It was close to two months ago that I posted a review for the Robot Spirits Gundam The 08th MS Team RX-79…you get it. These names are insanely long, but the short of it is, it’s the mobile suit from The 08th MS Team anime series, my favorite of the Gundam stories so far. And the figure was my introduction to Bandai’s Robot Spirits line, which I described as the S.H.Figuarts for mech-type characters. And I liked it, which is a good thing because in 2021 Bandai, through its Premium Bandai website, made a variant of that figure available for a limited time which required payment upfront. Had I disliked that previous figure it certainly would have killed my enthusiasm for the P-Bandai exclusive, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.
In The 08th MS Team, the story follows a small battalion consisting of just three mobile suits and all happen to be the RX-79. Naturally, fans of the show would want two if collecting action figures from the show, but when the original figure went up for preorder some vendors were limiting them to one per customer. I considered putting in orders at multiple outlets, but my unfamiliarity with this line and the significant price tag it carries gave me pause. When P-Bandai later showed off the desert variant it seemed like a perfect opportunity to add another Gundam without buying the exact same thing multiple times. They’re basically the same figure, but the desert variant has a different coloration to the white portions and it also comes with different accessories. For some, it might drive them crazy to have one Gundam in its standard colors and the other in a desert camo, but for me it won’t cause issue. Especially once I add some foes for them to tangle with.
Given all of that, this review should be one of my shorter ones because this figure is almost the exact same as the previous one I reviewed. This variation of the RX-79 is taken from the episode “Battle Line on the Burning Sand” which was basically the midpoint of the series. As far as the base figure, the major difference is this one has a slight tan color to what is normally white, or blueish-white. I have not re-watched the series in quite some time, so I don’t even remember if this coloration was a deliberate attempt to blend the mobile suits in with the desert backdrop or if it was just the light reflecting off of the sand that gave them this appearance. I suppose it doesn’t matter since this is how the mobile suits looked during that moment of the show. And I like how Bandai did it here as the tan is rather subtle. There’s also a change to the feet which have a gray top to them instead of white, as demonstrated in the show, the top of the foot was just covered with a tarp-like material when in the desert. The only other sculpted differences are in some of the joiner pieces which have some sculpted linework and a change to the chest. That’s the only one that really stands out as the yellow vent on the right side of the figure’s chest has been removed and replaced with what looks like a “No Smoking” emblem (it’s obviously not that). Otherwise, it’s very much the same and still rather terrific. The blocky nature of the figure works really well with the articulation to make this look like a tiny robot. It’s mostly colored plastic, but it doesn’t come across as glossy like some of the SHF releases I have. What little paint and decal work is present is applied consistently and cleanly leaving little for me to complain about.
In terms of articulation, there’s a lot to unpack here so I don’t really want to do it again. Suffice to say, the tiny, minor, differences in the sculpt do not impact articulation in the slightest so everything that was good about the previous figure applies to this one, as well as anything that was not so good, which really wasn’t much. I will say that on the whole the joints of this figure feel a little tighter, and that’s a good thing. The wrists in particular on my previous figure are rather loose and some of the heavier accessories droop in the hands of the figure, but that doesn’t apply to this one. Everything is smooth and silky making this one a great deal of fun to mess around with.
Probably to no one’s surprise, a lot of the accessories for this guy are the same as the past figure, but we also get some new stuff. In terms of returning accessories, we get the same allotment of hands and the little “tree” to store them on: gripping, tighter gripping, trigger hands, open hands, relaxed hands. The figure also returns the backpack frame as well as the 08th MS Team forearm shield, two beam saber hilts, two beam saber blades, one blade burst effect, one thick blade, and one slashing blade. The figure also comes with the same 100mm machine gun only with a clip that matches the color of this mobile suit and the shade of gray used for the gun matches the mobile suit. It also has the two spare clips that attach to the figure’s “skirt” pieces on either side. Bandai also included an extra crown piece in case the one on the figure’s head breaks or is lost.
That’s what is old, what is new are some additional weapons and accessories. This guy comes with the net gun which resembles a large rocket launcher and is meant to be supported by the figure’s shoulder. The net portion can pop out, though it’s plastic so it doesn’t actually open into a net, but you can kind of make it look like it’s firing (and maybe future effects parts will be added to that). The top and side handles on it rotate which really helps to make it easy to adjust in the figure’s hands to achieve an ideal pose. There’s also a beam rifle included which has a nice, gray, deco to it and honestly would probably look better in the hands of that standard release RX-79. There’s a yellow blast effect for the machine gun, which is something I really wanted to see come with the previous figure, and two, blue, blast effects intended for the thrusters on the backpack frame. Since the other gun is a beam rifle which fires red beams in the show, the red blade effects can be used as blast effects for the gun. There is no backpack included with this figure, but there is a new attachment for the frame that allows for the forearm shield to be switched to the back of the figure. It’s a neat feature and the shield still retains its articulating arm so you can adjust the angle of it if your figure is displayed with the thrusters activated. The only thing missing here is a stand to really take advantage of the posing possibilities with those thrusters. And I do wish it had the same weapon storage capabilities of the previous figure, but since it doesn’t have a backpack it’s understandable.
Ultimately, this is an easy review because if you liked the standard release for this figure then you’ll like this one. Bandai did a good job of switching up the accessories and effects parts a bit to allow for more display options and it’s all stuff that’s usable with the other figure too. It’s still the same, excellent, base figure so for me this is an easy recommend. Or at least it would be if it were not a P-Bandai exclusive. This release was made-to-order so it’s sold out via P-Bandai. Other retailers were free to order it though so it’s available elsewhere, but at a pretty significant markup. Right now, it’s $125 on Big Bad Toy Store and I cannot recommend grabbing this figure at such an inflated price. The standard release is $70 and that’s a much better value so if you’re like me and you just want two RX-79s then just grab another one of those. If you absolutely must have this desert variant, then I would recommend trying to wait it out. BBTS might not drop the price anytime soon, but I would guess other sellers on the secondary market won’t be as patient. It may never drop to the retail price of $70, but I would like to think it will fall below $100 at some point.