Wing Gundam Zero
Review by ArshadAA
To say that Bandai has a very bipolar nature when it comes to deciding which incarnation of the Gundam Wing mecha represent the series is an understatement. While Hajime Katoki’s streamlined but somewhat bizarrely themed redesigns almost always took center stage in merchandise and game appearances, recent years have proved that there’s still a place for Kunio Okawara’s more toyetic and cartoony versions. I for one will always prefer the TV version of Wing Zero over the ridiculous extreme makeover version from the OVA.
Within the context of the After Colony universe of Gundam Wing, Wing Zero is hailed as the most powerful mobile suit in existence. It became a healthy competitor in schoolyard and internet forum discussions about who would win in a fight by virtue of packing a gun that could instantly level mountains with an almost comedic level of effectiveness. After releasing the Endless Waltz version, the Robot Spirits line was blessed with its red, white, blue, and yellow incarnation.
Wing Zero comes in a wide box housing a single plastic tray.
The base figure stands about 12.5 cm tall to the top of its wing binders. Its bright colors are recreated beautifully with a few bits of light gray added to the white parts and some minor panel lining on the faceplate. Unfortunately, the sweet double v-fin on my figure was slightly crooked and didn’t come with a soft PVC alternative.
Articulation is the same as what you’ve come to expect from the excellent Robot Spirits line. While the arm and shoulder joints are nice and tight, everything below the waist is a bit loose, which spells disaster for a back heavy design like this. It’ll still take a bit of fidgeting to get the figure to stand upright, which of course will come to naturally if you’ve owned any previous version of the Wing Zero.
The figure retains opening shoulder armor with a moving thruster gimmick, but unfortunately the white panel housing the beam saber recharge rack doesn’t open, which currently leaves the 1/60 kit as the undisputed king of having this gimmick fully intact.
Wing Zero’s distinctive wing binders return with a few new tricks. They can still open up and move on a double jointed connector, but now there’s an extra joint at the top that allows them to swivel up even further. This, however, resulted in the loss of the wing vulcans that were normally placed on top of the booster units as they’ve been replaced by the relocated binder hinges.
The feet can bend and have a decent range of motion. The lower leg armor can move up and down, but the front ones have a very narrow angle of movement and tend to pop off if you go over their limits. Note that the two halves of the feet are separated by a double joint. If the bottom parts of the feet aren’t in line with each other then the figure will have trouble standing upright.
The right foot on my figure had a nasty little seam. Hooray for first production wave defects.
Moving on to accessories, Wing Zero comes with the standard three pairs of closed fist, open palm, and holding hands. There’s also an extra right hand for more dynamic beam saber poses and a joined hand piece for holding the Twin Buster rifle directly in front of the figure.
Two green bladed beam sabers with round handles fit snugly in the holding hands.
The white collar pieces can be popped off and replaced with a pair of sweet looking mini-gatling guns.
Wing Zero’s shield of course needs no introduction. I like the aircraft nosecone look it has and the purely cosmetic yellow canopy. I also like the fact that it can still attach to the arm without an ugly clip piece. Its piledriver gimmick is also intact.
Finally, you can’t have Wing Zero without its iconic boom stick: The Twin Buster rifle. This and the shield were always the counter weight to balance out Wing Zero’s heavy wing binders. While previous versions of the Wing Zero struggled to hold the combined rifle in anything but a vertical direction without support due to weak arm joints, the RS figure’s superior engineering finally allows the design to live up to its potential.
The individual rifle handles can fold inside for when you combine the rifles or attach them to the shield in Neo-Bird mode.
The figure comes with two adapters for Tamashii Stage act stands. One attaches to its back in mobile suite mode and the other pegs into the rear skirt armor in Neo-Bird mode. Unfortunately, the peg is too shallow to hold the sprawling form of the transformation and is generally useless, so stick with whatever pincer-type holder you have.
The original Wing Gundam’s transformation was a very simple affair that involved little more than rotating the torso, folding down the shoulders and attaching the shield to the back to act as a nosecone. Wing Zero’s transformation is nearly identical save for one bizarre difference: Instead of bending downwards, the feet rotate and swing into the legs, then the foot mounted thruster pivots backwards through the heel. I have no idea why Okawara did this, as it cursed basically every model kit and figure version of this design with weak ankle joints and hollow lower legs.
The RS figure bypasses this issue completely with the no-frills method of part swapping. There are an alternate red torso piece and two alternate lower legs that allow you to transform the figure to Neo-Bird mode in all its barely aerodynamic glory. Unfortunately, there’s no way to lock the legs together so any time you handle this mode expect to constantly have to readjust the legs.
It only took 17 years, but Wing Zero finally receives a figure that mostly does justice to its design and reinforces the Robot Spirits line’s position as one of the best things that happened to mecha figures.
|Posted 28 September, 2012 - 11:34 by ArshadAA|