Gundam Blue Destiny RX-79BD
Review by Gunpla Rob
While Master Grade models have been given to some designs from other Side Stories like the RX-78-4 and RX-78-5 (of Gundam: The Lost War Chronicles), the Blue Destiny has been for a lack of a better term absent. On the other hand, over on Bandai’s Universal Century exclusive line the High Grade Universal Century (HGUC for short), the line up of rare suits has been steadily increasing one design after another. The Blue Destiny was finally commissioned with the release of the RX-79BD-2 Unit 2, which was followed by the later retooled Unit 1 and re-colored Unit 3. The oddity of rolling out Unit 2 first and then the first one still bugs me, but regardless a Blue Destiny model that isn’t a B-Club conversion kit is something I’ve been waiting on for a while. Now where’s my GM Sniper II? I’m looking at you Gundam 0080 and 08th MS Team assortments.
The Gundam Blue Destiny is one of the many chapters of the Gundam universe set during the One Year War of UC 0079. Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: The Blue Destiny was released in a one shot Manga (telling the first portion of the story), and a video game trilogy for the Sega Saturn. The story was about a Federation Test Pilot named Yu Kajima and his prototype mobile suit, the Gundam Blue Destiny.
The RX-79BD dubbed the ‘Blue Destiny’ is a prototype mobile suit constructed with a unique control system called “EXAM,” which gave its pilots Newtype abilities, based on Zeon Artificial Newtype experiments. The original RX-79BD-1 Blue Destiny Unit 1 was first rolled out during the One Year War for ground-based combat. After becoming unstable and running out of control during a test-trial, Unit 1 was commandeered by Yu Kajima, who would become its main pilot. While learning the secrets of the mobile suit’s special control system, Kajima fought against the Zeon EXAM equipped mobile suit, the MS-08TX Efreet Custom, piloted by ace Nimbus Schterzen. The resulting destruction of both mobile suits and their EXAM systems prompted the roll out of the BD-2 Unit 2 and BD-3 Unit 3, equipped with EXAM systems. Having survived the first encounter against Kajima, Schterzen steals the Blue Destiny Unit 2 and Kajima pursued him using Unit 3.
The Unit 1 and Unit 3 are two variations of the same model in two different color schemes with alternative parts to distinguish each type. Unit 1 has a GM (Gundam Mass-production) type head and is outfitted for ground combat, whereas Unit 3 has the traditional Gundam type head and is refitted for space combat, with additional components added onto the existing body from Unit 1. With exception to their heads and the components for Unit 3, the only substantial differences between Unit 1 and Unit 3 are the thrusters on the outsides of the legs and the colors.
Out of the boxes, both Units are molded in their final colors and are supplemented with polycaps to provide articulation. Unit 1 comes in its true blue and dark blue plastic, with gray parts for its joints and weapons. There is one red piece for its chin, and a clear visor for its eyes. Unit 3 comes in the traditional Gundam colors of off-white gray, yellow, red, and dark blue, with the same color gray parts for its joints and weapons as Unit 1. As standard for designs with beam sabers are a set of clear pink tubes that form the beams included on their own parts tree.
Between both units, there is some minor paint work to improve the looks, such as the tube protrusions from the chest, the triangle indentations on the knees and front of the chest. Additional paint work includes the targeting eyes on the top of the forehead and back of the head. For those looking at the decals, both units come with two different color sets for eyes: one red and one green. The reason for this depends on the builder’s choice of whether to display the Blue Destiny in EXAM’s activated mode (red) or normal mode (green). Because I use paint, I opted for Unit 1’s visor in red and paint Unit 3’s eyes green.
For the sake of variety I employed a number of aesthetics: detailing in two gray tones; gunship gray to match the plastic for joint regions and engine gray for the weapons and auxiliary parts. While it is extra work, it adds to the overall finish of the model, and makes it look like a more complex construct than it really is. Because of Unit 1’s minimalist nature, I filled in around its joints and on the inside of its armor with the lighter gray, and used the darker gray on its backpack. For Unit 3, I did the opposite, using the lighter gray on its backpack but relying more on the dark gray for other areas such as the inside its armor. The point I make with using the dark gray over the light gray is to create a separation between two components such as a dark gray gun in a light gray hand.
Construction for both kits is identical with exception to their heads, weapons, and two vents on the legs. As such, my review will focus on basics, with a stronger emphasis on the differences.
