Review by Gunpla Rob
Long before the SRX-00, I already had a small stable of robots from the Super Robot Wars series taking up shelf space along side my Gundam models. Between the sharp winged 1/144 scale Wildfalken and the non-scale R-Gun stands the biggest Personal Trooper in my collection, the 1/100 scale Huckebein Mk-II.
I can’t believe it’s not Gundam
The Huckebein Mk-II is a machine called a Personal Trooper from the videogame and anime OAV serial Super Robot Wars: Original Generation. The series itself is a collective homage to all shapes and forms of robot series in Japan, with some designs ranging from the organic insect like such as the Cybuster (compared to Dunbine) to the more hard edged ‘Gundam-esque’ such as the Huckebein. What the EO-Tech in the SWR series stands for is ‘Extra-Over Technology,’ alien technology which crashed into the Earth as a meteor and later reverse engineered. This was the base for which the Personal Troopers were created. The Huckebein series however is plagued by black-box science due to its revolutionary power supply which uses miniature black holes. The Huckebein Mk-II lacks this and is a far more stable version of its legacy.
Parts and labor costs
The model kits for Super Robot Wars are produced by Kotobukiya, a company that could be described as “Bandai’s little brother” in Japan for terms of production quality and available kits. So far they have produced some few military models and taken a steady jump into the robot world with their line for Armored Core and more recently beginning a new age in Zoids. Super Robot Wars on the other hand has the largest roster of mecha out of Kotobukiya with several kits in the 1/144 scale, highly detailed (and expensive) resin kits. Of their selection, the Huckebein is one of the most produced. In the recent years, Kotobukiya has expanded primarily into ABS snap kits with SRW leading the charge.
As far as production quality goes, Kotobukiya falls short of Bandai standards by using a much thinner plastic, making parts more brittle and fragile. Also some of their older kits rely on glue and in most cases paint. However as of late, Kotobukiya has been shifting their styles to match if not surpass the Bandai standards with more construction and less paint work. Also gluing is become less of a priority.
The drawback to addition of more parts to work with is the increased price. A 1/144 scale kit will then cost roughly twice the price of your standard HGUC from Bandai. In result, the 1/100 scale Huckebein Mk-II has a price tag well over 50$ USD. Although the price is distracting, a High Grade model with a price tag of a Master Grade such as the Huckebein Mk-II is an awesome kit plain and simple.
Out of the Box
The box for the Huckebein is rather large, as it should be for a 1/100 scale kit. Compared to the standard Master Grade model from Bandai, the Huckebein’s is nearly twice the size. The reason is for content, with the Huckebein’s parts being molded in every individual color. The colors include a pale slate (bluish gray), dark blue, yellow, red, clear green, white and gray. Also included are polycap joint parts and two clear pink ‘saber beams’ and a pre-painted figure of the Huckebein’s pilot. Additionally, the model has the Bandai standard alphabet of runners with the standard replicate runners to minimize production costs for such things as left and right limbs.
Painters beware of disappointment, builders rejoice in the almost lack of paint. The Huckebein Mk-II has virtually no need for paint except the only ‘required’ areas such as the collar around the tip of the Huckebein’s main cannon and around the eyes. Everything else is almost a job for Gundam markers or fine ink pens. The shear volume of parts in this kit are astounding and honestly makes up for the Huckebein’s hefty price tag. A word of caution though; with such a light grade plastic, the smaller parts tend to be more brittle and fragile. Also due to the sharpness of the design, the pointed edges on the crests are so sharp they could draw blood.
On a side note, building the Huckebein Mk-II could be compared to pealing an onion, without the sensory aftermath.
The head of the Huckebein Mk-II could almost be compared to the Wing Gundam, with a traditional “Gundam” like head with two extending fins off the side of the head. On the other hand, the model kit Huckebein’s head has a few points the Gundams lack all around. All of the eye points are molded in clear green plastic for both the main eyes and the auxiliary monoeyes in the front and back. The head construction follows the traditions of Bandai standard with the face; eyes behind nose behind mouth and somewhat of the standard for the rest of the head. The offshoot however is that the face attaches after the head is put together. The additional trimming such as the ‘v-crest’ goes on after the head is incased with its white striping parts.
Construction for the torso of the Huckebein is extensive. Starting at the midsection and working up to the neck, the Huckebein’s torso is built in layers. Also with the volume of construction on the interior, the Huckebein is given something of an articulated spine very similar to the 1/100 scale Gundam Astray series based on ball socket polycaps. The structural difference however is the Huckebein is much flimsier. Although tightly constructed, the end result is loose feeling due to the overwhelming weight on the midsection thanks to the layered construction of the chest area combined with the weight of the arms and backpack.
The waist section of the Huckebein shows a lot of construction that most kits would forget about. Skirts are assembled from the inside out, including an underbelly layer to the front and rear skirts usually done in concaved injection. Along with that, each skirt has two additional detail parts assembled onto them. This adds some weight to the skirts, but does not hamper the model’s overall range of articulation. The front block to the Huckebein’s waist has an adjustable port in it that can be opened so the Huckebein’s large buster cannon can be docked.
