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Julien posted a topic in Sci-fi & Real Space ReviewsMS-06F ZAKU II Gundam Suit 1:100 Bandai Master Grade Gundam or as often referred to Gundam Series is a sci-fi franchise created by Sunrise in Japan that features giant robots or "mobile suits", that carry the name "Gundam." The franchise began in the late 1970s as an anime TV series called Mobile Suit Gundam, this featured the giant robots in a militaristic war setting. The popularity of this genre has spiralled from there, and they have since appeared in multiple television series, movies, manga, novels, and video games. The franchise has also led to the creation of one of the biggest toy and hobby franchises in the Japanese toy industry currently pulling in approximately £100 million a year in sales. The Principality of Zeon, also referred to as the Duchy of Zeon and Zeon Dukedom; is a nation featured in Mobile Suit Gundam. It was in control off the colonies of Side 3 and fought against the Earth Federation. The MS-06FS Zaku II is one of many variants of the standard MS-06F Zaku II created by the Principality of Zeon during the One Year War. The suit features head mounted 40mm Vulcan Guns. The suit features a shoulder mounted ballistic shield to block incoming ballistic and explosive projectiles, and can also be used in close quarters battle with enemy mobile suits. Other hand held weapons include A Heat Hawk axe-shaped close combat weapon, which uses a super-heated blade to cut through the enemy's armour, the thermal energy being generated by suit's thermonuclear reactor. The machine gun is the standard 120mm weapon for Zaku type mobile suits. This is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used, its effectiveness against heavy armour is very limited and it holds 100 rounds per drum, with spare drums that can be stored on waist armour racks. The other major hand held weapon is the 280mm Bazooka, and super bazooka. These fire explosive rounds that are quite effective against the armour of Earth Federation mobile suits and battleships. These can an be stored on the rear waist armour of the suit when not in use. The Kit The kit comes in a bigger box than I thought which gives some idea of how large the suit will be even in 1:100 scale. Inside there are six sprues of light grey plastic and four sprues of light green plastic. There is a clever spure which combines Dark grey, light grey, green and clear plastic all on the same sprue. Finally there are two sprues of a flexible plastic, one of these has a second colour plastic moulded around the primary colour. All of the parts are extremely well moulded with no imperfections that I can see. It should noted that the kit is designed to be put together without paint, or glue. In the instructions they suggest only the pilot be painted if you wish. As this kit will be the subject of a build review I will leave you with the sprue shots and combine the construction notes into the build review. Conclusion Gundam is a new genre of the hobby to me, and when researched it has a massive following in Japan which now seems to be taking off in the west. There are it seems a vast array of kits in different scales, as well as TV series, films, books etc. It would seem the sky is the limit. There are even an array of tools available for building the kits (See Japan Cool's Website) This looks to be a well engineered kit which should fit together with no problems (I hope! build review coming soon). Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Wing Gundam EW Build Review Colonies Liberation Organisation Mobile Suit XXXG-01W 1:144 Real Grade (RG) Bandai Shane sent this new release over for review, which you can find here if you're interested - there's a load of multi-coloured sprue pics before I set to cutting the bits off. It's number 20 from the Real Grade grade range, and is the latest in a growing range of highly detailed Mecha kits that must number in their hundreds if you cover all grades and scales I've built a trio of Bandai's Star Wars kits, which are equivalent to the High Grade (HG) kits, so although I've not built a Gundam before, I'm familiar with the style of assembly, and in awe of their engineering ingenuity. This is my first Gundam, so I'm going to take it easy on the build, doing little or no pre-painting of parts before assembly. I'm easily confused these days anyway, so I don't want to try to run before I can walk in the genre, so I'll limit my "painting" to a little light weathering and maybe some detail painting after construction. Let the battle commence! First up are the leggies, which have the RG skeleton at their core. In case you didn't read the review, they're co-moulded on the sprue so that the ABS and Styrene parts don't adhere to each other, leaving you with a part that is mobile. The pic below shows the left leg in the relaxed straight position, while the right leg is in (almost) fully extended kneeling/leaping position, which shows the huge range of movement they have built-in. Sure, you might not want to play with them even though you can, but it gives you a massive range of dynamic poses that you can show off the finished article. I've not yet put any of