Saturday, July 1, 2017

SD GGF Big Zam Review



If you know me, you'll know that i'm a huge Mobile Armor fan. I will often prioritise buying a mobile armor kit if I see it in a shop, unless it's way past it's value level, and the Big Zam was always a MA that I loved. Something about the crab like appearance, giant body cannon, green color use, and the way the MA was a powerful weapon all appealed the Big Zam to me. Piloted by Dozle Zabi, it was also piloted by one beast of an honorable zeon in combat, it was a shame it wasn't mass produced. Since there isn't any commonly found Big Zam kits however, I wasn't able to obtain one until I was lucky enough the GGF from a bit of hunting. Safe to say that I spared no expense in shelling out the cash and walking home with my GGF Big Zam.


Box:



The box is quite average for a GGF box. You get a bad CGI rendering of an SD Big Zam, and you also get a small little SD RX-78-2 holding a beam saber, note the kits are not scaled like that. Also a funny bit is the typo of "Byg Zam" on the product's name, a funny little mistake.


Parts:



For actual PS plastic runners, all we get are 2 green runners that obviously share the same mold. Yep, this kit is essentially molded entirely in one color.





We also get a pair of identical polycap sheets in a light grey color.




As well as the source of all the colors on this kit, the stickers...ew.


Manual:



Similar to other GGFs, we have a manual in a similar style to old MG manuals, with a CGI representation of the Big Zam.




In it, you get information of the Big Zam, as well as it's predecessor and concept mass production type. Color guide sadly, although you still get the instructions and colorguide.


Completed Product:



The finished product is a chibified version of the Big Zam. due to not really having a standard humanoid body, the kit instead opted for shorter legs and a more squabby body. Appearances look alright, but as you already know, all color asides from green on this kit are stickers, and they are all horrible. The toe stickers suck, they are all the same wraparound-type stickers, but they don't really cover the entire area. This means they leave small green bits peeking out even with good application, and that's not even considering the peeling off it has. The knees are also pretty bad, mostly due to their application on a large rounded surface. Frankly the window stickers were the only "good" stickers, and those aren't great either. However this is frankly to be expected from an SD kit, even more so a GGF, so it's not that bad, especially with Big Zam's colorscheme. Due to it's simple construction, it's quite sturdy for it's age for a model kit. There are a few hollow parts, specifically in the edges of the 2 "halves" of the shell, but they're barely noticeable.


Articulation:



Due to being a MA, it's articulation isn't a lot to talk about, however for an SD, it's honestly quite impressive. First of all, the large mega particle gun can go slightly up and down.




Thighs are on universal joints and can kick up decently, however it's true strength lies in swinging back.




Knee is a surprising 90˚ bend, which is very nice for an SD kit, although for a kit like this, it's certainly a bit more expected.




Feet movement is quite decent for an SD, they're on a ball joint and a range so they move around decently. The legs spread quite well too, however the ankles don't really a huge spread.


Size Comparison



As you can see that despite being a MA, it's quite standard SD size, so it's definitely not accurate to the boxart sadly.


Verdict:

The SD GGF Big Zam is quite a nice little SD kit. For the retail of 500 yen, you're not getting much more than half a full sized runner, some polycaps, and stickers, but honestly for an SD, what you get is good enough. Articulation for what it is, does the job fine, you're not going to expect a lot of poses from a MA, and honestly I think this kit does more than enough with it's universal hips, knee joints, and feet movement. Stickers are quite bad, I do recommend painting for those who are able too, but due to the simple colorscheme of the Big Zam, the colorscheme is quite accurate despite being an SD GGF. Honestly there isn't much to expect nor complain about here, the Big Zam doesn't really have a lot to work with, and thus there aren't a huge amount of expectations to have. For an SD GGF MA kit, the Big Zam scores top notch, without much to complain about. If you're interested in MA kits, this one is a nice pickup to have, but remember that it's still a small SD GGF kit, and overpaying it is not really worth it. Picking it up for retail price however is definitely not a waste of money, and recommended from me. 

Pros:

- Articulation for what an SD GGF kit is really good. (!)
- Decently sturdy to handle for it's age, doesn't really feel very fragile nor loose.

Cons:

- No color separation from parts, all colors are from stickers, and they are quite bad stickers.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

FM Gundam Bael Review



Gundam Bael, the first of the Gundam Frames in the Calamity War, and the legendary MS that was originally piloted by the Agnika Kaieru. Honestly once I saw this MS get revealed, I liked it straight off the bat. Some might find it too simple, but that's kinda one of the points of this MS, the first Gundam frame is meant to be something simple, the first and basis of them all after all. While it didn't do a huge amount of stuff in the show, thus being disappointing for all the hype it was getting, i'd argue that most MS in the show didn't get a lot of action sans the main 3 Gundams. Regardless, Bael quickly became one of my favorite Gundam Frames, with it's pure shining white knight and royal aesthetic and the dual swords, I knew I had to get the FM kit one day, which I did.