The arms and legs share a common shortcut of any commercial grade model kit by use of duplicate runners for cutting costs. At the cost of this kit, it helps to decrease the price tag only so much. The arms follow a moderately balanced amount of part-on-polycap construction displayed with your average high grade. The forearms on the other hand changes this pace by adding some of the same layering technique used with the torso. More parts are added for balance as well as covering ports on the back of the forearm closer to the elbow (for where the Huckebein can mount its additional weaponry). The shoulders are detailed in the same way as the skirts with the reoccurring pattern of the yellow ‘cut outs’ against the Huckebein’s dark blue. Also for detail, there is a thruster vent recessed into the shoulder armor.
The Huckebein Mk-II kit came with three hand sets, two open palms for the right and left and two closed fists for both hands as well. The open palms are two piece assemblies of the back guard and the hands and the closed fists are a four piece assembly of the thumb, palm, fingers, and back guard. The final set of hands are your above average weapon hands. Following the principle set with Bandai’s early Master Grade assortment, the weapon hands for the Huckebein are articulated. Contrary to Bandai’s ball joint thumb with hinged fingers (on one part) with the separate trigger finger, the Huckebein’s fingers are individually cut. While the palm is split down the middle and the fingers share a split peg (two fingers on each), the construction is tight and there is no risk of breaking. Taking another page out of Bandai’s handbook (there’s a cheap joke in there somewhere) the weapon hands have an extension tab that fits into ports on the side of each weapon in the Huckebein’s arsenal.
The legs follow the Huckebein’s ‘skin’ layer construction from the most basic of detail areas to the structurally important. With the level of layering to each section, the Huckebein Mk II could literally stand without any armor. The lower leg having well over four layers of armor add weight and help balance the overall weight of the Huckebein’s body when fully loaded. When I say four, I mean it: the inner structure, the outer covering, the upper armor layer, and the additional detail layer. The ankles also showcase the degree of layering with their armor. Much like all of the SRW designs, the ankle armor has an additional ‘toe’ cover that is built into the inner most layer of the leg’s structural assembly, which is then covered by the outermost layer of the detail armor. While this is confusing, and creates a false fear of limiting movement, the toe armor does move freely and allows the ankle to be adjusted on its own.
The feet of the Huckebein follow the layering method where the inner assembly is made of larger parts, with the outer armor being subdivided into plates that fit over that. Like the armor skirts from the waist, the soles of the feet are detailed plates that fit in from below during the early layer assembly. The amount of construction in the feet translates well into its weight to balance the Huckebein’s overall construction.
While the Huckebein’s body might feel like a standardized Gundam, the backpack changes the idea. As far as I can gather, the majority of the Personal Troopers in Super Robot Wars lack the ability for full scale to long term flight. The backpack of the Huckebein is designed as a flight pack, you can see by the sharp wings off to the sides and the lower stabilizers separate from the body, and in two parts for aerodynamics. Construction uses the largest parts of the whole body of the Huckebein, with the fewest number of parts. While light, the combined weight of the pack does weigh down on the torso, resulting in the aforementioned balance issues.
Rounding out the Huckebein Mk-II is its arsenal of weapons. Starting off just about every robot’s package is the beam saber and Huckebein packs two. Where it stores them, you’ve got me I’m still trying to figure that one out. The sabers come in three parts, the grip and the hilt followed by the standard beam blade made out of a clear tube plastic. Contrary to standard, the beams are thick, and made out of a heavy, crystalline plastic.
What might seem odd to have is the Huckebein Mk-II’s rotor blade. This weapon sits in a dock mounted to the back of the left or right forearm (after the removal of a certain plug). While the docking portion opens, the disk sadly sits without any use. The weapon adds for authenticity of the weapon, the lack of any form of ‘active’ mode or use leaves it as a piece of added weight to the arm.
The firearms in the Huckebein’s arsenal include its primary rifle and super buster cannon. The primary rifle is constructed in sections, the barrel, sight components and the main body. With the part count around thirteen parts, the rifle is surprisingly light and puts no weight on the arms or torso. Unlike the primary rifle, the Super Buster Cannon does put some weight onto the overall kit.
The Super Buster Cannon is constructed in components, from the barrel, body, balancing section, trigger blocks, and covering. Like the Hyper Bazooka seen with the Zeta Gundam, the buster cannon for the Huckebein folds up when not in use, and opens up to a double triggered cannon. As mentioned with the waist assembly, it has to be docked into a port on the front of the waist. Opening the cannon requires some simple yet fragile clock work gears that open the main section’s doors out to the sides and at the same time it rotates the triggers in the opposite direction. While docked, the Huckebein really has to balance its weight between the weight of its backpack and the weight of the cannon even when there is so little weight to speak of.
As one last piece to the kit, Kotobukiya included a 1/20 scale figure of the Huckebein’s pilot Brooklyn “Bullet” Luckfield. Unlike Bandai and their soft injection figurines needing paint, Brooklyn comes molded in a heavy material and pre-painted in full color.
Overall, if Kotobukiya ever wanted to continue making Super Robot Wars kits in a 1/100 scale form, they could have no trouble finding a builder. Proportionally this is one of the best examples of the scale in form and construction. The layered construction method is a welcome idea as opposed to just scaling up parts from a 1/144 scale to a 1/100 scale. If you have the opportunity to find this kit, let alone at a fair price, it is worth its weight in plastic!
|Posted 26 November, 2007 - 10:06 by Gunpla Rob|