Saturday, 14 May 2016

Gundam Converge EX 09 : Superior Dragon

The Superior Dragon is the most recent in the quickly expanding Converge EX line, and appeared in April 2016. The Dragon is originally a SD Gundam Gaiden figure, meaning, it stared life as a super deformed figure. This means that hte Converge figure is actually upscaled from the original design. We've had a couple of SD conversions before so this marks the third appearance from this quirky (though immensely popular) fringe of the Gundam franchise.

Although the Superior Dragon's box is both small and slim it is surprisingly chock full of parts and pieces. It also features a proper assembly guide which does a semi-decent job of illustrating the various features of the figure.

Seriously, this is a really impressive range of gear and parts. It doesn't come cheap though, with a recommended price of ¥2200 this is on par with e.g. the Z Gundam SP06 Zeta Gundam + The-O pack and almost as expensive as the Hummingbird or Deep Striker models.

Apart from the large amount of parts, a lot of the budget appears to have gone into the glossy red, gold and silver paints applied to the figure. This coating appears to be quite delicate and my figure contains several scuffs and dents in the coat already out of the box. I would recommend against fiddling around too much with the parts since it will most likely wear it down quickly.

So, what of the figure itself then? Well, it comes in two different modes, your typical Gundam mode and in a really odd dragon mode.

The Superior Dragon figure is actually not a machine, but a divine character in the SD Gundam world. These characters are usually drawn with humanesque eyes though thankfully FW and Bandai have settled for the default machine-style eyes on this figure. In its regular mode, you could almost take this for another epic SEED or Gundam Wing style Gundam, although the mix of shiny knight armor, a dragon tail and wings plus a pair of a shiny swords does give it that over-the-top feeling that even Gundam Epyon can't match...

One of the cool features of the Superior Dragon is that we have got optional parts for both sheathed and drawn swords, and that includes both of them. This gives you freedom to pose the figure as you see fit. The swords themselves though fit very loosely into the figures hands and will fall out easily. I suspect this is to add longevity to the paint job but it will limit posing a little.

The most complicated part on this figure is the dragon faced shield. I had to squint hard at the instruction manual as well as on the box until I finally figured out how they expect you to assemble it. The shield can also be reassembled into a more offensive style weapon which is a nice touch. Just as with the swords, the parts are very loose fitting, no doubt to extend their lifetime.

The Superior Dragon has your basic Converge articulation which means that the arms rotate in their shoulder sockets, and the hands swivel at the wrist. The head can also spin although the dragon head pauldrons on the shoulders will keep this movement to a minimum (expect to see these pauldrons fall off a lot by the way). The dragon wings at the back can also swivel around in their sockets where they are held in position just fine.

In its alternative mode, the Superior Dragon goes all the way and takes the form of a golden dragon. The shield is disassembled and parts of it are draped across its face. The hands are replaced by claws and small claws are also snapped onto the feet. While a novel and well executed transformation (hats off to the Fusionsworks engineers) I think the less I say about this Zoids-like contraption the better. It is what it is, and now the dragon parts are back in the box in a zip-lock bag...

Converge SD Line up: Musha Gundam (EX 05, May 2015), Knight Gundam (EX 06, also May 2015) and Superior Dragon (EX 09, April 2016)
Overall, the Superior Dragon is a fine piece of work and well executed, although the figure does suffer from the same type of flimsiness as the Z Gundam Waverider where parts have a tendency to fall off. However it would be impossible for me to recommend this figure to anyone who is not an SD Gundam fan. Focusing on other deformed figure series feels gimmicky at best, and I think it does Converge a disservice. All these resources could have been spent into development of much more relevant figures from e.g. SEED or ZZ Gundam, where exotic designs are also plentiful. This one is for the completists only.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Got the Musha cos it looked decently cool without being too garish (and hey, samurai gundam), but the knight and dragon............... well. But I suppose development will head in the direction of perceived popularity and $$$.