Box:




The boxart of the kit shows Bael twirling around with a green particle like background that kinda reminds me of GN particles, as well as the standard FM outline. Also because this is the first run edition, there is a red area of the box as well as the advertisement of the special stand.




Also due to being the special edition, you get some monochrome prints on the bottom of the box, showing Bael on his stand, as well as details of what you get with the first edition print.


Parts:








You get 4 grey runners, 2 of which are reused from the original IBO NG Gundam frame. You also get 2 multi colored A runners...




...and 5 white runners containing the rest of the parts.



Of course, you get the all expected polycaps and sticker sheets as well.





Again, due to being the first print, you get the parts for the awesome action base.




You also get the parts count and instructions, as well as the gloss-type Gjallarhorn decal stickers for the base.


Manual:



The base manual itself is your average manual. Inside you get the instructions for the build, part count, some specs and info...




...as well as the almighty color guide.


Inner Frame:



The inner frame of Bael is the typical 1/100 IBO Gundam Frame. You get a new head as all Full Mechanics Gundams do, but asides from that, the only difference from the original NG Gundam frame is the feet. Speaking of the feet, the feet look really, really big compared to the base frame. Bael itself has big feet, but when compared to the thin, janky nature of the standard Gundam Frame, it feels like he's wearing clown feet. Like all other FM and IBO NG Gundams, the eyes are a solid part, this time molded in a pale red, and they look awesome.


Frame Articulation:



The head is on a typical ball joint, and the kit also has a bit of bend on the neck.




Arm can move up very well, and the shoulder can both swing up and spin to get out of the way.




Shoulders don't swing out, but can go out decently far.




Arm swivels at the bicep and has a double elbow joint going 180, with a very well bending first joint and a barely bending second joint.




Due to having that stick thin IBO waist, the frame has great waist movement. It has a great abcrunch as well as abstretch...




...as well as side to side. Like the rest of 1/100 Gundam frames, the waist pistons do work on this kit.




Due to a lack of sideskirts as a frame, thigh articulation is pretty damn unrestricted. You could even get the frame to do a perfect split.




Knee bend is a double bend that only achieves about about 160˚ due to limitations of the Gundam Frame itself.




Toes on the Gundam frame work fine, there's a bit of armor that even moves up to allow for the toe. However, due to this the foot does not necessarily feel super solid, in fact it feels a bit loose. Like other IBO Gundam Frames, the ankle pivot is superb, and can get to even uncomfortable angles.


Completed Product:



The completed kit looks really good, color separation is almost top notch, with stickers making up some of the more unfortunate details, the v-fin stickers look especially bad, however they're honestly understandable. Otherwise, he's got a lot of molded in details like the early Gjallarhorn emblem on his left shoulder, as well as a lot of grey bits that could've been stickers. I especially love the parts separation on the shoulders, it's entirely parts, and despite having a lot of colors, it pulls it off flawlessly, and looks great. Like most other FM kits, there are a lot of panel lines and molded detail around certain areas of the kit, however I think they're distributed a little strangely. In some areas, the panel detail can be reminiscent of the HG 1/100 kits, however in others, it's quite plain. The latter could be argued that it's meant to be part of Bael's aesthetic, but in that case the panel detail in bits stand out strangely. Another thing I should note is that he is very backheavy with the wings spread out. An action base will help in posing, however it might be hard to get certain angles of posing due to bad balance and weight distribution. This combined with the slightly loose joints of 1/100 IBO kits makes posing this thing a bit difficult due to bad weight distribution. Finally I should note that the backskirt armor comes off insanely easily, and it's not the easiest thing to glue either, and it's a huge gripe I have with the kit myself.


Articulation



Head movement is pretty similar on a ball joint and neck, armor doesn't hinder it much at all.




The large shoulder armor does hinder poseability, but it does it's best. The shoulders themselves can hinge up 90˚, and the outer armor flap can flip out so he can reach out pretty far. Outward movement is identical.




Due to the armor, the elbow bend is restricted to about 160˚s like your typical Gundam frame. the rest of the upper body poseability is pretty much identical.




Lower body articulation is pretty much the same besides for the thigh and knee bend. The presence of side skirts hinders upwards kick movement to more of a standard amount, and the knee is slightly more hindered due to the extra calf armor.




Bael's wings also move a bit.




They can swivel at the base, and on 3 hinges, with the upper area of the wing. The lower area has a fin that can move on a hinge, and the lower grey part can also hinge down.


Accessories:



This is where the kit falls a little. Bael's never shown to use a lot of accessories, and again, it's the first Gundam Frame, meaning it's very simple in lore. However the lack of accessories really makes Bael as a kit barebones.




