Sunday, 27 March 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam Ultimate Operation : FW Gundam Ultimate File

Today I have a really unusual artefact to present, an item I recently stumbled on simply by chance. It is the Fusion Works Gundam Ultimate File publication, which is a glossy book (more like a product catalogue than anything else) published by Dengeki Hobby Books whose logo also appears in the top corner on the front cover. According to the production notes on the last page the book was formally releases on March 20th 2008. The price listed on the back cover is 2500 yen.

At this point in FWUO history the series had already folded, with the last figures of Operation Maelstrom appearing already a year ago in March 2007. And to this end the book is not dedicated solely to the Ultimate Operation series, but also contains material on the first two volumes of the recently initiated STANDart figures series, also manufactured by Fusion Works. As such, the book is not an exclusive FWUO tome, although for the Ultimate Operation collector it is a complete reference guide and as such quite seminal.

The book itself is in landscape format and sits inside a portrait-oriented cardboard cover, to match the size of your typical Dengeki Hobby Magazine. It is roughly 100 pages but wastes no time on unnecessary words. The first page is an index, and from then it starts presenting full artwork spreads of the FW UO figures in the order they appear. You will recognize the style of the artwork from the miniature images on the Ultimate Operation packaging back covers, where the actual figures are presented against computer generated backdrops, often with augmentations such as glowing eyes or motion blur effects. Sadly there is no text or other facts presented but just the pictures themselves.

The YMS-15 Gyan from FWUO vol.  9 shares page with the two RGM-79SP GM Sniper II figures from FWUO vol. 10.

The two MSM-03C Hy-Gogg figures from FWUO volume 10 in some dramatically enhanced portrait shots.

Char's MS-14S Gelgoog and a litter of MS-09 Doms (this time around without the Black Tri-Star numbers on them), all from the reissue figures from the UC0079 series.
Interspersed between the action shots we find the real meat of the book however, the figure series data. Here each figure wave is quickly summarized and the book also points out some basic details about each figure, such as if there are marking variations or special gimmicks or transformations. You will find most of this information on the individual figure cards as well, but not as nicely displayed and detailed as here.

The below spread is of particular interest, displaying all the limited figures (which of course are not mentioned on the regular figure card backs) as well as the two FW EX figures released in 2005. I myself didn't even know about the Burstliner model until now, a model which I will now have to begin searching for (rather fruitlessly I fear).

Nearing the end of the book we also get a short summary of the first two STANDart waves of figure, although there is no additional artwork associated with these figures (dear FW can we also have a meaty STANDart reference as the series epitaph now that the series has been killed off?). The very last page before the end titles is titled "Special Comments" and contains three articles that I would have loved to read, except everything except the heading is in Japanese only (you knew it).

Overall, I find this book highly relevant as a reference guide for any serious Ultimate Operation collector. I don't know how rare it is, since I normally do not bother with the Dengeki Gundam products, but my guess is it is probably tricky to find though probably not very expensive.

Before we go, let's just zoom in on a couple of these awesome suits:

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