Tag Archives: the robot spirits

The Robot Spirits MS-07B-3 Gouf Custom (VER A.N.I.M.E.)

Norris is back and he has a new toy.

It’s time to take a look at one of my most anticipated releases in Bandai’s The Robot Spirits line based on the anime Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. And that figure is the Gouf Custom which was piloted by Colonel Norris Packard during the climactic battle at the end of that series. The Gouf is basically a Zeon mobile suit that’s pretty similar to the Zaku which we already looked at. It’s just got a cooler design and a different weapons loadout. My expectation was this figure would be very similar and share some parts with that previous release, but to my surprise, it does not. Is that a good thing? Well, the Zaku is a terrific action figure so if another figure to follow was going to imitate it then that would be fine by me, but who also doesn’t love a figure that’s unique on their shelf?

The Gouf Custom comes in the standard window box this series is known for. The window is tiny and just gives a peek at the figure and it’s adorned with product shots that are probably renders as opposed to actual photography. It’s easily resealable and the tray that holds the figure in the box just slides out. There are no tie-downs, which feels like a god-send given the amount of those things that wind up in my carpet.

That is a lot of hardware for one arm.

Once removed from the packaging, the Gouf is quite familiar in size and build quality. It’s only around 5″ tall not including the fin on the helmet so it’s a quaint little guy. The Gouf follows a lot of the same design elements as the Zaku with the single-camera “eye” and various hoses along the body. The shoulder pauldrons are horned for added menace, but unlike the Zaku, both shoulders feature the same design. The legs are similar, but different, as far as the molds used go. There’s really not much reuse here, maybe the hands or the rear skirt piece, as the Gouf is just different enough to necessitate it’s own molds. The main difference between the two is the color palette. The Zaku goes for that traditional, military, olive drab while the Gouf opts for a rather pleasant sky blue. The torso is a darker blue-gray and there’s some black on the knees and feet, but the dominant color is clearly the blue. And I like blue, so I’m just naturally drawn to this one. And like most releases in the line, there’s very little paint. It’s mostly limited to the eye and some red on the chest. Otherwise, we’re mostly dealing with colored plastic and it looks okay, but a paint wash wouldn’t hurt.

Similar, but different.
He can handle that massive amount of plastic on his arm, but add an effect part…

Since this figure required extensive new tooling, it also differs when it comes to the articulation. The head still sits on a ball peg and the base of the neck can hinge back allowing the Gouf to look up. It’s limited in looking down, and the top of the head is removable to allow for the eye to be re-positioned. The shoulders are pegged in and the joint it pegs into moves a bit for mostly nuance posing. The pauldrons peg in as well and they’re going to get in the way. The Gouf can’t quite raise its arms out to the side, but can get reasonably far. The arm rotates just fine, and there’s a pseudo-butterfly joint in the torso that affords some minor movement there. There’s a biceps swivel, but surprisingly just a single hinge at the elbow. The Gouf can just about hit a 90 degree bend, but I’m surprised it can’t go farther. The hands are on ball pegs, per usual, and the tolerance is just okay. I wish they were tighter, but we’ll talk more about that later. The torso has a ball-joint and hinge in the diaphragm that lets it tilt side-to-side a little. He can bend back just a tiny amount, but not forward at all because of the design of the chest. Once you engage the hinge, however, you can make this thing bend back really far, but it exposes a giant gap. It does provide some clearance though for the front, diamond-like, piece on the chest to slip behind the lower torso to get some better ab crunch. There’s a waist twist below that, but the hoses that wrap around the figure restrict the movement there quite a bit. At the hips, we have some big old balls that peg into a really small piece of plastic which looks a bit scary. The Gouf can’t quite do full splits due to the skirt pieces, but it does kick forward very far and back a little. The knees are double-jointed and there are no issues there nor are there any issues with the thigh twist. The ankles are surrounded by a lot of plastic, but the feet hinge forward and back and you get a little rocker action. They also have that joint in the middle of the foot that allows for more bend in the same style as a toe hinge, only it mostly provides range down as opposed to up so I don’t know that it’s very useful for standing. Lastly, there’s two thrusters on the rear of the figure on ball hinges for some directional posing when using effect parts.