the armour parts on yet so you can see the skeleton, but that's the next step. I'm also not sure how much of the skellington will be visible after (I suspect very little), so I've only cleaned up the sprue gate marks, and left the moulding seams. On the subject of sprue gates, there are quite a few, as there were two injection processes, one for each plastic type, but the factory have made a neat job of removing the first injection sprues, leaving only a little pip to clean up. I might be wasting my time cleaning them anyway, but this is all new territory, so I won't lose any sleep over it. I shall hopefully learn from any mistakes I make on the way Having just had to mark all the points of movement, it's quite incredible that this is all fitted into a part that is barely 7cm tall when stood up. Hats off the designers at Bandai Sorry about the dust all over the parts... didn't notice until later
The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon 1:144 Bandai It may have escaped your notice that there's a new Star Wars film coming Christmas 2015, which is set 30 years after the original, with new peril, new characters and new hardware. It also marks the return of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy – The Millennium Falcon, which is perhaps the most widely recognised and iconic space craft, even though it's pure fiction! I'll not bore you with the history of this customised Correllian cargo ship, but in the years since she last graced our screens by participating in the destruction of the second Death Star with Lando Calrissian at the controls, there have been some changes, the most notable of which is the replacement of the old circular dish that got knocked off escaping from the Death Star inferno with a brand new low-profile rectangular unit. There have also been some minor detail changes to the "greeblies" that festoon the exterior of the ship, but from a distance she's pure nostalgia. Han is dead-on when he says "Chewie, we're home". The Kit Bandai have the license for Star Wars model kits in the Far East, and they have been trotting out kit after kit, beginning with some 1:12 figures that you really should check out if you haven't already. Some original series kits in 1:72 and 1:48 followed, and now the hardware and figures from The Force Awakens (TFA) are starting to appear. The Millennium Falcon is the second of the 1:144 range, pipped to the post by Boba Fett's Slave 1, and it arrives in a much deeper box that has the same footprint as the other kits, which is handy for stacking. A member of staff at Hermes (who we shall call "buffoon") had used the box as a stepping stone in the warehouse however, and the box had been badly crushed, but the contents were surprisingly unharmed apart from one of the sprues having a broken intersection. Inside the deep black box are seven sprues in light grey baboon…sorry, styrene (in-joke), although one of these has the clear and transparent blue parts moulded into it, which is a technique that Bandai use a lot in their kits, injecting one colour and then changing the configuration of the gates to inject further colours, which adhere to the other styrene and make up one multi-colour sprue. If you've not seen it before, it's quite a cool technique. Another sprue in a sandy yellow holds the base and stand parts, with both decals and stickers included to cater for the modeller and the younger audience that perhaps just want to knock up a kit with their dad to play with. The instruction booklet follows the design cues of the box, and is printed on glossy paper in colour. With this being intended for a Japanese audience, the instruction booklet is understandably almost totally written in Japanese, apart from a few key portions, such as headings and so on. The kit is designed to snap together without any glue, but don't be fooled into thinking that will mean a compromise in detail, because I was utterly stunned by the level of detail that Bandai have achieved with this kit. Having built the older Finemolds kit of the original Falcon that purports to be 1:144, it is officially left for dead in the detail department. The first thing I noticed about the Bandai kit is that it is substantially larger and deeper than the Finemolds kit, with a distinct curve to the top and bottom surfaces that is much greater than the older kit. I did a little looking around, and it would appear from the data held on the Star Wars Wookipedia here, that the Finemolds kit is underscale by quite a margin, leaving it 2cm shorter from the rear to the tips of the loading mandibles up front. It is also shallow, but as the figure included the dish that isn't present on this kit, it's more difficult to decide by how much. Another thing to notice is that the new kit is designed to accept a lighting kit that is available separately, although supplies of these are currently scarce, but our good friends at Japan:cool are trying their hardest to source some to ease the way. Basically, there's a battery box that slips into a receptacle in the underside, with a number of LEDs threaded through holes in the model to clip into holders within the important areas such as engines, cockpit and gun turrets. There are also