GM & Ball
Review by Optimal III
Bandai is huge, ginormously huge. They're the third largest toy maker in the world with only Mattel and Hasbro being larger. Equally as huge is their juggernaut franchise, Gundam. The show changed the world of animation when it debuted in 1979. I don't know the history of model kits, but I imagine it also had at least some impact there too. For a long time Gundam was all about model kits, but in 1999, Mobile Suit in Action debuted, an action figure line. Whether coincidence or not that it marked the 20th anniversary, it was definitely a big deal. Most figures produced during the line's first two years were based on designs from the first TV series: Mobile Suit Gundam. And if we're going by model numbers, this tandem comes up first.
I think the GM is popular enough that it could sell on its own just fine but I am not sure about the Ball. Maybe that's why they were offered in a two-pack. However, it could also be that the Ball & GM were often paired together in units to support each other. Either way, I really like the packaging. A plastic cover wraps around from one side to the other, and everything inside has its place in a form fitting tray. The mechanical specs for each unit are printed on the peg flap and on the right side. And the inside of the card is an actual diorama. This whole thing is useful and attractive both before and after opening it up. It wasn't bad for a relatively cheap toy when it first retailed.
The RB-79 Ball is less mobile suit, more mobile armor. They were originally civilian space pods used for construction work that were refitted with a little armor, a 180-mm cannon, and two arms with pincers at the end. All that sounds kind of diminutive and the toy fits that description. The shoulders, such as they are, are ball-jointed. The elbows hinge 180-degrees and the pincers which can be open and close. The cannon does a full 360, can be aimed up or down. That's all for articulation but it looks good doing what it can. Everything has a rubbery plastic feel with the body being very solid. The paint is sharp and glossy making all the panel lines visible.
From behind, there's not much going on besides the boosters.
Below, it's all about the vertical thrust.
AM Optimus is 3.75" inches, so the Ball probably comes in around 3" inches (I forgot to measure).
The RGM-79 GM is the meat to the Ball's potatoes. In this case it is the Federation's first mass-production mobile suit and is sort of a scaled-down Gundam. Everything looks on point, except for the left chest vent, which is a little crooked. The ankles, hips, shoulders, hands, and head are all ball-jointed. The knees and elbows are hinged, swinging back and forward 90-degrees. The elbows also swivel, as do the hands. It can hit some decent poses, but the ankles impeded by the static covers above the feet. The hips can only do so much because the skirt is one solid piece.
At 4.5" inches, it's just big enough for the filled in panel lines and paint to pop out. This is especially true with this lighting with the diorama.
On the backpack, the verniers can be swung in and out which is something I didn't notice at first.
Down below, the foot thrusters are pretty done up, maybe even more so than what I though was in the animation model.
For armaments the GM has two 60-mm vulcan guns built into its head. More formidably, it also carries a beam saber in the recharge rack in its backpack. Kind of tight, but it can reach behind and grab its melee weapon.
It has a shield that can be carried by hand or mounted on its backpack.
For the long range game, the GM can use a beam spray gun. It can be gripped by both hands but looks a little weird doing so.
What isn't as weird is the machine gun, which definitely looks like a two-handed weapon.
It never pays to be an Action Master.
The only bad thing I can say about this set is that neither figure is that big.
But then again, that's just as good a thing because they don't take up a lot space. If you want a fun pair of toys that aren't prone or liable to be broken anytime soon, and fairly cheap, the Ball & GM set is a good way go. There are other Balls & GMs to be had, but none of them come in pairs. The kits might be cheaper than the $50 or so I paid for this on ebay, but they have to be assembled. I'll take a completed toy over a model kit every time. So that's two down, and three to go to complete the MSG Federation line-up.
|Posted 31 January, 2015 - 16:52 by Optimal III|