Sunday, 30 October 2016

Universal Unit Volume 1

We are at the end of October and as we speak, Bandai are rolling out the next wave of Universal Unit figures in Japan. Volume 2 and the Z'Gok Experimental are already available for ordering at places such as and the premium After War GX-Bit figures should follow soon as well. High time then, for me to catch up with volume one, which released all the way back in August.

I was on the fence about UN² for quite some time, mainly because of the high prices abroad. The figures supposedly sell for around ¥500 in Japan but in semi-blind boxes. It wasn't until I actually received my order that I learnt that the basic mobile suit type is identifiable from the box top cover, but you won't know if you are getting version A or B, which kind of defeats the point of naming them anyway.

Universal Unit Volume 1 features four different mobile suits, each in two different variations. I have only built six of them, as I saw no point in assembling two RX-78s or two Zaku II's since the only differences were in their equipment.
I already did the "first impressions" part of this review in a previous installment (found here), so now we will continue with examining the figures after they have been built. I found it more pleasant work than expected, but overall I much prefer prebuilt and prepainted miniatures, which is also what this page is really about. UN² is a bit of a grey area in that regard.

1A / 1B : RX-78-02 Gundam (The Origin Version)

Accessories for version A to the left of the figure, accessories for version B to the right of the figure.
Every time a new Gundam toy line is introduced, the probability of the first figure/model introduced is going to be the RX-78 is pretty high. Universal Unit follows Assault Kingdom in this regard, although this time around we get the (awkwardly renamed) RX-78-02 Gundam from The Origin storyline. You know, the Gundam which carries the shield upside down...

As mentioned previously, there are two versions of each mobile suit in this figure series. The UN² RX-78 version A comes loaded with a beam rifle and a shoulder cannon, while version B features a bazooka, beam saber and shield. Version B also features a different back pack with only one beam saber handle, since the shoulder cannon attaches at that spot of the pack.

Stickers, stickers, stickers... Here you see five of them applied with various success. The two logotypes on the shoulders, the sights on the weapons and the red and yellow logo on the crotch. The crotch area has a molded v-fin under the sticker if you would like to paint it yourself.
Since you are actively putting these figures together, cutting them from sprues and snapping them together, you can expect a lot of clean-up work. All these small pieces will have to be polished. You have seen the same thing on the Assault kingdom figures before, but here you will have to deal with it a lot more. The instructions found on the inside of the box do a good job of explaining how to assemble the figures and I encountered no issues here. Each figure also comes with around half a dozen stickers that you should apply for improved looks. I was a bit worried here considering they are so tiny but they cooperated for the most part.

Left: A fully loaded RX-78 with all the accessories from versions A and B. Right: The Universal Unit RX-78-02 and the Assault Kingdom RX-78-2 sharing their equipment with each other. It works reasonably well in some cases but the accessories are not really compatible.
The Universal Unit figures feature a lot of articulated points. If you are familiar with Assault Kingdom you can expect to see pretty much the same type of connecting points. The joints are very stiff immediately after assembly, almost to the point of you worrying if something will snap as you try to bend an arm, but I've had nothing break on me yet.

And here the major issue of Universal Unit becomes painfully obvious. You have this figure that can do a lot of interesting poses. They are not as flexible as the Assault Kingdom figures but not that far behind; you can usually get them to do what you want. However, and this is a major issue; the figures do not come with any action bases. They do not even come with simple base plates to peg a foot onto. And the worst crime of all; they don't even have any attachment points for you to use any other custom basing (not even for the Assault Kingdom bases).

So you have fully articulated figures but no way to pose them. Way to go Bandai...

With no action base support, you will have to use your own creativity to pose the Universal Unit figures.
Another let down with the RX-78 is the fact that it only comes with two closed fist-type hands. Every Assault Kingdom figure has featured at least two pairs of hands; open and closed. Why on Earth was it dropped here? Open hands are essential to cool poses, here we only have those clenched fists.

Overall, the RX-78-02 figure is a good representation of what you can expect from Universal Unit. There is a lot of promise as well as missed opportunities here. Honestly I felt rather let down after building this figure but my faith in the series got a little bit better as I progressed to the other more interesting mobile suits.

The Universal Unit RX-78 compared to some of its 1/220 predecessors. From left to right: FW Ultimate Operation, Universal Unit, Assault Kingdom and STANDart.
If you are a cross-series collector, you will pleased to see the Universal Unit figures to be almost size compatible with the other 1/220-figure series out there. They will go well together with figures like Assault Kingdom, STANDart, Unifive Stardust Memory and Ultimate Operation.

