HGAC Wing Gundam Zero
Review by ArshadAA
Bandai’s All Gundam Project aimed to have all lead Gundams from the animated shows available in High Grade 1/144 scale kit form with universal joints to allow for easy part swapping. This meant that Gundams from pre-2002 Alternate Universe shows would see the light of day at a faster pace after the slow trickle of them that started back in 2010.
After releasing Wing Gundam in late 2013, Bandai followed up with Wing Gundam Zero around six months later to round up the two main mobile suits from New Mobile Report Gundam Wing. You know the drill by now: Stupidly powerful big gun, makes its pilots go crazy, yada yada yada. Unlike the 2013 Master Grade version, this kit sticks more closely to the original Okawara design without any fancy deviations.
Inside the box you get 9 runners and a sticker sheet. I’m not an expert modeler by any means, but I’ve always tried my best to not rely on color stickers. So I’ve taken to habitually painting the parts on the runners as much as possible then doing any fine detailing later.
Construction is simple and fun.
Lots of nice panel lines on the white parts to detail. The eyes are generally the only part on kits that I generally use the sticker for because I don’t quite have the confidence and the tools to paint it myself.
The arms have a bit of an internal frame going on, and the shoulders alone are composed of 10 pieces with no less than 4 moving parts.
The lower legs are hollow to accommodate the transformation gimmick, but the joints make up for any deficiencies. Of particular note are the hip connections, which is a design dating all the way back to the early Perfect Grade kits then imported into the Master Grade line and finally into High Grade. Some kits from the second season of Gundam 00 started using them and the Gundam AGE line used them on pretty much all Federation kits. The earliest HGUC implementation I could find was on the Fullarmor Gundam 7th from 2009, but it didn’t get wide spread in new non-G Gundam molds until about 2 years later. Long story short this allows the legs to rotate independently of the hip connection which is now a peg instead of the more restrictive ball joints of old. Only the front leg armor moves and has a tendency to pop off. The back of the leg armor can swing up a bit but that’s only to accommodate the transformation.
The lower torso is the standard fare. The front skirt armor comes as a single piece that can be cut at the middle to allow each side to move individually.
The wing binders have plenty of panel lines on the inside to detail. I wish Bandai would figure out a way to make the yellow at the top a part. I always hated having to paint/apply stickers to that area.
The weapons also are no slouches in the details department, though I wish paneling small parts like the beam saber handles was easier. Painting the yellow on the rifle was a bit tricky without masking tape.
The completed kit stands about 13 cm tall to the top of its wing binders. As usual the binders make it a bit back heavy when unarmed.
All the joints are nice and tight, and the hip joint does wonders for letting legs do the splits. Foot articulation is average though.
The upper torso has a joint that allows it to bend forward a little, but unfortunately the lower torso connection is loose enough to pop the whole upper body off if you push it even a little.
Getting the model to kneel is doable but takes a bit of work.
The shoulder thrusters move and the shoulder armor opens up at two parts, including the white panel. However the beam saber handles cannot be stored there.
The wing binders open up and each assembly articulates at 4 points. For some reason however, opening up the binders loosens them a bit from their hinges and they need to be pushed back in before they can close properly. Also, the wing vulcans are missing again so I guess this is the standard now.
Accessory-wise, the kit cuts down on a lot of clutter by only having a single pair of holding hands.
The white collar pieces can be popped off to reveal a pair of tiny molded gatling guns that need to be painted.
The model comes with a pair of beam sabers. I felt that the handles were a bit oversized and went to compare them with the ones on the Master Grade Proto Zero version. Surprisingly the HG handle is longer than the MG one and can fit comfortable the MG model’s hands. The MG handle however is too thick to put into the HG model’s hands.
For the first time in the model kit history of this design, the shield doesn’t attach directly to the arm but instead has a rotating clip. The fit isn’t super tight but it does the job.
Piledriver gimmick present and accounted for.
Rounding out the arsenal is of course the Twin Buster rifle. It can split into two separate rifles each with a folding trigger handle so you can recreate all your favorite scenes where the Wing Zero blows something up just by looking at it funny.
For the transformation into Neo-Bird mode, the model once again avoids the pitfall of sacrificing ankle stability to accommodate the design’s bizarre leg transformation by employing part swapping. Unlike the Robot Spirits figure however, you only need to swap out the feet instead of the entire lower legs. The catch is that the alternate feet require a thruster part that you need to pop off the normal feet which is kind of annoying.
Note: It was at this point in the photoshoot that I realized I had put the wing binders on the wrong sides. It is an easy fix thankfully and you’d only notice it when you try to lay the open binders flat against the model’s back.
The model has a hole below the hip joint that allows it to be mounted on an Action Base 2’s peg type holder. There’s another hole on the rear skirt armor for Neo-Bird mode.
This is a great kit for those who love the original TV design and obviously a huge improvement over the original 1995 release. You can never have enough Zeroes…
I think I have a problem…
But wait! There’s more!
Around the time of the kit’s release, Bandai ran a HG Customize Campaign that sent out one of six random runners with each purchased model kit containing a weapon and parts to customize older gunpla releases. I got the somewhat mundane A runner which consisted of parts for a bazooka as well as parts for swapping out gunpla arms and waists. I only built the bazooka and while I don’t find it as cool as some of the mid-UC variants, it’s not bad after some paint on the targeting sensor and some panel lining. The bazooka can be mounted on a hard point but I don’t know of any kits that support this feature other than the HGBF Kampfer Amazing.
|Posted 1 July, 2015 - 18:10 by ArshadAA|