Tagged: Zaku

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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Summer Kitbash Projects 1

And as always, I keep buying MSV kits without even thinking about it…

Really, to me, buying an MSV is something like getting an accessory pack. Sure, you need to do a lot of work on them, but my whole goal with picking one up is to make sure I get it, since you never know when they’re going to get reissued again. Of course, when it comes to these kind of projects, most of the kitbashing involved isn’t actually putting it together, but rather, staring at all the parts trying to figure out how it’s all going to work.

First I have the Desert Zaku, Double Zeta version. Turns out that what I initially heard about the kit was wrong, that it includes all the parts from the MSV Zaku Desert Type. It shares some parts, yes, but the only spare part is the set of shoulder spikes. Either way, this kit still has a lot of parts with it and can still be made into some kind of customized Desert Zaku. It even has two types of command antennas, one of which is like that on the old Zaku Desert Type.

What I’m still not sure about is what kit I want to use as a base. I’ve seen some people make a Zaku Desert Type with the Zaku F2, like the Zeonography figure. That’s a pretty cool idea, but I’m not sure it would work all that well using the Desert Zaku. What I’ll probably do is use the Garma’s Custom Zaku as the base kit, since it has the head vulcans, then take the Desert Type shoulder spikes and use those on an F2, with some scrap plastic and Gouf Custom parts I have lying around. We shall see.

The other one I bought is Johnny Ridden’s Gelgoog, one I’ve been after for years and years. I’ve always been a Johnny Ridden fan. There’s something about his black and red Gelgoog that I’ve found just so stylish. You can’t not dig it. Plus, it’s an easy kitbash since all you really need from this kit are the weapons and the backpack. Continue reading

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Zeon Reinforcements! The Suits of Gundam Unicorn Episode 4!

by Loran

With the new episode of Gundam Unicorn less than a month away from being released, I thought I should take a look at the last episode. Simply put, that episode was about an hour’s worth of mecha porn. Sure, it was very light on the story (and overall, kind of a weak episode) but it had enough action to keep me entertained, and it delivered everything I’d hoped to see in a Gundam OVA episode. What made the episode so great for me was the wide variety of mobile suits we got to see, ranging from the original Gundam, to Zeta and ZZ, and even some new designs in the form of MSVs.

Naturally, Bandai seized this opportunity. We’ve got a slew of new kits that have been released within the past month or so, but we also got some reissues coming our way of suits that don’t exactly need new kits, or ones for the kitbashers. Frankly, they know their market.

On the front of HGUC reissues, we got a reissue of one of my favorite older HGUCs, the Dom Tropen. The first version of the kit doesn’t excite me much, but they took the wise route and reissued the Sand Brown version, which not only looks cooler, but comes with tons of extra weapons.

To accompany the Dom, both versions of the Desert Zaku got reissued. Sadly I still don’t have either version of this kit, but from what I’ve been told, the ZZ version is the superior release because it comes with parts for both units. One of these days I’ll actually make one of these.

Since the Zeons always had the edge in terms of naval combat, we’ll be seeing some reissues there, but only one of them is worth mentioning at all: The Kapool! Yeah, the lovable Kapool from ZZ and Turn A was actually made out to be kinda scary in Unicorn. Of course, if you want your Kapool to be accurate to the one in the episode, you’ll need to paint it. Continue reading

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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…

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HGUC Zaku F2 Review

By Loran

I really don’t understand the logic Bandai takes in their MG and HGUC releases.

Bandai likes to release suits based on the series they appear in, like, for a period of time, they do a bunch of suits from say, Zeta, mixed in with suits from Char’s Counterattack or 0080. But the suits that get releases always come in some weird order, like don’t you think that a GM Kai would’ve come out about six months after the Powered GM? Most of the parts were all there! I mean the Ball came out how many years after they finished the original series? Geez. Continue reading

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New Gunpla from the Shizuoka Hobby Show

By Loran

Occurring right now in Japan is the Shizuoka Hobby Show, a yearly event where many of Japan’s model kit companies get together to show off their upcoming releases for the summer and beyond. Think of it as Toyfair for model kits. I sadly have not had a chance to go myself (it would be awesome, though!), but pictures have been flowing in from various sources. Bandai once again decided to strut their stuff, showing up everyone else with a Gundam 1/1 scale Zaku II head. Much of what was shown is stuff we’ve seen already, but there were a few new releases that certainly caught my eye!

First, we now have some full color pictures of the two GMs we’ll be seeing this summer: the GM III and the GM Cannon II. While the design of the GM III is clearly the Unicorn incarnation, it seems as though they went with the colors of the ZZ and Char’s Counterattack version. I like this choice. It also looks like it comes with double-jointed elbows, something I was afraid it was initially lacking. The GM Cannon II looks great-the green they chose for most of its body has an almost olive tinge to it. I think I’m going to do mine up in AEUG colors, though. 😉 Continue reading

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Zaku Flipper Kitbash

By Loran

Kitbashes, kitbashes… I have way too much fun doing these. If you think about it, if you have a backlog as big as I do, kitbashes are the best way to clear it out! It can help take out two kits at once! Of course, that doesn’t really help when said kits are ones that you keep ADDING to your backlog. Ah well.