2A / 2B : MS-06 Zaku II (Char's Custom) (The Origin Version)

Accessories for version A to the left of the figure, accessories for version B to the right of the figure.
Prudently enough, the second figure of the set is the Origin Version of Char's Zaku II. Again, I only assembled one figure as the two base figures are exactly the same. Version A included a bazooka with an ammo clip and a heat hawk, while version B included the massive anti-ship rifle and another two ammo cartridges (of the same type as found in box A).

The photos in this review section again draw from accessories found in the boxes of both versions, and again there is no problem to deck out an armed-to-the-teeth Zaku II, so the rotten practice of splitting up the accessories in two boxes just feels cheap and devious. A good example of what they could/should have done here is to look at the right shoulder shield. See those ugly holes there? They are there so that you can store two ammo cartridges there, but those cartridges only come with one of the figures. Obviously, version A of this figure should have supplied a clean shield, which would have given you more options for display. As it stands now, it would look silly without the accessories from box B. Thanks a lot Bandai...

There are five stickers included with the Zaku II. Apart from the Zeonic emblem there are four jet black pre-cut stickers that should wrap around the knees and elbows. Notice how the sticker is already coming off on the left elbow. I ended up painting those areas black with a permanent marker instead.
Save for the stickers I encountered no problems when putting together the Zaku II. The articulation is quite good, even with the non-flexible tubes that attach to the legs. The Universal Unit figures seem very brittle though, you do not want to drop this thing on the floor.

The main grief from this figure will come from its ambitious stickers. Unlike the torso and head which are prepainted/molded for you in three colours, the legs and arms are all red. You get four black stickers which are supposed to wrap around the knee caps and elbows in a nice three dimensional way. The technical design is good, but the application poor. I had problems getting the stickers to attach perfectly on the elbows, meaning they would immediately begin to peel off at the corners. I ended up painting those areas with a black marker instead. Overall, Universal Unit figures feel like they should really be worked upon similar to model kits.

The Universal Unit Zaku II is larger than its Assault Kingdom counterpart (left) and also feels a bit oversized when comparing to the Universal Unit RX-78-02 (right).
The Zaku II comes with a nice selection of gear and it can all be stored or carried at once. As we have already discussed, spare ammo cartridges go onto the shoulder, the heat hawk attaches to a peg on the left side skirt and one of the two weapons can attach to the backpack.

Wiggle it, just a little bit. Trying to perfectly balance a Universal Unit figure on an Assault Kingdom base only works so so.
The poor decision not to include any action base support again hurts the figure immensely, I wonder if Bandai will come to their senses here and work something out. I won't be surprised if we end up seeing people gobbling up action bases from other gashapons or repurposing Assault Kingdoms stands and drill their own holes into these figures.

3A : ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos (Third Form)

The third mobile suit in UN² is also the first 1/220 representation from the Iron Blooded Orphans series. Interestingly, apart from a coming variation of the Barbatos (hooray for recycling) no further IBO mobile suits have been introduced among the Universal Unit figures thus far. Unlike the other figures in this set, I will review the two versions separately, as they contain some minor differences in their appearances.

The Barbatos in its third form can be recognized by its two spiffy blue shoulder pads (stolen from an enemy EB-06 Graze) as well as the replacing of the right wrist armor (from the second form) with a grappling claw stolen from a Schwalbe Graze EB05s. Actually, had Bandai bothered two give us said wrist armor and two slightly different shoulder parts we would also have been able to recreate the first and second forms of the Barbatos. Thanks again for underwhelming us, Bandai.

You can clearly see the stickers attached to the knees and center torso. Apart from looking a bit iffy up close, I wonder how long they will actually stay on.
The Barbatos features a lot of tiny stickers not only for the logos but also for red and black parts on the feet and legs. With the Zaku II sticker experience clear in mind I used a red and a black permanent marker for these areas instead. I am no Iori Sei, but it worked decently if not inspected up close. I also painted the insides of the blue shoulder pads with blue marker (which seems a bit off in these photos but looks better in real life).

As for equipment we get the iconic oversize mace. The figure does a good job of holding on to it and allowing you a little bit of freestyle posing without toppling over, even though it stands on spindly legs. An action base would, you know, have been a godsend here... Surprisingly we also get an open left hand for this figure. Great, we're halfway to Assault Kingdom basics now.

