XXXG-01H Gundam Heavyarms -Version EW-
Review by Rob
There’s no denying that the Gundams from “Mobile Report Gundam W” are some of the most popular designs in the history of the franchise.
The original designs for the Gundams in the television series were created by the legendary artist Kunio Okawara and later redesigned by Hajime Katoki for the series’ OAV conclusion, “Gundam W -Endless Waltz.”
Although Bandai already tied in with the OAV series with 1:144 scale and 1:100 scale models back in 1997, Katoki’s popular redesigns of Okawara’s original Gundams have only now been realized with the Master Grade “Version EW” series.
“The cycle of war, peace, and recycled runners will carry on forever.”
Unlike the Master Grade “Version Ka” brand which is based on Katoki’s original illustrations and Mobile Suit variations, the “Version EW” (short for Endless Waltz) series is lifted from the pages of “New Mobile Report Gundam W –Endless Waltz- Glory of the Losers.”
The manga is a retelling of the “Gundam W” story using Katoki’s mechanical designs instead of the Okawara models in order to bridge the dynamic design shift between the television series and its OAV conclusion.
Set in the year 195 of the After Colony universe, five Gundam Mobile Suits were sent to Earth by the Colony Liberation Forces as a part of Operation Meteor to obliterate the military forces of the ‘Organization of the Zodiac’ (known simply as “OZ”) who had suppressed the space colonies under martial rule.
The XXXG-01H Gundam Heavyarms was the third mobile suit identified by OZ for its “Gundanium” alloy frame, which made it far more durable than the mass production model Suits in addition to its unique form and superior combat capabilities.
Sent by the L3 colony, the Gundam Heavyarms is literally a walking arsenal designed for heavy assault and maximum devastation. Armed with missile pods in its shoulders and legs, Gatling cannons in its chest, as well as its hand-carried Beam Gatling Gun, the Heavyarms is a testament to the word “Firepower.”
The unit is piloted by Trowa Barton, a mysterious youth who took the name after the original pilot of the Gundam who was killed shortly before the operation began.
The Gundam Heavyarms is Bandai’s 151st Master Grade model and the seventh entry into the Version EW series.
Out of the box the model is comprised of 13 runners molded in multicolored PS plastic for the outer armor and gray ABS for the Gundam’s inner frame. It uses a PC-205 polycap runner for its joints and comes with a coated braid of wire for the ammo belt to its trademark weapon.
The body of the model is fully colored in the Gundam’s unique pallet of off-white, red, orange and yellow plastic and Bandai also went to good lengths by including mold injection parts for the blue stripes for the Gundam’s chest. In addition the model uses a dark gray plastic for its Gatling gun rather than the same dull gray of the ABS frame.
Some of the parts runners such as “runner D” hint at the possibility of Bandai converting this model into the XXXG-01H2 Heavyarms Custom, its final form from the OAV. While they have proven this with their Version EW model of the XXXG-01D2 Deathscythe Hell and the much earlier XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero Custom, any conversion to the Heavyarms currently remains to be seen.
As always, there is room to add paint with this model to the insides of its vents and panels to create a better separation between the gray inner frame and the brightly colored parts of the outer body.
While the entire body of the Heavyarms is molded in its final colors, the Gundam’s eyes are molded in colorless clear plastic, which I painted with clear green and flat black paint. Otherwise, this is a model that builds quickly and looks fine with just panel lining with a Gundammarker.
Even as a Master Grade, the Heavyarms is a simple model kit and the execution is a throwback to an older design style with less focus on mechanical detailing and more emphasis on representing the character in the 1:100 scale.
“Each of these Gundams is built like the other, but each of these Gundams is unique.”
For the models of the Gundams Deathscythe, Shenlong, Sandrock, and Heavyarms, Bandai opted to use a universal inner frame designed to look similar to the much older Wing Gundam model produced in 2004 from the “Version Ka” label.
Runners “X-A” and “X-B” are molded in such a way where the initial injection press creates the parts that are universal to the “XXXG” frames and a secondary press mold the parts that are exclusive to each design on the same runners.
Although structurally simplistic, the inner frame still features the Grade standard of sliding plates and integrated armor in the knee joint. The inner frames for the “Version EW” models are built for articulation, reinforcing the focus of the model’s design on its appearance.
Even with its bulky armor and missile pods, the Heavyarms is well balanced and its movement is fluid.
Fully built, the Gundam Heavyarms is a solid model kit measuring just over 6 inches tall from heel to v-crest. The design matches Katoki’s art form perfectly of a very sleek and angular look with subtle curves to its stance despite the bulk in its armor.