If I so much as breath on this guy right now that arm is falling down.
If I’m going to display this guy utilizing the blast effect, I think I’ll go with the smaller gun because the figure can handle that.

The Gouf moves just okay. Part of that is due to the hoses around the body of the figure which didn’t allow for much. Bandai could have tried adding some sliding pieces there to allow for more movement, but that would come at the cost of some of the aesthetic. I’m more disappointed in the elbows and wrists. I keep checking out the elbows thinking I’m missing something, but they really are single-hinged. The wrists feature fine range, but like some of the other figures I have from this line, they’re too weak. This guy has trouble holding heavier weapons which happens to matter quite a bit if you want to hand it a Zaku bazooka. As we’ll see shortly, at least the weaponry the figure comes packaged with matters more for the shoulder joint than the wrist, but that’s also a problem as the shoulder joint could stand to be tighter.

The heat wire is neat, but did it have to be this long?
Now he’s like Batman!

The Gouf comes with the standard assortment of hands and a tree to place them on when not in use. They are: gripping, trigger, slightly wider gripping, open, and style posed. His melee weapon of choice is the heat saber which is just a sword. The blade is done in gray, but with a nice, graphite, finish and the hilt is a blue-gray piece of unpainted plastic. He has a three-barrel gatling gun that clips onto the left wrist with an effects part that can be affixed to any barrel (a special three-barrel effect part is coming in a new options set next year). On top of that, a shield can be affixed which is on a hinge piece like the Gundam Ground Type so it can be raised off of the figure’s arm which is necessary to make use of the effect part. When stored flat, the heat saber can slide behind the shield and a massive gatling gun can fit over that. This gun can accept the effect part plus an added burst effect as well, but doing so creates a lot of weight on the figure’s left arm and it’s rather cumbersome to pose. The last weapon is the heat wire which clips into a peg hole on the right arm. There’s a tiny plug that has to be removed first which is a nice bit of accuracy, but also a touch impractical since it’s hard to get it out and easy to lose. The wire itself is bendy so you can do some fun stuff with it and topped with a grappling hook. It’s also around ten inches in length so you have a lot to play with, almost too much. If you want it to just be firing in a straight line it looks kind of ridiculous and can’t support its own weight. I much prefer a coiled look, but I don’t think that’s anime accurate. The last two accessories are thrust effects that can be used on the jetpack or the feet. Like all figures in this line, it can accept a flight stand so opting for a flying pose is possible if you so desire. The effect parts are the superior ball-hinged variety so positioning them is quite easy. Bandai also included an extra fin piece for the head in case one gets lost or breaks. It does pop out very easily.

Maybe I’ll display him flying with all of that stuff on his arm just for the sheer lunacy of the visual.

The Gouf Custom looks the part and comes with enough stuff to really outfit it for battle, but I do find myself a little disappointed with this one compared with the other releases in this line. It’s design makes posing it less fun than the others, and the cumbersome accessories add to that frustration. It basically looks cool in a vanilla pose, but struggles with the more dynamic stuff. It also has a more fragile feel to it which just adds a layer of anxiety to the experience that isn’t much fun. And given that most places price this figure at around $80, it makes it harder to recommend. On one hand, if you’re really into The 08th MS Team it’s hard not to include the Gouf Custom, but on the other hand if you’re more interested in just having a figure or two from the line then it might be easy to just skip this one. If I was only getting one enemy mobile suit, I think I’d go with the Zaku over this which is not what I expected going into this review, but it is what I got.

Gundam Robot Spirits The 08th MS Team Option Parts Sets 1 and 2 (Ver. A.N.I.M.E.)

Like weapons and things for your figures? Well have I got a recommend for you!

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.

Not quite like the anime.

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.

