MS-07B Gouf Version 2.0
|Character Design||Kunio Okawara|
Review by Rob
Before I go into the review, I want to explain that I first built this model almost over two years ago and after completing the RX-78-2 “Version 3.0,” decided to make some improvements and added an aftermarket upgrade.
Bandai’s 1:100 scale Master Grade “Version 2.0” MS-07B Gouf was released a short time after the production of the Version 2.0 series Zaku II and Gelgoog model kits in 2009. Like the other Version 2.0 kits, the Gouf was more than just a redeeming remake of the original model, focused on recreating the designers’ animated look of the Mobile Suits built over a superior mechanical structure.
The MS-07 Gouf was the Principality of Zeon’s ground combat prototype Mobile Suit, originally planned to succeed the infantry standard MS-06 Zaku II during the later half of the One Year War of Universal Century 0079. Despite possessing superior speed and output strength, the Gouf’s production was limited due to the demand by Zeon commanders for more advanced units such as the MS-09 Dom and MS-14 Gelgoog during the final days of the war.
It would be remembered by fans for being the iconic Mobile Suit of Ramba Ral who earned the nickname “The Blue Giant” for his trademark blue colored Mobile Suits and ferocity in battle.
The character of Lieutenant Ramba Ral of the Principality of Zeon was adapted from the real life figure of Erwin Rommel, the German patriot known as the “Desert Fox” during his tenure in the Afrika Korps.
Much like his historical namesake, Ramba Ral was a tactical genius in the art of Guerilla Warfare and a cunning leader respected by his enemies.
Before the war, Ramba Ral was a loyalist to the former leader of the Space Colonies, Zeon Zum Deikun, even after his death at the hands of the Degwin Zabi and his family. During their rise to power, he saw to the safety of Deikun’s children while remaining within the Zeon military as a means of restoring his lost honor.
Ramba Ral served on the Earth Front during the last months of the War and fought the Earth Federation’s forces in the Asian desert.
Aided only by his subordinates and his mistress Lady Crowley Harmon, Ramba Ral was directly involved with assaulting the Federation’s Pegasus class carrier “White Base” and fought against the prototype RX-78-2 Gundam with the newly developed Mobile Suit, the MS-07B Gouf.
“This is no Zaku boy! No Zaku!”
Designed by artist Kunio Okawara, the Gouf is modeled with an Eastern European influence resembling space age medieval armor.
With its broad, symmetrical shoulder spikes and the frowning curve of its forehead, the Gouf was a symbol of physical brute force to be reckoned with.
Out of the box, the Gouf is molded in its final primary colors of light and dark blue with dark gray plastic for its outer body, and an inner frame molded in gray ABS plastic. Like the Version 2.0 RX-78 series, the Gouf uses only the minimal amount of polycaps at its stress points.
The parts for the Gouf’s power cables and Heat Rod are molded in soft material, while the blade for its Heat Saber and cockpit windows are molded in a translucent orange plastic.
The Gouf features two parts molded in colorless clear plastic for its Cyclopean mono-eye and the protective visor that covers it.
Because of its base similarities to the Zaku II, Bandai borrows some of the innermost structural parts for the Gouf from the Version 2.0 MSN-06 model kit.
Beyond these parts, the Gouf is a completely new model kit from the inside out.
Unlike Bandai’s multiple productions runs of the Zaku II for its various variations, there is only ONE Version 2.0 Gouf model, even though its spare parts can be used to create two alternate versions of the design: the mass production type MSN-07A and the more renowned MSN-07B.
The MSN-07B is built with the weaponized “Finger Vulcan” in place of the standard left hand and the right forearm is mounted with a retractable whip weapon called the “Heat Rod.”
Converting it to the mass-produced MSN-07A requires removing both of these weapons and installing a cover plate on the forearm and swapping the Finger Vulcan with the normal hand. Although the model gives you some flexibility to the option of which version to build, the left hand and Finger Vulcan share the same wrist joint.
A standard of the Version 2.0 series’ engineering is the ability to build the model’s inner frame without any of the outer armor.
Once completed, the Version 2.0 Gouf features an amazingly articulated and balanced inner frame with highly detailed surfaces and mechanical assemblies such as sliding pistons and double jointed limbs.
Although mostly aesthetic rather than functional, the pistons in the Gouf’s ankles are amazing and truly accent the mechanical look of the inner frame!
The Zeonic standard Cyclopean mono-eye is assembled with a gear mechanism built into the Gouf’s neck, enabling it to move in the same direction the head is turned.
One of Bandai’s improvements with the Version 2.0 line is the hands, which feature articulated knuckles on the fingers with exception to the thumb and tabs that interlock with the models’ weapons.
Doing the same work I did with the Version 2.0 G3, I cut away the webbing between the joined fingers to make all four digits individually moveable.