The chest features an opening cockpit hatch with a detailed pilot figure inside, however the opening is blocked by layers of the inner frame and the Gatling cannons.
The Heavyarms continues a trend in Master Grade models based on Mobile Suit designs outside of the Universal Century coming with fixed pose finger parts for the hands. While this is a let down by comparison to models with the ‘version 2.0’ and the new developed MP-1 hand parts, these simple swappable parts come a blessing for handling the weapon accessories.
Rather than using the jointed hands the 1:100 scale line is known for, the model uses alternating parts for the fingers that include the traditional ‘closed fist’ and ‘open palm’ positions as seen in the 1:144 scale High Grades with hand parts dedicated to holding weapons.
As anyone who has built the Version Ka (or recent EW) Wing Gundam will know, its Buster Rifle is nearly impossible to handle since the model uses the original Master Grade style hands with hinged fingers and no locking tabs.
Its sibling models from the Version EW series make up for that with hand parts that are molded with tabs that fit into grooves cut into the weapon grips before being attached the palm.
The Gundam Heavyarms designed for the television series had a very conservative arsenal by comparison to the Version EW which pulls out all of the safeties and has over three times the payload.
The model features the Gundam’s basic ‘by design’ weapons such as the close quarter machine guns built into the head and shoulders, but the six barreled elephant in the room is the Beam Gatling Gun.
…and it looks great!
Where the unit from the television series was a self-contained weapon, the Version EW is a massive belt fed monster that would take two hands to handle it, but this Gundam can manage with only one!
The weapon does feature a fold out handle for the Gundam to hold it with both hands anyway.
The ammo belt has 28 individual links that fit over the coated wire connecting the Gatling Gun to the ammo canister cradled on the Gundam’s backpack.
The ammo belt is one of the only drawbacks to this model.
Building it, the two connecter links meant to join the Gatling gun and the ammo canister have to bite on the cable but have a problem getting a purchase. Luckily this can be corrected with a little bit of glue.
Due to the belt links, the cable loses its flexibility causing the belt to pull the Gatling gun away from the hand and sometimes taking the finger parts with it.
The shield on the Gatling Gun is designed to be detachable and can connect directly to the Gundam’s forearm. I much prefer mounting it to the gun, as it provides better security for the hand to hold onto the weapon.
According to the numbers, the Version EW Gundam Heavyarms has over 52 micro missiles and 44 homing missiles stored on its body.
The missiles in the Gundam’s shoulders fill not only the shoulder armor, but also the opening hatches on the front and rotating panels off the back and the model does a nice job with the containers on the legs which feature hinged panels to expose each tube. There are even more missile pods on the Gundam’s hip and front skirts that also feature hinged covers to reveal them.
One of the key points of the Gundam Heavyarms that really shines in this model are the chest mounted Gatling cannons, which are exposed by the opening chest armor. Although they do not spin, their detailing is really nice and there is a little room for creativity in boosting its display.
According to the original design, there is a targeting sensor at the center of the Gundam’s chest when the cannons are exposed. While it is not actually implied in the Version EW model, there being a ‘ring’ in the center of the chest piece where the sensor would be.
Building this model, I decided it was worth detailing and used a “Hi-Q Parts” mono-eye decal, and the results speak loudly!
The Heavyarms was developed for ranged combat and was prone to running out of ammo when working in solo combat. To improve its performance in close quarter combat, the Gundam was outfitted with a folding army knife on its right arm.
For the model, the knife blade has been sharply molded and attaches to the side of the Gundam’s forearm.
The knife edge is not sharp enough to draw blood, but it is imposing.
The last accessory to the Heavyarms is a beam saber handle that fits into a special cradle which replaces the Gundam’s left forearm.
Fans of the television series will know this from the episode titled “The Sorrowful Battle,” in which the Wing Gundam’s pilot, Heero Yuy used the Heavyarms in a duel against Zechs Merquise in his OZ-00MS Tallgeese.
This attention to character detail is a nice touch for the Heavyarms but it has drawbacks for the model.
In order to use these parts, the Gundam’s arm needs to be disassembled at the elbow, which requires the arm be completely stripped down.
Unfortunately there is no saber beam included.
However, the Wing Gundam has one to spare.
Overall, the Gundam Heavyarms has been long overdue for a new model kit, be it the original television series design or the Version EW model. Despite its weapon and accessory issues, the model is a simple, quick build that looks great when finished. The Version EW Heavyarms is a fantastic way to revisit the After Colony universe in the Master Grade scale.
|Posted 11 October, 2013 - 15:23 by Rob|