Friday, May 18, 2012

MG Zeta Plus Part 1

Master Grade Zeta Gundam Ver. 1.5

Going for another Master Grade Gunpla kit after the review on Hot Toys 1/6 War Machine: Zeta Plus from "Gundam Sentinel".

An 11-year-old kit this is, as it was first released back in November 2001. It's about a year older than one of the previous Master Grade kits I worked on, Zaku II F2 EFSF Ver. ^^

I actually assembled the Type C1 variation of Zeta Plus many years ago, so while this red version (Type A1) is considered a new kit to me, it's not going to be a complete stranger. ^^ From experience, Zeta Plus C1 was a kit that I really enjoyed assembling and playing with. It was built before I got MG S Gundam, Ex-S Gundam or Perfect Grade Zeta Gundam, so its intricate transformation gimmick with parts designed here and there to secure all the components between MS and Waverider modes was really fascinating to me. They still are in my opinion by the way, even though you could say that PG Zeta Gundam and MG Ver. 2.0 of that Gundam had revamped and improved many of Zeta Plus's design features.

On the other hand, the first MG Zeta Gundam was among the first in that series that I built, and while its high part count, unconventional assembly methods and lighting gimmick were pretty enjoyable, its transformation gimmick was quite weak in my opinion. ^^; The transformed components were just too flimsy and I ended up cementing the hip area which fixed the model in MS mode only. With MG Zeta Gundam, I appreciate Bandai's effort in designing and releasing a transformable Zeta Gundam model that looks good in both MS and Waverider modes (as compared to the 1994 1/100 scale broad-chest "macho" version XD), but there are just too many weaknesses in that MG kit. ^^;

With that said, this Zeta Plus MG kit which came out five years after the first Zeta Gundam, as well as the Perfect Grade version of Zeta Gundam but before Ver. 2.0 can be considered as "Ver. 1.5" in the series. ^^ Technically, that would be untrue because the two Gundams are not the same, but design-wise, be it the Gundams themselves or the model kits, there are many similarities that link them together. ^^ The transformation of the head, torso and legs are almost identical between the different versions of Zeta Gundam, so you can really track the improvements incorporated from one model kit release to the next. ^^ To me, this Zeta Plus as the "interim" version has many merits in its design, which even though isn't as advanced as Zeta Gundam Ver. 2.0, is still a very good transformable Gunpla kit. ^^

Hobby Japan March 2002 issue had a coverage on future development for the Master Grade series at that point, which featured the result of the duo-survey on top 10 MG releases and top 10 MG wish list MSs mentioned back in May 2010. The cover page Gunpla, a Master Grade Zeta Gundam modified from Zeta Plus was used to analyze the potential and future direction of transformable MSs to be included in this Gunpla series. ^^

For all of its awesome features, I rated it as one of my top 20 best MG releases. ^^

Introduction of the kit on the box sides.


Some images of the instruction manual.

A older MG kit it is, the very nostalgic cardboard cover inside the box is still included. ^^

All runners of this kit.

Foil sticker, clear sticker and dry transfer decal set as well as a mesh pipe for the pipes behind the knee joints.

A look at the different runners:

Runner A - Multicolor runner containing parts mainly for the body and feet.

(Left) Elaborate molded details beneath the feet parts.
(Right) Molded details can be seen behind the cockpit hatch.

(Left) Very simple details on the plate behind the head. ^^;
(Right) The very familiar-looking chest piece. ^^ Almost all versions of Zeta Gundam's model kits feature a similar part as this one I think. ^^

Runner B1 - Contains all light gray parts mainly for the wings and head.

(Left) As usual, the pilot and standing figures will require a great deal of paint work to realize their intended colors.
(Right) Helmet parts of Zeta Plus.

The large leg armors have nicely molded mecha details on its rear face.

Runner B2 - Contains all light gray parts mainly for the wings and body.

(Left) Large one-piece wing parts. The outer rims will depend on foil stickers to realize their actual orange color.
(Right) A one-piece non-transformable forehead option piece.

Runner C - ABS runner containing the legs' main inner frame parts and various joint parts for the body and waist.

Extensive details on the legs' inner frame parts.

Various landing gears and mount rack parts of the beam rifle.
Runner separation hints seen around this runner segment indicating that it would be omitted for the Type C1 variation.

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

(Left) Frame part for the rear skirt armor with extensive molded details.
(Right) One-piece beam saber handles.

Runner E - Contains all orange parts mainly for the leg and shoulder armors.

Just like the light gray ones on Runner B1, the large leg armors have nicely molded mecha details on its rear face.

Runner F - 2 pieces. Contains light gray parts mainly for the arm and leg armors.

One-piece parts for the upper arms' armors and leg vents.

Runner G - 2 pieces. ABS runner that contains mainly joint parts for the legs and arms.

(Left) Large knee joint parts that would control a significant portion of the legs' transformation sequence in forming the Waverider.
(Right) "Fake" mesh pipes for the waist beam cannon/beam saber storage rack. ^^

Runner H1 - Contains the two transformable V-Fin pieces plus pipes behind the knee joints.

Made of soft plastic, the runner is pretty close to a polycap set. ^^

Runner H2 - Contains all dark gray parts mainly for the beam rifle and landing gears' wheels.

(Left) Long barrel part for the beam rifle.
(Right) One-piece part for the rifle's tip/muzzle.

More "fake" mesh pipe pieces spotted. ^^ These will become the waist beam cannons' joints.

Runner I - Contains all light gray parts mainly for the shield.

Two large parts for the shield's lower-most panel.

Clear blue beam saber parts for Zeta Plus. ^^

Polycap set PC-122A and screws for the knee joints.

Foil sticker, clear sticker and dry transfer decal set.

"Real" mesh pipe for the knee joints XD

As usual, all removed parts are organized and stored in individual paper containers.

Will be starting on painting some of the parts next. ^^

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