Tagged: Mobile Suit Gundam

Master Grade Sinanju Version Katoki Buildlog part 1

I have never gone up against a more frustrating model kit in my entire life.

Now, earlier I spoke of how the Version Katoki kits are essentially the gold standards of Master Grades these days, and that the Sinanju helped make that so. Well… it turned out I was half right. In terms of a design and engineering standpoint, the kit is absolutely marvelous so far. It stands with complete glory, and is rather sturdy in construction.

The problem lies with the materials used… this thing is FRAGILE.

For whatever reason, Bandai used a different type of plastic for the inner workings of this kit. According to some sources, the plastic used here actually melts when certain paints are applied. I learned this the hard way, as I’ve broken at least three pieces during the construction of this kit. The new OVA version (which I swear was announced just to make me angry) is going to have a frame made of traditional polystyrene, so hopefully, it won’t face the problems the Ver Ka has.

Now, ignoring all of that BS, the kit IS pretty cool.

For my kit, I decided to try something different. With the exception of my Destiny Gundam, Qubeley, and Hyaku Shiki, all of my kits have a dull, flat finish. I’m just really fond of that look. But, for something like the Sinanju, I felt that a dull finish wouldn’t cut it. This thing needs to be gaudy! So, I for all of the black and red bits, I gave it a gloss coat, whereas all the aluminum, gray, and white parts are done with a flat coat. I am MOST pleased with the result so far.

Since I wasn’t able to find the official Bandai decals, I resorted to third-party decals for this project. Everything went incredibly well… until I got to the white bars on the shoulders. Even with a decal sealant, they wouldn’t adhere, so I just left them off, and instead opted for some of the optional decals on the sheet. While I would like to have the white lines everywhere, the only time I notice their absence is when I think about it.

The gold decals… have been a mixed bag. They’re BEAUTIFUL, but they’re very finicky. Essentially, they’re metal stickers, and they don’t adhere very well. Thankfully, though, this can easily be fixed with just a dab of superglue on the edge that rose up. I used some of these in place of the traditional 10S decals, simply because it looks way cooler.

These metal tubes are a godsend, and you can find them from any variety of third-party Gunpla part groups. Seriously, replacing the plastic tubes for metal ones removes so much frustration, and is worth the extra money.

The kit’s articulation is pretty good for something of its immense size. It’s very flexible, and the frame certainly lends itself to that. It’s just a shame that comes at the fragility of many other parts…

In spite of some frustrations, this kit is damn impressive and I’d recommend it to some more advanced modelers out there… but I’d advise waiting until FPNYC gets the OVA version in stock!

Post to Twitter

Master Grade Sinanji Version Kai Preview

I remember when this kit first came out. The Unicorn was awesome and cool and everyone was talking about it. A friend of mine mentioned the Sinanju and all I could say was, “what the hell is that?” I’m not sure if it was my ignorance of Master Grades at the time, but I had no idea what this thing was! I wasn’t following anything for Unicorn, because at the time it was just some novel to me that was doomed to die in obscurity after a couple Master Grades only the crazy fans were interested in. Funny how times change.

Honestly? If it weren’t for the Nu Gundam, I’d probably have no interest in this thing. What’s worse is Bandai has plans for an OVA version of this suit, so it’s entirely possible that I just wasted my time buying this thing because a superior version is coming out. Just my luck, huh?

Obviously, there’s a lot of kit here, probably even more than the Nu Gundam ver Ka. Yet, I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into here. This was the last kit of 2008, yet it uses no polycaps. This kind of worries me, namely after my experience with F91 and Crossbone. It’s entirely possible it won’t be as bad here, but we’ll have to see. The idea certainly didn’t stick, considering kits these days use polycaps again.

I, like any other sane modeler, hate the stupid little tubes. So, for my project, I decided to delve into the world of crazy third-party pieces in addition to my standard allotment of decals. I wanted to buy replacement thrusters, too, but I couldn’t find any that I liked. All the thrusters I saw looked ugly with giant poles sticking out of them, and the ones that looked better required drilling. How about no.