Looks cool, but the weight basically means the elbow on my figure has to be bent as far as it will go to support it as the wrist just can’t do it.

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.

The left arm works a little better, as does the missile launcher in general since its stockier design and rear smoke trail helps distribute the weight better than the rocket launcher.
Frontal shot so you can see the plastic tabs that come off to accommodate the effect parts. This weapon is rather delicate, but if you get it positioned right, it does look pretty cool.

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 filthy Feddies blew off my arm!”

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.

Set #2 is more focused on a pair of vehicles to add a little life to the display. Here we have the Hover Truck and Dop ship.

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.

This is the Hover Truck in travel mode while on the Dop I have the broken right wing attachment. Note the peg holes for thruster effects and the slot on the top of the dome is intended for a blast effect to simulate the Dop being hit by enemy fire.
It’s neat that Dop comes with landing gear, but I suspect most will want to put it on a stand for a flying pose. Note that the front guns can also receive effects parts for simulated firing.

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.

If you prefer gray to yellow/gold, Bandai has you covered.

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.

Now you don’t have to cannibalize another 70 dollar figure to achieve this look for Karen. Also pictured is the assault shield attachment.

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.”

The Robot Spirits MS-06JC Zaku II Type JC ver. A.N.I.M.E.

Now you face the Zaku!

After talking about two different versions of the Gundam Ground Type from Mobile Suit Gundam – The 08th MS Team it’s about time we talk about the bad guys. That’s right, the Principality of Zeon has their own mobile suits, and in true bad guy fashion, they look pretty cool. Arguably cooler than the good guys and their Gundams. I say arguably because it’s definitely not as cut and dry as it was with say G.I. Joe in which Cobra always had the better looking vehicles and uniforms. The Gundams are mostly refined with a touch of elegance despite their rather beefy and cumbersome appearance. The Zeon and their Zaku are even bulkier with less flash, but they have a certain menace about them not present with the Gundam mobile suits. I think the distinction is captured rather well in the choice of melee weapon for each, the futuristic, Jedi-like beam sabers of the Gundam vs the violence of the axe-like Heathawk.

Weapon storage – the stuff that excites me.

Bandai has sunk its teeth into me with its Robot Spirits collection based on The 08th MS Team anime, so I basically had to get that show’s interpretation of the Zaku. The Zaku is, like the Gundam, featured in various series of Mobile Suit Gundam and it usually looks fairly recognizable to anyone familiar with the franchise. They’re usually green or olive drab and armed with that aforementioned axe, the Heathawk, and feature a single camera in the head that appears as a red, glowing, “eye” that makes the suit resemble a cyclops. They usually have some heavy artillery as well, maybe some spikes here and there, as well as tubes around the head or encircling the torso. They’re basically never not cool looking, and while I actually do prefer the look of the Gundam to it, that’s by no means a slight upon the Zaku.

This line runs small, but the scale from mobile suit to mobile suit is quite nice.

The Robot Spirits version of the Zaku from The 08th MS Team looks about as expected. It stands at approximately 5″ in height and is composed of mostly colored plastics of differing shades of green. There’s plenty of sculpted detailing on the body of the beast with a spiked shoulder pauldron on the left arm and a spiked shield on the right shoulder. This version of the Zaku appears to be based on the second episode of the series, and a spare part that comes in another set would only seem to confirm that since its a reference to a battle in that very episode. The main torso of the Zaku is a deep, forest, green while the limbs and head are a lighter shade of green. The hoses connecting the thigh and the lower leg as well as the head and torso are a gray, almost purple, color and in that head is the menacing red eye. Pop off the top part of the head and you can even spin that eye just like in the show to have the Zaku’s focus elsewhere.

Like the Ground Gundam, the Zaku is pretty beefy and tank-like, but it moves and poses well enough.

