If you are considering purchasing a copy of Operation Revive, be sure to check if the box is the Premium Edition or not.
The standard edition box of Operation Revive looks pretty much the same as the Premium Edition, with the only difference being "Premium Edition" printed just after "Operation Revive". Be extra careful if you are purchasing online, some sellers might not even be aware there are two different editions and may have used a stock photo or so.
Voting was done in three rounds over a couple of months. During the first round users could vote for the entire single figure line, I can't remember exactly up until which volume, nine or ten I guess. After the first voting round, the votes where counted and the bottom half were axed from the selection, then began round two with the remaining mobile suits. After three rounds Bandai had ended up with a winning set and in September the five mobile suits with most votes where revealed as the new special set "Operation Revive". Together whith these, an enitrely new sculpt was introduced, the Hi-Nu Gundam (a nasty trick to make sure that ambitious collectors would need to get the set of course...).
When Operation Revive was first presented, there was some talk about whether the new reissues of the chosen figures would be exact resemblances of the original figures or if there would be some way to tell then apart. If you look at other Converge special packs (the Operation Jaburo being the best example) relaunched figures tended to have a slightly different colour tone for example. In the case of Operation Revive though, Bandai did not alter the look of the figures from the originals, but instead opted to give them alternative equipment. And here is where the major issue with Operation Revive creeps in, and which I will highlight again.
|This is what the Premium Edition is really all about.|
I find this a most questionable way of marketing what was supposed to be a true highlight for collectors. Was there really a need for two editions? The potential anger or frustration that this confusion will cause with some customers must be weighed against the greed of clever marketing ploys. I don't want to moan about it too much, but I have seen the messages of disappointed people who ended up with the standard package and wondering why no new weapons were included. To add a little bit of extra frustration, the standard edition first started appearing in February 2014, while the Premuim set followed a bit later in March 2014.
|The full contents of the Operation Revive Premium Edition box.|
Apart from the Hi-Nu Gundam, these were the five mobile suits voted most popular in the Operation Revive vote:
#1. The RX-93 Nu Gundam (originally appeared as figure 13+14 in Converge volume 3, June 2011)
#2. The MSN-00100 Hyaku-Shiki (originally figure 06 from Converge volume 1, November 2010)
#3. The GN-001 Gundam Exia (originally figure 04, also from Converge volume 1, November 2010)
#4. The RX-0 Unicorn Gundam (originally figure 07, from Converge volume 2, January 2011)
#5. The RGM-89D Jegan D-Type (originally figure 09, from Converge volume 2, January 2011)
The selection surprised me a bit. I was especially baffled that the notoriously difficult and ever popular Char's Zaku II did not make it to this list. Then of course I was a bit disappointed to see some of the figures missing from my own collection not getting elected (such as the GM and the Marasai) but that is a completely different story...
First out is the band new figure, the RX-93-v2 Hi-Nu Gundam. As the pictures clearly tell you, this is a striking little fellow and a true delight in your Convegre collection. It feels so wrong to stick the figure exclusively in this package but if you are not interested in the reissued figures you may want to look out for a standard edition of this package to try and grab this fellow a little bit cheaper. As usualy there is not much in the way of articulation, a little bit of side to side for the head, and arms rotating at the shoulder. As you can also guess, the figure's large booster tanks give him more than enough stability.
And here is the most popular guy in the vote, the RX-93 Nu Gundam. It is not hard to see what people like in this striking figure. An excellent colour scheme and some nice .touches such as the painted beam rifle for example. The picture above shows the figure with its Premium Edition extra equipment attached, namely the right shoulder binder weapon set.
The runner up on Bandai's list was the MSN-00100 Hyaku-Shiki. A striking design both in detail and colour. The Premium Edition adds a Clay Bazooka weapon which replaces the figure's beam rifle, a weapon that looks great from the side but conspiciously thin, almost 2D, when viewed from above. When displayed at a proper angle though, the figure looks great.
It is also interesting to note that the original Hyaku-Shiki figure bag is rather different. The torso and legs are slotted into different compartments in the original figure, which comes apart at the waist. The Revive edition appears to have a refined mold where these components are now a single part (at least I haven't been able to separate torso and legs by some gentle pulling and I don't want to try and force it).
Voted fourth most popular was the RX-0 Unicorn, in the Unicorn Mode. Bandai never seems to tire of milking this guy, which has been made available in so many versions. if you add the Destroy Mode to the count you can double the amount of available versions of this little guy. Anyway, the figure as such is rather unremarkable I think. The sculpt is really nice though, I just don't get very many kicks out of an all white figure. The Revive version comes armed with a single Gatling beam rifle which replaces the standard beam rifle of the original version. The best thing about this weapon is that it can help the nose heavy figure from toppling over, which all the previous versions have been very good at doing, thanks to the forward leaning posture.
The fifth and last mobile suit to come out of the vote was refreshingly not a Gundam, but the regular RGM-89D Jegan (D-Type). This is not a small feat considering it went up against several formidable Gundams such as e.g. the Z Gundam and the RX-78. Job well done, and the Premium Edition figure with its alternative bazooka armament is a really great army builder add-on. It looks exceptionally well next to the regular figure armed with a beam rifle. The figure itself is pretty detailed too, and well worthy of being brought back to life.
Apart from the Revive reissue there was only the original release in Converge volume 2, you can see the two of them compared to each other in the above image.
So, summing things up, is the Operation Revive package good value? Well, it really depends on where you are coming from. Latecomers and beginners stand a lot to gain from this package, even the standard edition will be a great start considering how most of the original figures contained in this set now sell for more than the entire Revive Package, as in one original figure is more expensive than the entire Operation Revive set.
Converge Veterans, on the other hand, will not necessarily be all that amused. Any serious collector would want the Hi-Nu Gundam in their collection, and the premium weapons are really nice optionals too. However, it is getting a bit ridiculous with all these alternative versions of the same figure appearing over and over again. I personally suffer from Unicorn overload (and that's even before I have had to face the two newly released Destroy mode variations...).
Although I have seen the occasional seller breaking this set up online, chances are you'll be hard-pressed to score a hit on loose items, still having to settle for the full box if you wish to get the Hi-Nu Gundam only. As far as I am concerned, the Revive set should have been released as separate pieces, so that buyers could fill the gaps in their collections without ending up with duplicate figures they might not be interested in. Then of course there was the debacle with the two versions of the box...
Based on its contents alone though, the Premium Edition box (especially) is great, but when you consider the state of your own collection it might feel less fantastic or necessary to purchase.