RX-78-2 Gundam and RGM-79 GM Ver. Ka
Review by Optimal III
Since 1999, the majority of Gundam toys have been produced via Mobile Suit in Action and Robot Spirits, but there have been some other lines here and there. One of the more prolific toy lines was G.F.F. or Gundam Fix Figuration. These were based on mechanical designs by Hajime Katoki and his artwork published in the G.F.F. book. I'm always up for a new version of something if I think there's anything to be had, so that led me to my first G.F.F.
G.F.F. #0026 contains the RX-78-2 Gundam, Katoki-style. I'd say it's not that different from the standard version, just lots of extra details to make it look more realistic. And it has some accessories for combining it with the G-Fighter (the previously released in G.F.F. #0004 and #0007), but that doesn't really matter to me. I was already aware of the Metal Composite version, seemingly superior in every way. And what I really wanted here was the GM. Most of the extra parts here are for converting from one to the other, sort of the overarching gimmick for G.F.F. Actually, this review is the first time I've really fiddled with the Gundam in this box. So I'll cover that and save the GM for last.
Besides the toy, there's also an instruction manual and a label sheet. G.F.F. promotes customization through part swapping and extra decals. I haven't applied any of those yet, and probably never will.
Right out of the box, a handful of things grab my attention. First, I really like the texture of this toy. That may sound weird, but I'm serious. Most surfaces have sort of a gritty feel, like they're kind of dirty. I'm guessing that's the paint but whatever it is, I dig it. I wouldn't want all of my toys to be that way, but for a handful, it's nice. Second, the back of the hands are covered. Hands as manipulators seem like they'd be difficult to design and hard to maintain, so extra armor would make sense. And they kind of look like gloves, so that amuses me, imagining the Gundam walking around slapping other mobile suits when they step out of line. Third, this thing is covered in vents, nozzles, panels, logos, indicia, and notices. All very military, all sort of Macross/Robotech-ish. And fourth, the eyes and head cameras are green. Green eyes are typical of most Gundams, but the RX-78-2 is famous for having yellow eyes. Why the change? Heck if I know.
The typical armaments are in place. Two 60-mm vulcan guns are mounted in the forehead. Although they seem to be behind the v-fin, so that's a bit off.
It's flexible enough to reach behind and grab its beam sabers, which is always appreciated. There's even an open hand for that, one of 7 included.
It's got the classic beam rifle, which has also been touched up with extra details and gritty texture slightly different from the Gundam. I don't like how the gun sight is fixed in position though. I'd expect better from G.F.F., given all the hype.
It has the requisite shield complete with the same treatment as everything else. Actually, it comes with 2 shields (3 total) primarily for combining with the G-Fighter. But why were the view slots blocked in? If they're not needed, they could have been removed all together. Maybe because it was easier than modifying the design anymore? That's another dislike, but at least the shield can be mounted on the arm. Holding a shield by hand is nice and all, but why shouldn't it be mountable? With the brace it attaches to, it can rotate 360-degrees too. How it mounts on the back is another story.
Last, but not least, there are also a couple of hyper bazookas. They look good, but come apart too easily. Getting the Gundam to hold them takes some work. The rear waist armor can be switched for an open version, one way the Gundam has been shown to carry an extra. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to just stick it in there, which is why they can be disassembled. I wouldn't count that as a negative, but I've seen this idea better executed on 3 different versions of the RX-78-2, one of them about the same size, so ding it is.
Articulation wise, the feet, knees, and elbows are hinged, with the knees being double-jointed and the feet being jointed for joining with the G-Fighter. The ankles, hips, hands, and head are ball-jointed. The elbows and shoulders swivel, the shoulders able to extend out of the body. There's also an ab crunch. But it's kind of limited. The hips are hindered as well by the front and side armor skirts. Everything holds together pretty well, but push it too much and armor starts to pop off. The arms and shin guards are the most frequent culprits. And speaking of shin guards, to go from Gundam to GM and back, you have to swap or remove/replace: the shin guards, calf armor, front skirt, side skirts, rear skirt, crotch guard, rear skirt guard, midsection, upper body, chest armor, arms, left shoulder armor, backpack, and head. Appropriate since the GM is a stripped down Gundam.
Voila, the roughly 5.5 inch RGM-79 GM. Or is it? Some people argue this is actually the RGM-79C GM Kai, which first appeared in Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. Either way, it's a Katoki design. And it gets kookier, because revisionist storytelling dictates the Kai is what showed up in MSG. Whatever. The box says "RGM-79", so that's what I'm going with. Like the Gundam, the GM has that updated real military aesthetic going on.
The GM also sports a couple of 60-mm vulcan guns in its forehead. But it only carries one beam saber by default. And it too can mount the shield on either forearm or its back. But boy oh boy, that back...
Getting it to stay mounted on the backpack is one of those trying tasks that make you want to shake something. Violently. There's a piece pegged in that you can push out. Doing so reveals a peg hole that the bracket can utilize. But you have to orientate it just right so that it can fit in between the verniers. And the bracket has to mount onto another bracket inside the shield, which carries two more beam sabers in about the same about as the left verniers. Not a problem with the arms, but totally a problem here.
Bah! I'll just stick with the arm. Anyways, the bar inside the shield can pulled out and plugged in horizontally, acting as a brace to keep the shield just off the arm.
Which can lead into a nifty look for the beam spray gun.
The GM can also swap the rear skirt guard for a non-booster version that carries two more beam sabers, and this backpack with verniers out the wazoo. I imagine a GM equipped with this would be boosting all over the place, with beam sabers for everyone.
And lastly, this set comes with two display stands. One for the ground, and one for being mounted in the air. This is not the best GM toy I've got, the review of which is forthcoming. Still, it's pretty good. It holds a special place in my heart because it's the first thing I bought at my first SDCC in 2012 that I was actually looking for.that wasn't an exclusive. I couldn't care less about the Gundam and what it brings to the package/table, but it's probably a selling point to some. This retailed for $40 in 2005 and I managed to nab it for $70, so not bad. Basically recommended if you want a vanilla GM that's a bit more hardy and exotic than the MSIA, but doesn't have to be assembled like a kit. Or if you want a GM/Gundam semi two-pack.
|Posted 11 February, 2015 - 09:06 by Optimal III|