RX-78 Gundam & G-Fighter
Review by Optimal III
The MSIA toy line began in 1999 and enjoyed a lengthy and successful run, producing toys based on many Mobile Suits and other weapons of war depicted throughout the Gundam franchise's history. So it's only fitting that the first figure released was the titular face, the RX-78-2 Gundam. It would actually be released multiple times, and in one case, the G-Fighter was included.
When it comes to MSIA, I prefer to get a Japanese release over the American version if possible, because the former typically comes with alternate hands and inked or painted panel lines. However, at I was hunting this down could only find the American version, but it was only $15 MISB so I didn't hesitate to buy it.
4 Modes in 1 set! 4 Battle Modes! Over 20 points of articulation!
I always find it amusing when American toy packaging tries to hype the toys with verbal exclamations instead of just pictures. Also, I call shenanigans on "20 points of articulation". That's totally bogus unless they're adding the Gundam and G-Fighter together.
Contents besides the toy include the instruction manual (pretty simple) and a diorama that's actually very useful because of its size. Not sure if this was intentional or just because they needed it to fill the box, but it's definitely a welcome bonus.
So we start with the Core Fighter, the literal and proverbial core to all three of the mobile suits created by Project V. It's well sculpted and painted, and the vulcan cannons and panels for the missile launchers are easily seen, but it's basically just a little figurine that is about half the size of either of my MG Core Fighters. It still serves a purpose, so we'll come back to it later. Now, on to the main event.
With the Guntank laying down long bombs and the Guncannon serving as fire support, it's up to the RX-78-2 Gundam to get in as a close-combat mobile suit and carry out target destruction with extreme prejudice. Perhaps surprising to some, it not only excels in this role but also boasts great versatility that allows it to fill in the same roles as its back up units. How much of that is owed to the suit itself or its famous pilot is debatable, but we're talking about the toy of the suit, so we'll focus on that.
Articulation wise, this is typical early MSIA. The ankles hinge and rotate, and the knees hinge. The hips are ball-jointed, but the static skirt mostly voids their presence. The waist rotates, the verniers on the back swing forward and back, the shoulders are ball-jointed, the biceps swivel, the elbows hinge, the hands rotate, and the head is also ball-jointed, which allows it to rotate and tilt a bit in any direction. This is no Robot Spirits, but for the time and cost, this is more than adequate and capable of fun.
One funny consequence of having no alternate hands is that the Gundam is in permanent "goon mode" with its open ready-to-grip-a-weapon mitts. Whether AM Optimus is about to get a big hug or his neck cranked is anyone's guess. Though not quite as strong as the Guncannon, the Gundam is still powerful enough and durable enough to go hand-to-hand with most mobile suits and walk away the victor.
Weapons wise, this Gundam has almost all its signature weapons. There are two 60-mm vulcan cannons in its head, one on each side just under its communication fin.
Stored in the recharge rack on its back are two beam sabers (5 handles, 2 blades).
And both can be converted into a beam javelin, giving the Gundam something to throw or use as a lunging weapon.
Two shields are included, which can be held by hand and/or mounted on either forearm. I didn't think to do it, but either shield can be back-mounted using its mounting bracket.
Of course, if the Gundam is famous for sporting a beam saber or shield, it's also famous for sporting a beam rifle, arguably its main weapon. It's somewhat less powerful than the Guncannon's, but also holds a longer charge. Many mobile suits, artillery units, and even battleships and mobile armors have been felled by this instrument of death & destruction. It can be used for sniping, but you'll be hard pressed to get some great poses out of it. It's nice that the Gundam can at least hold it with both hands, but I hate that the sight is set slightly to the side. That's kind of annoying to me.
And for heavy hitting firepower, the Gundam can also sport this 380-mm hyper bazooka. It actually has more boom and bang then the Guncannon and Guntank's shell-firing weapons, but also carries way less ammo, so it never lasts too long. The Gundam does an okay job of holding it, but the rubbery nature makes it prone to getting bent if you're not careful, so that's slightly disappointing.
So overall, if the Gundam sounds like it's any good, it's because it is. But it's not perfect or unbeatable, and the Federation knew this. They never stopped working on ways to improve the Gundam. And one major area with room for improvement is speed and mobility. Though fast for a mobile suit, the Gundam is still limited in its ability to get around and has to be deployed in or near a battle to be effective. What's more, the Gundam and its partners are mostly useless until they're assembled. And the Core Fighters are really only able to defend themselves. The solution to all these problems? The G-Fighter.
On its own, the G-Fighter is basically a heavy fighter, sporting two beam cannons up top and a 2-tube missile launcher somewhere in the back. It's more durable than the Core Fighter and can actually serve as a flying platform for the Gundam to ride by standing on it. This is one way it can transport the Gundam quickly from place to place.
Yes, those are tank treads, and yes, they roll. They roll really well. I still wish the Guntank had these.
Besides the treads, the one other bit of articulation is the beam cannons. They raise and lower independently and can also be rotated 360-degrees.
If the Gundam needs additional protection, needs to be concealed, or needs to conserve ammo and energy, it can also combine with the G-Fighter into another configuration. And all it takes is folding the Gundam's feet down and putting it inside.
The G-Armor has the same weapons as the G-Fighter, but now sports the shields mounted on the Gundam's arms, and flight and weapons controls can be split between the two pilots. The treads shift up front, the wings flip over and an additional piece of landing gear comes into play. Putting this together is easy, but getting the Gundam's arms situated right takes a little work.
It's a simple idea and execution, but the increased size makes this look very imposing. Before, it was more like a flying tank with girth to spare.
And speaking of tanks, there's more. The Gundam can combine with the rear half into Gundam Sky, becoming a high-speed interceptor.
The Gundam's lower body and a Core Fighter can combine with the rear half into G-Sky, freeing up the Gundam's upper body and giving the Core Fighter higher speed, an extra missile launcher, and more armor. There's also G-Sky Easy, which removes the Gundam's lower body from the combination, but this toy can't do that.
The upper body of the Gundam with a Core Fighter can combine with the front half to become G-Bull, a pretty swanky tank. With this toy, you can only rock the shields, but it's possible to set the beam rifle and hyper bazookas in the Gundam's hands and split driving and weapons between the two pilots. There's also G-Bull Easy, which is just the front half with the shields, but this toy can't do that either.
MSIA MSG Federation group shot! When you see them altogether like this, they really do look like a formidable unit.
But taken as just this set, it's still an impressive assembly.
By no stretch can this be considered the best or even an exceptional Gundam toy at this point. If we're just talking the Gundam at a smaller scale, you'd be better off getting the RS (still readily available at retail as of this review) or hunting down the Chogokin. If you want bigger and better, there's the Metal FIX (one version comes with the G-Fighter) and the AE.
But this is still a pretty good Gundam toy. If you want the complete MSG Federation line up, MSIA and kits are your only options. If you want the G-Fighter to come with, you can get the Metal FIX, but it's not cheap. And there are a few other alternatives. But this is also the cheapest. I paid $15 MISB, and it can still be found now for $30+. At that price, it's a nice a little set and I'm glad to have it.
|Posted 22 May, 2015 - 13:49 by Optimal III|