Tuesday, March 6, 2018

1/144 NG Gundam Spiegel Review

The Gundam Spiegel was always one of the MS in G Gundam that I loved from the moment I saw it on the Gundam wiki. It managed to pull of the stealthy ninja aesthetic while being a bulky german looking mecha from the 90's, and it mixed them perfectly. Instantly this design had captured me and I found it to be cool. However, it only got a vintage NG and a seldom-restocked MG back then, so I had always had the trouble finding a kit of it for my shelf. However when Bandai announced their restocking of old G Gundam kits, I knew instantly I wanted to get the NG Spiegel on my shelf, especially after hearing from both r/Gunpla and a few reviews that it was quite decent for it's time. I went into Fook Le, found this thing for $3.6, and I instantly bought it for myself, and after about a week, I began building it.


The box is your standard 1/144 G Gundam NG boxart. A small sized kit with some old drawn art, in it you see the Spiegel dueling the Dragon Gundam, about to cut off it's dragon claws.


For parts, you get two multi-colored runners using the same mold like most vintage 1/144 NG's...

...a dark blue runner, and a standard G Gundam polycap runner.

You also get a decently big sticket sheet, not great to look at, but decent for the time


The manual has a shot of the kit in a diorama in a horrible pose, with a bit of description of the MS with its "Ultimate Technology", and his mysterious pilot, Schwarz Bruder.

You also get some more art with some beyblade-like MS stats, as well as more info on the Gundam. Spiegel seems really powerful.

And as always, you get the beautiful color guide in text, as well as the part count.

Completed Product:

The completed kit looks actually pretty damn solid for a G Gundam NG. Proportions may look a bit off, but they're actually very lineart accurate, however the shoulders are really disconnected from the shoulders, but other than that, it looks basically perfect with the stickers applied. Granted they aren't the best stickers in the world, but I found only the chin sticker and the crotch stickers to be offensive, everything else behaved fine. It's a surprisingly nice model of the Spiegel for it's time with above average color separation, and it has cool details like a rough patterning on the helmet to make it look like a real military german helmet, which even the MG didn't do. It's a surprisingly neat detail, and it's definitely one that just makes this a bit better than you'd think.


Head's on a ball joint, moves like one.

The big shoulders do hinder movement.

There's a swivel at the elbow joint itself, which only bends a dissappointing 75˚. C'mon Bandai, you did better than this before.

Knees are better though at the average 90˚ and kick up decently.

Foot spread however is nonexistent.


The Spiegel doesn't have any accessories, so instead we'll delve into the gimmicks. First is the Core Lander, which simply detaches from the back when you pull it out.

Flip up the thrusters and flip down the cockpit, and you're done. It's unpainted, but for it's size, grade, and the kit's price, it's nice they included it to begin with.

Second gimmick are the Spiegel's weapons that are attached to the arms, the Spiegel blades.

They're quite simple really, just swing them down, and turn them around so the kit ca grip the handles from the back.

Like so.

Now he can slashy slashy and stabby stabby.

Size Comparison:

The Spiegel is small for a 1/144 kit, although this is to scale with it's original size. Funnily enough, the HG Shining is actually meant to be smaller than the Spiegel.


The 1/144 NG Gundam Spiegel did not disappoint, for it's time, this was definitely a good kit compared to it's fellow 1/144 G Gundam NG brethren. It's detailing and color separation for it's time are definitely above average, even surpassing 1/144 Wing kits and early HG's, which is something not many NG's can brag about. It's got nice detailing like the rough molding on the helmet, and the little gimmick of the core lander was a nice addon. The proportions are more accurate compared to the MG with it's bulkier appearance, although the MG has more normalised proportions are what I personally prefer. It's poseability isn't exactly something to speak home off, and a small number of it's stickers are not fun to deal with. Overall I'd still say the MG is the better kit and you should get it over this 1/144 NG, however if you're a 1/144 only collector, or want a cheaper kit and don't mind it's problems, you'll have a surprisingly good NG to buy instead.


- Super cheap, only 500 yen retail. (!)
- Color separation is great for it's age.
- Surprising detail with certain areas, like a rough patterning on the helmet.
- Has a working Core Lander gimmick.


- A few bad stickers, specifically the chin sticker and the groin stickers.
- Poseability is not that great.
- Seamlines are not friendly.


- Proportions are less human and skew more to the lineart. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

SD BB Senshi Unicorn Gundam 03 Phenex Review

Ah the Phenex, my favorite MS. The third unit of the Unicorn Gundams, the Phenex is the most obscure of the three since it didn't appear in the anime, and also definitely the most excessive of it's bretheren. With it's bright gold and blue colorscheme, large Armed Armor de's for wings, and a large, streamlined v-fin, this MS just appealed to all of my tastes, and as if I didn't like the Unicorn enough already, this variant improved on what I already considered my top. So obviously, I need to try and get as many kits of the Phenex as possible to show my dedication. The problem? Well the HG and PG are all some form of exclusive, and the MG is kinda at PG price thanks to the plating. So due to this, I had to settle for the cheapest and most viable option, the BB Senshi.


The boxart of the Phenex is this CGI image of the SD Phenex shooting into the distance with it's psychoframe glowing blue. It's nice boxart, and I enjoy it.