Unit 1’s head is modeled after the Federation (Cannon Fodder) GM. The overall volume of construction is six pieces: the outer shell of the head made in three parts (front, back, and forehead) with a GM’s sensor eye, visor, and chin built into the interior. The sensor eye is a small block with small markings to look like camera eyes etched in the surface and fits into the back of the head. The visor helps to secure it into place by covering the eyes and locking into the front of the head. The chin tip simply fits into a small groove on the inside of the head as well.
Unit 3’s Gundam head shares the same number of parts as Unit 1 but uses a different set of parts. The Gundam’s face is molded into the front head half, and as such the only interior part is the eye/chin piece. This piece is a single red part with the detailing for eyes molded into it. Unlike the Unit 1 sensor eye, this fits directly into the front of the face and is held in place by the final assembly of the head casing. The other two pieces are used to make the ‘V’ Crest on the forehead, with the crest molded in yellow plastic and the block that holds it to the head molded in red plastic.
The torso of the Blue Destiny series (as a whole) is constructed from the waist up, in standard HGUC formula of the abdomen which fits into the lower chest cavity which is constructed in a front and back half format with the essential parts inside. These parts include the neck and shoulders which are articulated on hinged polycaps. This two piece shoulder assembly gives the arms an increased range of motion allowing the shoulder to move upward and forward before rotating the arm. The neck piece is a simple polycap injection cylinder topped by a ball joint, with detailed markings to give it the appearance of an ABS part. The front side of the chest has a few additional pieces to it, such as the gun barrels on the sides and the cockpit hatch in the center.
On the back of course goes the back pack which is a low profile module that is then fitted with two vent type thrusters at the bottom, and conforms to the shape of the upper body. Looking at Unit 1, there are noticeable cavities in the middle and Unit 3 presents the reason. First produced with Unit 2, the Blue Destiny was outfitted with a second backpack, this one looking like the precursor to the RX-178 Gundam Mk2 that fit into these two open points on the first backpack. While simplistic as the first backpack was, this one has a more developed construction scheme, with four smaller thruster sockets that are connected to the inside of the main body, two cone type thrusters at the bottom, and two extensions on the top (made in two pieces each). Despite being released with Unit 3, the backpack can be interchangeable with Unit 1 as well.
The waist for the Blue Destiny is built in another trend of the HGUC line with an articulated hip. This is achieved through a key-lock assembly of the hip ball joints into the center waist module that connects to the rear plate and houses the polycap hinges for the side skirts. On the bottom of the hip assembly is a small plate that covers the keyhole, which is designed to be freely removable for positioning the model onto Bandai’s Type 2 Action Base, designed for 1/144 scale models. However, since the Base comes with cradle brackets for holding older model kits without the articulation hips (or connection ports), this plate does not have to be removed. The front skirts have improved on the standard formula of “Do It Yourself” articulation. Where the single injection piece that made up the skirts was molded with two wide rings on the center of the shaft that connects both plates (which is locked into the main crotch housing). This assembly could then be cut in half and made into two separate skirts that are independently mobile. For the Blue Destiny, the rings have been molded into ball joints, which when cut in half not only improve the articulation but also how the skirts rest against the leg when standing straight. The skirts are then held in place by the crotch block, which is comprised of two pieces for the main body and the added detail point at the top.
The arms are comprised of a continuing method for HGUC models, constructed around a ‘chain-link’ elbow designed for improved articulation to a near 180 degree range of motion. The elbow is constructed in four parts of the main housing formed around two hinged sections that locks into the interior of the forearm and run up the bicep into main shoulder. The bicep is a simple injected sleeve which fits over the bar and locks into place just above the elbow. The forearm is constructed in a front and back half fashion, with the wrist cuff housing a polycap socket for the hands to connect to. The shoulder is another three piece assembly of front and back halves fitted over a polycap that connects the arm to the torso, which is then topped by the three piece assembly for the shoulder armor. The shoulder armor is pretty much a more decorated variation of the standard RX-79G (Gundam Ground-type) but with additional flairs sticking out to the sides. Despite their low profile, these flairs have a tendency to get in the way of the Blue Destiny’s shield, if the arm is flexed to a close angle to the chest.
