Infinite Justice Gundam
Review by Gunpla Rob
When Gundam SEED Destiny came to a close earlier this year, there were a few loose ends, namely in the model kit department. To me it was a matter of quality control, but there was a serious degree of absentee MS. While virtually every machine to gracefully blow up in the show was developed in a 1/144 scale form, there were some that never made it to 1/100 scale. Of course neither the 1/144 scale nor the 1/100 scale saw any incarnation of the giant sized Destroy Gundam.
While fans could easily live without starters as the Blast Impulse, the Gaia or the Abyss, fans could not do without what could be called ‘The Athrun Zala collection.’ In short these are the MS that SEED-fan favorite Athrun Zala piloted. An early attempt at getting an ‘Athrun’ MS into the line was a cannon-fodder Zaku Warrior with a 1/20 Athrun character card. However that was just his picture but where was HIS mobile suit? Although Destiny is off the air, the series still has plenty to offer in a model kit collection and also to fill the void for main character machines. Notably, Athrun Zala’s ZGMF-X23S Saviour and future machine the ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice.
“The Path of Justice”
In the end of Gundam SEED Athrun Zala piloted a mobile suit called the ZGMF-X09A the Justice Gundam, given to him in order to pursuit and capture (or destroy) the stolen ZGMF-X10A Freedom. While his mission led him to Freedom and its pilot Kira Yamato (Athrun’s friend from childhood), Athrun changed his perspective to one of neutrality and used it help end the war between the ZAFT forces and the Earth forces. In a gamble to destroy the GENESIS space cannon, Athrun self destructed the Justice and the mobile suit was destroyed forever. Going into Destiny Athrun’s role shifted to something of a side character. He followed along, helped out every now and then and sulked about the way things were.
When it came down to actual mobile suit piloting, he was short sheeted. Commandeering a Zaku Warrior in the first five episodes, he later received the ZGMF-X23S Saviour Gundam and used it in only a few battles along side the newcomer Shinn Asuka and the ZGMF-X56S Impulse. However Athrun’s new position forced him at odds with his friends and the Saviour met its untimely destruction at the hands of a pissed off Kira Yamato in the Freedom. With the Saviour a scrap pile, Athrun was later offered the ZGMF-X666 Legend, but Athrun wanted to redeem himself and fled from ZAFT once more to find his friends. After nearly being killed by Shinn and his new ZGMF-X42S Destiny, Athrun returned to the Archangel and received the ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice.
“Great kit, but… Pink.”
Before I get started, let’s take a look at the colors. The Infinite Justice comes in full color in two gray types (light and dull), white, near black, purple and…. Pink. Yes. Pink. This is the only complaint for out of the box building that goes with the plastic colors. Animated, the Infinite Justice is a rouge, a dull red color. The Infinite Justice in plastic is pink, dull pink. Also its joint color is supposed to be silver, in plastic, it comes in a light dull gray. I don’t mind these colors personally and I understand the production costs for metallic colors are higher than normal plastics. On the other hand, if they could do the gold injection ABS for the Strike Freedom then a silver injection shouldn’t be too hard to do. However, this is why man developed paint and the skills to use them.
Getting started, it’s no question that this is yet another upgraded version of a past MS seen in the SEED universe. However it really shows how much more can be done to make it better. In my honest opinion, this kit has a lot more to offer in an upgrade compared to the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom. With its gimmicks quadrupled, and a sleeker form, the Infinite Justice really deserved its 1/100 scale treatment.
The one factor of the 1/100 scale line from SEED Destiny that drove me nuts was the sheer lack of true 1/100 scale quality. For example, I had seen images of the earlier produced Chaos, and how out of scale its head was compared to the rest of its body. Then came the over abundance of Zaku Warriors before any Gundams (except for the Impulse) were produced. While this is forgivable from a Universal Century line, it doesn’t help for this series. While I liked the Strike Freedom I was disappointed by its short comings, and the kit itself didn’t do the justice of reflecting its animated form.
When they announced that an Infinite Justice was finally coming, I had my doubts of its quality. What changed my opinion was when they revealed that BEE-CRAFT would be handling it. For those not in the know, BEE-CRAFT is a design team based on Hajime Katoki’s style for making models and figures, notably the majority of the Master Grade and HGUC collections. Their method of design really shines through from page to plastic.
The construction is sleek and angular, while using the optimum number of parts without getting too scarce or too many. This formula works very well and makes up for what has been missing. In my opinion it makes more sense to build more than less. While the prior Gundams in the Destiny assortment have shown awkward scale proportions in the heads and feet, the BEE-CRAFT style shows an almost opposite version; smaller head and narrow torsos compared to lengthy body parts. The dynamic of this however allows for posing without interference. The first notable difference for the Infinite Justice compared to other kits is that the thruster vents are neon green compared to the typical red. These areas are divided through out the body in the numerous thruster regions except for the Lifter pack.
