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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review- Real Grade RX-78

Though I'll have my update for Kingdom of Evan up tomorrow, I thought I'd hold you guys over with this-

Review: RG RX-78
Yes, the Real Grade line has launched, promising us a Gunpla experience unlike any other. But does it deliver this? I've pulled together this review to answer that question. Of course, it would be absolutely silly for the line to start any other way than with the original Gundam himself, the RX-78. Here he is sporting his classic shield and Beam Rifle. He stands at the standard 1/144th height, five inches tall.
Or, if you want the bare bones (which we'll be dealing with for the majority of the review), here he is without any of his accessories. Keep in mind, this is with the absolute fewest amount of stickers applied, the only one being the black sticker for around the eyes. Pretty impressive, especially for a model kit of its size.
A look at the backside. The jetpack is absolutely gorgeous, sporting individually moving thrusters, vents, and beam sword handle storage. The entire unit is very well detailed. You can also see some more of the detail put into the rest of the model as well.
It's even removable, too!
Now, let's talk about the most important issue- articulation! The Real Grade inner frame is something to behold, truly. The tiniest details like small pistons and pegs that increase articulation and the mechanical nature are located all over the body. You can even see a small piston poking out of RX's left elbow! The inner frame, however, comes pre-assembled on its own sheet, which may come as a let-down to some Master Grade fans who build their own from numerous pieces. However, to be quite frank, the pieces involved with making this inner frame extremely mechanical are simply TOO small for any builder to work with. I can see why they did it this way.
Let's see some more of that articulation. It's really impressive, matching (if not surpassing) the Master Grade's own. Not pictured is the small amount of movement the back half of the shin can perform to increase the range of the ankle joint. Pictured are the various points of shifting armor, found in the upper arms, elbows, thighs, and knees. Now, I'm not sure about your personal opinions, but when I first saw the thigh armor movement I was a little put-off, considering the suit never did such a thing in the series, but in the final model the gimmick works so well (actually, all the moving armor pieces do) that I don't really care. Not pictured is the small amount of movement that the shoulder joints possess, they can move upward and inward/outward.
Showing off the impressive waist articulation. Can move exactly where you think it would, on the first red segment and the second. The center waist joint loses its movement when you place the Core fighter in the chest, however. Also, the head is on a ball joint and is jointed where the neck meets the shoulders, giving the ability to look upward and downward.
The cockpit hatch obviously opens, much more impressively when the core fighter is in place.
Let's take a look at the figure itself for a moment. Wow. Three different shades of white, three shades of dark gray/black, and two shades of both red and blue result in a very segmented and mechanical looking mobile suit. In person, the effect is pretty impressive. I hope it shows well in the pictures. You don't even need stickers on this suit for it too look great.
Another impressive feature are the hands. The wrist and hand guard are separate pieces, but the palms, three fingers, pointer, and thumb all are connected on the inner frame sheet. This results in an impressive finished product- each separate finger piece has two points of articulation- one at the ball joint that connects it with the palm and another halfway up the finger, allowing curling action. A little added detail like this goes a long way, and the hands are simply a blast to toy with. They are very solid as well, but of course twisting them in an awkward way can cause them to pop out of their sockets, which mine have done a couple of times. The pointer finger in particular can be quite delicate.
Now, let's see those accessories! RX here is packaged with four beam sword handles (two with pegs that plug into his hands and two with slots that plug into the shield), all of which can plug into the beam sword handle storage on his jetpack, two beam swords, the shield, the beam cannon, the hyper bazooka, his core fighter, and a pair of extra hands in set fists for punching stuff. I was a little upset not to see the beam prong and the hammer, but it's not a huge deal. the accessories that RX does possess are absolutely awesome.
Holding his beam rifle and sword. Both have pegs that plug into the hands, and, in the case of both the beam cannon and hyper bazooka, can be retracted. The choice for white in the beam rifle is strange but not altogether terrible or even unlikable. The beam swords are ridiculously long in this version, and I'm not quite sure why... but again, it's not a huge deal. Before anyone asks, yes, you do have to fit the pointer finger through the trigger hole on the beam rifle, and yes, it is ridiculously tedious. But the end effect is awesome.
The hyper bazooka is just plain badass. I had never really posed any of my past RX models or action figures with it because I was always under the impression that the beam cannon was more practical and easy to pose. The RG hyper bazooka is not only easy to fit in those tiny hands of his but also fun to move around, especially because the shoulder rest piece seems to fit in so well with the shoulders.
I love it so much that I posed him with it again in this picture. Fun and totally awesome fact- the inner frame sheet has a pair of strange plugs locked into the arm sockets and you are told in the instructions to remove them but not throw them out- these pieces are later implemented as the grip for the shield and the peg that locks the entire shield into the side of the arm. I smiled at that point, and I'm glad to report that both pieces work awesomely.
Perhaps the RX's coolest feature it the ability to carry all of its equipment on its body at once. Here is the storage lock opened on his waist for holding the hyper bazooka, and the two extra beam sword handles plug into the side of the shield, STILL leaving room for the beam rifle. The shield can be adjusted to sit higher or lower on RX's arm. Personally, I think this entire equipment storage ability is TOTALLY awesome.
Last, but not least, there is an extremely well-detailed Core Fighter. It has removable landing gear and folds up quite well into its torso mode, with a good deal of sliding and tuning going on. It has plugs to get in the waist joint and torso, though I haven't tried that feature yet. I'm sure the cockpit opening gimmick looks a lot more impressive with the core fighter in, but I don't want to sacrifice the articulation- plus, I like zooming my little core fighter around!
Conclusion:
Well, is the RG RX-78 perfect? It's pretty damn close. I can't think of one really glaring fault that the entire kit has, and that's saying something. Normally I am a lot more critical on my mobile suits, but this one was just great. The entire model is a blast to build (took me about four and a half hours) and play around with. The sheer amount of detail put in every limb of this kit is astounding, and the model looks great even without stickers. Its a whole lot of innovation packed in a very small size, and I can truthfully say that this is one line I will be collecting ALL of, because once the obvious choices are out of the way (RX, Zaku, Zeta Gundam, etc) I can't wait to see what Bandai throws into this scale next. It's a true work of art, through and through, and to those of you who don't have a 1/144th scale RX-78 yet, I highly recommend it. For those who do, you might want to check this baby out to see how much love and work Bandai can put in their models!

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