SD Gundam Exia
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
“Designated as a 3rd-generation Gundam, the Gundam Exia is built with close combat as its major strength. The unit is the successor to its second generation predecessor, GNY-001 Gundam Astraea; much of Exia's design was heavily influenced from Astraea. While there are strong similarities to Astraea, Exia has its own differences from weapons to systems.
“Exia was created as a high-mobility unit to greatly supplement its close combat role. In order to maximize its potential in speed and movement, its legs was given the best human articulation as possible to improve its Active Mass Balance Auto Control (AMBAC). The trade-off is the reduction of armor parts in several joints that reveal its internal frame; its MS frame is more vulnerable against enemy attacks.
However, the pilot can defend against enemy attacks with Exia's GN Shield. Its high mobility design has served Exia well as it has the lowest being-hit rate amongst the four 3rd-generation Gundams.”
Super Deformed Gundam (aka SD Gundam) is an ongoing series of model kits and toys geared towards both young and old which has been around since the mid-1980s. It represents and features the more prolific mobile suits and mobile armors from the various series and movies throughout the franchise’s 30+ year history. SD Gundam follows in the tradition of other types of anime and manga, specifically the chibi theme (“small child” or “short person” in a cute or endearing way). The body or object has oddly squat, squashed, and exaggerated proportions and then has a comically oversized head.
SD Gundam kits are very simple in assembly and feature, making them both cheap and fun to build compared to their properly-scaled and -proportionate counterparts (1/220, 1/44, 1/100, 1/60, etc.). They are a good way to introduce children to model building, but can also be a hobby for older collectors as well.
These kits are usually molded in at least two different colors, provide soft polycaps for movement, and some stickers to add color and detail where paint is not used. To make an SD Gundam kit look like it does on the box/instructions or in its respective show, however, you will need paint and other model building supplies which you need to provide. [Modern SD Gundam kits (1998-present) do not need glue, though it can be applied as you see fit.]
The kit is molded in white, blue, red, dark gray, and transparent green. (I must note that I bought this secondhand and already assembled. All stickers have been applied, and the previous owner added very minor panel lines.)
If you look really closely (my camera couldn't focus on it, sorry), you will see the word “GUNDAM” in super-tiny lettering molded just above the green forehead sensor!
The shoulders, wrists, and waist all have one-axis rotation via polycaps. The neck, upper arm joints (inside the shoulder armor, not at the torso), hips, and ankles, however, all have ball joints also via polycaps.
The Gundam Nucleus Drive (green dome in the chest, white cone on the back) has some features to it as well!
The GN Drive’s flywheel (transparent green) can be spun with your finger, just like it does in the show (though it will not continue spinning after you release it).
Also, to signify in a small way the activation of the Trans-Am System, the entire GN Drive can be unclipped from the torso. Once removed, the chest dome can be removed and flipped around to reveal a Trans-Am-like red dome, and then the Drive can be restored back within the torso like this. Be aware, though, that the GN Drive will only fit back in one direction, so you don’t have to worry about installing it upside down.
(Obviously, the entire figure will not turn- um… red, like it does in the show when Trans-Am is activated. You will have to repaint the whole thing to achieve that.)
“The Seven Swords System refers to the wide array of GN Blades that was designed and used on the Exia. While redundancy and flexibility were built into the weapons selection for multiple scenarios and specializations in close combat situations, this was intentional as Exia's armaments were solid armaments instead of beams. The development of solid state swords was to counter enemy units that could potentially rival the Gundams. The sheath of GN Particles surrounding the blade interacts with and eventually negates the tightly clustered particles of a GN Field for direct penetration.”
Exia’s primary weapon is the large GN Sword. In addition to its large physical blade, the weapon can reconfigure in an instant, retracting the blade to reveal a small GN Beam Pistol built into the hilt. If Exia needs to wield a different weapon, the entire GN Sword assembly can shift to the outer side of the right forearm to free up the right hand, or be discarded entirely.
The GN Long Blade and GN Short Blade are stored on detachable clips on the hips (though in the SD format, the clips end up encompassing the entire upper legs). The two GN Blades (they're essentially a samurai's katana and wakizashi swords, respectively) fit with friction onto the clips, but peg comfortably into the holes in the hands.
Exia’s four beam blade weapons are stored along both its lower back (GN Beam Dagger x2) and back of its shoulder armor (GN Beam Sword x2). While all four hilts are seen along the back of the figure, none of them can be removed as they are molded in place. This kit comes with singles of the GN Beam Saber and GN Beam Dagger, which look the same except for their blade lengths.
