The State of the Gunpla Union – 073111

First of all, I’m still alive. Yes, really. I know it’s been two months since the last post, but as you all know, life happens.  Honestly, there have been a couple of big things that have kept me busy. The first being work, but there is only so much you can say about that. Work is work right? As for the other thing, well I’ll get to that in a bit. First off lets catch up on Gunpla and things.

I’m obviously two months late in chiming in on this but let’s talk Gundam Age. At this point I’m sure everyone is quite aware of the facts, but for those who may have been living under a rock as it seems I have for the last two months, I highly suggest you check out Falldog’s write up here on Gundam Age, if you haven’t already. I’ll wait, go ahead.

Ok, now that you’re back, my opinion is disappointment, but I understand the reasoning behind the move and this media mix style. I’m fastly approaching the middle age bracket that wants to see more UC timeline anime and higher quality kits and what not, but Bandai needs to worry about the youth bracket and to sell those toys as I guess it makes more money for them now.  While Bandai has been unashamedly forward about the media mix style with anime, games, and toys route they are taking with Gundam Age, they thankfully decided to remember the older bracket and give us the animated version of The Origin Manga. While a retelling, the manga was excellent, and I hope they give it a full TV series at least rather than an OVA.   And bluntly put, First Gundam is old animation-wise, so a remake would be awesome on the eyes.

Anyways, back to Gundam Age, on the mecha designs, I will give the Age Gundam a thumbs up and will build the eventual MG, but everything else… Well I guess you have to keep it simple for the seven year olds right?

OK, I’ll build this at least

In other Gunpla news, as we all know, MG Gundam Epyon landed during my blank period, and yes, it’s built and done.  I haven’t taken much pictures of it yet as I’m probably at least going to try and complete decal hell with it and top coat it.  Initial thoughts is that it’s pretty awesome, but for reason, the proportions bother me.  the length of the legs compare to the tiny torso really jumped out at me.  It’s a small nitpick.  You really can’t tell in pictures.

It’s Bluepyon?

I saw this over at Plamo Addiction, amazing paint job.  Flipping it from the dark red to this blue, and having it come out this good is pretty damn nice work.  Honestly though?  I might be going against popular opinion, but I just don’t think blue suits Gundam Epyon.  I think the style fits a darker color scheme, but that is just me.  To reiterate though, it’s an awesome paint job.

Anyways, onto kits that I’m working on or have finished, and really need to just do a month of nothing but photo posts.  First off, the PG GP01 is almost done, considering I started back in March, I should really finish this up.  This also will be my entry into Bandai’s Gunpla World Grand Prix.  One thing I’ve learned in entering contests in Japan is that unfortunately Japanese don’t seem to like recolors as much as westerners do, so I think I’m going to have a better chance with this kit than perhaps my Sinanju.

GP01

I’ve also finished the RG Zaku II, and I have to say it does look really good.  Tiny tiny pieces though, and the movable frame is really stiff which means it does feel like it’s easy to break.  It’s on the table ready to get decaled this week.

RG Zaku II…?

Other completed kits include the HG G-3 Gundam that was a limited kit at last years Gunpla Expo, along with the Ex Finish Char’s Rick Dom which also was a limited kit from a Chara Hobby show a few years back.  I also did finish up the HG ANA Gundam kit too. Nice and blue, but having built the ANA Unicorn first, I think I spoiled myself.  I’ll have to build the ANA 00 Gundam to see if it comes out on top of the three ANA kits.

1/144 Line up

As mentioned, I also finished the MG Epyon, it’s going on the decal table sometime this month too.

For the time being it’s on the shelf

And I’ve had some free time in the last couple of days, so I’ve been doing a simple snapfit build of the Nu-Gundam.

Surprisingly straightforward and easy

And last, but definitely not least is the PG Strike Freedom.  The countdowm has started, and it will be done by the end of the month.

Thanks to Kjasi for the awesome video.  Nothing like lighting a fire under your ass like a countdown.

So in short, August should see the PG GP01, PGSF GAF GBP, RG Zaku II, and Nu-Gundam all being fully completed.  A bit ambitious, but I’ll see what I can do.

But as you may recall, I mentioned a limited edition kit dropping in July.  It was a few days late, but I did get it last week.  Besides work, that other thing I mentioned that was going to keep me busy?  That would be ASM Junior, and he’s a limited one of the kind.

With that said, things maybe slower as gunpla takes a bit of a back seat, but I will continue to post when I can.  As is, I’m already looking forward to being able to build Gunpla with my son in the future.

