anything was possible, and this one sure proves it. I’ll probably scoop this one up since I’m such a sucker for MSVs.

The upcoming months promise all sorts of Gunpla goodness, far beyond what I’ve shown here. I’m incredibly pumped for many of the items here, and I hope you are, too, so make sure to take a look at FPNYC this summer!

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HGUC Zaku Mariner Review

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.

A peg underneath the waist allows the easy plug-in of action bases for swimming poses!

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!

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Master Grade G-Armor Build Log Part 1

Okay, after having first previewed this kit several months ago, it’s time for finally get my butt in gear with the Real Type G-Armor!

When the Gundam ver 2.0 was first announced back in 2008, some people wondered, “What’s the point? The One Year War version is good enough!” To some, yes, but not all. The OYW version still utilized the same inner leg mechanism from the ver 1.5 from 2000; a part which is looked upon with much disdain these days. Additionally, the version 2.0 lacked a Core Fighter, something which would become, pun not intended, the core of the remaining Federation Master Grades to follow.

As you can see here, all I have done is the upper body. Hey, I’ve been busy and the Sinanju drained a LOT of my energy. Now, the Gundam 2.0 reflected a much different change in aesthetics than its predecessors did. While most modern model kits of the suit are derived from the design of either the Perfect Grade or the 1/1 scale statue, this design is unique in that it goes for a more animated look, making it the first (and really only) modern-style kit to use an animated style. This irked some people, but I praised its design for ingenuity and uniqueness. Kudos to Bandai for that.

I made some minor changes to the suit’s color scheme. I didn’t much like the modern version of the Real Type colors, so instead, I went for the original version depicted on the decal sheet. The color variances are minor, with a much deeper read substituting the traditional Gundam bright red, and a few other parts in different colors, like the black cockpit door. These darker, “grimier” colors mesh together much more smoothly, and really give it the “piece of realistic military hardware” look.

In addition to changing the colors, I used the separate Real Type decals instead of the standard G-Armor ones. These more closely match the original kit from the 80’s, and as such, have that awesome retro look going on. Unfortunately, these are just about as frustrating as the Sinanju’s decals, if not more so. While the Sinanju had tons and tons of tiny little decals, this design is loaded with incredibly long, thin decals that are difficult to get around the surfaces they go on. There’s a serious learning curve here, and I think I’m starting to get used to it.

Not only that, some of the decals are bright red on a dark red surface! Okawara, why did you think that was a good idea?!

The articulation so far is great. The arm joints have some very fluid motion thanks to the full frame, and have a lot of depth to them. While I haven’t finished the Core Fighter yet, I’m a bit frustrated by the lack of a replacement Core Block. The kit doesn’t need to have it in to operate properly, but I think it would help with stability. I think that was one of this kit’s very few glaring missteps.

Hopefully I should at least have the Gundam itself (with some bonus weapons) finished sometime next week. Stay tuned, and while you’re waiting, look for your own kits at FPNYC!

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HG00 Tieren Space Type Review

Let’s take a little break from the Universal Century, shall we, and we’ll take a look at a series I sometimes forget: Gundam 00.

When Gundam 00 first started, it had some of the most unique mechanical designs Gundam has had in years. Each faction had its own unique style and could be easily identified. The Human Reform League had the bulky and tough Tierens, the Union forces had the sleak and sexy Flag, and Celestial Being obviously had the Gundams. Unfortunately, all of that kind of went out the door during its second season (among other things)…

I wasn’t too sold on the Tieren when I initially saw it. Its bulky styling didn’t really appeal to me. It felt too much like it wanted to be a Destroid. In retrospect, I guess that kind of makes sense, as the Union Flags are basically Valkyries, just, well, not as cool. While I’ve had this Tieren kit lying in the corner of my room for four years now, I figured it was time to slap it together, especially after the massive disappointment that was the Flag kit. Of course, I may be a bit biased since I already have experience with the HG Tieren.