(I did not get the GN Beam Dagger in the exchange, so I apologize for not being able to show it.)
The GN Shield can gently clip onto either forearm, but it is typically seen on the left side. It contains no weapons, but is sharp enough to bludgeon opponents.
There is one more weapon the Exia possesses, but it is so small (and was only used once in the series) that it barely deserves mentioning. Like all of its Gundam predecessors, the Gundam Exia is equipped with GN Vulcan Guns, one built into the outer side of each forearm. In this universe, however, GN Vulcan Guns rapid-fire GN particles, not bullets. As is typical, they don’t do much against typical mobile suit armor (in-universe, it’s called E-Carbon), and are more for use against missiles, unarmored vehicles, and anti-personnel suppression.
I find a mecha whose primary and most-frequently-used weapon is a blade rather ridiculous. They can be shot down any number of ways before they get anywhere close. (Urban/inner city combat… okay, but even then the blade should not be a primary weapon.) So a mobile suit with no less than seven swords makes me all discombobulated.
So then… why get this one? Simple- it looks neat, and is more than a little badass. So shut up. (By the way, much as I love Syd Mead’s art, THIS is what the Turn-A Gundam should have looked like!)
This is the newest SD Gundam kit in my collection as far as the year it was released (2008), and it does many of the things I had wished earlier kits could do- multi-angle articulation utilizing ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips, and ankles, more molded colors (five compared to two in the only other SD Gundam I had up to this point), and more screen-accuracy as far as how parts went together and what pieces were molded in what colors. (If you’re new to painting these BB Senshi kits, this one is set up so that you don’t have to add any blue.) Speaking of molds, I am so thankful that these modern kits do a much better job of eliminating hollow sections! Only the GN Shield and underside of the molded-in hilts of the four Beam Sabers are hollow, and those can be easily overlooked. (That’s more like it!)
The majority of stickers in this kit are for shiny green sensors, which suits me just fine. Tthen they cover the ones in the chest and ears with transparent green domes, so that they are both preserved and more 3-D in presentation rather than just being opaque domes. (I kinda wish they’d included green stickers for the GN Condenser energy storage cells along the sides of the elbows and knees, but s’all good.)
I figure the hardest parts to paint will be the forearms and lower legs, since they have those grayish-purple power cables which are really tiny here.
Articulation is fantastic for such a small and squat figure, but obviously all the extra pointy clip-on accessories will get in the way now and then. (Nature of the beast, I suppose. Just gotta deal with it.) The head can turn quite nicely, but looking up and down is an issue since the neck is so small. Fortunately those tiny-ass unmovable GN Drive control fins along the front collar of the mobile suit don’t get too much in the way. I was surprised to discover the front hip armor (can’t really call it a “skirt”) pivots as a single piece, but even that little bit helps the legs swing forward just that much more.
The handle on the big GN Sword worries me a bit that it might break off easily because it’s so thin. On the flip side of that, the clips for the GN Sword, GN Shield, and GN Long/Short Blades like to pop off a lot; nothing a layer of paint to increase friction won’t fix. Considering how small the figure is overall, I suppose it’s a necessary evil to have them slip off as easily as they do.
The big treat of the figure, aside from its wonderful articulation, detail, and accuracy, is the very gimmicky removable GN Drive engine. Though the middle green part is a little made up, how awesome is it to be able to take a GN Drive out and look at it! I very much went “Awww-!” when I saw the transparent green cog on the while cone could spin just like it does in the show. Such a lovingly screen-accurate detail.
Now, flipping around the chest dome around to make the GN Drive go Trans-Am is a nice but unnecessary touch unless you plan to completely repaint the entire figure. (Even then, the GN Condenser in the chest turned glowing white, not red.) Still, nice bonus feature to have.
There is very little else I can say at this point without starting to repeat myself or petty nitpicking. The SD Gundam Exia kit is just a wonderful little figure, whether you paint it or not.
NOTE: It’s kind of sad that Bandai took the relatively minor effort to make an SD Gundam Exia Repair II (which was more or less identical to this set except for remolded blue shoulders, back skirt armor, and GN Sword II) and then completely neglected to make any other mobile suits into SD kits at all! As of 2012, the only “Gundam OO” mobile suits that have been made into BB Senshi kits are the Gundam Exia, Gundam Exia Repair II, OO Raiser, and OO Quan[T].
C’mon, Bandai, get it in gear already. Where’s my SD Gundam Dynames??? Or some Trans-Am System repaints? Sheesh!
|Posted 26 June, 2012 - 22:21 by EVA_Unit_4A|