Saturday, March 24, 2012

MG Gundam AGE-1 Normal Part 1

New generation of Master Grade

The first new Master Grade project for me this year is this recently acquired Gunpla: ^^

Gundam AGE-1 Normal from "MS Gundam AGE". ^^

Pretty much like its Advanced Grade 1/144 scale version, I bought this kit for its seemingly new take on various aspects of Gunpla design, which makes it pretty unique in the MG line. ^^

When Gundam AGE-1 Normal was first unveiled, its design doesn't look too special in my eyes. ^^; I consider it a "safe" design in the way that there's no super duper special feature that would turn people on, or off at the same time. ^^ Even though there's nothing special to like about him, there's certainly nothing to hate about him as well. ^^; To me, It's a new interpretation of the original Gundam in this new era to attract younger generations of fans to this long running franchise. In fulfilling that objective, I think the design is a successful one.

In this era when you have "fanatic fanbases that would cry about the lack of new ideas only to decry the new ideas for being too radical and unacceptable (to them) when they do get realized" (from my previous posting about A-Label's 1/4 scale Balalaika), I see nothing wrong in the designer for taking the "safe" route in the design of this new Gundam.

Until now, my sentiment about Gundam AGE-1 Normal remains the same when I first saw it quite a few months back, but as always, Gundam and Gunpla designs can be seen as separated components in my opinion. The Gundam might not be that impressive to me, but its Gunplas are pretty amazing. I already experienced that with the smaller AG 1/144 scale version, ^^ and I believe this MG version would add a few more levels of fun with its larger size, higher part count and better details. ^^

The amount of details inserted into the box art illustration of Master Grade kits is getting more and more impressive nowadays. ^^

G-Exes, Genoace, Gafran and space battleship Diva can be spotted on the box art as well. ^^

Introduction of the kit on the box sides.


All runners of this kit.

A look at the different runners:

Runner A - Contains all blue parts mainly for the Gundam's body unit.

(Left) A one-piece part for Gundam AGE-1's iconic backpack spoiler. ^^
(Right) Apart from new line details not seen on its AG 1/144 scale and High Grade versions, the shield part has pretty good curved design to ensure the smoothness of its surface.

Hollow spots on the chest and backpack parts to be combined with various other parts to realize the colorfulness of the model's body unit. ^^

Clear runner separation hints that indicate the separation between the generic body part portion of the runner and the segment featuring the blue shield part and two shoulder caps that won't be included for Titus and Sparrow forms.

Runner B - Contains all red parts mainly for the model's feet.

Pretty simple line details on the sole and abdomen parts.

Clear runner separation hints that indicate the separation between the generic body part portion of the runner and the segment featuring the red feet parts that won't be included for Titus and Sparrow forms.

Runner C - Contains all yellow parts for the body unit.
No runner separation hint can be seen as all these yellow parts would be used by the three forms of Gundam AGE-1.

(Left) Some simple line details inside the collar part
(Right) Nicely molded slits for the chest vents.

Runner D - Contains all clear green parts for the chest, head and weapons.
Runner separation hints show the segment of parts for the head and chest is separated from the segment with parts for the rifle's sensor units, which obviously won't be included for Titus and Sparrow forms.

Very nicely molded "A" for the chest. ^^

Runner E - Contains all generic white parts for Gundam AGE-1's head, body and waist.
This runner is going to be repeated for Titus and Sparrow forms.

One-piece parts for the helmet, with very nicely molded slit for the forehead sensor. ^^

(Left) Having molded slits on the mask is no longer a special feature as Bandai had already done so for the smaller Real Grade series. ^^
(Right) Standing and pilot figures of Flit Asuno.

Runner F - Contains all generic gray parts for the joints and inner frame of Gundam AGE-1's head, body and waist.
Like Runner E, this runner is going to be repeated for Titus and Sparrow forms.

The delicate molded details on these parts are definitely of Master Grade standards. ^^

(Left) "Chamber"-like design for the pilot cockpit reminds me of the hollow spot on MG Gundam Exia's and GN-X's back for their respective GN Drives, ...
(Right) ... and the gray head part seems like its has some connection in design with Gundam Exia's GN Stripes on its head. ^^

Runner G - Contains all white parts mainly for the arms and waist.

Molded vents again. ^^ This time as vents on the upper arms' frontal and rear parts.

One-piece parts for the shoulder armors, forearms, beam sabers and side skirt armors. ^^

Runner H - Contains all white parts mainly for the legs.

Even more molded vents. ^^ This time as vents on various parts of the legs.

Zero details behind the armor parts. ^^;

One-piece parts for the ankle guards. Their joints to the ankle (right image) may be split into left and right parts, the armor parts that snap on top of them in front would cover up the seam lines.

Runner I - Contains all gray parts mainly for the arms' and skirt armors' joints and inner frame.

Pretty good molded details on the parts. ^^

Runner J - Contains all gray parts for the legs' joints and inner frame.

One-piece parts for the thighs' and legs' inner frame.
Given the way they are molded, there's no line details on the sides of the parts. ^^;

Runner K - Contains all gray parts for the weapons.

Very simple but adequate details on the shield's rear face and connector part.

One-piece part for the muzzle.

Runner MP - Contains all parts for the hand units.

Pretty amazing design that shows all the joints and segments of fingers. ^^

Depending on their purpose, some parts have tabs behind them.

Runner SB-8 - Beam saber and dagger parts.
This is the exact same beam part runner in 1/100 Gundam Exia. ^^

Polyca set PC-207.

Sticker and marking set.

Clear stickers for the model's markings and a special PET seal for the knee armors.

(Left) Two sheets of foil sticker given: a normal one for the eyes and various sensors, and the other extra shiny one contains pieces to be placed inside the chest and head behind the two "A" crests to give them a little bit of "assisted" inner reflection. ^^

The instruction manual.

All removed parts are organized and stored in individual paper containers.

The runner separation for this kit is very obvious to see and are pretty straight forward actually. There's no multi-colored runner as you can see, obviously because there are plans to take apart the blue (A), red (B) and green (D) runners for Titus and Sparrow forms. While it's a pretty practical and reasonable design, I find this feature (or lack of to be more accurate) rather unconventional not just in the MG line, but among all Gunplas as well.

Surprisingly, there's no ABS parts used at all in kit. ^^ That's another absent feature that can be considered a special "point" of this kit. ^^ The simplicity of the Gundam's design, with no obvious burdening element (to the completed kit) may be the reason why ABS parts were considered not necessary for this kit. Another reason might be the lack of linked movement for most of the components. The simplicity in joint design reduces the stress on the parts when they are moved, so ABS parts are deemed not needed. Then again, I'm just speculating anyway, because disregarding its Assault Shroud equipments, the other MG kit released in the same month with Gundam AGE-1 Normal - Duel Gundam has tons of ABS parts even for its plain form, which is arguably just as simplistic in design as this Gundam. ^^;

Speaking of runner design, I forgot to take the pictures of the runners' labels before removing the parts, but they are obviously still around after that work. They are the easiest mean to finding out the design scheme of this kit and its subsequent form releases. ^^

Runners A - F: Gundam Age-1

Runners G - K: Gundam Age-1 Normal

As you can see, there are generic runners for Gundam AGE-1 and special ones for the different forms. The Titus form was released just a while ago, and its runners G to K are all specific to that particular form. I have no doubt when the Sparrow form is released in next month, the same arrangement can be observed as well.

Still start working on this kit in the next posting. ^^

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