The PGM-79 Powered GM variant of the RGM-79C was developed by the Federation R&D division as a testbed for an enhanced backpack that provided very powerful thrust and acceleration. With this enhancement, the legs were mounted with improved shocked absorbers.
Outwardly, the PGM-79 looks to be more heavily armored than the standard RGM-79C. However, that is not the case as the bulkiness was mainly due to the mounting of the backpack control systems and further improvements to the structure of the RGM-79C frame.
At least 3 units were tested with this modification in the Torrington base facility in Australia in UC 0083.
The Powered GM is my favorite GM variant from the Gundam universe, so needless to say, it is also the first ever Master Grade Gundam kit I did. This was also to be my first ever kit that I have extensively modified in addition to a kitbash with an aftermarket set of parts. In this case, it’s a conversion set from Akohobby.
And what an experience. Since I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I decided to modify the kit to suit my tastes. And the changes kept coming:
All in all, a very satisfying job.
Scale: 1/144 HG
Parts: 96 + 27 Polycaps
Price: S$21.00 (est. US$12.00)
The GAT-X105 Strike Gundam was one of five experimental Mobile Suits developed by the OMNI Alliance to counter the mobile suits deployed by the ZAFT faction. It is the most versatile among the five units as it was given the ‘flexibility’ to be upgraded with weapons packs : Aile, Launcher and Sword. The Aile (‘Air’ in French) pack adds additional mobility in space to the Strike Gundam as well as flight capabilities on Earth. Weapons-wise, however, the Aile only adds two beam sabers to the Strike’s standard equipment list.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED just happens to be one of the first Gundam TV series that I’ve followed closely (I know the Gundam universe fairly well, but I haven’t seen stuff like Z Gundam, ZZ Gundam et al). I’m not much of Okawara’s fan when it comes to Gundam designs but on the whole, I do like his designs for Gundam SEED, with the Strike Gundam being my favorite.
This is the more complicated version of two 1/144 kits that are available in the mass-market. The HG series of Gundam SEED is equivalent to the HGUC Gundam series. Therefore, there are: covered joints, clear parts (wellâ€¦ in some of them anyway, not this kit), color-coordinated parts and ball joints. The Strike comes only with the Aile pack (you can use the Launcher and the Sword packs available in the No-Grade Strike Gundam kit if you want to arm your HG Strike although modifications are needed).
Because of the way the MS is designed and the way the parts are broken down, the kit’s legs will require a bit of planning to make the eventual painting of the kit easy. This involves a simple cut to the leg to separate the parts. Unlike most HGUC kits, this kit will require a fair bit of prep work due to a number of fairly obvious seamlines.
Construction looks to be fairly straightforward and based on the box photos, it will be a pretty poseable kit too. Quite remarkable considering the scale. While I would have preferred that they provided clear beam sabers, I tend to not display my kits with beam sabers anyway so this is a minor point to quibble about. Like the HGUC series, the fists are oversized for the scale and unless one buys the expensive resin hands or scratchbuilds a set, there’s nothing much that can be done.
Proportions-wise, this is in my opinion, the best looking (in my opinion anyway) Strike Gundam kit in the market right now. It even looks better than the MG version I think. The 1/100 scaled Strikes suffer from having big hips. This is probably because of the fact that they are compartments for the Strike’s daggers (officially called ‘Armor Schneider combat knives’ but I call them as I see them). The HG doesn’t have the compartments so the hips are much thinner and streamlined. Other design elements also make it one of the better renditions of the Strike in the market â€“ smaller feet and less bulky shoulders.
As usual, Bandai includes a set of stickers instead of water-slide decals for this kit. Seeing as how the Strike is supposed to be devoid of markings, this is not really a big deal.
All in all, another nice little kit from Bandai. Their 1/144 scale kits are getting better engineered now and that’s good news for everyone.
Preview courtesy of my wallet
Scale: 1/144 HGUC
Price: S$12.00 (est. US$7.00)
The introduction of the MS-09 Dom by the Zeon forces proved to the Federation that while the RGM-79 GM was a capable MS, it needed to field a more maneuverable and better-performing MS to match up with the Dom. Late in the War, the RGM-79D was introduced. The RGM-79D has increased power and maneuverability and is modified for extreme weather conditions with a specialization on cold climate.
I am a GM phreak so ANY release of a GM variant is something I look forward to. The OAV series Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (0080) just happens to have some of the best designed GM variants. The original 0080 model kit line saw the release of the RGM-79G and RGM-19GS, a slight variation of the RGM-79D. The RGM-79D and the RGM-79SC GM Sniper II were only available as resin kits or resin conversion sets then. When Bandai announced the RGM-79D as part of their HGUC line, it was welcome news for me because this means the GM Sniper II is now a distinct possibility for a release in injection form. Anyway, here’s a look at the RGM-79D.
The kit comes in three trees of colored parts, as per Bandai’s practice. Parts breakdown for the HGUC series so far have been excellent. They allow the modelers to pretty much finish the kit in subassemblies, paint them and then do final assembly. Considering they are just 1/144 kits, the HGUC line’s poseability has also generally been good. I also like the fact that the visor is a transparent green piece, saving me the time of having to paint it.
One thing I’ve noticed is that this kit will probably build up into a much bulkier version than the original anime version. That’s not necessarily bad, but purists might have a problem with it. I don’t. I think the proportions look tight, without the roundness of the HGUC RGM-79 and the huge waist of the original 0080 RGM-79G/GS model kits.