The Zaku, like the ground Gundam, is well-articulated for such a beefy design. The head is on a ball and hinge combo that lets it look way up as well as down a bit. It’s neat because as you force the head up the coil that is the neck becomes more exposed. There’s a butterfly-type joint in the sides of the torso that let the Zaku’s arms come forward a bit and an ab crunch that allows a generous amount of range forward, but little to none back. The shoulders are a bit limited, especially the left one, due to the presence of the pauldron and shield, respectively. The left arm can almost be raised to a horizontal position, while the right can achieve that and a touch more if you spin the shield around. There’s a biceps swivel and another swivel above the first elbow joint. You may want to make sure the upper elbow swivel is in the proper spot as mine was not out of the box and I thought it only had one elbow hinge. It does not, there are two, and the Zaku can bend its elbows well past 90 degrees. The wrists are the standard ball pegs and there is a waist twist, but it doesn’t seem to want to go very far to either direction so I’m not going to force the issue.

The last thing you see before you die.

At the hips we have the usual skirt armor and on the Zaku it blends really well when in a neutral pose. There’s something satisfying about kicking the legs forward and watching the skirt piece come apart. Anyway, the Zaku can kick out to the side at 45 degrees or better, and can kick forward a fair amount with almost nothing backwards. There is a thigh twist and the knee is double-jointed to bend past 90 degrees and it looks good. At the ankle, the feet can rock side to side a bit and the foot bends forward a surprisingly amount, but not back very far. There is a toe hinge that you have to pull out on first before it will bend back. It’s odd, but it works. All of the joints on this guy work very smooth and there’s a nice tolerance to them. He can wield his heavier weapons with little issue and overall I’m very happy with how the articulation turned out.

That’s a pretty big gun.

For the accessories, we have the usual load-out of hands plus a little “tree” to clip them onto. There’s gripping hands in the box, plus another set of tighter gripping hands, trigger hands, relaxed hands, and open hands. For weapons, this guy is pretty well stacked. There’s a collapsed Heathawk that can clip onto either hip plus a deployed Heathawk that’s longer and features a golden blade to simulate it heating up. He has his 120mm machine gun with circular magazine that can be held or stored on the rear of the figure with an adapter. He also has the Zaku bazooka which has an adapter for the rear of the figure and a second one for a shoulder mount meaning this guy can store all three of his main weapons without issue. The bazooka features a removable gravity-fed magazine that even has a little sculpted missile in it. Both weapons feature moving parts to help facilitate with posing, but feature little in the way of paint aside from the cameras on them. No effects parts are included for them either, but they can take them. The machine gun uses the same effect part as the ground Gundam’s machine gun while the bazooka uses a rocket effect that, as far as I know, has not been included in any 08th MS Team release. There’s also an interchangeable plate for the arm shield that replaces the spiked portion with a flat one as some Zaku in the show carried such a shield. Lastly, we have two effect parts for the Zaku’s rear thrusters, though these ones are not ball-jointed like the ground Gundam Desert type. The Zaku’s thrusters are on ball joints so you can at least adjust them there.

The figure holds this bazooka reasonably well, though the front handle is useless in a firing pose. Of course, with no included FX part it’s hard to say how well it truly works since those tend to add a lot of heft.

It’s a solid assortment of accessories, though as seems to always be the case with Tamashii Nations releases, I’m left wishing we got some more effect parts. This guy has spots on the figure where gunfire blasts can be affixed, like on the shield, to make it look like it’s under fire. And of course there’s both weapons that can use some. I really wish the bazooka came with a missile effect because the one included in the Options Set doesn’t fit. There is a part in that set though intended for the Zaku and it’s a battle damaged one. It’s basically a stump that can replace the figure’s left arm. It pops off and on pretty painlessly and it’s cool. It’s meant to allow for a recreation of the Shiro vs Norris fight in that second episode. The Zaku also has the usual peg hole for a Tamashii Nations stand, but does not come with one.

War. War never changes. Except when it does and includes light sabers and hot axes wielded by giant robots.