Although Unit 1 and Unit 3 share the same arms, they do not share similarities in the hands they come with. Unit 1 comes with a bare minimum of three: two right hands (one fist and one trigger-grip hand for holding rifles) and a single open palm left hand. The idea with the left hand is that it is molded in a position that it could ‘hold’ parts, such as the magazine from Unit 1’s machine gun. At the meantime, Unit 3 comes with four hands: two fists (right and left) and two trigger-grip hands for both hands, allowing it to hold two weapons at once. Unlike most models that come with multiple hands, the Blue Destiny only comes with one set of backhand plates so swapping between hand sets includes removing the plates from one hand and connecting it to the next. Additionally, the hand parts are identical between both models so swapping hands between both models adds to its convenience.
The legs for the Blue Destiny are identical, except for the previously mentioned thrusters on the outsides of the lower calves. For Unit 1 these are two vent types while Unit 3 uses two nozzle types (commonly designed in space use mobile suits). The overall legs remain the same in their construction.
The process begins in the knee which uses a form of the elbow’s chain-link design. The knee is two pieces that form the knee casing, while two hinged sections fit into the upper leg and lower leg which are built in front to back sections. Polycap ball sockets are used in connecting the ankle and hip respectively, only the one mounted in the ankle is hinged to allow the foot an extended range of motion. The lower leg also sees a number of additional parts, such as plates on the sides, a knee guard on the front, and a small vent in the back of the leg that is tucked in place just under the ankle’s polycap attachment point. The plates on the outside of the legs are where the Blue Destiny stores its beam sabers, just like the RX-79G it is based on. In order to retrieve the sabers, one must remove the plate and disconnect the saber from the plate and then replace the plate into its position on the leg. This same method of removing the plate is used in displaying the Blue Destiny with the saber dock open as well.
The feet of the Blue Destiny are constructed from within. The ankle is a two part assembly with a hinged polycap in the toe, which then connects to the main foot formed from a main cover and a plate for the soles of the feet. The heel is a solid cast part which fits into the bottom of the ankle. The final component to the feet are the ankle guards, which are two pieces that fit together over the main foot, and into ports on the sides of the ankle. Overall articulation in the leg is almost as dynamic as the arms, only with restrictions due to the size of the armor.
The accessory components, or rather the weapons, for both models are different that are equally interchangeable between the two. Unit 1 as said is fitted for Ground combat and as such comes with a machine gun and the ground combat shield, while Unit 3 comes with a beam rifle and a full bodied shield.
Unit 1’s machine gun is built in five parts; two comprising the gun body, the collapsing stock, gun barrel, side grip, and the ammo magazine. The magazine comes molded in Unit 1’s main blue color, but is recommended to be painted white. This has somewhat bothered me due to the color of the spare magazines (mounted on its hips) are the darker shade of blue, all of which are interchangeable. The gun has some nice features such as being able to collapse down to its compact form where it can be used single handed, or to its full open mode where the stock is folded back and the outer grip is extended to be stabilized by the left hand. Unit 1’s shield is the same type used in the RX-79G, designed to be mounted on the side of the arm or staked into the ground thanks to its clawed front. Construction runs in at around five parts, consisting of the body of the shield, backside, the claw end, and a yoke for it to rest against the ground. This yoke swings around and sits flush against the back of the shield when it is mounted on the arm. For mounting the shield, Bandai has fully implemented the method of a bracket into both models that attaches to the forearm with two docking points for either the back or the side, and a docking plug that fits onto a polycap inside the back of the shield. The plug allows the shield to rotate any given way and attach at that angle instead of the forced method of docking at a fixed position on the arm.
Unit 3 comes with the same type of beam rifle issued to the RX-79G. Construction runs down the gun with two solid injection tubes to make the barrel, two halves to make the body, and a forward mounted grip. The body is made in white plastic that needs to be detailed in gray to match the barrel, and painted in its targeting sight. The shield for Unit 3 is similar to the standard long body shields seen on most Federation models up until the end of the One Year War with exception to its coloring. Unlike the others which are commonly one back side color and one front face color, Unit 3’s has two colors on the front, white on the upper section and blue for the lower half. Construction requires the top section be connected first before the lower, with the standard polycap fit into place underneath for it to connect to the docking plug.
Overall both models are excellent and a pleasurable process of repetition if built back to back. Like earlier models such as the RX-121 Hazels, having both Unit 1 and Unit 3 compliment each other through shared accessories adds to their display value. If you’re a fan of the more traditional Federation-type mobile suits, then these are some of the best the HGUC line has to offer.
|Posted 18 March, 2009 - 08:53 by Gunpla Rob|