some fun poseable parts such as the crew access ramp, the turrets, dish, and the option to install landing gear or have the bays closed over. How does it go together? It starts with the cockpit, which is although comprises only two parts, has a full cockpit tub with four chairs and instrument panel, plus a busy bulkhead and access door that will look great painted up. There are also a set of seated figures that are surprisingly recognisable at the scale, but Bandai have been producing these tiny figures for their Gundam kits for years. You also get a set of the same folks in the standing pose if you wanted to put the kit in a diorama setting. You get two each of Chewbacca, Han, and the new characters Rey, who appears to be the female lead, and Finn, the outcast First Order Stormtrooper, who turns out to be brim-full of Midi-chlorians and becomes a Jedi. The cockpit interior slots into the lower part of the cabin, which has a separate conical nose part, is joined by the upper tunnel that disappears into the hull, and then you have a choice of either a clear canopy with decals applied to the raised framing, or a styrene part that has no glazing, which is more true to the original filming miniatures of the first trilogy. The loading mandibles are next, with each one almost a mirror image of its opposite number. The two circular cut-outs are filled top and bottom by an assembly that snaps together from three highly detailed parts, which give a busy, layered look, and are held between the top and bottom halves, with the sides filled by detailed inserts, over which additional pipework and detail parts are installed. These parts are incredibly delicate, so will need handling with care when removing and cleaning them up. The lower hull has various cut-outs for access areas and the battery box, which receive the same treatment as the cut-outs on the mandibles, after which the side detail parts are clipped into the hull on each side, with the lower gun turret detailed with a tub into which a seat is dropped, then covered with the clear glazing. Detail in there is superb for its size, and it really deserves some lighting. The docking ports on the sides are built up from an inner and outer part, which again has two layers of detail moulded in, and they clip neatly in place in their recesses. At the rear is the engine exhaust, which after the first films, had a design done by ILM that is replicated here by a styrene outer part with rows of rectangular holes, through which the inner clear blue part will be seen. If the kit is subsequently lit, the blue glow will flood from the rear, amplified by the tubular ridges moulded into the blue part. If you elect to depict the engines shut-down, you replace the blue panel with three styrene parts that have extra detail moulded in that represent the exhaust ports. At this stage, the battery box is inserted if you have one, and the LED holders are slotted into position, which the LEDs push into, holding them firmly and directing the light accordingly. Fine exhaust petal actuators are added to each section of the outer, as well as the larger parts that appear along the underside, and the battery box lid is slotted into the aperture, with details added around it. The upper hull's turret is identical to the lower, and fits into the central hole in the same fashion with the cabin and seat under glass, which have decals on the sheet if you don't feel like masking and painting them. The upper hull has cut-outs to fill with equipment from layered parts, and the six circular vents on the rear deck, which surprisingly have some nice detail moulded into the hull under them, so it's a shame and a bit of a head-scratcher that it'll never be seen again. More detail is added to the engine deck in the shape of actuators and general greeblies, and it's then time to bring all the assemblies together after threading an LED through a pre-cut hole for the cockpit lighting. The mandibles are trapped between the two halves on sturdy pins, which are also used to hold the hull halves, and the cockpit assembly in place, relying on friction-fit to hold them together. This of course means that you could build your Falcon now and add lights later as and when they become available. Final construction begins with the new three-part dish, the cannon ports top and bottom, and ends with a choice of gear up or gear down. If choosing the gear up option, simple clip-in blanking plates are installed over the five bays. The gear down option is more complex, and involves building up seven two-part legs, then joining them to the upper gear legs and bay insert pieces, to which you add the gear bay doors. The double legs have one slightly different leg each, but the same process applies. When they are complete, you just slot them into the bays, and they're done, remembering to keep the gear-up covers in case you change your mind. The crew access ramp has a gear-up cover too, and a three-part assembly that includes the ramp walls, actuator struts and the walkway itself. Detail here is great, and looks just like the movie, and as with the landing gear, you can swap and change at whim. The stand is typical Bandai, and although it only consists of four