Friday, 5 August 2016

Gundam Converge #03

It seems all we review lately is one special release or another, so it is good to get back to a plain old Gundam Converge figure set. You know, low-priced, mass-produced candy toys readily available in shops. So I do savior this fine moment. Converge #03 is of course the third set since the relaunch and it continues its fine tradition of upping the game on the original series. The new Converge figures are simply great.

I am really impressed that we have been getting so many brand new models since the relaunch. I confess I was expecting "upgraded" molds of the old figures but so far we haven't had to deal with much in the way of reissues. Converge #03 upholds this fine tradition.

As usual with the new Converge figures there are no longer any secret version involved, instead we typically get two minor variations of the same model, clearly labelled and marked in its own box. This is commendable.

132 : Well, what do you know, a new Gundam figure. I am actually surprised it took this long for it to appear after the relaunch. But to be fair, this is not the RX-78-2 Gundam we all know and love, this is the alternate The Origin adaption with the somewhat unimaginative name of RX-78-02 Gundam (The Origin). As a figure it shares many aspects of the original figure even though there are many details that set the two apart. The most characteristic feature is of course the aesthetic of holding the shield upside down.

The new Converge Gundam figure follows the new tradition of making the weapon, here a beam rifle, detachable from the hand, presenting you with some options. We also get a loose beam saber hilt which attaches to the backpack. I get the feeling someone prepared this figure for a beam saber accessory as well, which was maybe axed for budget reasons. However you look at it, it is a really tremendously missed opportunity to make the figure impress.

RX-78 lineage from left to right. The basic Converge RX-78-2, here represented by the most detailed version from last year's CORE set, the Detail Up retail figure from Converge volume 16 (released September 2014) and our new Origin version RX-78-02.
Overall the RX-78-02 is a fine Converge figure that will pair up nicely with Char's Origin Zaku II, but it doesn't really break much new ground. Oh well, at least we didn't get two separate figures with one accessory of its own, guess that is a small improvement of sorts.

133 : The most spectacular figure in the set is no doubt the ORB-01 Akatsuki  or rather Akatsuki Gundam with Oowashi Sky Pack. With this majestic figure Converge begins exploring the SEED Destiny mobile suit line and what a start it is! The detail work on the new Converge figures really is something else when compared to the old designs. Just look at that shield. You'd need to go SP to see something like this before. This is what the Jagd Doga shields should have looked like.

Although the Skypack is adding a lot of the greatness in the Akatsuki the basic figure is nothing to sneer at either. it has a particularly great colour scheme and its modular accessories give you some flexibility to play around with. The figure has the typical Converge articulation except that it has also been given an articulated left hand. More and more figures are getting this, and it will be interesting to see if Bandai and FW have something particularly in mind to explain why.

The Akatsuki is comparing quite well when paired with the recent SEED Astray Gundams which belong in the EX price range.
If the Akatsuki, a basic figure, is the bar for all the coming SEED design, then fans of the series can look forward to a very interesting year of Converge releases. The Akatsuki will be followed next by a pair of premium Converge CORE Orb machines as well as the next two SP sets featuring the Providence vs. the Freedom and the Destiny vs. the Infinite Justice. We will also get a Strike Freedom in Converge #04.

134 : Continuing its tip-toeing into Iron Blooded Orphans, Converge #03 features the Graze, in two different styles. First up is this EB-05s Schwalbe Graze (McGillis Fareed Custom). This is a peculiar and interesting design although I personally have some issues with the appearance of its tiny feet.

The Graze has a rather unusual weapons configuration. The right hand is slid inside the rifle which functions more like a glove. And again we have an articulated left hand which cannot really do anything. Otherwise we have the classic articulation of arms rotating at the shoulders, and even the quirky head can look to the side which is usually not the case when we deal with unusually shaped heads. We also have a pair of boosters on the backpack which can be deployed or stowed when not in use.

In this box there are also two white components which I just could not wrap my head around. One of them obviously being some sort of arm replacement while the other left me completely clueless, some part of connector for the arm perhaps? It certainly did not help that I have no familiarity with the Iron Blooded Orphans setting either. I could not find any clues on the photos of the box and found no obvious places to attach them to the figure. It was a mildly frustrating experience, which has happened quite a few times before with these figures.

135 : Since I couldn't solve the mystery of the extra parts I went on to the second Graze figure, the EB-05s Schwalbe Graze (Gaelio Bauduin Custom). It has a lot in common with the blue variant we just looked at, its major difference being the lance style armament as opposed to a rifle.

