Thursday, 16 January 2014

Gundam Converge EX01: NZ-666 Kshatriya / Kshatriya Besserung

The Converge line has been going bigger and bolder lately, with more and more large figures joining the line-up. This time around, Bandai decided to nick the EX01 designation from the Assault Kingdom series and introduce a Kshatriya mobile suit of their own. I don't really know what the EX designation stands for but I would imagine it is something to the tune of extra or extended or so. Because never in Converge history has a figure been so configurable as this one.

But I am getting ahead of myself. The first thing that I must really make clear is that the EX01 package contains one figure only. That's right, you will get enough parts to complete either the NZ-666 in its original configuration, or as the semi-repaired Kshatriya Besserung variant. The box will contain one base mobile suit and enough spare parts to create either of the two versions. So as you can guess from the photos I went ahead and bought two. Don't tell the wife... or actually, she was with me and had to endure the questionable ins and outs of Tokyo's fanboy shops. I got the first one at the one and only Gundam CafĂ© in Akihabara district, fresh from the bakery at ¥1575. Ironically I found my second figure at a shop further down the street where the price was only ¥1480.

Above you can see what is actually contained in the package. There's a multitude of parts you will not end up using, so you may want to get a resealable plastic bag to contain them, as some of the pieces are really tiny. A small four page assembly manual (in Japanese of course) is included but the figure won't give you much headache. The only things to fiddle with is to figure out which way is up and down on the monoeye, and how to remove the breast plate when building the Besserung but these won't confuse you for very long.

So, taking a closer look at the optional component set you will see that the customizable parts include a bare-scraped right leg, a stump of a left arm, a busted chest plate, a different coloured monoeye and a slightly smaller antenna. The standard Kshatriya also features four binders loaded with funnel weapon systems, while the Besserung has to make do with one and a half binders, neither equipping any funnels. The versions also come with their own support base, but in spite of the heavy funnels, the figure has no problems standing up on a plane surface.

It should be noted of course that no matter which version you prefer to assemble it is easy to strip and reconfigure the figure as you see fit. You can mix and match components from both verisons freely. If you for example would like to keep both arms on the Besserung or take out one of the binders of the NZ-666 all such variations are fully possible.

Once the figure has been assembled though, it doesn't do much. Articulation is limited to the shoulders, but if you start rotating the arms the entire binder assembly will follow together with it, which doesn't really look that great and I guess not really intended. The monoeye can be placed so that it looks to either direction, but the head sits firmly pointing forward on a shaped peg.

Size-wise the Kshatriya is huge for a Converge item. It dwarves all the regular figures considerably, though its body is made to scale matching the other figures in the series. I'm not a big fan of this trend of big and beefy Converge figures that have cropped up as of late, but overall I guess that is a minor concern. Below you can see how the Kshatriya measures up to some of the other larger Converge figures.

Comparing the size of the Kshatriya with a pair of the larger Converge figures; the Sazabi and the Zeong. The Kshatriya reaches about 9 cm including the antenna, while the two others come in at roughly 7.5 cm respectively.
Rounding things up I must say that the Kshtraiya came out better than I had expected. While I have my reservations about the box only including one body (I suspect more people will end up buying two sets like yours truly) it is still a decent figure for your Converge line up.

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