RX-78-3 G3 Gundam Version 2.0
|Character Design||Kunio Okawara|
Review by Rob
The RX-78-2 Gundam needs no introduction. As the one Mobile Suit that Bandai never runs out of ways to be built, it sets the benchmark for all other designs that follow it.
However while the white mobile suit of Amuro Ray is the most famous, there existed another Gundam that helped make the RX-78-2 the icon it became.
Test Type Unit G3.
The RX-78-3 “G3” Gundam comes from the original “Mobile Suit Gundam” series set in the Universal Century.
During the One Year War of UC 0079, the Mobile Suit was an unseen part of “Operation V,” Earth Federation’s first attempt at creating weapons to compete against Mobile Suits of the Principality of Zeon. The G3 was produced as the test-bed for the RX-78-2’s Magnetic Coating designed to improve the RX-78-2 Gundam’s movement and reaction speeds for its Newtype pilot.
Although identical to Amuro Ray’s personal Mobile Suit, the G3 is identified by its distinctive gray and blue color scheme.
In retrospect, the first Master Grades were a bridge between the then-standards and the start of something entirely new for the Sunrise mega-franchise’s merchandising in model kits.
The first Master Grades introduced opening panels that showed off mechanical details for the interior frame, but were still modeled after the 1/100 scale High Grades (from Gundam Wing for example) which featured a good level of surface panel detail.
When Bandai broke the mold so to speak with the multitude of certain models (the RX-78-2 chief among them), they decided it was time to begin expanding on the Master Grade collection with the Version 2.0 series.
The Version 2.0 process really started with the RX-78-2 Version OYW but the brand label officially began with the Mobile Suits from the “Gundam Zeta” generation before spilling over into UC 0079 era.
The Version 2.0 series were more than updated molds of the original kits, but brand new incarnations utilizing new engineering techniques resulting in a different overall look of the finished models and vast improvements on the Master Grade scale complete inner moveable frames.
While improving older designs with Master Grade models, the Version 2.0 process has carried over into designs that are being given their first models.
The first series of Version 2.0 (One Year War era) Mobile Suits such as the MS-14 Gelgoog tried to match the design style of the Version OYW RX-78-2, the Version 2.0 RX-78 went in another direction.
Much like the “Version Ka” series modeled by artist Hajime Katoki, the Version 2.0 RX-78 (and later RGM-79 GM) models are designed to match the visual styling of the original creator of the Gundam, Kunio Okawara.
Credit for this image goes to MAHQ.
The G3 reflects Okawara’s style of long accentuated curves that blend into sharp corners with the model’s long nose, short hoof-like toes and bulbous proportioned hands. This take on the design make this modern age Master Grade look just like Okawara’s classic design and blends two eras of mecha into a solid package.
The end result is nothing short of classic beauty and engineering combined, like a Cadillac with a nuclear engine under the hood.
Despite its apparent remold appearance, the G3 still carries with it a piece of Universal Century history compared to the number of hypothetical (and actual) Char Aznable variations.
Out of the box, the Version 2.0 G3 is for all accounts a Version 2.0 RX-78-2 with a muted color scheme.
The RX-78-3 replaces the main colors of white, red, yellow and blue of the RX-78-2 with a stark pallet of light gray, pale blue and cobalt blue. The concept is reflective of bare prototyping, where the color is reserved for the final product.
Aside from the pilot figurine for the cockpit, there is very little need for paint with this kit as
the true goal of this model is in its assembly more than anything.
There are some areas that get a much appreciated boost in detail such as the hydraulic pistons in its joints, which really shine with a touch of silver paint and the Gundam’s eyes, which I painted with Testors Model Master “Turn Signal Ember” (a form of topcoat yellow with a metallic flake) and “Clear Blue” for its forehead sensor.
The fully built G3 stands at 7 inches tall, the normal for the RX-78 series model kits.
While the armor imitates Okawara’s style, the interior skeleton features many of the new innovations in Master Grade engineering. The G3 features a complete interior skeleton built from ABS plastic and uses only a select set of polycaps for reinforcing high stress points. The frame can be built entirely before the first piece of outer armor is cut from the runner.
