Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Gundam Converge : 0083 The Last Decisive Battle Option Set

As promised in the Neue Ziel review, here comes the continuation in the form of the special edition Stardust Memory equipment set. This introduces a brand new product category in Gundam Converge; we have never seen an add-on kit for a Converge figure before. This feels natural when you are dealing with Shokugan candy toys but as we all know, Converge has evolved beyond that phase by now. This equipment set is not only not a regular candy toy, it is also not distributed through the usual retail channels, being a Bandai exclusive item. In fact I bought mine in a bundle with the Neue Ziel figure itself, which is how it appears to have been distributed directly by Bandai. Below is the traditional and boring unboxing process, showing how the Neue Ziel and the gear set were packaged together in this case.

The actual equipment option set is a thin black box with roughly the same dimensions as an Assault Kingdom EX box.

Inside we find three bags chock full of stuff and somewhat surprisingly a printed leaflet showing the new assembly options. A nice touch that I had not expected.

As you can see from the below image we have a set of about twenty new components with a clear overweight on gear for the Neue Ziel.

We'll go through all the components and see just exactly what it is they do.

RX-78GP03 Dendrobium Option Set

Let's just get this guy out of the way first, because frankly, there is not a lot of Dendrobium action in this pack. Specifically, there are only three parts for the Dendrobium, below you can see them together with the related parts from the standard Dendrobium figure.

Comparison picture of the old and new manipulator arms as well as the old (left) and new (right) beam saber.

Basically we are getting one additional beam saber, to be held in the second of the two manipulator arms. We also get two alternate moulds of said manipulator arms, in extended mode. You will need to reuse the upper claw piece from each original manipulator and attach it to the new corresponding lower part. Both new manipulator arms retain the same holes for the beam saber pegs, so that you can choose to equip one or two just as with the old claws.

The Dendrobium using the new extended manipulator arms and the additional beam saber.
While the new parts are all nice and dandy, the Dendrbobium is really getting shafted in this pack. If you were hoping for openable hatches and their contained goodies, or perhaps some optional gear for the Gundam figure you will be disappointed. It doesn't help that the new beam saber, will nice and shiny, is not really matching the color of the old one. You have to wonder why they didn't just include two sabers in the standard kit or at least produce the bonus sabers in the same run as the original ones. Not impressed.

AMA-X2 Neue Ziel Option Set

With almost ninety percent of the contents in this box aimed at the Neue Ziel this mobile armor is getting really configurable by now. Here is a comparison image showing the new parts (left side) and their matching counterparts from the standard figure (right). Displayed underneath the shoulder assembly is the new skeletal frame (left) which replaces the old (right) if you want to make use of the remote claw arms.

Basically, the new equipment can be sorted into two different categories; beam sabers and remote arms.

Beam Sabers

Thanks to the option set, the Neue Ziel is now bristling with half a dozen elegant translucent beam sabers. Two new main claws with their fingers closed can now project a beam saber from the fingertips, and the two support claws on each arm can do the same. The two supporting arms on each side can also be titled individually up and down, for some nice display action.

While it may look a bit messy if you decide to activate all six beam sabers the figure deals with it without any problems, and it is good fun to mix and match to find a suitable combo. This is easily my favourite aspect of the option set.

Remote Claw Arms

The second new feature is the two remotely controlled arms, which now replace the existing arms of the standard figure. To equip them, you also need to dismantle the entire arm and use the new skeletal frame (the one with transparent pegs) instead of the old one, as it contains the hole for the balljoint cable mount.

The cables then attach into similar holes on the forearms which enables each arm to dangle around as it pleases. The cables are rubbery in feel and are fully flexible. A pair of transparent stands are included with the option set, which the arms can attach to, to allow for some more interesting poses than just letting the arms hang freely.

The remote arms are a little bit more fiddly to display nicely and I am not a huge fan of them due to the large footprint of the respective action base. While it is nice that these bases are transparent, it does look a bit odd when the figure itself has a black action base. You can of course mess with display poses where an arm is grabbing some poor E.F.S.F. mobile suit and skip using the support entirely. In addition to the arms, we also get two new open claws which are not hugely different to the ones that came in the standard box, but they do add some variety.

No matter how you put it, the 0083 Option Set was clearly devised with the Neue Ziel in mind. There is not a great deal of value here if you only want to pimp your Dendrobium mobile armor, it would make little sense to buy this set just for that extra beam saber. Bandai might as well have included those few Dendrobium parts with the original figure directly.

Not looking too good for the E.F.S.F.

Ultimately your lust for this option set will be driven by your owning a Neue Ziel figure or not. I can't shake the feeling that the Neue Ziel beam sabers were purposely separated from the main figure, perhaps to keep the price down, and also to test the waters for future equipment sets.

Certainly not a necessary purchase, but it really enhances the playability and coolness-factor of your Neue Ziel mobile armor.

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