From my last little “update” on my works in progress, I showed three Zakus: A tank, a High Mobility Type, and a Flipper. So far, I’ve only had the parts to finish the Flipper, and thus, I got him completed a little over a week ago.

Curiously, when I was working on my GM Cannon last year, I shelved the project because for some reason, the color scheme just wasn’t doing it for me. Something about the two-tone gray just bored me. Yet here, the two-tone gray made me finish the project with total ease! How about that. Maybe it’s because the kitbash was easier. Or the fact that I get to do some copper detailing again. Or maybe I’m just biased towards Zakus. Continue reading

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MSVs, MSVs EVERYWHERE!

By Loran

Hi, I’m Loran and I have an MSV addiction.

I just love these designs. Something about taking existing suits like the GM and Zaku and modifying them to serve a specific purpose really appeals to me. In many ways you could argue that the Zeons were fools for making all of this random garbage—seemingly pointless variations of the Zaku to suit every environment instead of just making one suit that can work in all of them, like the Federation did. Still, applying logic to science fiction with giant robots aside, there’s one thing you certainly can’t deny-these designs are really neat! Continue reading

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Kitbash Spotlight: Zaku Minelayer and Regelg

By Loran

I’m sure you all know by now that I absolutely love kitbashing. To me, there’s hardly anything more fun than trying to fix a hole in my lineup that by taking an old kit and combining it with a newer one. Because really, you never know what Bandai is going to release and what they’re going to skip. The old MSV kits and ZZ kits are great for this purpose, and I love tracking them down as a result.

Some kitbashes are simpler than others, and make for really good practice. Of course, you’re limited to what you’re actually able to find. Older kits aren’t really rare, but sometimes you have to wait a bit for a rerelease. When they do these reissues, however, I stock up like nobody’s business, because you never know when they’re going to do them. So here, I’m going to show you a couple of simple kitbashes that don’t take too much work to do.

One of the first kitbashes most builders seem to do is the Zaku Minelayer. It’s a very easy kitbash and the two kits needed for it aren’t particularly rare. No actual modification needs to be done to the Zaku’s limbs, articulation, or basic structure-all that needs to be changed is the head and backpack. Continue reading

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Review: 08th MS Team Zaku II

By Loran

Over the years, I’ve built a lot of robot kits. I’ve never really stopped and counted, but the total might be somewhere in the hundreds. Now, sure, a lot have broken and been replaced, some have been traded away, and some just lost in the sands of time, but there are some kits I always go back to. We all have favorites-kits that hold a special place in our heart. Maybe it’s a design you like, or you have fond memories of building the model, or it’s just one you like playing with. And hey, maybe you’ve even built that kit more than once! And that’s what I’m gonna cover here, an old favorite of mine: The 08th MS Team Zaku II.

This kit holds a special place in my heart-I was so ecstatic when I received the Gundam [G] vs. Zaku II set for my birthday nine years ago. Along with the 1989 Zaku FZ kit I got that day, he was one of my first Zakus, and the kit is still one of my favorites. Sure, it’s primitive and doesn’t hold up to newer kits, but I just love it. It’s probably the nicest-looking take on the 1/144 Zaku, using the design the Master Grade kit introduced just a year earlier. This kit got three releases-first with the Gundam [G], second on its own with the added F-type parts, and the third “domestic” release-Char colors. All of them unique in their own special way. I’ve built seven of these over the past nine years, with an eighth that I need to work on someday. Continue reading

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Gunpla Double Feature: Removing Paint and Kitbashing Ramba Ral’s Zaku, Part 1

By Loran

If you’ve been building kits for as long as I have, chances are you have a bunch that you worked on a long time ago, and look back at them now and say, “Wow, I really screwed that up!”. Or maybe you have kits that you broke and didn’t know how to fix. Or heck, maybe you just don’t have any new kits and are looking for a little project to keep yourself busy.You probably want to go back and redo them to make them look all nice, after you’ve learned new techniques, gotten better paints, or what have you. I’m going to teach you my method of restoring kits to not just their former glory, but make them look better than they did before.

In this multi-part series, I’m also going to be teaching you how to do a kitbash I’ve been wanting to do for ages now. It’s a very simple one that unfortunately requires a lot of models to do. This again, is HGUC-specific, as there’s been a Master Grade for this kit for quite some time, but even that is starting to show its age. The suit I’m talking about is Ramba Ral’s Zaku I. Continue reading

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