Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Gundam STANDart volume 4

STANDart volume four was released in March 2009 and focuses on mobile suits from the Gundam Zeta era. Sadly, all of these figures are now quite rare, practically almost only showing up in Japanese second-hand shops at this point. And when you manage to do find them you can bet on them typically being sold as complete sets of 4. They've come a long way from the Bandai ¥660 list price by now, although none of these belong among the most sought after STANDart figures. Expect figures in this set to show up at around ¥1500-3500 or so.

Being one of the early generations of STANDart figures, the figures of volume 4 all come in those original oversize boxes where all parts fit into their own slots, which makes storage easy if wasting precious space at the same time. The figures also contain the nice collector cards wrapped in plastic together with a piece of Bandai shokugan style-gum (same type as used for Converge).

As you can see from the box photos, there aren't very many pieces that need to be assembled. Some pieces fit better than others. You normally do not want to touch the wing binders on the Zetas as they are often ready to fly off very easily. Notice that the Dijeh figure comes with a small white support piece to clip around its foot, although I needed not use it since I encountered no balance problems with this particular lot.

014 : The most iconic figure in this lot is of course the MSZ-006 Z Gundam. This figure is the most detailed version of the 1/220 scale Zetas I have encountered and has a lot of nicely painted little details and logos. The figure has the typical for STANDart articulated arms that can rotate at the shoulder. I am not entirely sure if it can also turn its head, I didn't dare to pull hard enough to find out...

MSZ-006 Z Gundam from STANDart volume 4 (left) and STANDart volume 16 (right).

Zeta 1/220 scale family, from left to right: The reissued Z Gundam (A.E.U.G. logo) from STANDart volume 16 (released January 2013), one of the two different Zetas from FW Ultimate Operation (this one from set FWUO Plus, released September 2005), the Assault Kingdom Z Gundam (AK6, released September 2014) and lastly the Z Gundam (Z logo) from STANDart volume 4.

An interesting thing about the Z Gundam is that it is one of a very few STANDart figures to have been re-released. It is not a straight reissue as such, but a revised figure featuring E.F.S.F. and A.E.U.G. logotypes (as opposed to the base Z logo on the original figure) and the reissue also has some watered down detail and paint job although it still looks very good. Overall, the Zeta is a brilliant looking figure, especially for its size, and well worth hunting for.

015 : The MSZ-006-3 Z Gundam Type-3, or rather, Type 3A (or Third Zeta, or White Zeta... there are many names floating about), is a bit of an oddity. The design featured in a short film called Gundam Neo Experience 0087: Green Divers, or Green Divers for short. The machine is supposed to be the third Zeta prototype and intended for the personal use of Amuro Ray, hence its big A splash on the shoulder pad (although the entire colour scheme does seem to lend itself well to some anarchistic reclaim the city graffiti-stunt...).

STANDart Z Gundam legacy, from left to right: The Zeta (Z logo) and the Type 3A Zeta from STANDart volume 4, followed by the gray MSZ-006C1 Zeta Plus C1 from STANDart volume 10 (released in July 2011), the re-release of the Zeta (A.E.U.G. logo) from volume 16 (January 2013) and the Karaba Airforce MSZ-006A1 Zeta Plus A1, again in Amuro's personal colours (STANDart volume 19, released January 2014).
Unsurprisingly the two Z Gundam figures are similar in design and feature only different colours. While it is definitely less slick than the original figure the colour scheme works quite well and can break up the monotony on the shelf a little.

016 : Another oddity from the Karaba team is the MSK-008 Dijeh. It is a rather ungainly sight, mostly resembling a pig with butterfly wings. Although it is supposed to be a redevelopment of the successful RMS-099 Rick Dias design, its Gelgoog heritage seems rather obvious, a testament to those ex-Zeonic designers on the Karaba development team.

The design of the Dijeh can be traced to the Principality of Zeon's Gelgoog and A.E.U.G.'s second generation Rick Dias. The design culminated in a badass MSV (official Mobile Suit Variation) known as the Dijeh SE-R. Now that's a figure I would have loved to see in the STANDart armory. All images taken from the Gundam Wiki (and are not to scale).
The Dijeh comes armed with the same type of clay bazooka that we've seen the Rick Dias and Hyaku-Shiki using, and also features a Zeonic style Beam Naginata weapon stowed on the back of it s skirt. Sadly there is no alternative Beam Naginata for the figure to wield, which feels like a missed opportunity. In spite of the outlandish appearance of this figure, the STANDart figure still appears to be quite popular and its price is higher than I would have expected.

017 : The last mobile suit in this set is the RMS-117 Galbaldy-Beta, the only non-ace mass-produced mobile suit of the four. Of course, following the basic reverse-logic of Gundam collectibles, this is of course also the figure in this set that appears to be the most difficult to find. Although flying the Titans flag, the purple Galbaldy-Betas featured in Zeta Gundam belonged to a regular Earth Federation unit (though its pilots were later promoted to Titans service).

Even the Zeta Gundam television series seemed to have issues deciding what colour the Galbaldy actually sports.
There are some quirks with the look of the STANDart Galbaldy-Beta. Most notably the Titans logos on the shield seem misplaced. I can't recall having seen these markings anywhere else than on this particular STANDart figure. The base colour also feels a bit red in comparison to its appearance on the show (where it seems to fluctuate between various shades of reddish-purple). These are minor niggles but I still feel that they are a bit distracting. Overall though, a "necessary" collection item as far as I am concerned.

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