In addition to some standard decals (which had to be third-party because the Bandai ones are too hard to find), I bought some metal decals for the gold details, because there’s no way in hell I’m painting those. Interestingly, the kit actually came with waterslide decals for the gold bits, but they just aren’t as shiny as I would have liked, so I’m opting to go with the metal ones. I’ve gathered that they’re more like stickers, but the finish is too awesome to not consider.

Still, I have to wonder how hard it would have been for Bandai to actually make these molded details. It feels like a cheap way out for them, especially on a 1/100. I’m very much in the school of “if you don’t like the way it looks out of the box, you should paint it”, but this is a bit much, especially when you take into account how hard those details are. Trust me, my Geara Zulu was no walk in the park.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t equal parts excited and terrified of this project. It’s incredibly far out of my comfort zone, but I feel it’ll be good practice for when Bandai releases the Sazabi later this year. If you want this kit now, I’m not going to stop you, but just remember than an OVA version of the Sinanju is coming soon, so go for that when it comes out at FPNYC!

Post to Twitter

Master Grade Guncannon Review

Well, that was easier than expected.

Honestly I can’t say I’m surprised. As a much older Master Grade, it was pretty clear that it was going to be much simpler than the Nu Ver Ka, but I wasn’t expecting this. Maybe it’s like a video game, and the Nu just caused me to go up several levels. Either way, the Guncannon was a pretty welcome change of pace after that, with its minimal white parts, enormous chunky pieces and sparse decals. It couldn’t be any further away from the Nu Gundam if it weren’t a Gundam kit!

Like the Hyaku Shiki, there is little different between the Guncannon’s Master Grade and High Grade counterparts. Back then, Bandai didn’t really make distinctions between the designs of High Grades and Master Grades, which honestly kills some of the appeal of the older kits to me. I like my kits to have some distinct style so they feel like their own independent kit, not just an upscaled/downscaled version of another. I think that’s why the SEED Master Grades appeal to me so much.

But I’m getting off topic.

The Guncannon is very blocky, and I’m not sure if I mean that in a good or bad way. When the HGUC Guncannon was released, in some ways it was the pinnacle of 1/144 engineering at the time. The Master Grade just doesn’t have that feel. I know it’s old, but it doesn’t have any special feel to it. It just feels like a kit that was made because they had to do it, and that’s kind of sad. I’m not one of the types who thinks every inferior kit needs a 2.0, but this one certainly does, especially considering that the Gundam 2.0, GM 2.0, Guntank, and G-Fighter are all based around the same Core Fighter. Poor Guncannon is just the odd man out.

Speaking of the Core Fighter, it’s pretty much what you’d expect. I’m using the standard cockpit block instead because, well, I worked on this damn thing so I want it to be seen!

For mine, I painted the area behind the visor in aluminum. Yeah, I almost always do this, but for some reason it REALLY works on this one!

The articulation is nothing special. Honestly, it can’t really do the “cow pose” properly. However, I did use the resin hands I had for the fists, and they’re fantastic. Now my Guncannon can punch stuff! I used one for the beam rifle, too, which is much more stable than the included hands.

Like always, a pair of spray missile launchers are included as replacements for the standard cannons. I was never a big fan of these, because they always look like they aren’t really on properly. The standard cannons look great, however.

The kit also includes a pair of hand grenades, but I forgot to film those (oops). All the same, since I haven’t built the hand needed to properly hold them.

For the decals on mine, I used a few leftover decals from the sheet I bought for my Hyaku Shiki, and some I won’t need on my Real Type Gundam. The color scheme looks fantastic, especially the finish over the red.

Really, I’m not sure if I recommend this kit to the casual Master Grade collector. I’d say go for it if you want all three V Project suits (but make sure to build it first), or if you’re used to Master Grades and want to make the foray into MGs. Recommended, but with reservations. If you want your own, make sure to check FPNYC for one!