The head of the Infinite Justice is tight. A nine part construct, but with points that require paint detail such as the cheeks of the face, gun points, and eye points. Like other kits as of late, the eyes are not molded in clear plastic. Instead they are molded into the plastic used to make the chin. This works to cut down on the amount of assembly work and cut back on the amount of small parts used in the kit.
The Torso has more parts to its assembly to add bulk and at the same time show accuracy. The assembly adds for articulation, such as the swivel in the neck and the polycap points for the arms to attach. Also it helps for holding the weight of the Lifter pack. A unique detail for the Infinite Justice that needs paint work is the green trim on upper torso. With the parts being molded in a near black plastic, a need for a base coat is required if you paint. However there are decals for these areas included if you so choose to avoid painting.
The lower waist area uses the same formula of more and less. More in the side skirt assembly for the storage points for the beam sabers and less as in detail points that need paint. The skirts all have a decent amount of paint work such as thruster vents, and the side skirts have a white tip on their ends that needs painting. While the hips are somewhat broad compared to the narrow stomach of the torso, there is almost no interference in the range of motion.
The arms make up in a lot of ways for how the Strike Freedom was lacking. While square, the arms rotate up in the shoulder area of the bicep. The elbow is a double jointed assembly thanks to polycaps in the forearm and lower bicep allowing for almost 180 degrees of motion. They also went with another idea for assembly by having a double pegged plate for where the arm connects to the torso. This plate is part of the main shoulder armor assembly and the arm attaches from its shoulder swivel. This works out on a near MG scale for the fact that the arm has a wider range of motion without letting the shoulder armor swinging with the arm. On the side of the forearm there are small indentation slots, these allow for the shield to attach on either limb.
The Infinite Justice also comes with three hands, two fists and one open palm for the left hand. The style is the typical SEED type: palm, fingers, and back guard. While decent, they are far from perfect. However one distinct change in these hands from previous incarnations is the square pegs in the fingers. This preserves them from wear and tear with interchanging weapons. Also, unlike previous SEED hands, the thumb base (on the finger piece) has an extension of the palm to it. This helps to prevent it from splitting apart and helps to stiffen the grip on the weapons.
The legs combine a good bit of subassembly and over-assembly work in order to accomplish construction. The knee being the first assembly, two pieces with polycap points that connect the thigh to the calve areas. Also factor in the ankle assembly which requests assembly prior building so that it is attached before the leg is armored. Due to the style of the Infinite Justice’s legs, there are additional parts to the sides and front of the leg below the knee. The side vents are four parts (two that go around the back and the two vents) and then there are the front armor pieces that go on after that. Over that comes a knee guard with a beam point. It is almost confusing in the order of assembly but the manual lists what goes in first and there is good reason why.
On a slightly humorous bit, you know what they say about Gundams with big feet don’t you? They’ve got beam points on them. All seriousness, the feet of the Infinite Justice are rather big. Assembly is a fair bit, top and bottom, the ankle siding, a polycap, the beam point in the toe and the outer covers. In proportional scale to the legs of course, but a 5 and ½ centimeter foot from toe to heel is rather odd.
“Never bring a beam rifle to a beam saber fight”
The weapons assortment with Infinite Justice almost matches its name; infinite. The weapons array from the Infinite Justice dwarfs the Strike Freedom’s just for the sheer volume alone. The Strike Freedom has its eight DRAGOONs, hip mounted rail cannons and the double buster gun assortment aside from its beam sabers and shield generators and not to mention the two gun points in the head. The Infinite Justice however has its single beam rifle, four gun points in the head, four in the chest, two beam sabers (that combine into a double ended beam weapon), a shield (with a beam shield generator), a grappling claw, a beam boomerang (that attaches to the shield and becomes an anti-ship beam saber), two beam cutters in the legs, and the Lifter pack with its dual beam cannons and anti-ship beam blades in the wings. Also factor in the Lifter’s ability to separate and act as an individual weapon itself.
The beam rifle comes in a six part assembly, the gun halves, a sight piece, barrel tip and two outer shell pieces. There is a major need for paint in the outer portion, while molded in white plastic, the sides need to be the Infinite Justice’s pink on the sides and a touch of gray on the upper rail. For out of the box building, this color can be matched with a simple mixture of light gray, flat white, and red. It’s a two for two for two mix and the use of gray neutralizes the bright tone. When finished the gun really is nicely done. Also note there is a very thin tab on the right side of the outer cover piece that allows you to attach the gun to the back skirt. On the positive, it doesn’t interfere with the Lifter pack when it is in the down position.
