Gundam AGE-1 Normal
Review by Prometheum5
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE is the currently running iteration of the long-standing Gundam franchise, and it is awesome. AGE takes place in its own continuity, and is aimed towards a younger audience, but still manages to be really well-written and a ton of fun even for older viewers. In AGE, Flit Asuno is the descendent of the Asuno family of Mobile Suit designers. When the mysterious Unknown Enemy attacks, Flit vows to destroy them, and designs the AGE System and his own Gundam to fight the UE.
The Mega Size Model line of Gundam kits from Bandai are 1/48 scale injection plastic behemoths, impressive in both size and engineering. The box form the AGE-1 Normal is immense, and filled to the brim with goodies.
Included are two manuals. One is the instruction manual filled with clean, clear line drawings of each step. The other is a small hobby guide featuring content from recent issues of Hobby Japan and Dengeki Hobby. Inside are pointers for making a better out of the box snapped-together build, as well as galleries of a fully-painted normal colored AGE-1 and a custom-painted AGE-1 Real Type Color. The quality of the paper, printing, and models in this little booklet are all nicer than any American modeling publication available for real dollars at an actual newsstand.
The box erupts once open, filled with massive sprues. The kit comes with an LED unit, and batteries are included. A waterslide decal sheet is also included, but no stickers for those that prefer them.
One of the selling points of the Mega Size Model line is the tool-less construction. The parts can actually be removed from the sprue cleanly without the use of a sprue cutter. Two part separator tools are included on the sprues.
The sprue separator fits up against small plastic tags on the sprues. The tool simply fits up against this peg, and then acts as a lever to snap the sprue connection point. The connection points are molded extra thin, so that the smallest possible blemish is left on the plastic. I was skeptical of this system at first, but it does actually work as described. Anyone looking to snap fit and not paint this kit would only have to do very minor touchups to remove any sprue blemishes.
The LED unit features a small switch and shines brightly.
Construction of the joint parts is innovative and fun. Two identical sprues of joint halves are included, and the joints actually assemble on the sprue. The instructions indicate where to place any moving parts or polycaps across the two halves, and then you simply sandwich the two plates together. All of the completed major joint parts can then be removed from the sprues and are ready to install.
Construction is simple and satisfying. The actual parts breakdown and assembly of the kit are similar to a High Grade model, which means no internal frame, and good but not mind-blowing articulation. There are very few parts that end up with visible seam lines on the model, but there were more than I would have liked, and the nature of how some of those install make it impossible to fully remove the seams ahead of time without some slight modifications. I did the best I could without modifying how anything installed, and was left with minimal seams. Overall, I had a really great time with it, and due to the simple construction it only took me a few hours to snap everything together.
The LED unit installs in the torso, and clear parts are included to light-pipe the light into the torso, and up through the neck into the eyes and head sensor. Heavy white stickers are also included to back the clear parts if you are not interested in the light gimmick because you are a Communist and hate fun.
The completed AGE-1 is gigantic, shown here with some other popular 1/48 scale mecha, and Scale Pheyden. These photos are all of the fully assembled kit cut from the sprues, with no additional clean up, painting, or detailing done. I knew I was going to paint the kit, so I wanted to show it off first in its most untouched state.
Out of the box, the detail is sharp and the completed figure is satisfying to play with, and rugged enough to hold up. All of the major joints are detented for stability, and the kit balances surprisingly well.
The one area I would have liked to see feature a little more movement is the ankles. They move front to back, side to side, and turn, but the rocker motion is limited.
Two sets of hands are included, fists and gripping trigger hands. The gripping hands split apart using the back half of the separator tool, and feature a big, chunky square peg to hold the weapons in place.
The Mega Size AGE-1 features all of its weapons, including the beam sabers that store in the hip skirts.
Also included is the shield, which is enormous. The white and blue sections are each single parts on gigantic sprues.
Long and short clear plastic beam blades are included.
The Mega Size AGE-1 is fun to build, but even more fun to play with. The figure is well articulated and durable feeling, and looks great posed in action. I got a little carried away snapping action shots.
Also included is the DODS Rifle, which features two clear sights. The gun fits securely in the hand and looks great.
The AGE-1 can also hold the DODS Rifle in two-handed mode for more accurate firing.
1/48 scale is a popular size for mecha toys, so there is a lot of crossover display potential. 1/60 is more popular for mecha, but 1/48 is also a ‘traditional’ model scale, so all sorts of tanks, airplanes, and figures are available. VOTOMS, Patlabor, and Macross all have releases in 1/48, so my life is pretty much complete.
Out of the box and with minimal effort, the Mega Size Model AGE-1 builds into a great looking figure, and is a great value. For about a hundred bucks, you get a fun building project that results in a massive fully articulated figure, more satisfying to handle than a smaller, more expensive Perfect Grade, and more sophisticated and articulated than a larger and more expensive Jumbo Grade. If you have the time and skill, however, you can take the next step and make something really special…
I painted my Mega Size Model AGE-1using acrylics, oils, washes, weathering pigments, and whatever else was needed. The AGE-1 is a special one-off suit in the show, so I went with a more traditional test type aircraft color scheme. I used all of the decals from the kit except for the red details on the hands, and they worked great. The decals were easy to apply, rugged enough to move around on the surface of the model, and settled down perfectly thin and smooth.
The nice thing about such a large model is that you have a ton of room to work. Considering how easy the kit is to work with, and how affordable it is, I hope we will see some really neat build ups and custom paint jobs in the future.
|Posted 19 March, 2012 - 12:09 by Prometheum5|