Aside from the standard open hands, you also get a pair of holding hands which are meant to be used with the Bael swords specifically. These hands are on a hinge as well as a ball joint, meaning they can really help with swords posing, like for lunges and thrusts.




Of course, the sword holding hands have to have something to hold, and thus we get Bael's signature, and only true weapons, the Bael Swords. They are molded in lame gold plastic, which honestly don't look half bad minus the swirls and nubmarks




Both of these swords are abled to be stored on the blade holder.




The blade holder itself has two joints, a with the sections that hold the swords on a 360˚ turning ball joint, as well as a hinge on the lower end.




The holder itself connects to the backskirt via peg, which itself is also on a bit of a hinge. As you know, the backskirt armor loves falling off, this sword holder does not help it, and it can leave for some really frustrating moments when posing this guy.




However, with those joints, you can get some nice sword drawing poses.




While they don't do much, the swords do do their job, and their gold blades make them stand out from the rest of the kit.




However even with this flair, it doesn't make the kit feel any less barebones. I really wish it came with more accessories, because as a kit, the Bael just doesn't have a lot of stuff to pose with.




Of course, due to being obtaining the first print edition, I also got a limited edition action base for free. It's molded in a pearlish white, and has some panel details that you could line if you so please. You can even use the Gjallarhorn stickers come with the first edition print on the base.




As a base, it's one of the best. The part holding the kit up is on a hinge, and the arm that holds it up can extend, Not only that, there is a subarm on a track that you can use for extra stability in poses, and can plug into any of the holes on the base. Most of these joints also have a part which locks them in position, and while it does hinder the amount of angles you can get the base to do, it's still one of the best action bases you could want, as it's very versatile and can help with posing.




For adaptors, you get a standard sized crotch peg for 1/144 kits, and a fork connector for 1/100 kits, The crotch peg works how you'd expect it to, peg it into the crotch of a kit and let it fly, and it works well. However the fork adaptor for 1/100 kits isn't great, as the kit is really just resting there instead of having a secure connection, meaning balance is still a bit of a problem, and the kit can rock around or even fall off the base.




This is even more apparent for Bael due to his bad balance, but despite this, I think the base is a very welcome edition since this kit is even more hard to pose on it's own, and it really helps give it the shelf presence it needs.


Size Comparison:



Like typical IBO Gundams, he's a tad on the tall side when compared to your standard Gundam, and as shown, is basically double the size of your standard 1/144 MS.


Verdict:

The FM Gundam Bael is overall a bit of a mixed bag. It certainly looks really good and it does all you'd expect a FM kit of the Bael to do, however it doesn't do much of anything more than that. Color separation is great, with special mention to the grey areas and high praise shoulder armor, however despite this, there still are a few stickers that can be annoying. Panel detail is a bit of a mixed bag. Certain areas look a little plain, while other bits almost resemble the aesthetic of the hyper panel lines from 1/100 HG's, making the details a little inconsistent, but overall I think it looks good. However, the kit does not have a lot of accessories, even though Bael never used any weapons besides the swords, it doesn't help the fact the accessories are very barebones due to the fact that's all it comes with. There aren't even any real gimmicks besides for the moving pistons, meaning there isn't a lot to make the kit that interesting.

The kit also has stability issues, since 1/100 IBO kits already have a similar problem with loose-ish joints, the Bael's giant wings and heavy upper body give it some really uneven weight distribution, and therefore bad balance, an action base is highly recommended for trying poses with this kit, not to mention the loose backskirt which keeps falling off. Overall I can only recommend this kit to fans of the Bael, those who like the design, and those want a kit to represent the MS. Even so, I highly recommend getting an action base, even better if you get the first print like I do, as it already comes with one hell of a base. You might have trouble posing it a bit, but it will definitely help. If you wanted a kit that will impress you, i'd have to unfortunately say that a different 1/100 IBO kit would be a better choice. Sadly this kit is just really barebones, and doesn't really do a lot more than the bare expectancy. 

Pros:

- Color separation is pretty good, special mention to the shoulder armor.
- Poseability is good overall, not a lot better you can do with the Gundam Frame and Bael's design. Frame articulation is excellent.

Cons:

- Balance is really bad due to the wings and heavy upper body against a light lower body, falls a lot in most poses. (!)
- Seriously lacks in accessories, can be partially excused since Bael doesn't use anything other than the swords in the anime, but it really feels like a waste in potential and doesn't make the kit all that interesting.
- Backskirt keeps falling off.

Neutral:

- Panel detail is quite plentiful, however some might not be fans of how it looks. Areas are also a little inconsistent around the kit, with some areas being full of pointless panel detail, while others don't have a lot.
- Gimmicks are seriously lacking compared to other FM kits, Bael's a simple MS so this can be excused, but it makes kit feels blander than it really is.