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Creating distortions in the gunpla world

Right, I think I’ve spent enough time procrastinating over this post, but it’s still not an easy one to write up.  But for this week, I’m posting up my PG 00 Gundam!

First of all, I have to warn everyone that my PG 00 gundam is currently residing in South Wales, away from my usual kit so the photos will suck somewhat, much like the PG red frame pics!

I think the announcement of  the PG 00 Gundam took many people by surprise, it certainly threw me off. I was curious as to how they were going to tackle the design after doing such a stunning job on the red frame and strike gundam but as the early pics came out I became more and more disenchanted with this newest addition to the PG line.
From a detail perspective, it really does feel more like a throwback to the earlier UC PG kits as there’s not much in terms of external detail. But also, due to the design, the frame also has little in terms of mechanical detail and there are also some weird proportions at work as well.
Nevertheless, despite these setbacks, for better or worse, this kit is, in many ways, exactly what one would expect from a perfect grade.

First, lets get one of my biggest niggles out of the way. At standard retail price, the PG 00 Gundam is the most expensive perfect grade kit available, coming in at a retail price of 25,000yen. The next ones down are the zeta gundam and GP01 zephyranthes.
And for the life of me, I cannot figure out where that extra cost comes from. In terms of complexity and parts numbers, I’m sure the Strike gundam and sky grasper combo beats out the 00 Raiser combo. as for the size of the package…

I took a few shots of the 00 Raiser box next to my old GP01 box which I still have lying around in storage (In fact, for whatever reason, I have kept a large number of gunpla boxes over the years).

Top shot.

And back. As you can see, the 00 gundam is somewhat smaller than the GP01 box. So it has fewer parts (I’m pretty sure) and has a smaller box… So where did the extra costs come in? I find it hard to believe that the GN drives and/or design changes can rack up such an increase…
In any case, I bought mine from amazon.co.jp so I snagged a 36% discount off the main price. Had it not been for that, I would have happily skipped over this number…

In any case, here’s what you get in the box. Bandai separated all the parts for the 00 gundam and 0 raiser as one would expect so it made it easier to find the correct parts and you won’t mix the sprues up.

And after several days of snapping and whatnot, this is what you end up with! A random tidbit of info, I completed the 00 gundam in the wee early hours of 1st January 2010, while watching episodes of Metal armour Dragonar!! My family doesn’t really do New Years so it flew by us. But Dragonar was a fun little show and it has one of the best OPs EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shades of freedom gundam in this pose. It was initially thought that the PG kit couldn’t do this pose as the GN drive bays cannot be rotated like it can in the other versions. Instead, one can rotate the ring which holds the 0 raiser parts in place. Probably not recommended to keep the post tho, as the parts are rather heavy so you’re putting a lot of unnecessary strain on the ring.

And here’s the 00 Gundam on it’s own. The base is the same as the one given for the strike gundam but it’s really worth getting one if you can as the 00 raiser cannot stand on it’s own. It’s too back heavy!!

Side shot where you can see the GN condensers, source of much grief during the build, which I’ll get into later.

Fully equipped. The shield parts can be attached to the GN drives as seen above or connected together to form a proper shield which can be mounted under the arm. If you have the 0 raiser parts attached, they can also be added on there.

And as a little added bonus, I took a cutaway pic so you can see the frame and compare it to it’s armoured look.

You can see that there’s not much in terms of detail on the frame parts. Everything simply looks smooth. Even the GN strips (which were a pain to put on) are usually obscured from view!
One offshoot of the frame design is the fact that you get somewhat odd proportions for the 00 gundam. The legs are somewhat fat (thunderthighs!!) while the arms are very thin by comparison. The belly area is also exceptionally thin. While previous PGs had sufficient volume to make you think that the design was plausible, the 00 frame constantly makes you wonder how the thing could possibly function with it being so damn thin!!!

There are some good points tho. You can see a small hole on the lower arm, close to the elbow. While in blaster mode, the GN rifle butt can connect to the frame to provide extra stability. A really cool feature which I hope may return in later kits. You can see it a little better in the “freedom” shot above.

And here’s the 0 raiser. fully kitted out. There’s not really much to add about this part as it’s functional and that’s about it.

The underside provides the kit with landing gears but it’s a bit of a struggle to get them working when the 0 raiser is fully equipped as the large missile pods also touch the ground…

0 Raiser equipped with the GN sword III. Basically, it’s the weapon used by the Exia except for the 00 gundam. As far as I am aware, only the PG 00 gundam has this particular weapon.

