Wing Gundam Zero Honoo
Review by ArshadAA
Much like its previous 3 predecessors, Gundam Build Fighters started cranking out side stories in parallel to its TV run. One of these is the photonovel series Gundam Build Fighters Honoo. Gundam photonovels are generally a few half pages of text laid over touched up photos of customized gunpla and more often than not run in hobby magazines. This makes it somewhat difficult to get any kind of information on them as is the case with Honoo. What little is known about Honoo is that it involves a former builder named Yusei Kouen coming back into the hobby. Honoo generally translates to “flame” from Japanese, and if you thought the AMAZING Tatsuya Yuuki was over the top, hang on to your pants. Yusei is described as having a burning passion for Gunpla, has nearly all his custom builds in bright red paintjobs and often with a flame motif, equips some of his builds with a weapon that functions as a welding torch in its source work (and he has a huge stockpile of it for some reason), suffixes Honoo to nearly all of his builds’ names and the story chapters are numbered as “Flame #” in case all of the above wasn’t already shoving figurative fire down your throat. Just typing the above paragraph made me sweat.
ANYWAY, previously the only sampling we got of Yusei’s handiwork was a Hobby Japan exclusive kit that let you give a new helmet and weapon (that being the Caletvwlch from Gundam SEED Astray) to an existing HGUC Zeta Gundam. However you still had to do whatever mod work was necessary to attach the HG Akatsuki’s Shiranui pack to it then recolor all the non-white parts to burning red. For Yusei’s next kit, we got the Wing Gundam Zero Honoo as a full blown release.
Wing Zero Honoo (or WZH as I’ll be referring to it as for the remainder of the review) is the second Build Fighters kit to hail from a side story instead of the TV series. And like its predecessor the box is adorned with the logo of its source material, that being the sequel to Gundam Build Fighters Honoo: Gundam Build Fighters Honoo Try. The box is noticeably taller than that of the WZH’s base kit the HGAC Wing Gundam Zero.
Inside the box are 10 runners and a sticker sheet. The only major runner reused from the Wing Zero kit is the B runner and even then it only reuses just a bit over half of the runner’s parts. In fact, if you happen to have the HGAC Wing Gundam Zero kit like I do, you can take one of the excess thruster pairs from the WZH’s B runner and use them for the Wing Zero’s alternate feet so you no longer have to swap them between feet during transformation. That’s a pretty smokin’ bonus if I do say so myself.
As usual I start by painting the parts as much as possible while they’re still on the runners.
Aside from sharing some internal joint parts and two accessories with Wing Zero, WZH is practically an entirely new fresh out of the blazing oven mold. The head has a plainer faceplate, a more elaborate double v-fin and elongated cheek guards ending in translucent orange.
The upper torso evokes a mean red devil-like visage with a hotshot attitude next to his plainer blue and cool cousin.
The forearms are thicker near the elbows so their bending range is a tad more restricted than the Wing Zero. Shoulders are made up of less parts owing to the lack of any opening gimmicks.
The knees also have less bending range because of the bigger thruster on the back of the leg armor. Because of the simplified transformation, the leg armor doesn’t open up and the feet can bend downwards 90 degrees.
Lower torso is of course more extreme with narrower, pointier bits topped off with a pair of red hot shades on the front skirt armor.
The wing binders are longer but the booster unit remains identical save for the piece connecting it to the body being flipped upside down.
The completed kit stands about 14 cm tall to the top of its wing binders. Like any member of the Wing Zero family, the binders make the model prone to toppling backwards.
This a stylishly beautiful customization of the Wing Gundam Zero, molded entirely in white and red with a sprinkling of translucent orange. Unlike Ricardo Fellini’s Wing Gundam Fenice, the WZH isn’t functionally different from the Wing Gundam Zero. Nothing on the design looks silly or out of place and this is a testament to the strength of letting the designers run wild within the setting of Build Fighters. After all, Gunpla is Freedom. Burning Freedom!
I’m not sure if the orange parts are the same type of plavsky crystals used on the Build Burning Gundam, but since they’re always orange instead of blue does this mean the kit is on fire all the time during battle? For that matter, given the Gunpla battle system’s arbitrary nature of gauging the performance of a kit, does Yusei go the extra scorching mile and just douses the model with gasoline before every fight?
As this kits uses the same joints as the HGAC Wing Gundam Zero, it has identical articulation all around.
One minor issue I have with the new feet is that they have less surface area, meaning that the model is somewhat less stable while standing than the Wing Gundam Zero. However, the redesign completely omits the thruster and thus the need to swap out the feet during transformation.
If it wasn’t already obvious by now, WZH’s wing binders are patterned after burning flames! Because they have their own unique hinge joints, they don’t share Wing Gundam Zero’s problem of getting a bit loose when you open them up.
The model only comes with one pair of holding hands, which is more than enough because these hands glow red hot with an awesome power! (Ok not really)
While the Wing Gundam Zero’s shield had a faux nosecone aesthetic to it, the WZH’s shield looks like an entire futuristic spaceship straight out of a TurboGrafx-16 shoot’em up. The shield comes with a detachable clip that lets it rotate at the connection point. The shield needs all the range of motion it can get because it’s so long it gets obstructed by the shoulder armor.
Mounted on the underside of the shield is the model’s only beam saber handle. It’s identical the ones used by Wing Gundam Zero. While I’m glad the model has a place to store it, getting the handle in an out of the shield is a tad difficult if you don’t have small fingers.
WZH comes with a Twin Buster rifle that’s identical to the Wing Gundam Zero’s save for the recolored handguard and the yellow stripe near the muzzle stretching to the inner edge of the separated rifles. This is the one part of the kit where I think the designer completely dropped the ball. That the rifle didn’t get any kind of customization is really disappointing, especially considering that both Fenice kits got a customized Buster rifle with a unique attachment for each variant.
There is one new nifty feature however, and that’s the ability to attach the separated rifle halves into tabs on the inner side of the wing binders. This is also where the rifle halves are placed during Neo-Bird Honoo mode, as they no longer attach to the shield.
And now for something completely different! WZH can pull off his two hilted wing binders to use as pair of blazing swords. It’s definitely a neat idea on paper. Aesthetically however, while the WZH’s binders look great jutting from its back, as swords they look less like an imposing melee weapon and more like a museum art exhibit that Frank the Ninja stuck a hilt onto.
The solution of course is obvious. Behold the Buster Sword!
Transformation to Neo-Bird Honoo mode is mostly identical to Wing Gundam Zero save for the aforementioned differences (rifle placement and feet). Because the kit lacks a hole at the back of the rear skirt armor, you’ll need to use the hip joint hole to mount Neo-Bird Honoo on an Action Base 2.
Whether you loved the original Wing Gundam Zero or weren’t sold on its cartoony color scheme, the WZH will cater to you either way with its blazing spirit!
~One of these things is not like the others!~
|Posted 18 July, 2015 - 16:00 by ArshadAA|