MG Char Use Z’Gok (EXF Version) Photo Gallery

Continuing with my slow pace of knocking things out, here are the photos for the MG Char Z’Gok.  While I like the Z’Gok in general, I can’t really place why.  While imposing, the Z’Gok is unfortunately limited by… well it’s form I guess. While the waist is movable, you really can’t twist it around and have realistic (at least realistic for the Z’Gok) poses.  And of course a lack of neck doesn’t help.  Still, I love the color scheme, as this was a rare extra finish version kit in which that gate damage doesn’t stand out too much.   If you can find it, worthy of a pick up, in my opinion.

WiP – MG Char Use Z’Gok (EXF Version) Part 2

Continuing on with the WiP for the Z’Gok, we left with the upper body and arms finished as seen here.

Crabwalking

Honestly, going on from here I’m already over halfway done, with only the waist, legs and feet to go.  Jumping into the waist we find an abundance of rubber parts for where the legs and upper waist connect.  This gives it more of a rubbery, seal kind of look, which I guess fits considering the amphibian nature of the Z’Gok.

Waist parts

Next up we move onto the legs, which is pretty much the exact same as the arms.  These also have the gimmick of being able to extend and shrink slightly.

Leg pieces

We follow that with the pretty large feet and lower leg parts.  Honestly, the Z’Gok has huge feet, and that gives it quite a bit of stability.  While the feet have good left/right move ability, front/back is pretty much out of the picture.

I wish I had Shin guards like this for soccer.

Flat footed?

Connect the pieces and…

And that’s it, a rather fast build considering the unique build of this mobile suit.  Put together we get the following.

Here comes Z’Gok

Overall, the colors look excellent in extra finish style, and the gate damage isn’t as noticeable as it is on Gundam-types.  The only thing is that you can only do so much with the Z’Gok when it comes to posing, giving its rather wide feet, and a torso that can’t twist around.  Still, I’ve been taking some shots with my new set up, and hey, it looks good enough just standing around.  So, next up, photo gallery!

WiP – MG Char Use Z’Gok (EXF Version) Part 1

When the urge to build calls, it must be answered!  And it called me to do a quick snap build of the Extra Finish Version of Char’s Z’Gok.  This version is a gentei kit from the 2007 Character Hobby Show, and I picked it up in Akiba this summer before moving to Osaka.  Since it’s an extra finish version, this will be a simple snap build, as panel lining and what not tends to have adverse effects on extra finish parts.  So lets jump into the build!

Red on white, simple enough

The extra finish looks beautiful

Just looking at the above parts and I can see that while the silver will have some nub damage that will be visible, the red and pink parts may hide it better.  We’ll see as we go.  The build looks to be fairly straight forward and simple, especially when you consider that the torso and head is pretty much all one big piece.  Having build the HGUC version, I wasn’t sure how the gimmicks would work, but there are a couple.

The parts for the torso/head/upper body thing.

Put together

The flaps on the front are movable on the MG, so I guess that is to help signify the vents used while underwater. The mono-eye, while movable, doesn’t link up to anything like the Zaku-II, so you have to take the top off to position it to your liking.  While we are at it, let’s put together the back tanks.  It’s interesting to note that while the outer armor is extra finish, the black pieces are done up with a light pearl glitter too.

The tanks

Moving onto the arms, one big difference from the HGUC is the usage of soft rubber piping to help accent the arms.  This also allows you to shrink and extend them as well.  An interesting gimmick and helps you get a little more out of this kit than the HGUC version.  Another point of interest is, that while not pictured, it comes with the option of creating 4-clawed hands as opposed to 3-clawed hands.  I don’t recall seeing a 4 claw version, so I went with the tried and true 3 claws.

The arms

Finished

Today we get about halfway done with the kit.  I’m taking it slow as I don’t want to cause extra damage on the color parts, but surprisingly enough, the nub damage doesn’t jump out as much as one would think. That is, aside from the silver parts.  I’m finding that to be a great thing, as this finish looks really good in these colors.  Too bad they can’t do the same for silver and gundam colors!

Halfway there….

Char attacks!

Today we’re going to take another look at something else that showed up in the mail, and I have given you a slight hint at a while ago.

Char…?

Yep, Char attacks, with the gentei limited Char set that was part of the goods line up at the Nagoya Gundam Expo last year. How’d I get to Nagoya for that one? Actually I didn’t, this a tale of learning how to dive into 2 chan for info when you need it. Basically, as some of you may heard, Bandai decided to not set a limit of how many kits you could buy at this event, and well, people went nuts apparently. It was reported that some people were buying 10 of the same kit and so on, for scalping, friends, or whatnot, and Bandai managed to sell out of their stock on day one. Well, in a move that only would probably happen in Japan, Bandai was nice enough to allow event goers the chance to order the sold out items to be delivered at a later date. Of course, to keep it to those who actually showed up, they gave out passwords to access it.