00 Raiser, fully equipped.

Sword mode is long… Really long!!! (and heavy!)

The “beam” section for the GN sword 3 is actually quite massive and literally slides over the blade.

there’s also one for the GN blaster.

Back shot  of the 00 gundam. The hole at the top is where the 0 Raiser connects.

and with the 0 raiser.

Right, with that out of the way, here come the daggers. Aside from the cost, there are some other issues I have with the 00 gundam. I’ve already mentioned the weird proportions but you really have to see it to believe it. it’s not something I can quite convey with these pics alone.
Another thing was that some idiot over at bandai thought that it would be a good idea to make the kit builder connect every single finger by hand!! Each finger consists of 3 parts and, unlike every other PG kit, you needed to put them together. Damn that was an annoying exercise in pointlessness. And I don’t know why they even bothered in the first place!!
The kit is also exceptionally back heavy when in 00 raiser mode. without the stand, it would have some serious stability issues! And the 0 raiser parts also take up a hell of a lot of space. Not quite as much as the GP01, but way more than the seed or other UC perfect grade kits.

But my biggest scorn goes to the new joint design for the kit.

I mentioned in my opening notes that in many ways, the PG 00 gundam is very much a perfect grade and this is why. Aside from the scale, 2 other things usually define a PG over the lower grade kits (afterall, you can get 1/60 HG kits). One is the level of detail in the inner frame, which I think people will agree the 00 gundam dropped the ball over, judging from the frame pics above) and the other is some gimmick or featuer in the design which (at the time of release) cannot be seen in the other grades. That’s usually because the Perfect grades have often been a testbed for gunpla ideas before they are shrunk down and put into smaller kits in the MG line. Strike gundam gave us the leg swivel mechanic which was seen in later Seed MG kits (and then modified into the derided one seen on the destiny gundam) and even before that, the inner frame design seen on all MG kits these days were first done on the PG line.
So now we have the next feature, and I hope it disappears quickly… The locking joint mechanism. Here are the shots from the instruction manual:

On paper, it seems simple enough. You are told to build the GN condensers early on and are given a warning to make sure that the parts are aligned. You then feed the condenser into a joint and then, when you press down on it, it allows you to bend the joint and the parts will snap together when the pressure is lifted and lock it in place. Great idea!! No sag and the kit should, in theory, be able to hold lots of poses because of it.

In practice, the mechanism is an exercise in extreme frustration I haven’t experienced since I built my PG Evangelion unit 1, and believe me, that eva nearly had me in tears!!!
The main problem I experienced was that after putting the condenser in, the part simply would not rotate when you pushed it in. I had to take the parts apart, double and triple check the build and then, when all else failed, apply copious amounts of elbow grease to make it work. Luckily I didn’t damage anything and it worked as advertised afterwards. One really odd issue was when I discovered that the right shoulder was only able to lock at 0 degrees (straight down) or 90 degrees (perpendicular to the ground). never did figure out why although the problem went away after I took it apart and put it back together.

One other thing which would have been somewhat funny if it wasn’t so annoying is that the joint which allows for the arm to move up and down is one of the old style joints. Also, consider the fact that the GN sword III is both large and heavy. Put the 2 together and you will find that the 00 gundam simply cannot hold the GN sword III on it’s own as the arm cannot support the weight of the weapon and will sag instantly. 3 locking mechanisms on each arm and it all turns out for naught when the GN sword gets involved. Notice that my pics with the GN sword 3 above never has it raised? Now you know why!!!

One final thing to note are the GN drives. You’ve all probably seen the video of the gimmick. Basically the parts in the GN drives can rotate and light up, giving a somewhat cool lightshow for a few seconds. There are just a few problems with that too. Firstly, the drives are really loud! when activated, they give off a very audible buzzing noise which will continue until the parts come to a near stop.
Secondly, you activate the drives by pushing them in. And they are VERY sensitive. You will often find yourself activating them accidentally while simply handling the kit, I know I did.

Sufficed to say, I wasn’t too impressed with what bandai did with this perfect grade kit, although I will stop short of saying I outright hated it. There were a few good ideas in there, most of them small but the major additions, for me, didn’t work at all. Add in the additional costs and I find it very difficult to recommend this PG to anyone. The other PG kits are cheaper, less frustrating (with the possible exception of the zeta gundam and it’s massive amounts of wiring for the lighting effects) and, for the later kits at least, more visually appealing.

Unless you’re a massive fan of the show and the gundam itself, I’d say skip it. Esp if you have to pay full price for it!!!

