Review by Gunpla Rob
Destroy All Podcasts did a full show based on the group experience of G-Saviour the first and only Live Action Gundam. Adding to the fire, we take a look at the only piece of plastic ever produced for the film.
Conspiracy Nuts, Recycled Military Costumes, and a Plot out of SeaQuest.
G-Saviour claims to take place in the far off ends of the Universal Century. So far off, it is too young to remember anything of the One Year War, and long out of touch with anything that might have occurred after the ends of both F-91 and V. Mark Curren, a retired soldier turned reluctant deep sea harvester piloting a mobile suit, becomes entwisted in the conflict of the current Earth Federation and the Side 8 “Gaia” colony over possession of the solution for a growing food shortage. Branded a traitor, Curren escapes with members of Gaia’s resistance forces into space where a chance encounter with an old military friend in the secret organization called the Illuminati, is bestowed with the mobile suit G-Saviour. For any more details, I highly recommend observing Destroy All Podcast’s show on the subject.
According to what was available to US audiences, the G-Saviour was a prototype mobile suit, as all Gundams of the Universal Century often were. Calling the G-Saviour a multipurpose suit would be stretching the limited information, as it was supposedly outfitted with different armors for different engagements. In the film, viewers were introduced to one type (Space Mode) with a cameo by a second (Earth Mode). Despite being something to explore with models, Bandai did very little to promote the different modes of the G-Saviour. Instead only one model for the entire G-Saviour project was ever produced: a sad, lonely, underwhelming 1/144 scale model of the G-Saviour itself. I think I can safely, and boldly say that I actually found this kit to be enjoyable more so than the movie.
So Bad, Yet Somewhat Good
For its only model, the G-Saviour -Space Mode- is reflective of the post F91 age with its stripped down, ventilated frame and the fish-scale like thrusters on its back. In some instances of Gundam models; the box art reflects a completely different version of what is produced in plastic, which can be a toss up of quality issues in terms of accuracy. In this case, the G-Saviour’s starship-like, textured plating is nonexistent and replaced with a bare white body with some panel etching. As such, the colors of the G-Saviour are very basic: dark gray, turquoise, and the previously mentioned white, with two added clear injection blue parts and a single red piece. While the colors are rather dull, the plastic incarnation of the G-Saviour does give you a better appreciation for the design as opposed to its cinematic, disproportionate bulk.
Construction of the G-Saviour is very much in tune with late 90’s HG and early HGUC (High Grade Universal Century) lines. In 1/144 scale, it lacks much of the detail one could hope for. To its credit, the kit is really simple with paintwork needed to bring out just the right details in the right spots. As the only model from the G-Saviour franchise, the G-Saviour Space-Mode has a few points that showed they were preparing to expand on the single design into multiple forms. Whether canceled or just abandoned, those additional forms were never brought to fruition.
Starting with the G-Saviour’s head, construction is fairly basic with two halves making the outer shell and the face constructed in two parts: the unpainted mask and the ‘chin’ piece. This is then crowed off with the traditional Gundam “V” crest. Without paint, the head is almost solid white, with exception to the two turquoise blue pieces sticking off the front.
The G-Saviour’s torso makes up the fair bulk of the whole design and continues this in plastic. To its credit the torso is slimmer than it appears on screen and the overall mass comes from the backpack. In typical 1/144 scale fashion, the torso is built in layers: starting from the lower abdomen which is then topped off with the chest. The basic construction is simple, with polycap ports in the bottom of the abdomen which connects to the waist, and the ball topped stem to connect the head to the neck. The backpack is a multilayered assembly, starting in its core with a basic back-plate. Connected to that is a fantail arrangement of plates that make up the G-Saviour’s main thrusters, in a circular pattern laying flat. This whole section is then fit over the back-plate and locked down with two strip shaped rails that extend over the chest and lay over the top of the backpack, bringing both sections together as a single unit.
The G-Saviour’s waist is fairly basic, an inner two piece assembly formed on the front and back with two polycap points to connect the side skirts with two layers of armor on the front and back. The rear is a hollowed square block, which adds bulk to the very skeletal interior. The front skirts are a pair of thrusters arranged in the same fantail fashion as the backpack. The front skirts have no independent articulation or room for modification to allow it because they are joined by a solid rod. The hip mounted thrusters follow the tradition of the G-Saviour’s flight assembly bulk. The design of the thrusters resembles a pair of thick tuning forks with two jet engine intakes on the front. The components are molded in the blue plastic so both parts benefit with a touch of paint which adds depth to the simple two part shell construct. Although larger than the other parts of the kit, these hip mounted units help to keep the model standing upright and centering its weight at its core.
The arms and legs are designed virtually identical to one another; following the same aesthetic emptiness and bare mechanical look. The forearms are built within two halves, containing a polycap hinge for the elbow and polycap socket cup for the hands. Across the back of the forearm is an armored flair that is added before the final stage of construction. One the left forearm there is one additional jewel shaped piece that acts as an alternate part for the G-Saviour’s beam shield. The bicep is two halves molded front and back molded like a solid metal rod with pistons hanging off the sides, but is articulated by a polycap hinge sleeve (which fits onto the shoulder rod in the torso). The shoulder armor is built in layers that are built onto the bicep. The base shoulder layer is then covered by the single injection molded flair, which has another detail plate attacked on its bottom.
The legs follow the same construction method as the arms and share the same degree of detailing. Although stable to hold the weight of the kit, the narrow look of the legs displays the same dramatic change in scale and bulk that upsets the design’s potential. The feet are built in the modern fashion with a bottom and top toe formula built around an articulated ankle. The heel is a solid cast piece which fits onto the back of the ankle. The ankle guards are solid injection pieces which fit into ports on the ankle that float in place above the heel. Despite the overall kit’s stiff articulation, the legs are well balanced for holding a stable pose while holding the weight of the kit.
The G-Saviour comes with the absolute minimum accessories required; a beam rifle, saber, and shield. The saber and the shield are beam-based which is reflected in their injection recreations. Molded in clear blue plastic, painting is required for the saber’s grip and the shield’s ‘jewel’ which connects it to the left forearm. The saber and the shield have alternate parts for storage displays, such as the saber grip which fits onto the shoulder, and the jewel plug that fits onto the left forearm. The G-Saviour’s rifle is constructed in three parts: two halves for the body and the barrel. The rifle has two hexagonal shaped ports on it which are designed to dock the rifle onto either the lower leg or on the rear skirt block. To manage these accessories, the G-Saviour comes with three hands: two fists for the left and right and one right hand dedicated to holding the rifle.
Overall, I actually enjoyed this kit as a nostalgic piece of bad history. Since I am no stranger to good mecha from less than stellar Gundams (see my entire SEED Destiny review history), it was only a matter of time before I found myself building G-Saviour. Despite its origin, the model was a nice change of pace from complexity to a simpler time when models were cheap and the scale reflected the construction volume. It is not without disappointments, but these flaws are signs of age. Not to be wishing for the Gunplapocolypse, I could see how this design could be improved and redone using Bandai’s modern construction theories. Now if you excuse me, I have to go make smug looks while doing little to save Gaia.
|Posted 1 April, 2009 - 08:53 by Gunpla Rob|