Review by Gunpla Rob
The model kit line for Gundam SEED Destiny brought us some reinventions of classic designs, the Zaku, the Gouf, and the Dom and upgrades to some of the SEED designs like the Freedom, and Justice. Coming in late to the series was another reinvention from the first series, the ZGMF-X666S Legend.
In the last episodes of Gundam SEED, the ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam stormed into the war between the Earth Alliance and ZAFT, blowing everything that stood in its path away. At the controls was the series’ madman Rau Le Creuset, and he and his death dealing mobile suit were killed in the final battle against Kira Yamato in the ZGMF-X10A Freedom.
The design of the Providence introduced a few new things in the SEED universe such as the DRAGOON system, made popular again with the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom. Considering the Providence’s complete destruction, it couldn’t get upgraded however a new model based on it would arrive somewhere into the sequel series Gundam SEED Destiny. Enter the ZGMF-X666S Legend Gundam. Like its not too distant siblings the Strike Freedom and the Infinite Justice, the Legend is a revamped upgrade to the Providence: stronger weapons, new abilities, but some of the same darker influence.
The introduction of the Legend follows the destruction of the SEED classic ZGMF-X10A Freedom, and the succession of ZAFT’s foothold in the war front. As a gift to the ZAFT ship Minerva along with the ZGMF-X42S Destiny Gundam, given to Shinn Asuka. While ZAFT chairman Durandal intended it to be Athrun Zala’s new mobile suit, the Legend ends up in the hands of Rey Za Burrel, the clone ‘son’ to Rau Le Creuset. In his hands, it lives up to its predecessor’s talents but surpasses the Providence by lasting more than three episodes.
“Bigger, Better, Faster, BEE-CRAFT”
The Legend Gundam follows the late coming 1/100 scale ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice in the trend of making up for lost time and mobile suits. Also like the Infinite Justice, the Legend is produced under the BEE-CRAFT banner of Gundam models. As a form of quality assurance and detail value, this means that details are captured in sculpt and scale to its full “HIGH GRADE” value. As for character value, the Legend is the second model kit based on a Rey Za Burrel machine. His first machine, a white and purple Blaze Zaku Warrior had already been produced earlier in the line.
The vast improvements as of late really make me wonder if this is some sort of quest for redemption after the first set of models released for Destiny. With the Bee-Craft works, the Legend has the best proportions out of all the kits from Destiny I’ve built so far. The head, accurately proportionate, the legs, the arms and the torso all of proportional size and shape. Also, the backpack and its weapon system are equally less likely to get in its own way.
“Legends aren’t born, they’re built”
The usual pre-build inspection shows that the Legend comes molded in its full colors. A dull light gray for the body, dark gray for the joints, white, red, navy blue and a darker gray that is used for high friction points. The darker gray’s purpose as said is for the areas where there is heavy part on part friction such as in the backpack where the Dragoon plates attach and in the shoulders.
Starting with the head we get some of the standard and a little something extra for a change. This in the form of cheek plates in the face. While the face has the standard of two parts: nose/chin/eye piece and the face plate. The cheeks have been something reserved for painting in the past like on the Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice. Instead they come as two separate plates that fit onto the sides of the face and rests firmly against the front of the helmet. As usual, the head comes with its own fair share of paint work, such as the gun points over the vents on the side of the head and the eyes.
Taking an extra five minutes to dry, I tried a simple application of silver enamel on the eyes. While this follows with a coat of Clear Green, the enamel actually helps more than usual by high lighting the protrusion for the eyes themselves so I can come underneath them with a detailer to fill in around them before painting the area black.
The torso takes a few lessons learned with past kits and improves on them greatly. The shoulder joints are polycap swing arms, but unlike the others have a Master Grade quality of articulation allowing the arm at full rotation close to 100 degrees. While the arm itself can come up 90 degrees to the side, the added 10 degrees is to provide clearance so the Dragoon pack can direct its plates forward.
With the addition of parts to the collar and top of the chest block, the Legend squeezes some more detail work in its assembly without the need of more paint work. There is some paint work, such as the vents on the front of the chest which are molded in the red plastic and the ever present panel marks. One streamlined point from the Providence is the short cables that run under the armpits, instead of being long curving hoses. This reiterates the idea that this isn’t an upgraded Providence, but a new model based on it.
The arms show signs of good ideas and also the bad with the shoulder shortcut. The shoulder armor is a lot less lengthy than its predecessor and is instead more squared, detailed and fits snug. There are vent points which are nicely housed around the extension. When I mention a bad idea with the shoulders, I refer to the fact that the Legend goes back to the standard shoulder armor on shoulder. While the arms have a tight feel to them, the feel is too tight and there is no real way to prevent the shoulder armor from rotating down with the arm.
The arms of the Legend are solid. Compared to other kits from Destiny there is a large amount of detail crammed into the forearms with raised panels and hard points. The bicep is simple but through a combined polycap assembly, the arms have a good range of flexibility in the elbow. The good news is that the assembly can hold the weight of the Legend’s long rifle.
The hands are where the beam shield points are located, in the same style as the Destiny Gundam. However, the Legend doesn’t have the fancy palm cannon like its sibling. Construction is the norm, palm, knuckles/thumb but with this additional plate for the backhand that the shield gauntlet connects to. The Legend also makes use of a few changes done with the Infinite Justice such as the extension of the palm attached to the thumb block and also the square peg in the fingers. These changes insure the tensile strength for the Legend to hold weapons much tighter and easier. Compared to the Providence, this eliminates the falling gun problem.