For parts, you get one multicolored runner...

...two blue runners...

...4 lame gold runners...

...and two polycap ball runners. Safe to say this kit comes with a lot of plastic for an SD.

You also get a decently sized sticker sheet, as well as an decal sticker sheet.


The manual has an obviously painted image of the SD Phenex as well as some info on the Ms at the cover. Inside you'll have part count, instructions...

...a cute little comic like most newer BB Senshi have...

...and the mighty color guide.

Completed Product (Unicorn Mode):

Snapped together and decals applied and I gotta admit, I'm not a fan of this Unicorn Mode, and you can probably guess why. Half of the kit is in destroy mode, and there is no way to change that. I get that this is an SD and that there are budget constraints, and I completely understand that this is a stupid complaint because at least we have psycoframe where the original SD Unicorn did not, still, I can't lie when I say it bugs the hell out of me as it interrupts the clean and simple design of the Unicorn mode. the rest of the kit though looks good for the most part, we have longer legs and larger arms than usual, but it still looks obvious that this is a BB Senshi and not an NXEDGE or Ex-Standard. The hollow Armed Armor DE's look kind of bad since they face the front but it's an SD so you gotta expect these. the lame gold and clear blue plastic used also doesn't give this thing the best tolerances, fitting is tight, and the certain parts can break easily, especially on the backpack. The lame gold is usually something I'd complain about, but I find that for the Phenex, the shade is actually quite befitting of the MS, so I'm actually very happy with it. Overall the kit itself is a nice representation of the Unicorn mode for the parts that are actually in Unicorn mode.


The head is on a ball joint and moves around surprisingly well even, although the shoulder pads do hinder things a bit.

Shoulders barely move out.

Barely swing forward either.

Elbow is a decent 45˚ bend

Waist can swivel but surprisingly it isn't a full 180˚.

Feet kicks up surprisingly well.

However this is where my main problem presides. There is barely ankle pivot in any direction, and this makes it difficult to pose and make it look decent.


You get two simple weapons with the SD Phenex, and no the beam saber hilt is not gold OOB, it is indeed a clear blue toothpick.

The beam magnum works as expected, you plug it in and do some shooting poses, woopee.


Now we get to the fun part, transformation. First, take off both of the fake beam saber hilts.

...then, you reattach them facing upwards like they would on any other gundam.

Next, you remove the cheeks off the head.

Swing up the horn, and use a tool of some sort to push the face piece out.

Get the face piece, and simply switch the faces.

Put it back in.

Net, you reattach the cheeks upside down to how they were in the Unicorn mode.

Open the v-fin, and the head is transformed.

Now you can reattach the head to the torso.

Now for the torso, pull out the sides...

...and flip down the tit panels. You also pull down the waist section, but I forgot to do that because I'm forgetful.

For the shoulder, take off their top pieces.

You'll find that one top has a peg on one side of the shoulder, and the shoulder parts have two holes on each side, one deeper than the other. Remember this.

Now you take out the side of the shoulder, and tab it in the hole closer to the edge.

After that, remember those holes and pegs? Swap the tops of the shoulders, and put the pegs into the shallower hole so it doesn't fall down completely to finish the arms.

Finally, the backpack is simple.

Spread out the fins on the middle and bottom...

...and open up the shoulder X's inside.

Completed Product (Destroy Mode):

(Ignore the untransformed tit panel on the left.)

Now this is the mode you want to display this kit in. Now that the psycoframe are meant to be showing and don't obstruct the aesthetic, it's a much better looking and uniform SD kit. The destroy mode has a bulkier appearance with the armor becoming wider from the transformation, and it gives a cutely intimidating appearance to the kit.

Now since he's in Destroy Mode, he's meant to be able to use his beam saber.

He looks decent, but poseability is the same, and therefore, limited.

You also get the spare parts from the original SD Unicorn, so if you are bothered by the psycoframe on the standard kit, you could build the kit using these parts instead. Note that it's not easy at all to swap between them though due to the tight tolerances of the lame gold plastic, and the elbows do not bend at all.

Size Comparison:

In both modes, he's quite large for an SD, and among others, has quite a presence.


The SD Phenex is a decent BB Senshi kit, it's quite ambitious with it's appearance, part count, and gimmicks, but I think it serves as a good addition for the BB Senshi lineup. It does have a few nitpicks, like the tight tolerances which make it not the most solid or fun kit to pose. The psycoframe in destroy mode also could be annoying to some, me included, but you could either ignore them or swap most of them for the parts without any psycoframe. It certainly captures the essence of the Phenex well with it's stellar color separation and proportions, and it's it's design and big backpack give it a unique presence among other SD's. I'd recommend it if you're interested, but this isn't a kit you'd want to be playing around with unlike other SD's.


- Includes some really neat marking decals.
- Great color separation for an SD.
- Transforming gimmick is a nice add on for an SD, even if it's mostly partsforming.


- Unicorn mode has psycoframe showing.
- Tolerances are very tight due to the plastics used, parts can break easily if mishandled. 


- Includes leftover parts without psycoframe which could be useful if you want a more streamlined Unicorn mode, but using them also decreases it's poseability.