Review by Gunpla Rob
Summer rolls on, and the shop gets back to normal. With the unfinished work done, I’ve gone on to other kits I’ve been meaning to get and build. While Gundam SEED may have ended and its model collection finished there were still some models that I wanted to work on, such as the Providence Gundam.
“…Year 70 of the Cosmic Era”
The ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam was introduced in the final episodes of Gundam SEED. Piloted by Raw Le Cruze it was a metal menace with a grudge. It was the first MS from the Cosmic Era to introduce the DRAGOON weapon system, combined with Le Cruze’s own angst proved how deadly it could be for both sides in the war, ZAFT and Earth Alliance. Le Cruze’s madness led him to damage the GAT-X103 Buster Gundam and nearly killing its (former ZAFT) pilot Dearka Elthman. Also during that time, he fought his long time nemesis Muu La Flaga in the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam to a stand still before turning is attention to the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam and its pilot, Kira Yamato.
AT FIRST GLANCE
Believe it or not, the Providence is actually much thinner around the waist than the animated version. The size of the Dragoon pack is much smaller too, and the arms are rather narrow. That doesn’t mean that the kit didn’t have a fair amount of bulk to it. Considering it comes with a full array of Dragoon units, and its hand held weapons, this is one big bad machine for the series.
The head of the Providence continues the way SEED models have come out in recently, more assembly with more detail. Counting the polycap, the head has over 11 pieces. This accounts for the eyes, face, chin/nose, the two head halves, forehead parts, side guards, and the traditional ‘V’ crest made with two parts. There is still some vent and panel work to fill in. Detailing is sharp and the crispness of the plastic really helps it look good. There was something odd yet welcome in the eye piece. There is an outline crevice at the base of the eyes which makes things easier for painting the eyes.
There’s a lot more assembly work to do in this kit’s torso than any of the other kits out of the SEED line. It lacks in the articulation from such assembly work as seen in the ASTRAY models, however. The assembly work here is all detail and gimmick. The detail work includes the cables that wrap around the body and plug into the vents and the vents being a two part assembly before connecting to the body as well. Also, the gun points on the shoulders are parts of their own. Completed, the torso is reminiscent of the RX-178 Gundam Mk2 but with a broader chest and longer skirt armor. The hip skirt assembly and the back skirt are also Dragoon pods, so there is some hinge like articulation. There is some paint work needed for the full details though, such as the chest vents which need a fill in of yellow and the neck piece which is molded in the dark blue plastic of the chest. Not to mention the various gun points in the Dragoons, but that just applies to the weapons.
The arms of the Providence are really narrow compared to the rest of the kit’s bulk. Squared, simplistic but with the solid construction one could hope from a SEED 1/100 scale kit. Combined with the static pegs of the torso and the size of the Dragoon pack, there’s not much range for extreme motion. With the right arm toting its large beam rifle, the only arm with some range of freedom is the left arm. The shoulders, long as they are, are really narrow.
The limbs go from scrawny arms to thunder thighs. The leg assembly is more developed than the arms in their motion range and parts count. While most of the paint work here is cut down to vent and panel markings, the thruster points do need a splash of red to bring out the detail value. The lower legs are rounded, much to the style of the design. The bulk of the legs are a good thing considering the upper body’s load. With the big gun, shield and the Dragoon assembly, the legs are balanced and can hold the weight.
As said through out, the Providence comes with a large beam rifle, a shield, and its Dragoon packs. The rifle is more like a bazooka in its shoulder mounted design. Construction is simple half and half for the main body with the gun barrel piece, trigger, extension grip, and gun sight parts built on that. Even with this many parts, the gun is really light weight compared to smaller, equally assembled guns. A drawback to its size and ‘proper’ position is the hand. With SEED models having a new, two piece fist (fingers/knuckles part and a palm part), hands need to be split apart to insert most weapons. Due to how the hand is molded, the rifle tends to shift and flop around causing the hands to open and drop the weapon. This can be a high risk problem at high altitude shelves.
The shield on the left arm is nice little thing, acting as the Providence’s beam saber, an additional mini barreled beam cannon and a solid block shield. The difference from most SEED designs with combination shields, this shield closes over the forearm and fist. Considering the Providence lacks additional handheld weapons, it’s a good change of pace.
Now for the potatoes to the meat, the remote weapon; Dragoon package. For those born in the Universal Century, a Dragoon is the Cosmic Era’s equivalent to the Funnel, made famous on such MS as the MSN-04 Sazabi, AMX-004 Qubeley, and the RX-93 Nu Gundam. Much like other weapons (and MS) of the Cosmic Era, Dragoon is a condensed word:
Disconnected Rapid Armament Group Overlook Operation Network.
The Dragoon package though is scattered across docking points, such as the skirts and the turtle shell backpack. The backpack is a very simplistic shell assembly but with polycaps in holding positions for five of the dragoon units. The Providence has over four types and a total of eleven units. This accounts for four short tipped (mounted on the side skirts), two long tipped (attached to the rear skirts), two medium tipped (mounted to the backpack), and three cone shaped drones. While all of them are molded in the off grey plastic, the gun points need a good splash of paint to show just how many guns the Providence really has. With two on each of the standard types (long tipped, short tipped, medium tipped) and nine on each of the drones, there are 43 individual gun barrels on the entire Dragoon assembly. Numerically speaking, that was one ultra fine tipped brush and three toothpicks worth of work.
The Providence was essentially the last of the SEED 1/100 scale kits. The SEED series models were very sound, well produced, and nicely constructed with minimal weapon and accessory flaws. The Providence continues the new tradition and sets some of the ground work for what the next generation of 1/100 scale high grades would be. Its simple construction is worthwhile and the display value is also very nice. The only thing that hurts it is how light in weight it is compared to its design.
|Posted 5 October, 2006 - 12:08 by Gunpla Rob|