We’re back with another look at a Robot Spirits release in the Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team line of products. Only this time we’re not technically talking about a new action figure, but a pair of accessory sets. It would seem Bandai intends to supplement this line with additional accessories like weaponry and vehicles that it can’t pack into the general releases. What kind of value collectors derive from each will largely depend on how many figures they plan to purchase and what their preferred weaponry is for the Gundams and Zaku units. I was on the fence with these sets, but ultimately decided to take a look so I’ll tell you about them here.
It didn’t seem like each set needed its own entry, so I’m going to talk about the first two option parts sets that have been released thus far. A third one is planned for early 2023. And we might as well talk about set one first which is largely a set of additional weaponry for the Gundam Ground Type. The main Gundam of the 08th MS Team had a few different loadouts when it came to weapons, though mostly we would see either a beam rifle or machine gun. It was in the intro to the show that we saw the RX-79 wielding the much larger 180mm rifle with the Gundam on one knee and the massive rifle propped on a shield that had been jammed into the ground. This set seeks to allow collectors to replicate that look on their shelf by including a blast effect for the rifle that came with the figure and an insert for the shield. The blue portion of the shield pops off and the new insert is just shorter with a peg on the bottom so it can fit into an included base. It looks fine, and I like getting a blast effect for the weapon, but the figure can’t actually crouch low enough to have the gun rest on the top of the shield. The box art appears to suggest otherwise, but upon looking closer it appears to be a trick of the camera and the shield is in the foreground and Gundam in the background. It’s kind of a bummer, because it doesn’t work for a shelf, though the new base for the shield at least provides an alternative way to display the shield when not on the figure’s forearm. It also works fine with the Desert Spec release.
Our next weapon is the rocket launcher. It’s a large weapon meant to rest on the Gundam’s shoulder. There are some moving and sliding parts to make it a bit easier to position, though they can pose an annoyance as things slide around. The magazine is removable and the neat part of that is they actually sculpted the rocket inside. There’s basically no paint though, which makes it a lot like other weapons we’ve seen. It also comes with a blast effect that features a plume of smoke with a rocket emerging out of the front. It looks really cool, but it also adds a lot of weight to the weapon. It’s not the easiest thing to pose especially if any part of your figure is a on the loose side, such as the right wrist with mine. There’s also an included adapter for the rear of the figure. You have to remove the backpack frame to access it, but the adapter allows the Gundam to stow the bazooka if that’s your preference.
Our next weapon is the missile launcher. This is another weapon intended to be shoulder mounted and it includes some blast effects. The actual gun is in four pieces: a frame, and three chambers for the missiles. For some reason, the chambers are removable which might sound neat, but it’s a bit of a pain as the thing constantly comes apart in the hands when trying to position it. There is a panel on the front of each chamber that needs to be removed if you want to attach the blast effect. And that effect is pretty cool as it contains multiple missiles blasting forth. There’s another smoke effect intended for the rear of the gun to complete the effect, and this added weight on the rear of the weapon helps make this one far more stable than the rocket launcher. It looks pretty cool, but I don’t know if I like it enough to actually use in my display.
The last item in this first set is an accessory for the Zaku. In the first encounter between Shiro and Norris, the Zaku gets damaged and loses an arm. If you want to recreate that battle, Bandai included a little nub to be plugged into the Zaku in place of the figure’s left arm. It’s a simple thing and it looks cool, but is another one of those accessories that might make more sense for those who are buying multiple Zaku units, and at around 75 bucks a pop, I don’t know if I’m going to be one of those collectors.
The second set of option parts are a little different. This one is more focused on support vehicles for those wishing to create more of a diorama with their collection as well as a few pieces the figures can utilize. The main draw for me was the Hover Truck. In the show, the 08th team consists of three mobile suits and the Hover Truck helmed by Eledore and Michel. The included Hover Truck here is to scale with the mobile suits so it’s pretty small, kind of like a Hot Wheel, but all plastic. It has some paint where needed and mostly looks the part. It’s modular though in that it can be presented as if it’s moving or if it’s stationary. The ground sonar probe on the right of the vehicle can be popped off and replaced with a deployed unit and the antennae on the right side can be removed and replaced with a tall, deployed, version. The cover on the back is also removable and the ramps on the front and rear of the tank are also functional. The turret on the top also can move a bit. There’s also an awning that can attach to the side and there’s a little table and chairs set (all one piece) that can be placed underneath it. Lastly, we have three unpainted character figures of Shiro, Michel, and Kiki. I initially thought it was odd they didn’t include Eledore, the actual driver of the tank, but this release is clearly aiming to recreate the scene from the sixth episode which Eledore wasn’t a part of.
To balance things out, there’s also an included Dop ship for the Hover Truck to take aim at. This one has a little weight to it and looks rather good. The windshield is transparent and there’s clearly some sculpting inside the ship that can be seen through it. Like the Hover Truck, there is a modular element at play as the ship can be displayed with the landing gear deployed or without. It also has a few slots for blast effects, damage bursts, and can make use of a flight stand. Sadly, there are no blast effects included for it, be it the guns or the thrusters. The ends of the wings can also pop off and be replaced with damaged ones, but I feel like Bandai could have done a better job of making the damaged wings look damaged as it wouldn’t be clear to someone unfamiliar with the Dop’s design. It’s well done though and all of the parts are engineered so that it’s basically impossible to put a piece in the wrong spot. Again, I just wish we got some effects for it.
The last parts we have to talk about are for the Rx-79. First, we have a new “crown” piece for the head. The standard one is yellow, but in the final episodes the pilot Sanders was depicted with a gray piece on his mobile suit rather than the yellow. I always assumed this was an animation error, but it is what it is and if you prefer that look now you have the option to switch it. It’s also helpful for those who get multiple versions of the RX-79 to add a bit of variety, especially because we also get another head! In the anime, Karen’s mobile suit got its head knocked off and replaced with a head from the GM mobile suit for the final episodes. To complete that look, there are also two blast shields that clip over the shield included with the figure release. These shields looked more reinforced and it’s kind of cool to have the option. There’s two of them too so you can have a Karen and a Sanders in your display from that last arc if you so wish.
Both of these sets exist just to provide more options for any 08th MS Team display. Option Parts 1 is definitely more as described since it’s weighted towards weaponry. If you like the weapons, or want to display a damaged Zaku it makes sense to grab. I do wish the weapons were easier to work with, but they can be finagled to create what I consider to be a worthwhile display. The second set is all about the two vehicles: the Hover Truck and Dop. Both look the part, but also do feel a bit underwhelming since they don’t do much. The extra parts for the RX-79 are fine, though I don’t think I’ll ever choose to go with the GM head, but maybe I’ll change my mind once the Ez-8 gets released. Both sets cost 50 bucks a piece from US retailers so it’s not as cheap as I’d like. If both were 30 then I’d feel a lot better about it. Instead, I’m more lukewarm here, but again I only have two Gundam RX-79G figures. If I had three or more then I’d definitely be more interested in using these. As for the second set, I felt I needed a Hover Truck so I’m more content there and the Dop adds a little something too. At the end of the day, I don’t regret either purchase, but it’s also hard for me to give either a true, glowing, endorsement. This is one of those classic cases of “your milage may vary.”