Overall, I’m really happy with this release from The Robot Spirits line. I might even like this Zaku more than the Gundam Ground Types I’ve reviewed as it’s real easy to work with. There’s plenty of options for a display right out of the box, and more if you have some additional accessory parts. It doesn’t feel as overwhelming as the two Gundams which almost have too many options that I can never settle on anything. And then when I do, I usually wind up feeling like my posing is way too vanilla for what they’re capable of. Nevertheless, that’s a “me” problem, and so is my desire to add another Zaku! If anything, I’m disappointed I only got one, but at around $70 via US retailers, it’s not really the type of release one should army build. Like the Gundam Ground Type, there is at least a variant of sorts on the way in the form of the Gouf Custom that I plan to get so I will have another Zeon unit to join this one. It’s just do I want to make it an even 3 on 3 some day? We’ll see.

The Robot Spirits RX-79 (G) Gundam Ground Type Ver. A.N.I.M.E.

We are entering the world of Robot Spirits!

When it comes to Mobile Suit Gundam I am a casual fan, at best. Like a lot of people my age, it wasn’t really something that was on my radar until Cartoon Network started airing Gundam Wing in the late 90s, and once it did, I would pretty much watch whatever Gundam series Cartoon Network chose to air. It was around the same time that Bandai started bringing some of its Gundam model kits state-side. I had my opinions on the shows, but I always loved the look of the mobile suits, and in particular, the ones featured in Wing. I would pick up a few 1/144 scale and 1/100 scale kits over the years, but mostly dropped off in the early 2000s. I only had so much room for toys, and money, and the kits were pushed aside in favor of other things.

A standard box with a teeny, tiny, window.

When it comes to the actual anime series, I am most definitely a fan of The 08th MS Team. It’s my favorite of the Gundam shows I’ve engaged with, so when I saw that the main Gundam from that series was slated for release this year, I decided to give The Robot Spirits a shot. The Robot Spirits strikes me as the mecha version of the Tamashii Nations S.H.Figuarts line of action figures that I am most definitely familiar with. Just like how Bandai has Dragon Stars and SHF for its Dragon Ball figures, there’s basically a Target version of Gundam and Robot Spirits with the Robot Spirits being more high end, and thus, more expensive. I had never seen nor held or even sought out information on the line and when I saw this version go up for pre-order I decided to keep myself in the dark and just react to it when it finally shipped.

Let’s rock!

And obviously it has for I now have my figure in-hand after 6 or 8 months since I placed the pre-order. My first reaction upon getting this thing is, “Wow, this thing is small!” The box is larger than a SHF release, though it’s still a resealable cardboard box with a window and a blister inside. Only the window here is tiny so you basically can just see the head and a portion of the torso of the figure inside. As for the figure, it is indeed small. This mobile suit, which is hundreds of feet tall in the show, is a mere five inches and actually a tick under that officially. That’s not necessarily a bad thing on its own, but it did surprise me. I know a lot of Transformers fans were a bit surprised at how small the RED subline turned out, but my RED Soundwave looks like a giant beside this thing. Again, not really a bad thing assuming the line scales well from figure to figure, but I emphasize it because some people might be surprised and not in a good way. Me personally, I’ve always found smallish figures to be kind of charming, which is at odds with my also loving big, chunky, figures. I just see it as a quirk of a line and it’s fun, but that’s just me.

None of these figures are made by the same company so no expectation of scale exists, but this Gundam is quite the little guy. Left to right: Banpresto Weltall, Gundam Ground Type, Hasbro RED Soundwave. and Super 7 Voltron (rear).

