Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HGUC Unicorn Gundam [Unicorn Mode] Part 1


Starting a new Gunpla project featuring a rather old kit this time - HGUC Unicorn Gundam [Unicorn Mode]. ^^

As you can see from the packaging design, this is the Asian market limited version that came with a 1/48 scale Head Display Base, supposedly a limited prize item that was bundled with Dengeki Hobby January 2010 issue. ^^ While I did get the Head Display Base model with the magazine, having another one of that model seemed like a good idea to me when this bundled set was released, and since I didn't get either version of HGUC Unicorn Gundam at that time, I went for both. ^^ Apparently, the Destroy Mode was "reissued" with the Head Display Base model as well. ^^

While the detailing work for the 1/48 scale Head Display Base model was done some time ago, the two main HGUC models themselves were left untouched, until now obviously. ^^ And honestly, I have no clue as to why is that myself. ^^; I have no order to follow when picking out which model kit to build or which figurine to review, even though I do tend to keep the newer acquired items to be reviewed later than the ones I got much earlier. After a while, when I couldn't remember the order myself, I started doing random selection. ^^

I always feel that the release of HGUC Unicorn Gundam was a tough one for the company (Bandai) in its Gunpla merchandising strategies. ^^ I think it was pretty obvious from the get-go that this Gundam can't be released as a single kit in this normal scale. The transformation gimmick would involve part-swapping for every component (and that's pretty much a reason good enough to separate the kits ^^), so having everything bundled in a single set would easily push the price over the 2,000-Yen per-kit standard applicable to most regular HGUC release. The look between the two modes is so different they can be treated as different designs as well in my opinion.

The obvious move was to separate the two modes into separate kits, which made sense. Then again, between the two modes, I think it's very obvious that the Destroy Mode is the more popular one, but that doesn't mean the Unicorn Mode can be ignored. ^^; To add to the "difficulty", the two of them must come out at the same time to achieve the promotional effect of "Gundam UC". It seemed to me that even though Gundam Unicorn was immensely popular when its two HGUC kits was about to be released, there were some "commercial" issues that needed to be properly considered.

The way I see it, I believe there were various plans been considered on Bandai's side on how to make the Unicorn Mode more attractive to folks who cared more about the Destroy Mode. Smart part separation to have some common runners between the two modes for cost-saving on mold is one of the plans I guess, as with many, many other kits. ^^ Then again, given how complicated the transformation gimmick works on Unicorn Gundam, there's only one runner that is repeated between the two modes, as you'll see later on. Since there are two versions of Banshee that could make use of the same runners, I guess you can call the runner design a success. ^^

Weapon separation between the two modes was another plan I suppose. Having no repeated weapons between the two versions made it a must to get them both in order to acquire all of Unicorn Gundam's weapons for the model. Minus the shield, the Destroy Mode only has a beam rifle, while the Unicorn Mode gets a bazooka and two beam sabers. Did having more weapons add some extra points to the Unicorn Mode's attractiveness? Was the exclusion of a small beam saber runner for the Destroy Mode a planned move as well? Because having two beam saber handles on the Destroy Mode's backpack but no beam parts given is kind of strange-looking. ^^; It's kind of like an assumption Bandai made that this could be somebody's first Gunpla as well, because the beam sabers for the Destroy Mode could be substituted from some other High Grade kits. ^^

I guess most people would like to have the bazooka and beam rifle on one Unicorn Gundam, especially when the weapons can all be mounted onto the Gundam itself. But for those who're fine with just the beam rifle (which is the main armament of Unicorn Gundam) and are also able to find other compatible beam saber parts, the Unicorn Mode can be skipped over then. ^^;

By the way, that's an assumption on my part that the Unicorn Mode is not as popular as the Destroy Mode. The fact could be very different from what I have in mind, and that this Unicorn Mode sold like hot cakes when it was first released (and maybe so till this day). ^^; Personally, I won't be bothered about getting this mode had it not come with the head display base model. ^^; That was the reason I hold out on the purchase of any models of Unicorn Gundam in HGUC format in the beginning, long enough for the very unexpected bundled set was revealed. ^^;

Regardless of what I thought about it in the first place, it's my Gunpla kit right now, and since I'm going to assemble it, I should do it well to at least not waste my money, even though I got it at an average market price even with the limited head display model. ^^

Introduction of the kit on the sides of box.


All runners of this kit.

As mentioned earlier on, there's only one runner that is "reused" between the two versions of HGUC Unicorn Gundam - Runner A. Even so, there are some minor differences between them.

Runner A of the Destroy Mode.

Runner A of the Unicorn Mode.
The difference is self-explanatory I guess. ^^

The instruction manual.

With the manual of the Destroy Mode.

A look at the runners' design:

Runner A - A bicolor runner containing parts mainly for the joints, feet and backpack.

(Left) Since the runner is going to be used by the Destroy Mode as well, the elaborate details of the backpack are all molded onto the part, even though most of them would be hidden by the beam saber handles. ^^;
(Right) Gray tabs and vent parts on the side of the legs are molded as separate parts. ^^

Nice molded details for the shield parts.

Runner B - Contains all white parts mainly for the body, legs and shield.

All white parts that would need panel lining to reveal their details.

One-piece parts for the leg that run from the knee to the ankle front. ^^

Runner C - Two pieces. Contains parts repeated for the two arms and legs.

Most of the parts have very delicately molded line details that are quite a challenge to panel line. ^^

Runner D - Contains all gray parts mainly for the weapons and feet.

(Left) Instead of actual details, those slits and "valleys" molded on the backpack part are designed mainly to get the part to fit into the navy armor on Runner A.
(Right) Molded details on the soles.

Nicely molded details for the bazooka and magazine parts.

Polycap set PC-132AC and beam saber runner SB6.

A small sheet of foil sticker featuring metallic green pieces for the goggles and targeting scope of the bazooka.

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

Despite being an all-white model kit that seem somewhat easy to detail, there are still quite a few parts in this kit that require paint work, following the color scheme shown in the manual. But most of the work will be about panel lining all the white parts, which itself is kind of a contradiction to what I did for the same model in the Master Grade Ver. Ka format. I'll be mentioned more about that in the next posting. ^^

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