Post to Twitter

Master Grade Guncannon Preview

A few months back, you might remember the Real Type G-Armor kit I was going to build. Well, don’t worry, because I certainly haven’t forgotten it. I just got bogged down by Katoki-itis. I actually have plans on building a good chunk of the mobile suits from Mobile Suit Gundam, but in Real Type colors. As such, I made sure to secure myself a Master Grade Guncannon thanks to a very generous Twitter follower. My original plan was to use the color scheme of the American action figure from the early 2000’s, but I felt those colors looks a bit too Zeonic, so I looked up the old Real Type model kit from the 80’s, and I think these colors will work a bit better!

First thing’s first: this is a much older Master Grade, having been released exactly eleven years before the Nu Gundam ver ka. Of the Master Grades I’ve built in recent memory, this is pretty much the oldest in terms of initial release date, even though the Hyaku Shiki was originally engineered earlier. You can certainly tell this kit’s age by the inclusion of the box cover with a picture of the completed kit. I don’t know when they stopped making those, but it was CERTAINLY a long time ago.

While it was released after the Master Grade God Gundam, the Guncannon still has only minimal interiors, much like the Ground Gundam and Dom. However, the version of the kit I have here is actually the Gunpla 30th Anniversary version from 2010, with the special runner of clear parts. While the Guncannon doesn’t have many interiors, this kit can actually pull off the look better than some of the other older kits. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll actually display the kit with the clear parts on, but I’ll certainly take a few pictures with them. Keep in mind that I don’t think these versions of the kits are still being produced, so if you find any chances are, you’ve just found some older stock from 2010.

Much like the HY2M unit I purchased (and still haven’t used…) for my Hyaku Shiki, I went the extra mile for this kit by securing a set of B-Club’s resin hands. I’ve never worked with resin before, so this will be good practice. Typically, I have no real reason to go for extra hands, but I actually feel the Guncannon needs them. The suit spent a good chunk of the original series without a beam rifle, and Bandai never gives its kits fists! Now I can finally fix that!

The polycaps on this kit certainly show its age. The crystal visor is also quite cool.

I didn’t feel the need to purchase any decals for this kit, since I’m going to just use some from the Real Type Gundam and G-Armor, plus some spares from my Federation decal sheet. The Guncannon’s decals are thankfully rather nondescript, and all it really needs are the 108 labels and some for the Federation and White Base.

With the Nu Gundam nearly done, expect work on the Guncannon to commence soon. After doing two Ver Kas in a row, I need a serious break. There’s something magical about older kits with big, silly, chunky parts. Anyway, if you want your own Guncannon MG, make sure to check FPNYC for one!

Post to Twitter

Upcoming HGUC Releases for Summer 2012

by Loran

Summer is almost upon us once again, and of course, that means new toys.

It seems like Bandai tends to fill the earlier and later months with stuff that’s basically repacks, from what I’ve noticed; simple kits that use parts from earlier ones, like the Marasai, Kirks’ Zaku Sniper, the GM II, etc. This isn’t always the case, I imagine, but from my experience the big “blockbuster” kits seem to come out in the summer, like the Master Grade Epyon. Heck, the HGUC line started in the summer of 1999 with the release of the Guncannon.

This summer, from what I’ve gathered, is going to be even more Unicorn stuff to coincide with the release of the OVA’s fifth episode. A lot of it is suits we’ve seen in other animes, likely because the “Gundam Unicorn” label makes these obscure Zeta-era suits more desirable for the collectors in Japan. Frankly, all that matters to me is whether or not the design looks cool or is useful.

Speaking of designs that look cool AND are useful, one of the confirmed upcoming releases is the Zaku Mariner. I have a bit of an attachment to this design; my first old-style kit even was the old Zaku Mariner kit from the 1980’s. It came out terribly, but it gave me an appreciation for the design. Now, I can finally own a proper one without having to kitbash! Nothing against kitbashing, of course, I just like it when I can cut out the middleman.

Now here’s a surprise: also confirmed was the Base Jabber! Well now, I never thought we’d get a support craft like this again. It saw a ton of action in the last episode of Unicorn, and I was actually expecting to see one of these included with the Unicorn version of the Marasai. It would’ve made a cool pack-in item. It appears that Bandai has actually made the decision to release this separately, though I’m not sure why. I guess they’re banking on people buying a lot of these? Either way, something tells me it’ll end up really cheap like the Ball did.