3B : ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos (Fourth Form)

There really aren't that many differences between the third and fourth forms of the Barbatos, but I didn't feel like doing parts swapping so i figured I might as well build both of them. The main differences in the third and fourth forms of the Barbatos are the different shoulder armor components, as well as a different mold for the left forearm. The optional left hand is again included and the large mace weapon is replaced by a 300mm smoothbore gun.

The basic Barbatos figure is very white, so it is important to get all those stickers (or paint apps if you want to do it yourself, which is probably a good idea) into their proper spaces. The 3D-style stickers used on the shoulder armor are an absolute pain and I did a rather poor job with them. At least I have a spare set in the other box... pffft.

Stickers, stickers everywhere. I shudder to revisit this figure six months from now and see them peeling off everywhere...
For all the missed Universal Unit opportunities, I think the Barbatos figure(s) is a reasonably successful figure, and it actually made me a bit curious to see if more IBO figures will follow. At this point Universal Unit seems to be busy getting into as many Gundam timelines as it can, it remains to see if the series will run out of steam before it actually accomplishes something with the Iron Blooded Orphans line-up.

4A / 4B : RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 "Alex" / RX-78NT-1FA Full Armor Gundam "Alex"

Accessories from version A to the right of the figure, Full Armor parts for version B to the left of the figure.
The last mobile suit to be featured in Universal Unit Volume 1 is also the deal breaker for me here. It was the only figure that really attracted me enough to want to buy in to UN². If it had been easier to cherry pick figures I may well have ended up purchasing only these two figures but you can thank most eBay sellers for either selling a full random 10 box or expensive single figures (i.e. you won't know if you are buying version A or B). So, the least painful thing to do was to purchase an opened and checked full set of 8.

You get the beam rifle and shield with the basic figure, and the wrist Gatling Guns with the Full Armor figure, which is just DUMB.
To this day I still don't understand why Bandai never got around to release the Alex in the Assault Kingdom figure line. It seemed like a perfect figure for AK, very similar to the RX-78 and with no bulky parts. They even went to the trouble of designing the Kämpfer so this would have seemed like a simple job. I can't help but wonder if there was indeed an Assault Kingdom Alex design that has since been migrated to Universal Unit.

Just like the Barbatos, the Alex goes full on with stickers. Apart from logos on the shoulders and the shield (which look just terrible) you also have to sticker or paint red areas on the knees and torso as well as the black and yellow part on the front skirt. Just like on the RX-78, the front skirt has a molded indentation with a 3D V-fin, so you could paint this area yourself quite easily (as long as you know what you are doing that is). The most difficult stickers are the yellow areas on the legs.

As awesome as the Alex is, it has been a rare sight in the 1/220 line. The FW Ultimate Operation figure remains the go-to figure in this regard, as it looks just great and isn't that hard to find either. The Universal unit figure feels very anorectic in its appearance, which is probably a necessity for the modular armor to work.

I built both of the Alex figures since I didn't much fancy the idea of choosing whether I wanted to display the standard or Full Armor version, and I imagined it would be quite fiddly going between these two modes. With the armor parts though, you merely clip them onto the existing figure which works like a charm. Of course you first need to strip down the equipment but it was all a reasonably painless affair.

Custom Alex: Combining all weapons from versions A and B (left), stealing the beam saber from the RX-78 (center) and borrowing Char's Bazooka for the FA Alex (right).
The Full Armor Alex, naturally, doesn't really do that much. The dumbest thing Bandai did was putting the wrist-mounted Gatling Guns in this box. I'd like to see how the Full Armor figure is going to fire those... Overall though, between the two versions we get a reasonable amount of gear although the lack of a beam saber and optional open hands does hurt the figure. Overall though, it is my favourite figure in this set.


Overall, I have some really mixed feelings about Universal Unit. The kinship with Assault Kingdom is very strong here, but for every development I feel there has been a glaring omission. If I were to sum up the major differences between these two series it would go something like this:


UN²: High detail, no soft plastic parts, comes with stickers.
AK: Less detail, soft plastic parts that bend, no stickers.


UN²: Good articulation, requires a lot of assembly, brittle material vulnerable to falls.
AK: Excellent articulation, mostly prebuilt, high survivability in delicate parts due to soft plastic being used.


UN²: Good range of equipment, requires multiple blind-box purchases, no action base or support for it.
AK: Decent range of equipment, sold clearly marked, action bases always included with figures.