The abundant beam weapon points are in the primary assembly like the two points in the knee guards and the two points in the toe of the feet. The two beam sabers however are separate and also for the first time one solid rod. While the separate sabers are for a attaching to the hips and normal single saber action, the dual linked rod is for how the weapon was used more often enough by the Justice. This does have some assembly work of an end cap ala beam point, but due to how loose it sits can spared to be glued and put into the hand the same way you would attach the gun.
The weapons array in the shield makes for a small kit’s worth of work, the shield’s body itself plus the grip point has your fair amount of assembling, then factor in the weapons. The beam boomerang is a simple half and half body shell with a wide beam point at one end. The beam point swings on itself and sets forward on the tip of the shield so it can extend its blade while attached to the shield. The grappling claw is held in place underneath the beam shield point (a flat bottomed piece) that detaches and allows you to remove the claw and attach a wire cup to the back end of it. The wire cup is a good five inch wire that needs to be tied off on both ends, one end a catch plate to attach where the claw docks and the other to the cup end which connects to the back of the claw itself. On the claw piece, it’s a geared assembly, opening both claw blades by just turning one on a fixed axis. Lastly, the beam point is as said, a flat piece that can be removed, have its shield beam attached underneath and replaced on the shield body.
There are a couple of drawbacks in the shield however, such as the addition of a grip to where the shield connects to the forearm. It almost wants to work; there’s no conflict for the hands to fit behind the shield, but the weight of the shield prevents it from staying in place. Also the grappling claw almost seems like one of those “we did it because it looked cool” ideas. Not that I don’t mind it, but the claw is recessed so deeply that you need a pick to pry it out, and the removal of the shield plate is a bit of an annoyance.
The Lifter pack is the final and largest component of the kit. Its size alone makes it worthy of being an entirely separate model kit all together. While the original Justice’s wing pack was bulbous this one is more streamlined and less clunky. The central body of the Lifter pack is flat and narrow, which doesn’t interfere with the Infinite Justice’s body. Images I had seen of the 1/100 scale Justice showed that the Lifter’s bulk got in the way of the head, the Infinite Justice’s pack almost fits flat against the torso, with almost no interference. The only interference I can say is that the cannon barrels on top of the Lifter have to be raised more than 30 degrees to stay out of the head crest’s path.
The fact that the wings are now a part of the pack itself and not attached via swing arms is even better. What’s also cool is that these are canard wings that swing out when in full flight, giving the Lifter an impressive 13 inch wingspan. Also factor in the assembly of the wing pack portion of the Lifter are polycap mounted rods that allow a some 10 degrees of vertical swing.
The Lifter has several paint points to it, some that can be cheated with decals, some not. The central horn, mounted in the center body that folds down to the front for its stand alone mode, has to be painted white and yellow. While decals are included, these parts really need paint to look good. Also the striping along the back of the thruster covers need work and the main body of the wings need to be painted as well. The whole area of work that needs painting is almost too much for your common, out of the box, paint work to do.
The Lifter pack connects to the torso via two tabs on the inside of the body to two extended ports on the back of the torso. While the only points, these two ports hold the weight well and don’t bring any stress on the overall assembly in its down position. When in full flight, be prepared to have something for it to rest on. The Lifter also has two additional positions, standing and hanging, both dependant on the Infinite Justice’s position. Standing, the Lifter is in its open mode, with the central horn extended and the Justice riding on it. This mode doesn’t work like the original Justice on the account that the Lifter is designed more like a backpack flight unit. The hanging mode is simple but easily done because there are in fact mounted handle grips on the underside that swing down 90 degrees for accessibility. What makes this fail to work is that the Lifter has nothing to keep it elevated above the Infinite Justice.
The trend of the main Gundams with the Destiny line has been the addition of a stand base with the first release editions. Considering their popularity, the only way to secure this bonus would require preordering the kit before its due date. This trend continues with the Infinite Justice as well. While the Destiny Gundam and the Strike Freedom came with additional parts for the hips and a mounting bracket to hold them, the Infinite Justice doesn’t. No additional parts for the body which eases up on the amount of extra bits floating around. Instead the base stand makes use of the Infinite Justice’s design and connects to a thruster port on the back of the mobile suit’s torso. The port can hold the weight, however if you opt not to use glue, there will be some sag, but if you glue this thruster in place it will hold. On a side note, it does help for the Hanging pose with the Lifter, but not by that much.
Overall this kit was worth the wait since the Infinite Justice’s debut. There are a lot of ways that this one kit makes up for how lacking the rest of the Destiny 1/100 scale line has been up until now and gives us a sign of what else is coming like the Legend and the Saviour.
|Posted 17 October, 2006 - 13:19 by Gunpla Rob|