Saturday, 7 September 2013

Assault Kingdom EX 02 : MS-06R-1A Zaku II High Mobility Type (Black Tri-Star Color)

This July saw the release of the second special pack in the Assault Kingdom series, and boy does it give the whole figure line an awesome boost! Apart from the fact that the Black Tri-Stars are always sought after, this triple-pack with all its optionals is quite simply the best product to come out of the Assault Kingdom line so far. Bandai have really gone out of their way to create a truly customizable figure set which at the same time really raises the bar for future releases. If only STANDart was up to this customization level...

Anyway, this set has probably not passed by that many Gundam fans unnoticed. I myself had been itching to get it once it was announced and now, with the figures in hand, I dare say it was easily worth the wait. The way this set expands the figure line is just tremendous. I myself can't wait for more Zeon forces to join the line but with the Black Tri-Star pack I will at least be able to overlook the fact that the next set will contain nothing but hero Gundam units...

This Zaku triple-pack comes in a small (14 x 11 x 6 cm) cardboard box similar to those used for the Gundam Converge SP-packs, and it is filled to the brim with utensils for bringing the troika to life. The three figures come in the same multi-compartment type of plastic bags as used in the normal figure line, except the three bazookas which are wrapped in a protective bubble bag.

Apart from the three figures themselves, the package contains a multi-part action base which can be assembled by following some illustrations on the inside of the box. While I personally do not bother with these action bases so much can be said, that this one consists of a two-part flat tile which is placed in a sloping fashion on top of four legs. Three multi-part arms of varying length can then be pegged to the base by choosing from nine available holes. Each arm can attach to one figure, allowing for it to take a flying or similar pose without needing to balance it on the ground. It is worth to note however, that the the three figures only have three points where you can attach it to the action base, there is a hole under each sole and one on the skirt-back, somewhat more limited than many of the figures in the Assault Kingdom line. Considering that the peg on the skirt-back is also used to carry the bazooka if not in use, this brings the available slots down to only two.

Alright, enough moaning about the action base. What will really get you going is this lot of accessories. Just look at that picture, you would be forgiven to think this was an MSIA action figure, or at the very least a HCM Pro figure. Each Zaku is given a complete set of weapons, and there are a total of sixteen hands (strangely enough all types are replicated in three except for the left hand forward leaning grip) to choose from. Interestingly, unit 03 which has the typical Zaku leader antenna has been given an alternate helmet without antenna which can be used instead if you so choose.

The figures can be loaded out way beyond any reasonable capacity. Apart from placing one or two weapons in their hands, you can also fit spare weapons on each Mobile Suit by pegging them into one of three available slots. As already mentioned, the skirt-back has a larger hole which can be used to attach the figure to the action base, or to place the unused bazooka on the figure's back, as is commonly seen in many figure lines.

A novel touch which appears in the Assault Kingdom line for the first time is the two small holes on each figure's hips. These can be used to peg a Heat Hawk (which is a fancy word for an axe with a high temperature blade) and/or the ZMP-50 120mm machine gun to the figure. Admittedly, once you start pegging weapons to the figure front, right and center, the articulation will become more limited with all the gear obstructing movements, but this of course is an acceptable feature.

Spaghetti western-style: These three Zakus are fully loaded with extra weapons.
Speaking about articulation, the three mobile suits feature great if not fantastic articulation at all the expected joints. You can rotate many of them 360 degrees as long as the limbs don't run into something hanging in the way, like a pegged weapon or the shoulder shield for example. The skirts are made from soft plastic and can be bent gently for some extra room for the legs to move more freely.

Still, the forward motion of the thigh is somewhat limited and the feet don't twist side to side, which makes it difficult to create a kneeling stance. Apart from this there is nothing to complain about, and you will be able to come up with a lot of interesting poses for the figures, especially when you utilize the action base components.

Below are some comparison shots to other similar Zaku figures. The first image shows the red standard Zaku II which was released in the second volume of regular Assault Kingdom figures this June. As you can see the two figures share many similarities though the red figure is slightly more articulated. Its look is nowhere near as impressive though.

STANDart also featured a Tri-Star figure, number 06 to be precise (STANDart volume 10, July 2011). The two figures are remarkably similar in size and appearance, though of course the STANDart figure has an overall less plastic appearance and finer details. The Assault Kingdom figure still looks very good next to it and has the STANDart figure outclassed on articulation of course.

Lastly a comparison can be made to the old FW Ultimate Operation line figure, which appeared in June 2004. Like most FWUO figures the old counterpart has a strong expression and a lovely chunky design. This is something which is hard for the Assault Kingdom figures to replicate, as they generally need be as slim as possible to allow for more articulation. On the other hand articulation on FWUO:s is generally limited to parts of the arms and a swiveling torso though. Both figures are great in their own right and ultimately it comes down to what you wish to accomplish with your collection.

In conclusion you may already have gathered that this Assault Kingdom triple pack is an absolute mandatory entry into your AK collection. It simply trumphs all the figures that have so far preceeded it, and I look forward to seeing future AK-sets drawing inspiration from its level of customization. Top marks to Bandai for this set, and I recommend you grab it now while it is still fresh and easily available.


  1. Great review- in definitely going to pick a set up! How tall are these zaku, though? They appear 8cm?

    With that said, your reviews could be improved if you give actual hight measurements of the models in question!

    Keep up the good reviews.

  2. Yep, these Zakus are just under 8 cm in size. What is great about the Assault Kingdom figures is that they are size comparable with both STANDart and the old Ultimate Operation series, so you can mix and match freely between these figure lines as they all look great together.

    The size indicator is a good idea, I'll try work it into the review format somehow. Oh, and sorry for late reply, was away from the page for a bit...