The main problem with Universal Unit is of course the lack of action bases as well as support for such, which effectively nullifies the joy of all that articulation that is available to you. Frankly, I find it unbelievable they went through quality assurance tests with such a major flaw. It will be interesting to see if bases will be included with the Zeta Hummingbird kits, which are able to transform into mobile armor mode. At ¥3800 a pop, you'd expect them to come with a backdrop scenery kit as well. :)

Although there are a lot of things to like about Universal Unit I cannot really recommend these figures to anyone who is not prepared to give them a real overhaul. People willing to invest time and skill into painting and modifying figures will probably find a lot to work with here though, but I would expect them to be fully invested in the 1/144 model kits already.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sneak Peek : Universal Unit Volume 1

So... after much deliberation, I decided I wanted to take the plunge. I was curious to find out more about the Universal Unit figures but the prices at which these figures are being sold outside of Japan are an effective cooler. In the end I decided to pick up a full set of eight, sold by a seller in Taiwan. If I was going to test the waters I might as well do it properly.

I only just received the package yesterday, but going through the contents I had a couple of revelations that I wanted to share here. And since a full review will most likely not be appearing here anytime soon, this post will be a first impressions look to give those of you still on the fence some more input of what to expect.

This box is the standard packaging for the Universal Unit figures of wave one. Each box contains ten models, presumably all eight variations and two duplicates. The boxes are intended as store displays or insta-buys for completist collectors.

As I mentioned earlier, a regular box contains ten figures, here are my eight as pre-selected by the seller, who opened all the boxes to inspect them prior to shipping them.

The individual figures of volume one are packed in these miserably boring boxes, which in true Japanese gashapon collectable fashion are similar for all the figures in the set. The idea is of course that you are not supposed to be able to cherry pick the figures you are really after, and preferably end up paying for more goods than you really wanted just to secure them.

However, in the case of Universal Unit, Bandai decided to offer a little helping hand. The topside of the box clearly denotes which of the four mobile suit types you will find in the box, however, you will not know if you are getting the A or B version, each of which features different accessories. This is better than nothing I suppose, but a huge let down compared to shokugan figures like Converge and Assault Kingdom, where each figure had its own clearly branded box, with nice artwork to boot.

The really big surprise for me, however, was when I opened the boxes to take a look at the figures themselves. Let's walk through the four major mobile suit types and the different components that come with them:

01 : RX-78-02 Gundam (The Origin Version). In the above picture you can see three plastic bags, marked [1], [1]-A and [1]-B. You will of course only find two bags in one box, the bag marked [1] is common for both versions, and then you will get either the A or B bag depending on luck. As you can see here, the A version contains the beam rifle and a shoulder cannon, while set B features the shield, a beam saber and a bazooka. Notice also the sticker sheet in the common bag. These figures are really model kits and nothing else.

02 : MS-06S Zaku II Char's Custom) (The Origin Version). Again a combination picture showing the common bag and the two variants for the A and B version. Again we are seeing a minor difference in accessories only. Yet Bandai saw it fit for us to buy two figures just to get one extra item.

03 : ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos. Combination shot of the different components for the two Barbatos types. Notice here that the common bag [3] is in the bottom left corner. At least on these figures we are getting some more variations in the parts but still not enough to convince me I need two figures.

04 : RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 "Alex". The last figure in the set is frankly also the only one that really interests me here. The NT-1 "Alex" appears here in both the standard variant and in its "Full Armor" Chobham layered armor variant. Still, the major difference here is the inclusion of half a dozen of bulky armor components, not even the "Alex" warrants the need for two figures.

Honestly, I was not prepared to receive model kits in these boxes, I had assumed that the Universal Unit figures would be a slightly more complex Assault Kingdom counterpart, perhaps with some more assembly but not to this level. I would imagine Gundam model kit fans would much rather be buying kits from the High Grade 1/144 scale model kit series rather than this. Between the "real" model kits as well as the easy to assemble "Mini Kit Collection" series that launched at the same time as Universal Unit, I am not sure who Bandai are targeting with this product range.

Assault Kingdom-owners wanting to expand their 1/220 collections seem like the most likely (and only?) target group, but why not try to steer them toward the HG series with literally hundreds of released kits instead? Universal Unit makes little sense to me right now.