As with most HGUC kits, accessories are bare: a Sten-looking machine gun (which can be held with both hands… COOL), shield and a beam saber with the hand molded in. There are pros and cons to this: It does look better than the regular fist, but it’s a pain to paint and choices of poseability with the beam saber is pretty much limited. Plus, you can only use the beam saber for the right hand (the beam saber hilt is on the left shoulder). However, this is easily remedied, as most Gundam modelers would have beam sabers lying around in the spares box anyway.
Bandai still refuses to include waterslide decals with their kits. This one comes with a sticker sheet, which naturally is too thick for any use if you do serious modeling. But, since the core audience for these kits is kids, a sticker sheet does make sense.
All in all, this looks to be a excellent kit and as mentioned above, this kit has since spawned a couple more variants from the 0080 world: namely the RGM-79G and RGM-79GS twins. Personally, I think that we can never have to many GMs. Bring them all on Bandai!
Preview courtesy of my wallet
Price: S$25.00 (est. US$15.00)
The Powered GM variant of the RGM-79C was developed by the Federation as a testbed for an enhanced backpack that provided very powerful thrust and acceleration. To compliment this enhancement, the legs were mounted with improved shocked absorbers. Because of this, the Powered GM looks more heavily armored externally, which wasn’t the case since the bulkiness was mainly due to the mounting of the backpack control systems and further improvements to the structure of the RGM-79C. At least 3 units were tested with this modification in the Torrington base facility in Australia in UC 0083.
The Powered GM is my favorite variant of the Federation grunt MS. It appeared in the OVA 0083: Stardust Memory’s first 2 episodes. There is currently no injection kit of the Powered GM (what’s available are the expensive resin kits). The closest we can get is the RGM-79C GM Kai released by Bandai in the MG line. A lot of conversion work needs to be done to get a Powered GM though. Luckily for this lazy modeler, along came Akohobby and G-Options, who produced an excellent conversion set which was:
The conversion parts came in two very nicely molded trees in a medium gray color. Advanced notice from a good friend of mine Evo (he of the masterfully done Gundam kits in the Guest Gallery) says that the fit is very good with no puttying required. But then again, he almost always NEVER needs puttying in his kits.
Initial impressions so far are positive. There are no visible flash or warped plastic to be found. While the panel lines seem a bit on the thick and deep side, these are negligible problems since the MG kit that is required for this set doesn’t have too many panel lines that will make the discrepancy obvious.
The animated version of the Powered GM didn’t come with any special markings except for a very unique orange and white color scheme (see lineart above). But that won’t stop anyone from making some custom markings for this badass. It certainly won’t stop me .
Akohobby’s website has some images of what the converted GM Kai would look like as a Powered GM. Do check it out.
Preview courtesy of my wallet
Price: S$20.00 (est. US$11.00)
One of the most produced aircraft in the world, the McDonnell Douglas Phantom II is still being operated by some Air Forces (through upgrades) even though the design dates back to the 1950s. The Phantom II is only one of the few aircraft that was operated by three US services (Air Force, Navy and Marines) at the same time. In the end, over 5000 Phantom IIs left the production lines with 1387 produced in the F-4E variant.
The F-4E is the only variant (the F was basically an export version of the E) in the long line that carried a built-in gun. Before its introduction, the view was that the gun was obselete with the advent of heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles. During the Vietnam conflict however, most air-to-air engagements were close ranged, which negated the effectiveness of missiles, and brought back the importance of the gun and the concept of dogfighting. The F-4E served with the USAF from 1967 to the early 1990s, when it was replaced by the F-15 and F-16.
The F-4E can be differentiated from other variants by it’s longer tapered nose with a gun housing that extends underneath the radome.
What can I say? I’ve built one before (an F-4J) and I can safely say that this is THE ultimate 1/72 Phantom kit in the market right now. Hasegawa has a habit of reboxing the same mold with different markings and different boxart so this one’s no different.
What’s ingenious (or sneaky, depending on how you look at it) about this kit is that Hasegawa has split the parts down so that in order to do a different version of the Phantom, they only need to swap one or two part trees, and voila! Instant different Phantom! That being said however, it does make this Phantom a lot harder to put together than the other brands because this does lead to more parts than necessary. More parts = more chances of finicky fit = more assembly time. This kit is much harder to build than say, the 1/72 Fujimi Phantom, which is a pretty good kit in it’s own right.
Overall detail of the kit is very good, with very fine recessed lines. Much like Hasegawa’s other offerings of the same scale, cockpit details are decal only, but since the cockpit is so small and cramped, you can pretty much get away with it. Also much like Hasegawa’s standard practice, the kit doesn’t come with any weapons. However, what was a pleasant surprise is the inclusion of the newer center fuel tank that the F-4E carried from the 1980s onwards. As a bonus, they also included the old fuel tank, so with enough research, one would be able to, except for the blunt gun nose period, model the F-4E at every stage of its service life.
Markings-wise, Hasegawa has given the option for three units.
Decals are typical Hasegawa quality, slightly thick but nothing some Mark Softer couldn’t tackle.
All in all, a very nice kit that will build into a very nice representation of one of the most profilic aircraft of the 20th Century.
Preview courtesy of my wallet