Size out of the way, the figure is largely as expected. It certainly feels similar to a SHF release. The plastic is fairly light and the figure is comprised of numerous small pieces. In that respect, it also reminds a lot of the old model kits that I used to assemble, only more durable and more refined. There’s lots of detail in the sculpt, especially on the head. I’ve always liked this unique shade of gray this suit is presented in and Bandai pretty much nailed that aspect. Also like SHF, there’s not a ton of paint to speak of, but there’s probably more here than on some of the Dragon Ball figures I have. There’s a metallic green applied to the eyes and a line of red beneath them that looks quite sharp. There’s some smaller details done in black and some red and yellow paint applied to certain areas. And what is there is remarkably clean. I don’t see one smudge or soft edge on any of the painted parts. It’s also possible some of the applications are decals, like the green at the top of the “crown,” which looks good too. I think the only criticism I could levy on the presentation of this figure is that it doesn’t look like something made of metal. And it’s not, but the suit in the anime is. That would take a more elaborate paint job to add cel-shading. They could have tried to give it a glossy finish, but I’m partial to matte when it comes to my figures so I won’t go that far. That’s a matter of taste though, what’s here is done quite well.

Does it make sense for a giant robot to sneak around like this? Probably not, but it looks cool!
Now that’s what I call a gun!

Aesthetics are one thing, but what a lot of people buy these high-end imports for is the articulation and a Gundam presents some challenges, and some opportunities, given it’s unique look. There’s definitely a lot here and I think Bandai did a pretty good job of balancing out the aesthetic and the articulation. The head sits on a ball peg and it has range up, down, tilt, and the usual swivel. There’s a fair amount of space carved out for the head too so while you always have to be mindful of parts rubbing, the head is fairly protected. The shoulders are on ball pegs and the shoulder pad, or pauldron, has some wiggle. There’s actually two butterfly joints, one in the shoulder and then another in the chest. Neither offers much range, but neither one also takes away from the sculpt so I suppose it’s fine. The shoulder can swivel on that ball peg, so it’s basically your biceps swivel, and the double-jointed elbow has terrific range. The hands are on ball joints and sit rather deep in the wrist and provide ample range in all directions.

When guns won’t do, you reach for the beam saber.
There’s an optional “flash” piece for the base of the blade that I think is supposed to represent the blade being first fired-up.

The torso is where Bandai can’t really do much. There is an ab crunch, but it just tilts forward a small amount. I was always terrible at geometry, but it looks like it’s maybe 30 degrees. There’s even less backwards. There is a swivel at the waist, but it’s more like a pivot as it doesn’t move much in either direction. That’s basically it for the bad articulation, as below the waist is fine. The hips are just ball joints, but the figure can kick as far forward as the “skirt” pieces will allow. Those are also on ball joints and can be manipulated or even popped off entirely, if you wish. The thigh twists, or pivots, at that ball joint and the knees are double-jointed and can be bent all the way back. The ankles are on more ball pegs and they’re a bit more limited than other spots, but you still get some forward and back as well as tilt. The piece going over the feet is attached to a ball peg on one side so it can be moved out of the way to a certain degree. The center piece of the foot is also articulated and can be bent forward, which just mostly gets it out of the way so that the toe hinge can be used. I say toe hinge, but the joint is basically in the middle of the foot. It’s a bit unusual, but it works to make the feet more dynamic and to get the figure into certain poses, like a kneel-down. And because the figure is pretty light and the feet large, it’s pretty easy to pose and position.

The “swoosh” blade is pretty damn fun.
If it’s your preference, the beam saber blades can be turned into thruster effects.

The articulation is rather good, bordering on great, which is nice because this figure also comes with a ton of stuff. For starters, there’s 5 sets of hands: Open, tight grip, looser grip, trigger, and a relaxed set. Bandai includes a plastic “tree” to store them on too, which is pretty cool. There’s also the classic 08 shield which pegs onto the left forearm. It’s on a double-hinged piece so it can sit flush to the arm or be raised out and in front. The figure comes with two beam sabers and there’s a compartment on each “calf” that can open for storage of the beam saber hilt. There’s also five, translucent, red, attachments for the beam sabers: a burst, two thin blades, one thicker blade, and a swoosh effect. The burst can be placed at the base of any of the blades to add to the illusion, or you can go without. They look great, though the swoosh and thick blade are a tad heavy and I find the hilt prone to spinning in the hand of the figure when trying to pose it. The figure basically needs to grip the upper portion of the hilt to keep it in place.

