Sunday, 29 May 2016

Gundam Converge #02

Converge #02 is the second volume in the relaunch of this popular mini-figure series. Hotly anticipated also at the Shokugan headquarters, the May arrival of Converge promises some serious mobile suit business, but will it live up to these expectations?

Converge figure are usually released in waves of wildly different figures, and this motley crew is no exception. The mobile suits in this wave come from the recent Bandai animes The Origin and Iron Blooded Orphans which finally premieres here, with some appearances from 00 and Zeta trailing them. Most surprising is perhaps the inclusion of the TR5 which is sourced from the Flag of Titans photo novel.

Figures in wave #02 follow the new pattern set in wave #01. Converge figures now feature personalized black bases, each with a single peg adapted to that particular mobile suit, although usually the figures have no issues standing to attention without the bases if you feel they are too clunky.

126 : The leader of this pack is the ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos from last year's Iron Blooded Orphans. I have yet to watch this show but from what I have seen in the way of artwork this appears to be a very faithful reproduction of the Barbatos in its fourth form. The many colors and patterns on its body are typical of this new wave of regular Converge figures, and is a marked improvement over older figures.

The Barbatos features the traditional Converge articulation and as a little bonus comes with two different weapons, something highly unusual for regular figures although we have been spoiled in this manner also by some previous figures. In the previous Converge era, you would have been forced to buy two separate figures, one of which would have appeared as a "secret" version in the same type of box, thankfully this praxis has (so far) been done away with in the Converge relaunch.

As you can see from the above pictures an extra accessory goes a long way to making a figure that much more interesting, and the Barbatos really benefits from the additional long sword which displays just as well as its otherwise mighty mace. This is a very well done Converge figure and a great way to start of the Iron Blooded Orphans gang.

127 : The next face doesn't need much in the way of introduction. The MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type, here in its Gundam: The Origin version and custom Char Aznable colours is now a cultural phenomenon in its own right. They even make cars in this colour nowadays. What is kind of peculiar about this figure though is that, contrary to what I just mentioned regarding the Barbatos, the Zaku II also features alternative accessories. However, here Bandai thought it would be a good idea to divide all that nice gear in two boxes, forcing you to buy two very similar figures just to get all of them. Hey Bandai, I thought we were done with this tired practice in the Converge relaunch?

Anyway, the Converge 127 figure features Char's very long anti-ship rifle and classic axe like heat hawk. Both the rifle and the heat hawk can be wielded in the right hand, and the latter can be stowed on the mobile suit's left hip when not in use. Again, this is pretty spectacular for a standard Converge figure and works very well.

Articulation follows the Converge standard. For a Zaku II that means that the arms rotate at the shoulders and that the shoulder shield can be repositioned within its socket. The right hand is also freely adjustable.

The updated Zaku II also keeps the old swiveling monoeye functionality. While the head itself appears rigid (at least it is not giving way when I try to pull it and I dare not twist harder) the monoeye sits on a doughnut shaped disk inside the head which is freely adjustable. It is a neat gimmick although a moving head would have been cooler.

128 : No doubt looking familiar. This MS-06S hasn't changed much since figure 127 except that it now comes with a Zaku Bazooka and extra ammunition instead. The extra missiles go onto the right shoulder shield, and the bazooka can be mounted in hand or stored on the back when not in use. Notice the special attachment point for the bazooka on the figure's back. This component is not present on figure 127, and is how you can tell the two apart. I guess it is a nice touch if you are a real puritan with a dying need to display the figure's back for all to see, otherwise it seems a bit overkill to create two different figures for this purpose. It would seem more prudent to remove the attachment points on the shoulder shield on figure 127 instead, something which is visible from the front, but there you go.

Both the Origin Zaku II:s look very nice and are an improvement over the old Converge Zaku II design, which suffers from unsteady feet and a tendency to list to the left side. The new figure's commander antenna however is quite loose in comparison though; you may want to consider gluing it in place to avoid losing parts. I foresee many future secondhand figures missing this vital part.

The big deal about the two Zaku II:s in this set is of course the gimmick in how they can be combined to create the Full Weapon variety. This is done by taking the rifle and heat hawk from figure 127 and attaching them to figure 128, and placing figure 128's bazooka on its back. The result is a Zaku II armed to the teeth which is of course very cool, but I still feel that we could have got all accessories in a single box...

Char's Zaku II, Converge major variants: Dengeki Hobby limited figure with machine gun, released August 2011, Converge Vol. 5 with bazooka (released November 2011), metallic paint MS-06S with machine gun from the "Converge Limited" double pack released in March 2014, Converge Revive MS-06S (comes with both the bazooka and a heat hawk) released in volume 16 in September 2014, the Full Weapon combination Origin Version figures 127+128 from this review and lastly a translucent figure with bazooka from the Gundam Front Tokyo special twin pack, released April 2016.
Char's Custom Zaku II army is now getting quite large. The early figures were quite rare up until recently, now every Converge collector has plenty of opportunities to add at least one of these to their line-up. Hopefully Bandai will put some more attention on the mass produced Zaku line, which is strangely empty with not even so much as a Zaku Ground Type available. The possibilities here seem endless.