parts, it allows movement in all axes to pose your Falcon as you wish. There is a removable panel in the lower turret under which you'll find the socket for the stand – another nice touch from Bandai. The counter-balance base has moulded-in sand dunes, and is of the interlinking type that is seen throughout the whole range, so you can link some or all of them together for a display, using the little clips supplied in the box. Markings There's not a huge amount of visual information available out there at the time of writing, as the film is still over a month away, but I hope we can rely on Bandai to have got the details right. As already mentioned, there are decals and stickers, but we'll concentrate on just the decals for this review, which are of good quality, if a little thick. They respond well to decal solution, but their thickness can limit your success, and I'd be a little wary of using the decals for the cockpit glazing. As well as the usual accent panels of various shades of grey, yellow and red there are also small decals not seen before, and six dark grey circles to use on the engine deck vents, which I'd much rather paint from a personal point of view, as the detail of the mesh is very fine and would be prone to catching bubbles. Decals Stickers It's possible to build and decal the kit without a single lick of paint if you're minded, but most modellers will probably give her a lick of paint, as the light grey styrene is a little stark to my eyes, and paint would give a better key for any weathering. I used Xtracrylix Light Gull Grey (XA1137) on my old Finemolds Falcon, and was very happy with the results, which you can see by following the link in my signature strip. If you've got access to any stills of the new movie, or can freeze frame her appearances so far, you should be able to get a handle on whether she's taken any more damage during the intervening years if you're going for ultimate authenticity, as some of the weathering on the build-up kit in the instructions looks a bit vague. Conclusion If you want a 1:144 Millennium Falcon from the new film, this is definitely the way to go, as it's the only one that's true to the published sizes. It also knocks the Finemolds kit off its perch as the best 1:144 Falcon model, with massive detail improvements, even ignoring the underscale aspect of the older kit. I'm massively impressed with the kit, and have a growing respect for Bandai as a company. Their designers have incredible talent for easing construction, using clever techniques to do so, and their implementation of detail is out of this world. Putting the two kits together is very telling. I for one would be very interested in another kit of the Episode IV Falcon, if anyone is listening? These kits are imported by Japan:cool in small quantities that are manageable for their business, and due to Bandai's recent embargo on selling directly to the public outside the Far East, their availability in the rest of the world has diminished somewhat. Shane has tried to keep the prices sensible of course, but has to pass on the additional costs to the purchaser, who then has the benefit of knowing that if they're in the EU, there will be no customs charges and collection fees to pay before they can get their hands on the new Falcon. Get out there and buy one before they're all gone! Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Julien posted a topic in Build ArticlesThe kit can be seen in my inbox review here on BM. The intent is to build the kit out of be box. As it is multi coloured plastic, with push fits I am not using any glue or paint. Thanks to japan:cool for this kit. If you have any interest in Gundam please visit their website and have a look around. I can not be held responsible for any money spent there as they have too much "cool" stuff for sale. The kit has very detailed instructions, now I know a lot of the time we don't read these, but for this kit you do have to as there are a lot of parts inside the kit which help in the articulation, as well as supporting other parts. The instructions also help by showing what sprues you need to get out for each stage, handy when there are 12 in total! There is some cleaver engineering with multi colour parts on one sprue, and a mix of plastic on the same sprue. 1. The Body Unit The first construction stage is the main body unit. This consists of over 40 parts on its own. The first picture here shows the internal parts being put together; There are some external armoured conduits linking the front to the back of the suit. These are made on a flexible grey sprue with the armoured green parts moulded around this. After you have cut the whole part from the sprue you have to cut away each of the separate armoured parts from the runner. These are then slid along onto the part from there runner. It takes a fair bit of force to do these as there is obviously some heat involved in the moulding process, however the do slide along. Once the conduits are attached to the internal parts the outer armoured panels can be added. Here you can see the multi coloured parts coming into their own with the Body unit complete. This took a little over an hour after a good read of the instructions.