There are several unconfirmed new HGUC releases, though! All of which greatly excite me.

The first is the Byarlant Custom. Remember how I was really bummed that we weren’t getting a kit of this after how prominently it was featured in the last episode of Unicorn? Well, now I’m really hoping it gets a kit. Still no sign on anything for the Efreet Schneid, though. But still, getting this could possibly lead us to getting a kit of the classic Byarlant, which would fill a hole on the shelves of many Zeta Gundam collectors.

Another rumor is the Aqua GM, you know, the Federation’s only notable amphibious suit. I really hope this is true as well, because with some Aqua GMs, I could finally get motivated to buy some Zeon amphibious suits, since they’ll have something to right.

But most important of all is a suit that greatly needs a new kit… one with a bit of a cult following due to its pilot…

…the Hambrabi.

Yes, if this one turns out to be true, Yazan fans all over the world will be rejoicing. Personally, the Hambrabi is a design I can just take or leave, but oh man would it be great to have a proper suit for Yazan that isn’t the Gaplant. Yes indeed. I hope this leads to a Bound Doc or a Barzam, myself.

Once again, this summer looks to be promising for High Grade releases. All of these possibilities and announcements don’t disappoint me in the slightest, and I intend on adding all of them to my collection if they prove true, especially the Byarlant Custom. Remember to watch for them at FPNYC as the summer starts!

Post to Twitter

MSV In-Box Impressions

By Loran

As I said before, I’m obsessed with MSVs. I love all those silly little variations that don’t serve much of a purpose in the long run (It’s a Guncannon! With… different cannons!) and stuff that just looks funny (pretty much any Acguy variant). I also have a tendency to buy all of these and well, forget to actually get base kits for them. Oops. But to be fair, I did try to make a Full Armor Gundam… it just went very, very badly. Oh, and I haven’t actually touched that High Mobility Zaku I started last year… heh.

These four are kits I still need base kits for or whatever, so I haven’t really tried to put any of them together. So this will be yet another “in box” review.

First I have the Prototype Gundam. I actually had one of these a few years ago, but I gave it to my friend back in 2008. Now I’ll be able to make my own, probably with the 30th Gundam as a base. As far as kitbashes go, there isn’t too much to do here, just affixing the new forearms, some messing with the skirt, and messing with the ankle armor. According to my friend, though, I’m better off modifying the base kit’s instead of transferring. This suit also has a unique beam rifle. I might use this in lieu of the one included with the RX-78-2.

The High Mobility Psycommu Zaku is… one of MSV’s funnier designs. It’s basically a completely ridiculous Zaku/Zeong variant. It’s kind of adorable though. The good thing is, however, this will be a very easy kitbash project, since it doesn’t need a new body/legs/arms/whatever. All it needs are new hands and maybe some new verniers. Perhaps a slightly modified head. The only problem is supplying the hands, since well, Zeongs aren’t cheap. Thankfully, I have a pair of hands from the old MSiA I can use… somewhere.

Speaking of silly Psycommu Zakus, here’s the Psycommu Zaku Zeong Test Base, also known as the Z-Type Zaku. If the last one were the goofy love child of the Zaku and the Zeong, this is what happens when the Zaku, Zeong, and Rick Dom try to have a kid. This one will be a bit tougher of a project, since it’s going to need the legs of a Dom, and perhaps a newly sculpted head as well. This needs Zeong hands as well, so it’ll definitely be done after the other Zaku. Gotta use your resources well.

I actually tried to see if this could’ve been done using the legs of the old 0080 Rick Dom II kit, but I didn’t like the look, which explains why they waist is cut off here.

Lastly we have the Guncannon II… this is gonna be a doozy. I’m definitely going to have to take some liberties for the design on this one, maybe using the Mass Production type Guncannon as a base. It’s a great design, though, as Guncannon variants tend to be. This kit also includes a second set of cannons for the Guncannon II, which I may just set aside for a future project.

Oddly, the two Zakus and the Guncannon have some peculiar instructions, being printed in black and white on regular paper, with the painting instructions on a little card.

