17 : The intended eye-catcher of AK5 is the GN-001REII Gundam Exia Repair II. The Exia is normally a popular figure with many striking details, but the representation it gets in AK5 is not exactly too thrilling. Although a decent model the appearance feels half finished at best. I'm normally not one to fuss over details but here even I feel driven towards grabbing a paintbrush. The biggest eyesores are the overall white legs and the blue GN Drive, even the smaller Converge figures managed to get this right. The appearance of the front torso is much better so I guess this was a purely cost-driven thing.
The actual figure is highly reminiscent of every other white Gundam already released in Assault Kingdom, and as such is fairly uninteresting except if you are planning on doing some sort of dedicated 00 Gundam display only. Actually, in my opinion, the most refreshing piece of this set is its small pistol-style beam rifle which adds some nice diversity to the AK armory. Again, the beam saber is the same dreary base white as the figure itself, although the shape is more convincing than the ones carried by the Exia. I again recommend saber swapping, for example with the very next figure in this set.
In comparison to the shield, the two weapons included feel more spartan, a green figure toting an equally green beam saber is not too exciting. This is nitpicking though, the Jegan is a very successful figure and I would guess that it could be getting quite scarce if people decide to army-build with it.
The second great thing about the green Zaku II is that it comes with a surprising amount of accessories. Not many AK figures come with three weapons (especially when you do not count toothpick-like saber weapons). This Zaku features two very iconic weapons; the Zaku Machine Gun and the Heat Hawk as well as a large recoilless rifle of the same type mounted in the Zeon Magella Attack Tank. Additional optionals include two choices of head, with or without the commander-style antenna, as well as a total of five different hands. These features make the Zaku II especially well suited to army building, and it is generous of Bandai to include all the weapons with each figure rather than making a weapon set accessory or even a figure multipack where each figure has a dedicated weapon. The spare weapons are also welcome if you have Char's red Zaku II which only comes with a bazooka, the equipment of the two figures complement each other very well. I foresee that this guy will quickly turn rare.
Before we wrap this review up, let's do some quick comparisons. The first thing I wish to point out is that Assault Kingdom is getting really bogged down with samey-looking Gundams by now, and the picture below even omits a couple of them. As you can imagine, I'm not exactly doing the wave thinking about volume six which will again be nothing but Gundams, though thankfully not all white.
|From left to right: STANDart Zaku II (vol. 13, released May 2012), Assault Kingdom Zaku II and one of the MS-06J Zaku II:s from Ultimate Operation volume 1, released back in June 2003.|
In conclusion, Assault Kingdom volume 5 is a little bit of a mixed bag. I'm very pleased with the two army builder figures but the two Gundams look a bit spartan. I'm also rather fed up with white Gundams at this point. I understand they are easy conversions as opposed to developing brand new bulky figures but I hope that we've had our fill of RX-78 look-alikes for a while now. Of course volume six will not be the remedy I am looking for, as it will contain *only* Gundams. Meanwhile I'll keep waiting for a DOM to appear in set seven...
All in all though, if you can only find these figures as a combined four-piece set, I would still recommend you get them for the Jegan and the Zaku II alone.