The RGM-79L GM Light Armor was developed for hit-and-run raids and serves as a fast attack unit for the Federation Forces. It mounts the minimum amount of armor giving it better acceleration and maneuverability. Most notable about this variant is the lack of armor on the shoulders and ankles.
The GM Light Armor carries a beam gun that’s similar to the RX-78-2 Gundam. It is more powerful than the GM’s standard beam spray gun but holds less shots. Many former pilots turned mobile suit pilots favor the GM Light Armor due to its similarity with fighter aircraft.
The RGM-79L is part of the MSV line, which was an offshoot series of mobile suits designed by Kunio Okawara (the principal Mecha designer for Mobile Suit Gundam). MSVs are official mobile suit variants that help to expand the metaverse and to help sell more model kits. Curiously though, there never was any model kit for the RGM-79L in any scale. Until now.
I pre-ordered the kit so I paid slightly less than retail for it. When it arrived, it came in a plain black thick cardboard box. Nicely wrapped in bubble wrap were:
- 49 cream colored resin parts
- 30 metal thruster and beam gun parts
- Decal sheet
- Instruction manual
As mentioned above, the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. OYW kit is required as a base. The conversion changes the following from the kit:
- Beam saber
- Beam gun
It looks like this when completed:
I was very excited when Akohobby announced that they were developing this kit. After prototype pictures popped up, showing a conversion kit for the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. OYW (which IMO, is one of the best kits in the MG line), I decided I had to have one in my collection.
Molding for the resin parts are nice and flash free. The pour stubs are not located in any important areas and the parts themselves have nicely done panel lines to complement the existing OYW kit parts.
A very nice surprise is that the visor is molded with clear resin but the modeler has to figure out by themselves how to ‘glam’ that part up. Akohobby used their own ‘Aurora’ visor sticker for their sample kit. For whatever reason, Akohobby chose not to include a small sheet of visor sticker with this kit.
The metal parts are also very nicely casted and gives the whole kit a more polished look. Interestingly, the beam gun’s barrel is also a metal part and is superbly detailed.
The decals are nicely printed. Quality-wise, they are on par with Samuel Decal offerings. The markings come in various colors to suit various color schemes and there are 2 different unique unit markings provided.
While it’s certainly possible that Bandai will release their own version of the RGM-79L (with the RGM-79 v2.0 as a base), I have a feeling it will have a very old school look. Akohobby gave their RGM-79L a modern flavor without overly changing the basic look and design. The design is clearly not for everyone, but it will be a unique addition to anyone’s collection.
The RMS-154 Barzam is a mass production mobile suit based on the RX-178 Gundam Mk. II. It was introduced in UC 0088 but was not a successful design and was only produced in limited numbers.
The Refined Barzam is a variant of the RMS-154 which appears as a bridge between the Barzam and the Gundam Mk. II. It is armed with the weapons from the Gundam Mk. II, with the exception of the addition of a grenade launcher for the beam rifle. It also mounts the Gundam Mk. II’s backpack and shield.
I really don’t like the design of the original Barzam. However, along came Hajime Katoki who redesigned it and came up with the Refined Barzam, which is vastly improved. Unfortunately, it was a minor design that appeared in Gundam Sentinel (a Side Story) so the chance of it ever seeing plastic form from Bandai was slim. Then came Akohobby who announced that they were producing a plastic conversion of the MG Gundam Mk. II. Said conversion kit was to be the Refined Barzam. I pre-ordered as soon as I could!
When it arrived, it came in a plain brown cardboard box with no markings whatsoever. Inside we get:
- 2x injection plastic runners (total 60 parts)
- 1x (very) small metal ring *
- Decal sheet *
- Instruction manual
* Included in pre-orders only
As mentioned above, the MG Gundam Mk.II kit is required as a base. The conversion changes the following from the kit:
It also comes with parts for the beam rifle’s grenade launcher.
Molding for the parts are nice and flash free. Like their previous products, the plastic is of a more brittle quality than what Bandai produces. However, they are still nice and come with details that will complement the other parts from the base kit.
Based on my experience with the Powered GM conversion, this particular set being a first run kit, the fit should be quite good.
The decals are nicely printed. Quality-wise, they are on par with Samuel Decal offerings. The markings are for units based on the Asteroid Pezun, where part of the Gundam Sentinel story is based on.
As a pre-order bonus, the kit comes with a small metal ring, which is supposed to go onto the tip of the grenade launcher. It looks like it can go onto the pelvis too though. It’s really small but is very nicely done. Makes me curious about Akohobby’s other metal offerings.
The Refined Barzam is a very esoteric design. It also happens to be very unique, a combination of Zeon and Federation design. The kit is also very nicely done and I’m glad I pre-ordered this.
The RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom was developed for the ace pilots of the Federation. Performance and capability was upgraded from the standard GM to the levels of the RX-78-2 Gundam operating out of the White Base during the One Year War.
Generator output was increased for the added load the long-range beam sniper rifle produced. The beam saber was repositioned to the forearm for close combat. Additional racks were added for optional weapons and to increase the mobility, the GM Sniper Custom was upgraded with a mass of additional thrusters and verniers. Less than 50 Sniper Customs were built. Each was specifically tailored for its pilot so no two were configured the same way.
Akohobby is back again with one of their excellent plastic injection conversions. This time around, they have decided to tackle another GM variant, this time the RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom. Like their previous Powered GM conversion, you will need a base kit to apply this kit on. The GM Sniper Custom requires Bandai’s RX-78-2 Gundam ver. One Year War (OYW) as a base.
Inside the plain brown box are 2 sprues of dark grey injection plastic and a simple A5-sized instruction sheet. The whole set is made up of 44 parts and converts the following portions of the Gundam OYW:
- The head
- The chest and cockpit area
- A new backpack
- Front and rear skirts
- Beam saber housing on the left forearm
- Lower legs
- A huge sniper rifle in place of the beam rifle
The Gundam OYW is actually filled with panel details which the Akohobby replicates on their product. So once installed, they won’t look out of place compared to the original parts.
One minor complaint is the lack of clear parts for the head visor. Akohobby molds this as a solid piece like the other parts. The shape itself though, seems to be quite similar to the MG GM kit but I’m not sure if it’s possible to use the part from that kit to replace this one. But it also means you’ll throw away one kit just for the clear part.
The instruction sheet is simple enough with large diagrams showing where each part goes. The sheet also indicates the parts that are included in the base kit by shading them in dark grey. Parts in white are from the conversion kit itself. Nicely done on the part of Akohobby.
Fit seems to be OK as the kit is engineered to be snap fit like the base kit. I must add though that I had some fitting problems with my previous Powered GM build. However, a fellow modeler didn’t which meant either 1) my construction sucks or 2) my Powered GM kit was part of a 2nd or later production batch, which deteriorated the mold somehow. Anyway, I’m sure this GM Sniper Custom set is part of the 1st batch of production run so hopefully, there won’t be any fitting problems.
Using the Gundam OYW as a base means the completed GM Sniper Custom should be just as poseable which should make for an exciting build. Plus, it’s ver affordable! What more can you ask for?
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:
- New brass rod antennae on the head
- Shield from the GM Quel/Custom kit
- Grenade launcher attachment for the rifle
- Grenade pack with 3 grenades on the right hip
- An extra part to help the PGM bend forward on its waist
- A custom open palm made out of 3 different hands
- My own take on ver.Ka feet
All in all, a very satisfying job.