Saturday, 13 December 2014

Gundam Converge SP05 : GP01 Fullburnern vs. GP02 Physalis

Still hot on the shelves, the most recent Converge SP package was released in early December 2014. In this series, we're used to seeing mainly E.F.S.F. Gundams going up against imposing and iconic Zeon machines. In this regard SP05 may cause an eyebrow to raise here and there, because this time around we get two RX-78 variants duking it out with each other.

Gundams GP01 and GP02 are prototypes from the Gundam Development Project, and share many similar features although their appearances are quite different. They come in the typical SP-size box with the various parts separated into four plastic bags. The Shokugan heritage of course honoured by the token chewing gum also inserted into the box. The suggested retail price for this package is 1700 yen.

The two figures are made from the soft and flexible PVC/ABS mix that we've come to meet in later installments of the Gundam Converge product line. This means that assembly is aided by the ability to bend items into place here and there, but it also increases the possibility of parts of the figure being slightly warped. I've seen things like slightly bent torsos, tilting heads, curving beam sabers and feet to name a few examples. Overall though, it is nowhere as bad as the smaller capsule style figures released through the last ten years or so.

The first figure in the pack is the slender RX-78GP01-Fb Fullburnern. Flying the E.F.S.F. colours this machine is also known under the Zephyrantes name, or as Full Vernian, as it comes with large maneuvering thrusters designed for use in space. The colour scheme it sports is very attractive and especially the face markings impress.

As you can see in the parts breakdown assembly is not particularly complicated. Bonus points to Fusion Works and Bandai for including both a Beam Rifle and a Beam Saber as optional equipments. Recent Converge figures are being shipped with these nice semi-transparent sabers that look excellent. As usual, the weapons come with a molded hand onto them, so they will only work as right hand gear. There is also no empty hand to choose from. The shield can be inserted into a whole on the left hand. The figure has standard Converge articulation which translates to a rotating head, arms that spin at the shoulder and a right hand that can be turned in its socket. You can also adjust the angle of the shoulder mounted thrusters by rotating them on their pins. If you have experience with any Converge Gundams you will pretty much know what to expect.

Now, the second figure in the box is the truly unusual one. The massive RX-78GP02A Physalis with its bulky frame looks like nothing released before in Converge. Playing the role of antagonist, this E.F.S.F. prototype is stolen and fielded by Zeon remnants from the Delaz Fleet. It comes armed to the teeth with a monstrous Atomic Bazooka loaded with a nuclear projectile.

Design wise, this model is a bit more complex than the Zephyrantes. It features a slightly larger parts count, with some optional features for the bazooka weapon. The bazooka weapon can actually be separated into three pieces; the tube comes apart at the midsection joint, and the ammunition cartridge can be removed and replaced with the alternate piece which allows for the weapon to be stored (I should probably have illustrated this above...).

Just like the Zephyrantes, the Physalis is given an optional beam saber weapon to wield. The really nice touch about this figure though, is that the Atomic Bazooka can be stowed on the figures right shoulder, by replacing the ammunition cartridge with the optional piece that can be slotted into a hole on the back of the shoulder. The shield mounting for this figure also differs from the great majority of Converge figures. Rather than pegging the shield into the figure's left arm, the GP02 has a left hand with a large peg on it, where the shield assembly is attached. This gives the appearance that the shield is being held in a firm grip and pointing toward the enemy. The downside to this is of course that the shield is not really an optional, since the hand will look weird when the shield is not attached. The figure features the same articulation points as described for the GP01.

It is also worth pointing out that the two Gundams can switch weapons with each other. Their hands look similar enough to allow for the rearming of the GP01 with the Bazooka, and the GP02 with the Beam Rifle. The same holds of course for the two beam sabers.

There are a couple of figures from the Gundam Development Program which have already been released in Converge. The photo above shows the current GP-family, from left to right: RX-78GP01 Zephyranthes (Converge volume 8, released in October 2012), RX-78GP03S Stamen (Converge volume 13, December 2013) and the two new figures from SP05.

Overall I think the SP05 set is quite nice. The two figures look excellent and the ability to fiddle with their weapons is always welcome. While not essential or anything I think they will be a benefit to most collections out there.

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