Again I was mystified to find two white components that i couldn't see an obvious use for. Sure I thought, here comes a second arm with a grapple claw, but it was another left arm as opposed to a right arm which would have made more sense. Maybe it is supposed to illustrate some state of damage, like in the Kshatriya Repair or Exia Repair? Nah... doesn't make sense. I had to go online to find the answer to this riddle.

Gundam Barbatos Third Form

Yeah that's right. The custom components were not intended for the Grazes, but for the ol' Gundam Barbatos from Converge #02. Now, I don't much about IBO, but it appears to be that the custom parts are intended to change the appearance of the Barbatos from its fifth form to its third form in its development history.

It is when you begin to pick apart figures like the Barbatos or the Hazels that you realize just how far Gundam Converge has come.

In the above image you can see the base Barbatos figure with its arms disassembled. To the left and right are the parts from each Graze respectively. Using these you can trick out the Barbatos with its older variant arms and a grapple claw weapon of its own. If you replace the back skirt with one of the two coming from each Graze (it seems odd that they included one also with Gaelio's Graze since you only need one of them) you can then steal the leg shields of either Graze and put them on the Barbatos. It is a bit like Hazel all over again.

Overall the modifications to the Barbatos feel a bit gimmicky, and the colours of the shields clash with the rest of the machine's colours. I suppose the third generation arms look rather nice, I guess you can always get a second Barbatos figure and place these arms on it (and I might just do that myself).

136 : This set has been really strong so far, but it is at the end we find my two favourites. The first of them is the somewhat legendary AMS-119 Geara Doga, operated by Neo Zeon. The basic figure has a lot in common with the feel of the recently released Hizack, in that it is a very sturdy and compact design. It has many nice details especially the Sturm Faust missiles attached to the back of the shield. An early Converge would probably just have molded these as part of the shield or omitted them completely.

The bulkiness of the Geara Doga also shows in its limited articulation. Here we do not get an articulated left wrist (which could of course also mean that the design is older than the seemingly recent design decision to enhance them) and the customizable head also does not seem to be able to move.

The head, of course, is the main gimmick of the Geara Doga figure. In something unprecedented for Converge in general, we get no less than three optional styles for the "helmet" part. The basic headpiece can be replaced with a variant which contains a hole for the commander an antenna, and there is also an alternative head design with more protection along its sides. While this is of course fun to play around with I don't recommend messing too much with the components, as recent Converge joints seem to loosen pretty quickly. I am still debating with myself whether to hunt for a couple of spare Dogas to build and display all three variants side by side, the price will be the sole determining factor here I guess. Stay tuned also for Converge #04 which will feature Rezyn Schnyder's custom blue unit.

137 : Ahhh... saving the best for last. The indomitable RX-110 Gabthley (anything else you might have seen in Zeta is A.E.U.G. propaganda only...). This major Converge upswing for the Titans Faction has been a very appreciated theme here on the blog the past couple of months. Someone at FusionWorks must have been rewatching Zeta Gundam because they just keep pumping these guys out like no tomorrow. Now only a few of the iconic figures from the show are missing, let's see if they manage to release them before turning to other interests (SEED does seem to be the thing of the moment right now for example).

The Converge Gabthley shares is one of those figures that are molded in a particular pose, something usually done when large weaponry is involved. Here even the right arm is molded in a perpetually bent mode, something I cannot recall having seen in Converge before. The head also sits on a shaped peg which is a bit surprising, perhaps a traditional rotating head was deemed to flimsy since the Gabthley's neck is very slim.

The Awesomeness of the Titans elite team is growing.
In sharp contrast to this, for some reason FusionWorks decided to make the left hand articulated. This begs the question why, as I don't expect we will be seeing any further equipment for this unit. Perhaps it is simply the new standard they are trying to embrace with the relaunched Converge figures. All in all, a faithful and awesome figure but it feels more like a statue than your average Converge.


As I mentioned in the introduction, Converge #03 succeeds in furthering the excellence of the Gundam Converge series as a whole, and the relaunch series in particular. There is not a bad figure in this set and I can't wait to see the next installment of Converge #04. Get these figures while they're hot!


  1. The Geara Doga missiles can also be mounted on the backpack. Of course Bandai was too cheap to include an extra pair of missiles so they could be equipped on the backpack as well as the shield. I found the backpack mounts to be very unstable so I glued them there.

  2. You will need at least 4 Geara Dogas to get all variants. The next regular release will feature a Blue Commander Doga with the fourth helmet variant for the regular green Doga