Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Gundam Converge SP Real Type

Is imagination at Bandai HQ dipping into a seasonal low, or is this just a coincidence where multiple projects completed at the same time? Whichever the case, we've just received a second Gundam / Zaku II double pack only months after the previous "limited" set.

The SP Real Type box set is actually an item tied to a recent Gundam-related event held in Osaka during a couple of weeks in July and August 2014. The name of the exhibition is "The Art of Gundam" and ties in with the Gundam saga marking its 35th anniversary. Visitors could view among other things pre-production artwork and concept sketches and just marvel in the rich background material.

Of course, no Gundam event would be complete without some hot merchandise, and several exclusive items and snacks were being launched for the event. Among other things there were a High Grade set featuring a pair of Zaku II:s, another featuring the RX-78-2, then it ranged down to postcards and pens and somewhere in the middle us Converge fans were treated to a brand new figure set.

Perhaps "brand new" is a bit of an overstatement, but what we do find inside the box are two of the most iconic figures in a brand new paint job, the so called Real Type colour set. As you can see in the pictures, this is the most detailed markings we've seen on a Converge figure as of yet, and whether this is a onetime thing or an indication of better things to come we can only speculate at this point. I can't help but think of the "Master Marking" figures in the now somnolent HCM Pro figure line, were mobile suits reappeared with many more detailed stickers.

What is perhaps a tad bit strange is that we've now seen two sets featuring the RX-78-2 only a few months before its scheduled relaunch with improved detail. The new RX-78-2 will be featured in Converge 16 which is scheduled for September 2014 (and I can't imagine a tuned up Zaku II would be far behind). Perhaps Bandai are cleaning out the closet of old projects before bringing in the new figure, but it just seems odd that they would not want to take advantage of the new mould for these sets. Then again, the Art of Gundam exhibition will return again next year, then held in Tokyo, perhaps we will be seeing a new version of this set...

Side to side comparison of the Real Type Gundam as it appeared in the Operation Jaburo box set (released in December 2012) and the new SP Real Type set.
Anyway, the two new figures are really, really good looking. I find the Real Type Zaku II to be the best of the lot so far released, and the RX-78-2 is also pretty slick. The new toned down colour scheme gives both of them a much more "realistic" appearance than the brighter painted figures we've seen before. That doesn't mean that the Real Type figures are clearly superior, but it is a welcome change to see them in this more muted colours.

The new figure features more painted details, toned down colours and a slightly different colour scheme.
As for the figures themselves, they hold no other surprises. They feature the same old weapons and the same old articulation that we have seen on countless figures before them. The Gundam can turn its head sideways, the arms rotate at the shoulder and the right hand can be spun at the wrist. The Zaku II mimics these moves save for the head which is fixed in place.

So are the Real Type figures a good addition to your collection? Well, if you are not sick of RX-78-2:s and Zaku II:s at this point (face it, you will never be...) these are nice distinct variations, especially the Zaku II. Be wary of the price though. These items began popping up online shortly after the exhibition opened, and at that point it was nerve wracking not knowing if these were to be a few figures scavenged and resold, or if they were to be easily available. Before long though, the figures appeared new in box with several sellers, however the prices still didn't drop much. Expect to pay a princely sum for these figures, so if you want them I wouldn't hesitate for too long. They might be relaunched for the Art of Gundam exhibition in 2015, or they might not, we can only speculate about it at this point.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for another great review! I actually am awaiting delivery of this set. It looks really great, I love how detailed the paint is.
    I wish they would extend the Art of Gundam exhibit until March when I am actually going to Japan. But i guess this will have to do.