RX-78-2 Gundam Ver. Ka with G-Fighter
Review by Optimal III
From 2001 to 2010, Gundam Fix Figuration was the main source of high-end Gundam toys. But Bandai has and still does occasionally take it to another level beyond that, usually by adding metal to the mix. This led to G.F.F. Metal Composite, which is exactly what it sounds like. So in my never-ending quest, I purchased the first Metal Composite at SDCC 2012. The subject being the first Gundam, of course.
At 1:100 scale, this toy is huge compared to a G.F.F. figure in the usual 1:144 standard. Besides the size and added metal content, Metal Composite is still about designs crafted by Hajime Katoki, so the heart of this series is the same. But at this size and cost, each release is now dedicated to being its own thing, rather than a basic frame that can have its shell swapped for another. The end result is a bigger, sturdier, and more finely constructed figure. And if anything separates or converts, it's what's supposed to happen and that's what we've got here with a Gundam with the Core Fighter and G-Fighter. I previously reviewed the G.F.F. version of the RX-78-2, and it's a fine figure, but it's got nothing on this, so don't look back and carry on.
The box is filled with a solid Styrofoam container, so there's just room for some type of survey card and a no-nonsense, no-thrills manual.
Let's all starts with the Core Fighter. It definitely looks sharp, and also transforms fine. Now,the missile launchers don't flip up and the Vulcan cannons aren't the most visible, but that's okay. What I wonder about is the scaling, because it's definitely smaller than both of my MG fighters. In fact, it's barely bigger than the MSIA version. Now, what I'm not okay with is the landing gear, which is crap. I can deal with there being two different sets, folded down and folded up. But it's ridiculously hard to plug any of these pieces in or take them out. I would just settle for leaving the folded up set in, but then the Core Fighter can't transform, so what's the point?
Anyways, docking at this stage is no trouble. For me, it seems easiest to insert the Core Block into the upper body and then connect to the lower body. You might have to lift the upper body a smidgen to close the cockpit, but everything is nice and tight.
All surface details present here are also on the smaller G.F.F. However, being much bigger makes everything so much clearer and easier to make out. And being mostly metal (legs, body) or something, has changed the surface texture. Maybe they just wanted a cleaner feel? Whatever the case, everything feels smooth to the touch. The paint and color layout is perfect. Nothing looks blemished or worn except for the hands, which I think is intentional. At the very least, this Gundam is absolutely pretty.
And it looks absolutely mighty too. Articulation isn't ridiculous, but it's good. The head stiffly rotates from side to side and can be tilted down slightly. The arms rotate vertically and extend horizontally at the shoulders, swivel at the biceps, hinge at the elbows, and rotate at the wrists. Thankfully, the hands are easily pulled out and replaced, with a total of four sets: clenched, open, closed grip, and closed grip with trigger finger. The antenna is removable and an extra is included, but it's stable and sturdy, so I'm guessing it's more for people uncomfortable with leaving it in when making the G-Armor or G-Bull who may misplace it one day.
The hips are on steady balls, but the hip skirts (especially on the side) keep the outward motion from being truly impressive. And, it doesn't take much to pop the side skirts off either. But the knees ratchet, and oh how they ratchet. I'm talking that sexy click every time you move the lower legs back. And they go surprisingly far back, almost enough for the Tony Jaa effect. All of this is stress-free too, because the solid construction means no panels or armor parts are trying to come out of place (other than the skirts).
The ankles tilt and lean, and the guards go with them, but you can adjust both however you please. The front half of the feet fold down too, but that's mainly for using the G-parts.
There's also an adjustable nozzle on the outside of each shoulder. They don't move that much, but I appreciate the thought.
The verniers on the backpack are adjustable as well, and the back half of the crotch is sculpted with additional thrusters, so full speed ahead.
Basically, this Gundam will do most things you could want, but it may not do them as well as you'd like. For the money this costs, both at release and now, I'd like it to be a little more flexible, but me thinks this is all on purpose. So I can't really call it a flaw as much as something I'm just not happy about.
Towering over the MSIA, RS, and Chogokin, it's really easy to see what Katoki does to the Gundam's design and whether you prefer one style over the other. But there's still more to consider...
The Vulcan cannons are present, and unlike the G.F.F., the antenna is not blocking them.
Six (four normal and two large) beam handles are included, and they're all accessible by the figure. The large ones can only be stored in the rear, and are too big to attach a blade to, so they're just for show. And that's a shame, because their larger size lets the Gundam hold them securely. The normal handles are too small, or rather, the closed grip hands aren't tight enough, so they just loosely sit there till they fall out, which will happen if you ever tilt them down even a little. They'll stay put if you really shove the grips in, but then it looks like the Gundam is grabbing the blades themselves.