129 : The second mobile suit to get a make-over in this set is the GN-001 Gundam Exia. This face is no stranger to Converge having seen half a dozen variations by now, and I wish we would see more mobile suits from the 00 era instead (and finally it seems Bandai are thinking the same thing as the Dynames is scheduled for release this fall).

Due to a kind of Gundam Exia fatigue this was the figure I was least excited about in this set, but once I laid my eyes on the actual figure I had to reevaluate this assessment. The revised Exia figure has many subtle changes in the sculpt improving its appearance over past incarnations. The major innovation is in its weapon suite however. This figure is bristling with optional equipment making it very fun to fiddle around with.

Not only has the GN Sword been upgraded so that the blade can be stowed or extended at will, we're also given not one but two translucent beam saber. Even more surprising, these beam sabers can be removed from the figure's hands offering a wealth of combination options. Just like with the Barbatos, this goes such a long way to creating a playable and customizable figure taking Converge one step further from their often static appearance.

Converge GN-001 Exia major variations: First release from volume 1, released back in November 2010, the metallic colour variant from the "Converge Limited" double pack from 2011, the long and short sword wielding Exia from the Revive Premium Edition pack (released February 2014, also includes the standard GN Sword/Shield combo) and finally the updated Converge #02 variant.
From a purely technical and functional point of view, the Exia is the star of Converge #02, and a vast improvement over its predecessors. Why Char's Zaku II wasn't packed with all accessories in one box remains an even bigger mystery by now. If you are only getting one figure from this wave, I would strongly recommend this one which will no doubt grow quite scarce.

130 : At the end of this set we find two similar figures. The first is the mighty ORX-005 Gaplant, a masterpiece in design from the Zeta Gundam era. This is the figure form this set I have been salivating about ever since the announcement and I am happy to say that the figure turned out really great. The Gaplant is a huge mobile suit and it has been given a reasonable size here although a little size increase would have made it that much more intimidating.

Due to its complex design the articulation in the Gaplant is a bit limited. The head sits fixed and there is no messing with the monoeye on this one (which makes sense since you can't see much of it anyway). The arms still rotate at the shoulders and although the mobile suit comes with no accessories (booooooh) both hands are actually replaceable and can this swivel in their sockets. The reason for this seems clear; rather than spending the money to give the Gaplant the translucent yellow beam sabers it so desires, we can at least settle for the next best thing and replace its hands with those from another figure.

What could have been. Stealing the Exia's beam sabers and the Nu Gundam HWS's beam rifle to trick out the Converge Gaplants which have been given the short end of the stick as far as equipment goes.
The Converge relaunch actually takes modularity to a new level, we have even seem official Fusion Works photographs indicating that this is also intended. I am seriously considering picking up some extra figures to donate their hands and weapons to both my Gaplants, but it would have been better if Bandai held the line and had made the proper accessories for these figures from the start. Still, it is better than nothing I guess.

131 : The last figure of the set is the ORX-005 Gaplant TR-5 [Hrairoo], a redevlopment of the Gaplant as featured in the Advance of Zeta photo novels. I am very happy to see these obscure figures being developed for Converge.

This is basically a heavily resculpted Gaplant with a new face and a new colour scheme. The basic features of the original figure are all the same and this mobile suit also comes without any extra accessories. Again, these figures would have been just as awesome as the rest of the figures in this set had they been given at least something extra, a beam saber here or a beam rifle there would have gone a long way towards this. Still, both are very attractive and unique profiles for the Converge collection and in my Titans fetish-opinion must haves of course.


Overall Converge #02 reaffirms some of the things we save in the first volume. The figures maintain a very nice level of detail in both sculpts and colour schemes, and optional equipment and weapons still feature among several of the figures though not all. This set should be a no-brainer for any Converge collector, the relaunch figures have so far been a great source of excitement as far as the Sergeant is concerned.


  1. Man, when I saw Dynames on the list, I almost went crazy! Hope it can get even better from now on. Thanks for the review! :)

    1. Yeah, Converge is really on a roll right now. June will be another expensive month...

  2. Nice review! I love your site. Just thought I'd mention that the Zaku's rifle isn't a beam rifle - it's an anti-ship rifle.

    1. Thank you for pointing it out, updating the text accordingly.

  3. For the Zaku II, you can buy the extra parts (ammo cartridge, rifle, etc.) standalone, without having to buy a new unit altogether, off the Chinese site Foreigners can use a Taobao buying agent. Same for the Exia's beam sabers.

  4. Hello, i have the GM II converge, and its saber keep pop off. What kind of glue is the best for this "converge plastic material" ? thank you :)

    1. I use Loctite super glue as my regular go-to and have fixed some Converges with it also. I've used it for broken off parts like beam saber hilts on backpacks or for gluing the antenna to the helmet of the Zaku II with good result. I assume you are talking about the GM II Striker and its transparent beam effect parts? Clear plastic could behave a bit differently but I think you can safely test a drip of super glue to begin with.

    2. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I will try using Loctite for my GM :D