Old kits make for fun projects, especially when kitbashing. Just make sure to go in with a plan of action, otherwise, you’ll end up ruining everything. Remember, FPNYC carries old kits like these from time to time! I still need a High Mobility Gelgoog…

Post to Twitter

Tamashii Fest!

By Loran

Oh dear, I believe it’s time for Tamashii Fest!

Usually, I find myself drawn mainly to all the wonderful Tokusatsu stuff at Tamashii Fest, I actually can’t discuss those here because it’s all Sentai stuff, which can’t be distributed in the US because of licensing issues with Power Rangers. However, that’s all well and good, because this time around, most of what’s been catching my attention is Robot Damashi releases, namely all the wonderful new Gundam releases (yes, I do tend to enjoy buying the action figures from time to time). So let’s take a look at some of my favorites…

(Images from CyberGundam blog)

First up, we have the Sazabi to go with the soon-to-be-released Nu Gundam! What, did you think Bandai was going to let this opportunity pass them up? Everyone knows the Sazabi is more popular! Heck, it even got a Master Grade before the Nu. He’s looking pretty mean here, but there’s something about the proportions that just seems… off to me. It’s similar to what happened with the Gouf Custom. It seems a little off-balance. Maybe it’s just me.

There’s also an effect part set for Nu Gundam coming, as well—the Fin Funnel shield! I might just get myself the Nu just to put these to use.

Gundam SEED is going to be continuing for its ten-year anniversary, and we’ll be getting the Duel Gundam with the Assault Shroud! No indication as to whether or not it’s removable, however, though going by some of the seamlines it looks like it can be taken off. Is it sad that I was actually expecting them to try and get more money out of us by releasing both configurations?

Altron Gundam! Heck yes. With the recent announcement of TV version Wing Zero, it looks like we’ll be getting all five Gundams in RD form. If so, that’d be great. This makes me want to track down the (webshop exclusive) Tallgeese II.

The one who stole the show for me and many others was the LEO from Gundam Wing. The Leo has more merchandise than Wing’s other grunts, but hey, that’s still cool by me. I’ll definitely be picking up at least one of these, since the accessories and base included are actually a second weapon set of sorts. Gotta put those to use, you know!

Now here’s one that surprised me: Dunbine RDs! Holy crap I hope these actually end up getting released. I have the High Grade kit of the Dunbine, and it’s… okay. Very flawed. But these action figures look fantastic, especially the Billbine. I plan on getting at least one of them for a Super Robot Wars group shot or something.

Taking a little departure (get it? GET IT?!) from Robot Damashi to Super Robot Chogokin for the last one, we have something I certainly didn’t see coming: Might Gaine! He looks great here, and this gives me hope that we’ll be seeing the other Braves in this format soon (J-Decker, please?). I’d love to have all of them lined up together.

So there you have it. Of course, this is but a small part of what was shown off at the festival. I just wanted to highlight my favorites. As always, hope to see all of these at FPNYC when they get released (provided they don’t end up as webshop exclusives, anyway…).

Post to Twitter

Now and Then: Custom Zakus part 2

By Christopher Troy

Since the first part of this series examined one of the “newer” Custom Zakus, it’s only fair that the “Then” portion examines the O.G. of Custom Zakus-The MS-06S “Zakue II”:Principality of Zeon Char’s Customize Mobile Suit from the Original Mobile Suit Gundam series. Of course we won’t be looking at the first release of this kit, but we’ll be dealing with 1/144th scale HGUC “remake” released back in 2002.

The name Char Aznable should be familiar to any Gundam/Gunpla fan. He’s the “Darth Vader” of the Gundam UC universe, as his story has been told in the original Gundam series, as well as appearing in Gundam Zeta, and Char’s Counterattack. He’s the sole reason while so many other Gundam series has masked villains, which is seen  even today, in UC series such as both SEED series as well as Gundam OO. And incase you’re brand spanking new to the franchise, I’ve enclosed a pic just to straighten you out.

With that history lesson out of the way, it’s now time to focus on the important part of this article: The review of Char’s Custom Zaku and how it compares to Lunamaria’s. Continue reading

Post to Twitter