On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with the shields as they do everything right. By default, there is no attachment, but a brace can be added with a rotating arm that hinges and plugs into either arm, which makes it perfectly easy to position. It can also store an additional 2 beam grips, making it possible for the Gundam to carry all 6 at once. The plug up top can be removed and used as a prop to keep the shield parallel to the arm or attach the second to stack them. The G.F.F. can do the former, but I'm not sure about the latter. It's also no longer possible to attach a shield to the backpack, but that's an acceptable loss. Overall, these are solid and look fantastic.
Out back, the rear armor below the waist splits open to carry a hyper bazooka. This is a huge improvement over the G.F.F. on two fronts. First, this is a dedicated part that's functional and works. With the G.F.F., you had to swap the rear armor to achieve this effect. And second, these hyper bazookas are solid pieces that don't need to be separated, so this is just swanky all around.
These hyper bazookas are also the best bazookas out of all the ones my various Gundams have. There's no trouble getting them set on the shoulders, and the Gundam holds them without issue. It's even easier because the hand grips and trigger assemblies actually pull down and out of the bazookas, making for a perfect shot every time. Their detailing is perfect, so I can't ask for anything more here.
Oh, and lest I forget, there's the beam rifle. It's impressive, but I don't know what's up with the single chain link at the bottom of the grip. It can be separated, but I have no idea what it's supposed to attach to. Regardless, the Gundam can actually hit some solid sniping poses, so we're good here too.
Moving on to the other half of the equation, here's the G-Fighter. It looks and feels as amazing as the Gundam, and is just as huge. It makes the MSIA version look an SD toy. Articulation lies in the beam cannons, which raise and lower independent of each other, and the tank treads. Covered in real rubber, they actually roll almost as good as rubber wheels. Give this thing a push and it'll make like an Autobot. The body is light with all the hollow space, but you get the heft in the treads, where everything but the actual treads is metal.
Once you've gone G-Armor, things become a bit more cumbersome. It's great to look at and still rolls smoothly, but don't try to pick it up without at least one hand holding it from beneath the treads. The problem is the treads are only kept in place by a vertical post that just slots into place. Nothing tight is happening here. The G-Fighter doesn't have this problem because the treads actually clip into the baseplate. I'm not sure how they could have solved this, but at least it's visually accurate and a perfect transform. The wings rotate down and back and the treads slide around on the bar attached to the front end. With the Gundam, the arms extend out at the shoulders, and the shields are attached with a two-piece bracket and a post that plugs into the rear half.
Things go back to manageable with G-Sky and G-Sky Easy. The former requires a small piece that gives the Core Fighter the clearance it needs to be attached and in fighter mode and the latter uses an additional larger piece to seal the opening.
Gundam Sky also benefits from some stability and ease of conversion, making it a fun mode.
I think my favorite mode with the G-parts is still G-Bull however. It's just neat how it's the front-half reversed with what almost looks like a bird's beak as a tail. Because of how the beam cannons are turned around and the yellow sphere on the top, they can't rotate at all. But that's made up for by this Gundam successfully rocking the beam rifle (or hyper bazookas if you prefer) while still carrying shields. And here, the tread post is inserted into the backpack at an angle and locked at an angle on the other side, so there's no problem with handling this tank. You can also see how the Gundam can be inserted with beam grips still plugged into their chargers.
And lastly, you can also go for G-Bull Easy, one more way that lets you have two units at once.
This set has a lot of great things going for it, and only a few minor nitpicky things going against it. Normally the choice would be clear and the joy would be obvious. But when said item is presented as a premium creation and it costs a lot of money, there's less room for exceptions. If I could have somehow bought this back in 2007 when it released for $100, the negatives wouldn't bother me at all. But I got it in 2012 for $200, and looking around now, it goes for $300+. What's really wacky is that you can get a different version without most of the tampos and G-Fighter in exchange for the beam javelin and hyper hammer, but it costs just as much.
Points are definitely awarded for this set being able to do all the different configurations with the G-parts and the Gundam. That's the best thing I can say. If you want a large-scale Gundam that's better than this and like saving money, go hunt down the AE. But if you love your Gokin, Katoki designs, or need that near perfect G-Fighter, this will probably be worth your while.
|Posted 15 June, 2015 - 17:58 by Optimal III|