Check the shield, baby!
Even the Joker might find this gun excessive.

The rest of the accessories kind of work together. There’s a frame that attaches to the figure’s back via peg holes. Putting it on removes the rear ab crunch range entirely, but since there wasn’t much to begin with, it’s hardly a loss. There are prongs on the top and bottom that are on hinges and can be folded out or against the frame. There’s also two thrusters on ball joints, and if you wish, the skinny beam saber effects can be inserted into them to simulate the figure blasting off. The frame is mainly for the large, gray, backpack which exists to store the firearms. The figure comes with two guns, a small, 100mm, machinegun a really big, 180mm, one. The guns can be broken down and attached to additional frames that can then slide into the backpack for total weapon storage. The clips for the smaller gun are stored on the side of the figure’s hips while the banana clip of the larger weapon just goes into the backpack. I’ll likely refer to the instructions for awhile when trying to assemble and disassemble the guns, but the frame for the larger one does have different sized holes to make it somewhat idiot proof. The actual guns, when assembled, are just colored plastic and I do wish there was some paint. I also wish we didn’t have to buy the options accessory pack to get some muzzle flash effects. Just one would have been nice because that pack is 50 bucks and I’m not sure if I’ll bite on it. It’s possible to use a beam saber effect for the guns, but it looks kind of silly and adds more weight to the 180mm gun which is already a hefty weapon.

Packed everything except lunch.

The backpack itself just slides onto the frame when the prongs are open. It’s fairly light, but so is the figure so adding it to the figure will throw off the balance. It’s not impossible to work with though and I still found the figure easy enough to pose even with a full backpack. I do find the beam sabers to be a bit more fun to pose the figure with, but the guns are cool too. The larger one is cumbersome, but it’s supposed to be. Usually in the show, the suit would drop to one knee and aim off of the shield (something you can replicate with the accessory pack) while the smaller gun is more of a run and gun style of armament. The way the guns break down can also make them a bit of a chore to pose as they’ll come apart at times when you’re not trying to do that, but that can also help in posing, so it’s a good and bad feature. The 180mm gun also has multiple methods when it comes to holding it, so there’s a lot of variety available when it comes to posing. I love the overall concept of the weapon storage. My only nitpick is the compartment for the beam saber hilts is surprisingly tricky to open. Every time I do it I think I’m going to break something. Lastly, there is one other accessory and it’s a second yellow “crown” piece for the figure’s head. I’m pretty sure it’s only included because it’s a small, rigid, piece of thin plastic that could easily break so it’s a good piece of foresight for Bandai to just give everyone a replacement.

The large gun breaks down into several pieces, while the smaller one just has a removable clip (the grey piece) and the shoulder support articulates.
They then go onto two base pieces which I’m actually getting the hang of doing without referencing the instructions. It helps that each piece is a different shape so you basically can’t put something where it doesn’t belong.
It then all fits neatly into the backpack. It’s snug, but it works.

This figure is pretty damn impressive, but one thing we haven’t touched on is price. This guy did not come cheap. You will be hard pressed to find this priced below 60 bucks, and the places that have it that low probably have a fairly substantial shipping charge. Most places seem to price it at 70, which is what I paid at Big Bad Toy Store where it’s presently on backorder. That’s a lot of money for a figure that’s technically less than 5″ in height, and really it’s a lot of money for any figure. I was able to justify it because this is going to be the only Gundam line I collect and I presently have the desert variant ordered through Premium Bandai as well as the Zaku, Gouf custom Zaku, and the second option parts set which comes with the hover truck. I think once I have all of those together I’ll have myself a nice, tidy, display and I’ll be set on 08th MS Team figures. Basically, the only figure from the show I’m not interested in is the RGM mobile suit and I’m still on the fence when it comes to the option parts set (I wish they were like 30 bucks instead of 50). It’s great to see the 08th MS Team get some love from Bandai in this line and I’m certainly happy to dip my toe into it, even if I feel like I need to sell a kidney or something to get a full set.

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