Monday, 19 August 2013

Mobile Suits Gundam Ultimate Operation : GM III

I was always predisposed towards army building figures rather than hero units, it gets tiresome seeing all these outlandish hero units crowding in a spot. The Ultimate Operation GM III is a welcome balance for all the Gundams it has to share the collection space with. And better yet, the figure's posability makes it very useful for creating dioramas as we shall see.

Some background story first: The GM III appeared in June 2006 in the set of figures known as FW Ultimate Operation Plus 4 and is thus one of the last figures to be included before the series was taken out of production. In spite of being a regular army type unit it has not been featured much in the series we cover on the blog, it has yet to show up in Converge, and an entry in the Assault Kingdom series seesm most unlikely. However, two versions will be released in the STANDart series volume 18 this very August, though they won't look even half as cool as this one.

Taking a look at the contents of the packaging, you get the figure more or less assembled sitting in a blister with a couple of accessories, namely a battle-scarred shield and an extra left hand. The right hand is molded directly to the figure's only weapon, a standard beam rifle type. The shield has a peg that can fit onto the mobile suit's left wrist, or alternatively, by replacing the open hand with the closed fist the shield can be placed in this hand which enables the GM III to raise the shield in front of it.

As usual with FW Ultimate Operation figures the legs are molded to the lower section of the torso as one piece, and as usual for EFSF units with tiny feet, it has some issues with balance in certain poses. The tors swings at the hip and the shoulders rotate at their joint. The arms also rotate underneath the shoulder, and finally the hands and head can be turned as well. This gives a fair amount of poseability for this figure and with the optional placement of the shield the figure can parry attacks from multiple directions, which together with its overall dynamic pose makes it look pretty convincing.

The shield is the only battle damaged component of the figure. It would have been nice of Bandai to include an optional clean shield for variation. I don't know if the similar shields which come with the FWUO RX-78-2 Gundams are similar enough to be used by the GM III but that might be a possibility which would add more custoization to the figure. An optional open right hand would also have been nice, to make the figure more defenseless following an attack but I guess you can always replace the right hand with something custom.

UPDATE: Now that the Gundam STANDart volume 18 has been released there are two new GM III models available for comparison. Just as the initial suspicions indicated, the STANDart versions of the GM III are nicely detailed but a bit spartan and generally bland when paired with the Ultimate Operation figure. The UO figure features more coloured details and add-on equipment and a really chunky look which mostly makes the STANDart figure look like a half-dressed mannequin.

So, in conclusion; if you are looking for a nice GM to go with the collection the old GM III is an excellent addition to any Ultimate Operation collection.

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