Well, you immedietely had people auctioning off the card on Yahoo Auctions, but a quick check on 2 chan revealed the password (which was like GundamNagoya, or something like that, nice hard password there). So a quick check online and I made my order for the Char set. It’s to be noted that they did the same for the Gundam Expo that was held in August, and will do it again in the future when you stop to think about it. Could be a good way for a reseller to make a killing on getting some of those limited goods out of Japan, but the only downside is they give you an extremely limited window of opportunity for odering. I wonder as well if they would fill an order for say 20 or 30 of the same kits? But I digress, back to the kit(s) at hand.

The Char Nagoya set consists of the clear versions of Char’s Gelgoog, Z’Gok, and Zaku II. While I’ve stated that I’m not a fan of clear Gunpla kits, the Char one’s definitely stand out, and was around 2,500 yen if I recall, meaning that you didn’t have to pay an extreme premium for the three kits. One plus I found about clear kits is that you generally don’t have to worry about sprue damage standing out so much, so this makes them a quick build. I think I did them all over the space of two evenings. Overall, the two HGUC Zaku II’s I have now are both Char’s and special editions. The Z’gok s now one of 4 I guess, if I count the enforcer along with the MG one that I have, but it’s another Zeon model that I like. Overall, I seem to be doing very good with avoiding building “regular editions”, haha. I didn’t take much in the way of pictures, but here’s what I have, so enjoy.

HGUC Zaku II (Char’s Use Extra Finish Version)

The Extra Finish Version of Char’s Zaku II was one of the limited kits that was sold at the Gundam Expo held in August, along with it’s bigger brother the MG version.  Well, it was only 2,000 yen, so I figured what the heck.  Overall, it’s a Zaku, so you all know what you’re getting, but this was my first time building it in the HGUC scale.  Overall impressions are well… it’s a Zaku!  What more can you say? 

Actually, there’s a quite a bit you can say.  The Zaku in the HG line is one of the oldest kits out there, so it obviously doesn’t stand up to it’s MG kit, or even some of the later HGUC kits that have come out which feature better design in hiding seams and gate sprue damage.  The HGUC kit is also further limited by having basically no waist movement, so don’t expect it to twist around to shoot something behind it, over even to the left or right of it so much.   Also, I actually had a few pieces that simply didn’t fit well, most notably on the lower right leg armor, where it simply leaves a slight, but noticable gap.  Other than that, the proportions of the monoeye and visor(?) area feels a little off to me, the eye is much bigger than you see in MG kits, so in that sense I find it a little disconcerting. 

Colorwise, the extra finish is beautiful, and fits my image of Char’s Zaku much better than the closer to pink rather than red coloring it always gets.  The downside?  Unfortunately, the extra finish as we’ve learned from kits such as the Hyaku-Shiki, is a double edged sword, meaning you’re going to have nice gate damage that isn’t the same color as the finish.  While the Hyaku-Shiki’s runners and build itself was designed to hide such damage or at least keep it to a minimum, the Zaku II kit here doesn’t get the same luxury.   The good thing is it’s a smaller kit, so perhaps it’s not so noticable from a distance, or from the angle you take the photo.  Still, this is one area that I’d like to see Bandai step up to the plate on.  If they’re going to go through the trouble of charging twice or more for the regular kit just to have the extra finish, then I’d like to see them go the extra mile and either redesign the runners with sprue gate damage in mind, or better yet, go to an all undergate solution.  When snipping off pieces, sanding and design knifes just don’t cut it since you’ll end up taking the finish off around the sprue area.  Still, overall the damage doesn’t detract from the kit that bad.

Wrapping up, the build only took about an hour to do, again the good thing about simple HGUC kits, coupled with the fact that you can’t do much sprue gate cleaning due to losing surrounding finish.  Also, I refrained from panel lining as I’ve noticed in the past that Gundam Panel Line markers seemed to “rub” off the finish when doing another kit.  So is it a kit to get?  If you like coloring and the finish, and don’t min some detracting gate damage on the lages and shoulder areas, then yes, just realize that it is still “Just Another Zaku” so there’s nothing new in that area.

As for the pictures, again, it’s a Zaku, so I really didn’t take a lot, but you’ll see it again in an upcoming post again the good old RX-78-2.

Front

Side

Back

Side again

Area where the damage stands out.

Still, the Zaku can juke with the best of them

What does he come across…?

To be continued…