Friday, January 2, 2015

RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 Part 1

Late as usual

A new year, a new Gunpla project, from a new product series (for this blog), I welcome 2010 with open arms in great joy!

Oh, it's 2015 already?! XD

RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2
Production company: Bandai
Release date: Late July 2010
Price: 2,500 Yen (exclusive of tax).
Official link

Released in July 2010, this is Real Grade 1/144 scale Gundam RX-78-2. ^^ It was the pilot release of that Gunpla line, which has steadily expanded since its introduction to feature close to 20 kits (not including special limited releases) now. While I do have most of them in my collection, this is the first RG kit for me. ^^; The details and gimmicks incorporated, especially a full inner frame in 1/144 scale always seem interesting to me. Then again, due to their high part count and delicate design, I always hesitated in starting one. ^^; I have the same feeling about some of the untouched Master Grade, and Macross Frontier kits in my collection actually. ^^; I got them for their awesome design and details, but once I got them, I only take them out to have a look from time to time. ^^; The same impressive features that prompted me in getting those kits become the factors I used to associate complicated work with them, and was never able to start on anything.

Eventually though, after loads and loads of procrastinations, I will start working on those kits that I deemed to be complicated and time consuming. For this RG kit, it's selected for this new review because it's something I've put aside for too long, and couldn't think of any more excuse not to start working on it. XD

That usual renewed optimism which often emerges at the beginning of the year could play a role in that show of determination as well I suppose. XD

On a separate note, this kit was given to me by zaku999 from Singapore when I went there for a vacation in 2010. It was a totally unexpected goodie during my trip there, a very pleasant one at that. ^^ So, I would like to give my thanks to him here for the nice present. After more than four years sitting idly in my collection, now's the time for this kit to emerge and get ready for the final assembly. ^^

When it was first launched, I used to believe that the series's pilot release was another kit pushed out to commemorate Gunpla 30th Anniversay and the 1/1 scale Gundam statue in Odaiba (currently in Tokyo). It felt like the First Grade series introduced back in 1999 when Gundam (not Gunpla) was celebrating its 20th Anniversary. There were only three kits released from that line: Gundam RX-78-2, Char's Zaku II and Mass Production Type Zalu II between July 1999 and May 2000, so I suspected that the Real Grade line was going to be just like that, special but short lived. ^^ It certainly didn't happen that way, and RG expanded since 2010 into a pretty solid Gunpla line. ^^

With all the kits released from the series in the last four years, and more new ones coming up for sure, I think the direction in which Real Grade is heading to is becoming clearer. So far, the series seems to be focusing on well known Mobile Suits from various shows, or those piloted by the main characters from the show they represented, but there are also surprises like Skygrasper Launcher/Sword Pack. Even Justice Gundam feels like a surprise release when it came out in July 2012. ^^ Just like Skygrasper Launcher/Sword Pack, the Gundam received no Master Grade treatment perior to its Real Grade release.

As a popular series, I suppose a certain release formula associated to it by the fans is something that is unavoidable. I remember reading that many fans were displeased when Aile Strike Gundam was announced because they were expecting more Universal Century kits to be released instead. On another extreme end, I also read that there were fans who weren't happy when Gundam GP01 and GP01Fb were announced, as they were hoping for the Master Grade Ver. 2.0 treatment of the two MSs before seeing them coming out as Real Grade kits. I certainly don't think that those complains, or even the logic behind the complains, that certain suits should be realized as Master Grade or Real Grade or High Grade at certain period of time are justifiable. We all hope for what we like to come out as a product we desire, and would want to get it as soon as possible, but that doesn't mean new releases that don't fit our wishlist is bad in any way. We can't decide what kit to be released next, but we can choose what we like and be happy about it without needing to bash those we have no interest in. ^^

Introduction of the kit on the sides of box.

Box open.

A design that eventually became a "template" for future RG releases: other model kit version of the same MS, Gundam RX-78-2 in this case can be seen on the wider side of the paper container. ^^
Interestingly, Shin Ryusou Ryubi Gundam from SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warrior is shown alongside the BB Senshi version of Gundam. ^^

The emblem for "Gunpla" (?) on the shorter side of the container.
Unlike Gunplas from other series, the container is made of harder paper, with glossy exterior just like the box cover, which gives it a pretty luxurious feel. ^^

All runners.

