Sunday, 3 November 2013

Gundam STANDart volume 13

Continuing down the line of STANDart the turn has come to wave thirteen, which was released in May 2012. Associated with this set is also one special version of number 48, which may have been released at the same time or some time later, I do not have any detail information regardng this at hand. The set itself is hardly revolutionizing, consisting of three Gundams and a Zaku II, though not the same one as seen in volume one. Let's dig our teeth into the set.

048 : Poster-boy for volume thirteen is easily the most striking figure in the wave, and as far as Gundams go, it is quite the looker as well. We're talking about the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam from Gundam SEED. This is in my opinion one of the most successful designs from an esthetic perspective. It features a very stylish and balanced colour scheme with lots of fine details. Both the beam rifle and the shield are multi-coloured which adds even more oomph to the figure. Aticulation is typical for STANDart, you can rotate the head a bit, the arms at the shoulder and the right-hand wrist., You can also unfurl its wings fully and they will stay in position. Some back-heavy STANDart figures have a small transparent support for it to lean against but none is included with the Freedom Gundam, and on a plain surface you should have little problem balancing it as well.

049 : Checking in at slot fortynine is one of the most iconic Gundam mobile suits of all time, the notorious Zeon MS-06 Zaku II. There are so many versions and colourings of this figure, for this entry though, Bandai sticks with a common light green version, equipped with the equally iconic Zaku Machine Gun. STANDart has already featured another light green Zaku II, the MS-06J Ground Type version (released in the very first volume bacj in November 2007) which is a more sturdy looking machine than this sleek model. Its articulation is very basic, you can rotate the arms but the head has nowhere to go between the large shoulders. Overall a slightly unremarkable figure but a given for any serious STANDart collection.

050 : Rounding off the set is a pair of rehashes from STANDart volume one. We're talking another classic figure here, the white RX-178 Gundam Mk-II [A.E.U.G]. The mobile suit is armed with a huge Hyper Bazooka and a nicely sculpted shield. This is also a great and menacing looking Gundam with many nice details, including the nice colouring of its weapons. Articulation is the traditional rotating heads and arms at the shoulder. Notice that this figure is very similar to STANDart number three, which came with a beam rifle in hand and the bazooka on the back. More about that in a second.

051 : Last of the regular figures in the set is a blue version of figure number 050, the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II [Titans] which as you can see is simply a different paint job of the previous figure. The Titans version looks just as great as the A.E:U.G. one and taken on their own they are both good additions to your collection. However, once you put things in perspective and consider the previous release of these two figures in STANDart volume 1 (together with a similar looking Zaku II as well) which differ mainly in their equipment, it feels really cheap.And as if that was not enough, if the pictures of their boxes are faithful to the figures (which I do not own), it seems these newer models are also less detailed in their molds. And it goes without saying that Bandai should have done it right the first time around, and released figures which included two weapons as alternative equips.

So, as you can see I am not all too excited about STANDart volume 13. Although all the figures are great, some of them have the misfortune of correcting past mistakes. It is however a good opportunity to get yourself a STANDart RX-178 if you missed them early on, as they are now very pricey, if you can find them in the first place.

Before we conclude this overview, we'll also take a look at a limited edition figure which is associated with STANDart 13.

048 (special) : As you can see, this is a variation of the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam. This particular version has received a metallic paint job and is marketed in a box with the "Limited Edition overseas only" blurb in the corner. It is not exactly clear what "overseas" actually means in the eyes of Bandai. For example, a recent overseas Unicorn made it all the way to Hong Kong where it was marketed heavily. It is also not clear just exactly how "limited" this figure is, as it is one of the more easily found on online. Regardless of which, the limited version is a stunner. It takes a beautiful model and adds some extra glamour to it. All the colours receive a metallic touch, the blues and reds looking especially good. Other than that the figure is identical to the regular version. If you are only going to own one of the two versions this is definitely the one to go for. Chances are you will find a very good deal online.

STANDart volume 13 size comparison, from left to right: Zaku II (ca 7.5 cm), Gundam Mk II (about 9 cm, not including the Bazooka) and Freedom Gundam (height about 8.5 cm).

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