Gundam Converge volume seventeen hit the shelves in Japan just in time before Christmas 2014. Although several more figures have been released, with this set Converge received its hundreth numbered regular figure, an event Bandai have also seen fit to commermorate with an announced special release of two super detailed Converge figures (the Musha Gundam and Knight Gundam) which are scheduled for release in May 2015. For its part, volume 17 got some small jubilee markings on the boxes as you can see above.
Indeed, Converge has come a long way. In roughly four years time, the series have managed to see released some 175 figures (where a lot of them are variants though), and there is no sign of any slowdown. With the seventeenth set, focus again lies on After War Gundam X which received two new designs, but the big focus here is on Turn A Gundam which gets no less than four new figures. As with Converge 16, the line-up is trailed by a Revival figure, but the set deviates from the norm in that it contains two secret figures instead of the usual single one.
To transform the two pair required a bit of fiddling around and there isn't much in the way of instructions. You can see from a tiny picture on the back of the box that these two figures combine somehow, but there is no step by step guide included. Well, since there was an extra part included with the G-Falcon (which was not used in the assembly of the model) I knew it was involved somehow, but it took me some effort to figure out just what I was supposed to do. Basically, you remove the front section of the G-Falcon and then carefully split it in two. You discard the larger section with the small wings and instead attach the canopy section onto the leftover piece. Next, you carefully remove the little breastplate from the Double X Gundam -you can now attach the front of the G-Falcon onto the Gundam's chest.
The whole contraption is a bit fiddly and the G-Falcon section did not attach very well to the back of the Double X figure. Thanks to the transparent stand though, they can simply stand behind each other. Overall, I feel this is more of a gimmick than a nice display. I will certainly not grab duplicate figures because I doubt I will bother with this combo again.
103 : At the far end of this set we have a pair of Zeon design to spice things up. Slot 103 is held by the AMX-109 Capule which originally featured in ZZ Gundam and was later carried over to Unicorn as well. It is a chunky amphibious mobile suit which is a descendant of the mighty Hy-gogg. This is one of those outlandish designs that just look even odder when compacted into the Converge mini-figure format, and I have a very soft spot for such figures...
48R : The very last figure is the revival figure of the set. Bandai here continues resurrecting old figures from the Converge line. The choice for the second figure to be released was a little surprising, considering that the MS-05B Zaku I hasn't exactly become very rare, and the Converge version was one of the blandest figures ever released in the line. Considering that the revival version of Char's custom Zaku II featured a bonus weapon I had high hopes that Bandai were going to upgrade the Zaku I figure into something awesome as well. Unfortunately, they let us all down in that regard.
Can it be clearer than in the above picture? The reissued Zaku I is exactly as bland and unexciting as the original. It is one of few Converge figures to feature no accessories, not a single weapon, not even a shield. In Gundam lore, the Zaku I has appeared with rifles, heat hawks, spiked shields and bazookas, just take a look at how the same mobile suit appears in the FW Ultimate Operation figure line:
|Brothers in arms? The original Zaku I from Converge volume 8 on the left, with the reissue on the right.|
Secret : The second secret figure in Converge 17 is yet another colour variation, and it is the newly reissued Zaku I that gets the honours. At the first glance it appears to be some sort of Zeon Black Tri-Star thingy? Wrong. Just like with the Capule, this is actually a Zaku I from the alternate Turn A Gundam timeline, where it goes by the name MS-05 Borjarnon (Gavane Goonny Custom).
Going in, I didn't have very high expectations for Converge 17, mostly because I don't feel that strongly about the designs coming out of the X and Turn A series. The individual figures though are (as always) top notch, however the two secret figures feel kind of wasted. The thing that bothered me the most though, was the lousy new version of the Zaku I, which crushed the hopes that the revival series would be upgrading the old figures.
Now, considering that volume 18 will feature not one but two reissued figures (and who knows, perhaps a secret alternate colour version or two), my expectations will be set even lower. Converge 18 is the first set I am not really looking forward to.