And as a final shot, here’s an updated shot of my PG collection. Note that the 00 gundam takes up an insane amount of shelf space!! Only the GP01 (on the far left) takes up more but then it has 2 core fighters and numerous additional parts added into the mix.
I also took a few comedy pics using my PG gundams, but I’m holding on to those. I used them to mimic several shots from animes I have seen.

  • http://chubbybots.wordpress.com chubbybots

    Looks like the really took a few steps back from the previous PG. Luckily you had that discount!! There was this discussion that the lines between an MG and PG are blurring and sometimes even the 1/144 kits are getting much more bang for the buck! Hmm so even the PG 00 gundam couldn’t solve the weight issues…

    I know of a person who go so fustrated with the joints he just threw in a copious amt of plastic cement and have the joints fixed in one position… :twisted: !!

  • http://gunstray.blogspot.com/ Gunstray

    Its so ironic that its called a mobile suit seeing as it isnt too mobile, just by looking at your pic .Its still a nice looking “brick though.

    There is a slim chance that 00 will get MG treatment, just as red frame did.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    well, that was a little extreme. Tho I was tempted to do that to the shield for my PG zeta gundam. It doesn’t hang onto the arm well, but then it would never be able to go into waverider mode again…

    And I wouldn’t say that the line between PG and MG are blurring, but rather that the focus in bandai is being shifted over to MG completely. They’re still taking ideas and designs from the PG line and putting them into the MG kits now. So I suspect that they will keep the PG line and continue to use it as a testbed for ideas which may be imported over to the MG line later, tho I really hope they just bury the joints idea…

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    Well, it is kinda mobile, so long as it never has to stand on it’s own legs!!! Come to think of it, did the 00 gundam ever stand on ground unless it was docked and awaiting launch?? I remember nothing but space and air battles for the thing!

    I doubt that there will be an MG 00 gundam for a while as there wouldn’t really anything to add to the already existing 1/100 HG model. It’s not like they can make the design different or increase poseability (as the 0 raiser is pretty restrictive) and, as chubbybots pointed out, every 00 raiser kit has a balance issue so they will probably want to resolve that first…

  • http://www.bmecha.com B-Mecha

    Thanks for your advise. I’ll skip this kit for sure xD. Not a fans of OO kit (any grade) for some unknown reason.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    I know what you mean. the 00 Designs leave me rather cold too. Had this been an MG (or not had the discount) I would have skipped over this one too!
    But I have it now, so all I need is the RX-78-2 PG kit and I will have all the PG gundams, well except for strike rouge, which is just strike…

  • http://quentinlau.blogspot.com/ Q

    “As far as I am aware, only the PG 00 gundam has this particular weapon.”
    You mean the GN Sword III? Don’t 1/144 HG Trans-Am Raiser, 1/144 HG 00 Raiser + GN Sword III and 1/100 00 Raiser Designer Colour’s version have it as well?

    My experience on PG is zero, but I heard that PG 00 Raiser is very different to the previous releases. Maybe they’re trying out new ideas whihc made it seem not so PG-like, and moreover Ebikawa’s doing it. As Ngee Khiong has told to me once, observations from MG Exia shows that Ebikawa does not seem to mind much about not having much details on innner frames and allow tabs for inserting the outer plates etc. (i.e. upcoming MG GN-X is likely to be like that too). So maybe Ebikawa’s way of design is a large contributing factor to this PG 00 Raiser.

    Haven’t heard much problems about this kit from ToysDaily forum, so I was a little surprised to hear that there’s quite a few problems you’ve got there. I haven’t bothered to look at Dalong’s review and hear what he has to say (translated via Google etc.) yet, but I wasn’t expecting it to be not so fab.

    Oh well I will just stick with the HG then. Small and light, I can’t go wrong with them.

  • http://lookingglass.kokidokom.net gundamjehutykai

    Well, I would assume that a kit with “GN sword III” would have one. I don’t think trans-am raiser does tho. Dunno bout the designer colour version (what’s so special about designer colour anyway?)

    And you are right in saying that the PG raiser is very different from previous releases, but then Strike Gundam was also very different, even tho the underlying design was very similar to the old releases, just really refined.
    If the frame idea is Ebikawas then I just hope he gets removed from the position and damn quickly. I really don’t like the direction the designs are headed. I can live with less details on the inner frame but the other things he brings to the table, not to mention the odd proportions are just not on!!

    And “not so fab” is a good way of putting things. It’s not a terrible kit, but It just doesn’t justify it’s price tag and if it wasn’t for the joint idea, it wouldn’t justify being a PG either!!