GFF Metal Composite MSZ-006A1/C1[Bst] Z Plus
Review by VF5SS
I sort of have a love/hate relationship with Hajime Katoki's work. Despite his fetish for panel lines and excessive decals, I have always loved his Zeta Plus design. It took the essence of the original Zeta Gundam and stripped it down into a more refined form. With regards to this design in toy form, I own one of the 1/100 scale Master Grade models and have flirted with getting a Gundam Fix Figuration Zeta Plus. However I came to understand that the early GFF figures were terrible in terms of construction and tended to reek of smelly PVC. Also the GFF figures are 1/144th scale, which is a bit small for my tastes. When Bandai launched their new Gundam Fix Figuration Metal Composite line, I was eager to see which designs would make the jump to the larger, more solidly built GFFMs. The Zeta Plus is a fine example of what the engineers at Bandai can really do to make a high quality toy.
Straight out of the box, the GFFM Zeta Plus is in its basic Mobile Suit form. It is a 1/100 scale figure which makes it almost nine inches tall. It comes with two tail binders, hip guns, wing fuel tanks, wing binders, a beam rifle w/ removable E-Cap magazine, a Superior Gundam style Beam Smart Gun, two beam sabers with removable blades, a Wave Rider shield, and a Beam Smart Gun shield. For hands it comes with two fists, two weapon holding hands, and one weapon holding hand with a bent wrist. The toy is constructed out of hard ABS with diecast joints in the ankles, hips, and elbows. The rest of the joints use Gunpla style polycaps. The weight of the legs allow the figure to remain stable despite its numerous backpack bits. Also included is an instruction manual and a decal sheet with more little red warning labels just in case you felt the toy needed some more.
A close-up of the face reveals the toy has many small tampo markings all over its body. The toy has a matte finish to its paint, which goes well with the two-tone blue camouflage. Also the panels lines are done in a light wash to bring out the detail. The eyes and forehead sensor are suitably shiny although the shape of the forehead tends to hide the eyes (this is true of most Katoki designs).
The stand itself is typical GFF quality. Cast in shiny white plastic, its simple design and jet black writing give the figure an air of legitimacy. As you can see the basic stand comes with several attachments to suit each mode of the figure. There were enough pieces to the stand that it actually had its own plastic tray in the box.
In terms of articulation, the Zeta Plus almost surpasses its Master Grade counterpart. It features ball jointed hips, ankles, neck, hip guns, and wrists. The arms feature detented shoulder joints with rotating biceps and a simple elbow. Unlike the Master Grade kit, it has a swivel joint to the legs just below the knee. However, the GFFM does not have double jointed elbows like the kit does, which is one of my complaints about the figure. I'd gladly sacrifice the diecast biceps for better elbows (sorry Josh).
Using the large stand piece, the figure can be posed as if it were flying. It holds the beam rifle with no problems and the shield plugs firmly into the forearm. Here you can see some of the crisp tampo markings.
The figure includes a Beam Smart Gun, which can be held by the toy or used in conjunction with the Beam Smart Gun shield to form a larger weapon. The sensor dish from the shield weapon is removable and can be placed on the standalone gun for accuracy.
In C1 mode the Zeta Plus gains a set of fuel tanks for its wing binders and trades its dinky beam rifle for a large Beam Smart Gun. In case you're wondering, it's called a "Smart Gun" because the extra sensors make it smarter. The Beam Smart Gun plugs into the forearm and features a retractable fore grip that helps the figure wield it. The gun itself is easily taller than the Zeta Plus.
Since the gun barrel is hollow, the figure is still balanced even on the stand.
Transformation has always been a weakness of most Zeta Gundam models and toys. However, the GFFM manages to make the whole process relatively easy and the resulting Wave Rider is absolutely solid. The toy comes with removable diecast landing gear to let you display it in this mode without a stand. However, there is one problem...
The weight of the legs in this mode make it impossible for the Wave Rider to remain level without the use of this ugly "crotch block." This three part piece is a total pain to attach and looks awful. It's a shame they couldn't find a better way to balance the Wave Rider mode.
On the stand, the Wave Rider looks a bit better. The stand itself uses two small tabs to hold the figure down. However, the weight of the legs and poor grip of these tabs makes the figure a little unstable.
In C1 mode, the Wave Rider uses a different set of metal landing skids. These skids all attach to the shield and almost allow the Wave Rider to rest without the "crotch block." Here you can see the Wave Rider is almost twice as long as it was before. It's really a striking design.
The stand for C1 mode is even less stable than A1 mode. At this point is is literally "breathe too hard and it will fall down."
Using the Mobile Suit mode stand, I was able to emulate a vertical climb. This is arguably the most stable way to display this figure in Wave Rider mode.
While the original GFF figure was a mess of parts, the GFFM manages to make conversion to C1[Bst] mode pretty easy. All you do is replace the legs and arms with their [Bst] mode equivalents, attach the hips guns, slot in the fuel tanks and you're done. The only tricky part is attaching the hip guns to the [Bst] legs as the balljoints for these legs are larger than the normal legs. This mode uses the Mobile Suit mode stand with two extra pieces for keeping the legs splayed out.
The C1[Bst] manages to look pretty clean even from the rear.
Despite its appearance, the C1[Bst] mode still has a good amount of articulation. The hips are still balljointed and the knees bend ninety degrees. Due to the way the arms store inside the shoulder boosters, they have double jointed elbows. However the C1[Bst] arms do lose the ability to raise outwards at the shoulders. The boosters are attached via diecast struts.
Hands down the C1[Bst] in Wave Rider form is the most impressive mode of the figure. Originally called "Humming Bird" in the Gundam Sentinel supplemental material, this mode is a flying dreadnought. While it is conceivable to keep the figure together for the transformation, removing the arms and transforming them separately is easier than trying to keep everything together. Once everything is locked together, the resulting Wave Rider sits firmly on its stand.
From the front, one can see no less than six beam guns all ready to go.
A close-up reveals even more tampo markings on the boosters.
As we come to the end of this review (get it? the end?) I have to say despite the annoying stand issues, this figure is really worth it. It's got the look of a pre-built model with durability of a toy. It is available in red or in a limited edition blue. Even for the high price, you're getting a lot of toy. Included is a video review in where I attempt to show you just how much toy you're getting.
|Posted 12 May, 2009 - 11:26 by VF5SS|