The large sheet of Realistic Decal (リアリスティックデカール) included for the kit immediately stands out among the runners. ^^

The construction manual.

Plenty of pages in full colors showing action poses of the completed model, information about its design and tips on the assembly process.

Besides different shades of gray for the pictorial assembly guides, red is also used to emphasize on certain parts or steps. ^^

A full page for instructions on sticker placement. ^^

Back cover of the manual.

A look at the runners' design:

Runner A - A multi-color runner that contains all the yellow parts for this kit, inner frame parts for the legs, clear parts for the head, beam sabers and others.

Comparison of some of the parts to a Malaysian 10-cent coin. ^^

The design of combining the eyes and the pair of Vulcans on the same yellow part is pretty unique.

Elaborate molded details on the inner frame parts of the legs.

The two beam saber parts, 14cm long each, is too long for a 1/144 scale kit. ^^;
Their extraordinary length can be seen clearly when the parts are compared to the more regular beam saber runner of another 1/144 scale Gunpla (HGUC Ground Type Gundam for example) in the left image.

Runner B - the Advanced MS Joint runner containing inner frame parts for the body, arms and legs with pre-molded movable components.

Different colors can be detected for the different "layers" of parts molded onto one another, which gives the frame parts an even more impressive appearance. ^^

Runner C - Another multi-color runner that contains all the red and blue parts for the body, Core Fighter, shield, feet and head.

A few one-piece parts for the Core Fighter.

Elaborate molded details on the feet parts.

(Left) Super tiny parts for the head.
(Right) Different shades of red can be detected on the runner.

Three light blue parts for the chest and cockpit area.

Runner D1 - Contains white parts for mainly the head, waist, legs and weapons.

(Left) Very elaborate details on the rear face of the shield.
(Right) The V-fins are small, but their tips are much pointier than those on average Gundam kits of the same scale.

All the slits on the head and screw caps are nicely molded, which are extremely impressive given their super tiny size. ^^ The vents on the mask are just amazing to look at. ^^

The design and molded details of the 1/144 Amuro Ray figure is pretty amazing as well. ^^

Plenty of molded details on the shoulder armor parts.

Runner D2 - Contains a subset of repeated parts from Runner D1 for mainly the legs.

Stacking Runner D2 on top of D1 to detect the segment of runner that is been repeated.

Interestingly, the pair of beam sabers are also repeated on Runner D2. As a result of that, you get four beam saber handles instead of two. ^^
The extra pair can actually be mounted behind the shield, so this might be a deliberate design. ^^

Runner E1 - Contains white parts for mainly the weapons and legs.

(Left) The beam rifle's handle part that is connected to the mecha component of the weapon with tons of molded details.
(Right) Just like the beam rifle's handle part, the Hyper Bazooka's magazine rounds are designated to be in white now. ^^

Nicely molded one-piece parts for the forearm, forehead and bazooka barrels.

Runner E2 - Contains a subset of repeated parts from Runner E1 for the legs and shoulder armors.

Stacking Runner E2 on top of E1 to detect the segment of runner that is been repeated.

Runner F - Contains dark gray parts for mainly the waist, backpack and legs.

(Left) Pretty amazing one-piece part design for the backpack pieces, especially the pair of "hangers". ^^
(Right) Additional inner frame parts for the thighs, to be assembled on top of the legs' movable frame from Runner B.

The front Core Block part is the only part detected so far which requires explicit paint work if you want to realize the Core Fighter's colors on it. ^^;

Runner G - Contains dark gray parts for mainly the weapons, legs and backpack.

Very nice one-piece part design for the Hyper Bazooka, beam rifle and elbow joint connectors.

Tiny parts for the Core Fighter's landings gears and elbows.

Molded details inside the thruster nozzles.

Runner H - An ABS runner containing parts for mainly the chest and ankles.

Elaborate details on the chest and feet thruster parts.

Different gate designs for different parts: (left) the "tiny" type, (right) the normal type, ...

... and the triangular type.

The Realistic Decal sheet.

Many of the sticker pieces are so puny they can be difficult to see in normal view.

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

The super small size of many parts in this kit is worrisome. ^^; Extra care is needed to avoid damaging or losing the parts when they are removed from their respective runners. ^^; The fragility that comes together with the details and colors of this Gunpla series is certainly one of its noteworthy points. ^^;

Will start working on the detailing in the next posting. ^^

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