The Gouf’s outer armor is molded in sections that fit together across its panel lines in order to mask any visible seams and some of the parts are molded as whole pieces rather than split halves.
The Gouf’s shoulder armor is done as complete domes with solid spikes, as well as the lattice framing underneath.
Similar to the Version 2.0 Gundam, the Gouf is a model kit that requires very little painting on the outside, but can benefit with a touch of color to its exposed details.
Building mine, I painted the insides of the flared armor and treads on the feet with Testors Model Master Acryl “Gunship Gray.”
I used this color again on the back of the Gouf’s shield which was originally molded in the light blue plastic.
Initially when I was building the inner frame, I colored the exposed pistons with silver enamel and when I came back to the model, I added some gold enamel to the cylinder bodies.
Another improvement I made to the Gouf was replacing the original mono-eye with one of Bandai’s Builders Parts “HD MS Sight Lens.”
The ‘Builders Parts’ series of components are Bandai’s answer to manufacturers like Kotobukiya and other third party model supply makers as their own in-house brand of compatible upgrade parts that fit both 1:144 and 1:100 scale models (sometimes sold separately).
To use the ‘MS Sight Lens’ parts, I needed to first bore out the camera piece with my pin vise so it would connect to the post on the geared swivel point inside the head. I also had to cut down on the length of the post in order for the new assembly to fit behind the visor and prevent the clear lens piece from falling out.
I think the change makes a big difference by adding more detail and improving the Mobile Suit’s deadly, ominous glare.
“I have the magnifying lens of a soldier, boy!”
One of the interesting details of the Gouf’s design is its cockpit is molded separately from the Gouf’s midsection and can be virtually left out of the completed kit. This is a striking contrast to the Version 2.0 Zaku II and Gelgoog models, where the cockpit is one of the first assemblies that need to be integrated into the body.
On the upside, this made it easier to paint and detail the 1:100 scale figurine of Ramba Ral in his pilot suit that was originally molded in blue plastic.
The 1:100 scale figurines of both Ramba Ral (in his officers’ uniform) and Lady Harmon included with this kit were also molded in blue plastic that I painted entirely down to the smallest details such as Lieutenant Ral’s trademark mustache.
When fully built, the Gouf stands at the Universal Century standard of seven inches tall from heel to commander’s horn.
The Gouf retains the excellent range of articulation of its inner frame even with the armor attached.
Thankfully, most of the Gouf’s armor can move independently. The Gouf’s shoulder and skirt armor is articulated on hinged ball and socket joints in order to float against the main body of the Mobile Suit to avoid getting in its own way.
The shoulder armor exemplifies the Gouf’s imposing look by swinging further out and higher up against the chest.
The front skirt armor is built onto the hips as to not impede the legs range of movement.
One of the drawbacks to the skirt armor is how tightly it fits, often popping out of the socket whenever the legs are bent at extreme angles.
Adjusting the hinge point however can sometimes prevent this dilemma.
The power cables that are built onto the head and backpack need to have the plastic links threaded onto the soft plastic tubing.
The links are set on the runner in such a way that they can be threaded onto the cable before cutting them free. However, it was much easier for me to cut the links and fit them to the cable individually.
The Gouf is a close quarter combat machine, and the Version 2.0 model comes with its signature weapons of the Heat Rod, Heat Saber and Shield.
If you have any other Version 2.0 Zeon Mobile Suit models, the Gouf can effortlessly use their firearms as well.
The shield is majestic in its simplicity and smooth surface. It is mounted with a ball and socket jointed clasp that grips onto the back of the forearms. Although it can’t fold out onto the side of the arm, the shield can rotate and conform to the arm movement fluidly without being cumbersome.
The saber is very basic in its execution with the grip and hilt pieces molded separately and the detachable orange blade.
Like all of the Version 2.0 models, the sword has an interlocking groove that fits with the tab molded into the palm of the Gouf’s hand.
The one problem I have with the Gouf’s saber is the tab can lose its grip due to the weight of the blade.
When not in use, the sword can be carried under the shield.
Although its name is a bit misleading, the Heat Rod is actually a whip which can be electrified or heated into a cutting weapon.
Compared to the Gundam’s chain mace “Gundam Hammer” which uses a length of preassembled plastic chain, the Version 2.0 Gouf’s whip is constructed from 44 individual links of soft plastic.
There are four parts for the barbed end and an attachment point that fits in the Gouf’s forearm.
The Heat Rod is able to maintain any shape it is bent into and easily be wrapped around solid objects or be pressed together to make a straight line.
“It wasn’t your skill but the strength of your Mobile Suit!”
I’ve been a big fan of the “version 2.0” concept, and I was very happy with the Gouf being among the Mobile Suits to get the upgraded treatment. Overall, the Gouf 2.0 is a great model for one of my favorite characters in the “Gundam” series and was really worth the extra effort I put into building it.
|Posted 24 December, 2014 - 13:19 by Rob|