Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: MG 1/100 Zeta Gundam - 20th Anniversary Edition

Made specially for the 20th Anniversary of Gundam (a long, long time ago) the shiny metallic-plated rendition of the master-grade Zeta Gundam is still easy to find. It looks incredible, but has all of the same flaws as the Zeta's first master-grade incarnation. It's a cheap kit--and you get what you pay for.

The Zeta's head is typical of the older MG models. A couple polycaps, a two halves of a skull, transparent eyes and forehead-sensor. It looks really cool--but that's just the way the design of the Zeta is--and is molded almost entirely in silver plastic. You have the parts to make two seperate V-Fins on the model: one set that is rigid (as seen in the picture) and the other allows you to fold the V-Fins up in the "transformation" configuration.

The torso is a mess. Even though the plastic is coated in tangible shiny awesomeness, the actual construction of the kit is nearly identical to the first version of the MG Gundam. I spent a great deal of time both reading the instructions and actually building the torso, but to be honest I'm still not entirely sure how I managed. To accomodate the transformation into the Wave-Rider, the torso essentially collapses in on itself. That means it's made of several small pieces of plastic and is completely hollow. As such, the torso can barely support its own weight, let alone that of the harms and backpack. It looks okay on the outside, but if you touch it--even with the smallest modicrum of physical pressure--it's liable to fa fall inside itself and really ruin whatever pose you've set the model in. The backpack that attaches to the torso is just as bad, if not worse. You have three large components (two "wings" and a "tail") that all attach to the rear of the torso by a single polycap. The joints are very loose and left to the manipulations of gravity the backpack WILL fall out of place, making your shiny Zeta Gundam look absolutely horrid. The only solution that I have found is to angle both "wings" down and outwards so that the bottom parts are pressing against the "tail". That way all three parts will press together and hold themselves in place--and this only works of the Zeta is positioned standing upright.

The arms are nice, but somewhat boring. There are holes for you to attach accessories like the shield and grenade-launchers to the forearms, but other than that they're pretty simple. The arms have a limited range of movement and are very lightweight, but their construction is significantly more solid than that of the Zeta's torso and backpack, which is a small plus.

The legs are almost as boring as the arms. They have a greater range of movement that ought to have allowed for some nice variety with posing--but any other stance than standing up right will leave the backpack falling off, so that potential is pretty much wasted. The gold-lined exhaust/thruster panels are a nice touch and the feet are pretty flexible. Other than that, there's not much to say.

The weapons are really cool. First, you have the simple beam sabers--and even though they're really just tiny plastic cylinders, they look really cool with the black coating. Then you have the shield which is a pretty simple affair; the panel lines are a bit hard to see, and inking them in yourself would detract from the shininess, so if you want to make it look good you'll need some creativity. The beam rifle and mega-launcher are very, very cool. The beam rifle is a long, narrow piece molded in shiny black plastic (which looks a lot cooler than it sounds) and the mega-launcher is enormous. The barrel of the mega-launcher extends and various armor plates and handles fold out from it; fully extended the mega-launcher is taller than the actual model. Sure, it's true to the anime--but it's very imposing.

 One thing to note: unlike the beam rifle (and virtually everything else but the polycaps) the mega-launcher does not have the metallic coating applied, and is molded in dull gray plastic instead. Apparently the model is supposed to be able to transform into the Waverider; I had enough trouble getting the thing to stand up without looking ridiculous, and I'm not willing to waste that effort--and risk destroying the model utterly--by attempting to through with the transformation.

The metallic-plated Zeta Gundam is a much, much superior product to the initial Zeta MG rendition. But it's still leagues away from the quality expressed in the HGUC model or even the EMSiA. It looks incredible, but it's very delicate. It feels very cheap, and it's fragile construction makes it hard to pose. If you really need a 1/100 scale master grade, I would recommend spending a bit more on the Zeta 2.0. If money is an issue, however, you're far, far better off opting for the High Grade Universal Century version the Zeta.

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