Bandai continues to improve their modeling process with mold injection parts that replicate the solid pieces of mechanical framing and outer armor.
As the design remains true to Okawara’s proportional style, so do the hands.
Instead of the style of Version 2.0 hands seen in other models, the hands for the G3 (and many of the UC 0079 designs) are much larger and feature additional articulation with jointed knuckles. Thanks the hands’ larger size, builders can go for that extra-mile effort and cut out the plastic webbing that holds the molded finger parts together to articulate each digit independently.
Whether fully armored or bare, the G3 is very well balanced and does not suffer from typical problems in its movement. Armor pieces do not obscure one another nor do they detach whenever the body takes a difficult pose.
The skirt armor is mounted on hinged plates connecting to ball sockets on the waist which allows the armor to float against the legs.
The Gundam’s torso is built with a swiveling spine that connects the waist to the chest to give the body more range of motion in the abdomen. This spine also takes out the need for the Gundam’s famous Core Fighter to hold the body together.
Since this is an RX-78, the G3 comes with a fully detailed Core Fighter, a famous feature of the Operation V Mobile Suits serving primarily as an emergency escape craft and an interchangeable cockpit for the Gundam’s sibling Mobile Suits: the RX-75 Guntank and RX-77 Guncannon.
The Core Fighter has seen various incarnations over the years, but this is the first time that the Core Fighter has seen any form of reengineering.
The Core Fighter uses a linked transformation system. Unfolding the nose of the fighter will bring the tail stabilizer up from the body of the aircraft.
The wings unfold from the sides and extend to widen its wing span.
The cockpit features a rotating pilot’s seat that brings the pilot into alignment with the Mobile Suit’s cockpit hatch and the canopy is now mounted on a sliding track to open it.
Free from being encased inside the Gundam, the Version 2.0 Core Fighter comes with a bonus stand to display it on alongside the G3.
Since this is still the RX-78, the accessories are the standard assortment of simple yet powerful weapons dedicated to the Gundam.
According to the Version 2.0 formula, the G3’s weapons all feature tab grooves for the hands to lock with.
The Gundam’s beam rifle comes with the additional Super Napalm attachment that requires the barrel of the rifle be removed in order to attach it. This gimmick works in concert with the Beam Rifle’s ability to be broken down into individual components and show off some nice Master Grade quality interior detailing.
The Gundam’s Hyper Bazooka is molded in solid tubes of plastic and avoids running into the old problem of a long, split-in-half cannon barrel. Compared to past versions, the Version 2.0 Hyper Bazooka does not need to be painted either.
The grip of the Bazooka is moveable to allow the Gundam a better grasp on the weapon from an over the shoulder position.
The Beam Rifle and Hyper Bazooka feature folding tabs that dock the weapons to the Gundam’s back or shield, giving the G3 the freedom to carry all of its weapons at once.
The Gundam-Hammer is one of those obscure choices of melee weapons in a series where beam rifles and beam sabers rule. The Gundam Hammer is built using a preassembled length of plastic chain and individually molded spikes that need to be fit onto two hemisphere pieces for the mace.
The Gundam comes with its beam sabers which are stored on its backpack and use the traditional pink beam blade parts from past master Grade models.
The Version 2.0 G3 also comes with the Gundam’s Beam-Javelin which uses one of the Gundam’s saber grips as a starting point and an extended pole with a four beam spikes at the end.
The beam end of the Javelin is molded in the colorless clear plastic rather than the pink beam saber material. Coloring mine was a combination of using a sharpie marker and a light mix of Testors Gloss Clear Coat and Clear Red Acryl.
The Gundam’s shield features a mounting bracket for the arm on a track that slides up and down, designed to tab on the back of the Gundam’s forearm rather than relying on the hand to carry the weight of the shield.
The shield also features sliding blast-shield plate inside the viewport.
Overall, I thought this model was a lot of fun. The Version 2.0 RX-78 is a great model and a very stylish successor to the Master Grade formula. The G3 is an outstanding version of the Gundam and my personal favorite over Amuro’s RX-78-2 any day.
I’m still waiting for my Version 2.0 GP-01 though….
|Posted 5 September, 2013 - 11:47 by Rob|