The lower body starts with the waist, using some simple work but adding part detail to ease on paint work. The front block has a vent point, what I would have expected to need painting, instead molded in a smaller cube that goes into the main block. Also on the skirt armor, there are red strip-ports that I thought would have needed paint, instead proved me wrong. The Dragoon system of the Legend extends into the waist, but unlike the Providence whose skirts held six Dragoons, the Legend only carries two: one on each hip. The Dragoon attachment blocks on the sides are simple, two shell pieces and an extension arm in the center.
The Legs are much thicker than the arms, a good contrast to allow the Legend to hold its weight without a base stand. The assembly starts with the knees, encased polycaps within two shells to make the knee block, the same thing as the Providence. The lower legs are also wider, more bulb like parts. The knee guards attach separately, which is a nice change to prevent a seam line from going up from the ankle to the knee. There is a foot guard that hangs down, but well out of the way even when the Legend stands without its base. What makes the Legend different from its predecessor is the addition of two storage points on the lower legs for the beam sabers. These storage containers are hanging by two sleeves in the leg, but not by any polycap, it might look frail but it holds tight against the leg when closed.
The legs are the first real test of paint work, with what else, Vents. Every Gundam out of the SEED and SEED Destiny line always have red thruster vents and the Legend is no exception. Its vents are molded in the navy blue plastic that then attach inside the back of the leg and to the side of the ankle area. Considering the fickle nature of using certain paints, especially red, it’s wise to use a thin base coat of either a gray primer or a neutral white or gray paint. Add in the fact that you are painting into a surface than onto one, a single red coat over the primer coat prevents you from losing detail to pooling with recoating an unprimed paint job.
“Please fold all Dragoon packs into their locked upright position”
The Dragoon pack for the Legend shows a few cosmetic changes from its predecessor, in the fact that its Dragoon pack is larger and also features the ability to fold back and/or rotate upwards. The pack itself is connected to the back of the torso in a more permanent fashion compared to its elder by an extension arm and into a central block where there are two sleeve pieces that go into the two larger Dragoon pack halves. The larger units have three extension arms, polycap points and a large thruster vent block. The Vent block is done in solid blue plastic, so that follows the legs with the need for red paint.
The Dragoon weapons themselves are eight solid strips and two cone drone units. The drone units are about five parts, base, neck, body, and tip. In the proper distribution, there are six short strips which connect to the backpack and two longer strips which are on the hip blocks. The two cone units are connected to the top o the backpack units. In the original Providence, there were almost 43 painted gun points in its Dragoon units. The Legend makes a nice change of having its gun points as small cone tips that run laterally, making them easier to notice. Another change from the former is that they are painted red. So combined and painted there are 34 gun points on the Dragoon units to be detailed. Whew…thank Zodd for toothpicks.
With all the Dragoon plates attached, the Legend is very impressive to look at. The plates almost feel like radiator fins because of how they articulate back and forth. With the main backpack folded back, it really makes a difference and shows what I mean. One of the ‘fun features’ in the design of the dragoon pack was the ability for the strips to swing forward and fire around the arms of the Legend. The one thing I wish Bandai could have done to improve the Dragoon weapons in the 1/100 scale Legend would be like their “High Action” parts as seen in the 1/144 HG version to have them detached from the body.
The last bits of the Legend’s weapon set are its long rifle, beam sabers, and shield. The shield is of course a sheet beam. The shield connects as standard to the bottom of a jewel cube on the top of the gauntlet on the back of the hand. The beam sabers are a nice bit. While you have two separate sabers, there is a third saber unit which is both individual beam sabers joined together. Like the Infinite Justice the combined saber comes in one rod with an end cap. Unlike the Infinite Justice however, the Legend’s individual beam sabers are able to join together. This is pretty cool if you have extra beam saber blades and have the Legend running with dual double ended sabers.
The Legend’s rifle is the only area of the kit that needs paint regardless of everything else I’ve mentioned. The rifle is supposed to be four colors; body gray, darker gray in the barrel, white across the rail, and for kicks red just behind the sight piece. Now the assembly of the rifle is six parts, two halves for the trigger, the gun body in two halves with a guard end for the tip of the barrel and a sight point. All of which are molded in a single color, the lighter joint gray. One last bit is that the trigger can fold forward and the gun can be held on the back of the central block of the backpack for storage.
BONUS! LIMITED EDITION
Like the Destiny, Strike Freedom, and the Infinite Justice, the Legend has its own bonus for first release copies. While the others are clear plastic bases, the Legend comes with a full display assembly. This assembly is a fully mechanized crane arm with a ratcheting lock pin to adjust height and an adjustable arm for stability and angle. The base itself is two parts, a main octagonal block detailed as a hangar floor and a secondary cube for the stabilizer arm. There are tabs on each side of the cube and ports on each side of the main block for setting the arm in different positions. The cube has four different panel marks on each side so connecting it to the main base has a unique look to expand the hangar floor look.
The Legend connects to the base in the same style as the Infinite Justice does through a vent point on the back of the body where the weight is evenly distributed. Because of how ‘special’ this special base is, it comes with duplicates of the Strike Freedom and Destiny Gundam display hooks to allow buyers of the standard editions to display the others on this one.
While this kit lacks all the over toyetics components of other Destiny kits, the Legend is really good and shares the same value in its simple assortment. It stands sturdy, holds its weight and weapons without sag. Even if you’re unfortunate to get the Limited Version with the display base, it’s still a worth while kit and it completes the ‘High Powered’ collection from the end of Gundam SEED Destiny.
|Posted 9 November, 2006 - 22:45 by Gunpla Rob|