For such a bulky design, the Tieren has a lot of flexibility. The legs are rather cleverly designed to maximize articulation in spite of the design. For example, the hips extend outwards with small cylindrical pieces, and little flaps allow the feet to gain good footing.

The arms are basically mounted on tracks that add for additional articulation. In a sense, they have a double joint. This actually allows the suit to cross its arms across its chest! Now come on, that’s something most normally proportioned mobile suits can’t do! Of course, you have to remove pretty much all of its equipment, but hey, whatever works.

Speaking of, this kit has all sorts of neat little gadgets. For arm-mounted weapons, it has a 00-style Beam Rifle and a four-tube missile launcher. It features the same weird axe thing that was included with the Tieren Taozi for a melee weapon. The coolest accessories are the two mounted under the chest, which are a miniature rocket launcher and some sort of grappling hook. It might actually be some kind of wire for pilots to grab onto (which would make it pretty practical), but since it looks like external equipment I can’t really be sure…

Unfortunately, the kit lacks a lot of color distribution. None of the orange details are molded on, and have to be painted or done with stickers. It’d be a lot less frustrating if the model didn’t already have two shades of gray/black! Feels like such a waste…

Also, I’ve always found the fuel tanks on the legs to look kind of… well, phallic. But that could just be my dirty mind. I also think fuel tanks on the legs just makes for an easy target…

While I don’t typically go for 1/144 kits from alternate universes, the Tieren Space Type is one I’d recommend solely on the grounds of being a nice, quick, sturdy build. It’s a fun kit and worth checking out! Remember, always make sure to check FPNYC for your Gunpla needs!

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Gundam Unicorn Episode 6

The latest episode of Gundam Unicorn made its digital download debut last weekend, with its blu-ray release coming within a few weeks. The episode was long awaited, with the last episode being released in May of last year, and with one more episode still to come. Naturally, I was pretty excited for the episode, dashing to my Xbox as soon as I heard that the new episode was out. After all, the last one was fantastic. Surely, Sunrise has resolved the pacing issues with the earlier episodes of the OVA, right?

Well… nope.

First off, while the episode’s story was great, the pacing again felt off. We’re introduced to a great rivalry between the Londo Bell and Sleeves soldiers onboard the Nahel Argama, but it doesn’t last as long as it should. The opening battle, with Full Frontal tearing the mobile suit compliment of the General Revil to shreds was awesome, but it brought up one problem I’ve noticed with the series:

The openings of each episode should be the finales of the previous ones!

Like, okay. The end of the last episode was Full Frontal and Angelo tearing up Jegans and ReZels, and well, that’s where this episode started. Why not just show the entirety of the battle in episode 5, then end with Full Frontal’s line? That’d be an excellent cliffhanger and get people really hyped up about the next episode! Cutting the battle in half just delays gratification and makes things frustrating for your audience.

But what made things especially frustrating for me were the mobile suits. Early production material showed us the Unicorn Gundam in full-armor configuration everywhere. The last episode even had it glow green for the first time in the series. However, I found myself a little concerned after noticing that the only new kit of the FA Unicorn was the Unicorn mode one, with no Destroy Mode version in sight. My worst fears were realized when at no point in the episode, did we see it go into Destroy Mode with the full equipment.

To make things worse, the Banshee Norn, a suit I thought was made as an MSV, appears as the OVA equivalent of “Final Battle Banshee”. This, too, only received a kit of the suit in Unicorn mode, so hopefully that design will feature the awesome green NT-D frame of the novel version.

But aside from those two Unicorns, and the Jesta Cannon, Bandai didn’t seem that interested in marketing new suits with this episode. It almost makes me feel like they’re winding everything down for Unicorn in favor of doing HGUCs for MSV and the like. It’s a shame, because I could always count on Unicorn to deliver the goods, especially in the wake of Gundam AGE’s colossal failure.

Whatever the case may be, the last episode is due to be out next spring. It’s going to be a long wait, so let’s just hope the final episode is what we’ve been waiting these four years for.

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