To be continued... : )

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Gundam Converge #04

The more Gundam Converge continues to branch out into various specialty niches with hard to find or exclusive figures, the more fun it becomes to review a good old wave of regular figures. It is the third standard wave released this year, but provided Converge #05 arrives on time in January we'll have seen a total of five regular sets in roughly one year's time. Add to that all the SP:s, EX:s and CORE:s. Converge is truly on steroids right now.

Converge #04 released in October 2016 and features six mobile suits from just as many series, although three of them do belong to the Universal Century. The set feels comprised of mainly "filler" figures as in rounding out of different factions and building up the various armies, but they do it with a hell of a lot of pizzazz. Converge figures have never looked better than they do these days and, as we're about to see, the new set is a very good representation of that.

Just like all the relaunched figures there are no secret figures associated with this set, and no equipment variations or other annoying stunts. Just pick the mobile suits you like or grab the entire set while it is hot, since I predict some of these figures are about to become quite hard to find.

138 : The charismatic set opener for Converge #04 is a familiar face. It is the ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam of SEED Destiny fame. It is the upgraded variant of the ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam, which we have seen in Converge as recently as August this year. It is perhaps the most well known face to come out of the SEED timeline and definitely the pretty boy mobile suit of this lot.

At first glance the Strike Freedom figure seems rather uncomplicated. The box contains your token half dozen pieces to assemble but things are about to become a bit more complicated.

The big gimmick of the Strike Freedom figure is of course its variable wing design. The Converge figure comes with a rather elaborate but not necessarily obvious method of accomplishing this. It is one of those ingenious (maybe FusionWorks hired Niels Nielsen...) but frustrating exercises in trying to figure out just exactly what the Bandai designers expect you to do with the pieces found in the box.

Realigning the wings of the Strike Freedom; I am not sure I will ever want to try that again...
Well, it took me several attempts to figure out just how to repose the wings in an orderly fashion. I had to go online and look for promotional shots of the Converge Strike Freedom figure since the boxart is too limited to be of any assistance, and there are of course no instructions available in-box. Sometimes when Bandai are too cheap to print an instruction leaflet they put the instructions on the insides of the box but here we came up totally blank.

The end result is totally worth it though. It takes an already amazing looking figure and brings it to the next level. The paint applications on this figure are really impressive when you consider that what you are looking at is a ¥500 candy toy.

We just really need to pause for a moment and enjoy all those paint applications. Truly impressive how far Converge has come since the beginning.

Freedom Gundam Converge Evolution, from left to right: ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam from Converge vol. 8 (released in October 2012), the mighty dual-saber wielding Freedom of SP07 (august 2016) and the upgraded ZGMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam from Converge #04 (released October 2016).
Another excellent feature of the Strike Freedom figure is that it comes with the new pegged action base, so that you can display it easily without having to fiddle with those ankle-clipping supports of old. That was the major drawback of the SP07 Freedom Gundam figure, such a shame it didn't get the new base as well.

139 : GN-002 Gundam Dynames. After a seemingly endless line of Gundam Exia / 00 variations Converge finally begins to explore deeper into the Celestial Being armory. It is a welcome injection for MSG 00 fans for sure, and with the Kyrios coming in Converge #05 I am really curious to find out if they will continue to expand the 00 universe from there. It has been ages since Graham Aker's custom Union Flag was released in Converge volume 1, and I for one would love to see more of the designs of the AEU and Union. I can understand why they are still not here though, the 00 designs tend to be slim and tall, not exactly suitable for the Converge treatment, although the initial figure looked quite good (although it had major balance issues).

After the lavish Strike Freedom the Dynames figure comes out feeling very plain and Converge old school of sorts. While the detail and paint job are spot on the figure does feel rather static. The figure has the basic Converge articulation though, but unlike the recent Exia figure the left hand is not able to hold any accessories and apart from the sniper rifle we don't get any nice shiny beam saber either. FW could have done a lot more with this figure but I guess they have to hold back on some to spend on others.

140 : Beargguy III (San). Hot on the heels of the recently released Beargguy F limited edition set comes the original Papa Bear of Gundam Build Fighters fame. He has a lot to answer for, seeding the Beargguy wildfire into various product lines, just how many colour variations are there by now? Now, a teddy bear figure will always be a wasted slot in a Converge set as far as I am concerned, but at least I have some modicum of respect for this guy due to its originality. We're taking the kawaii ACGUY to a whole new level here.

The Converge Beargguy is a really good representation of the original design, capturing its dumbfounded melancholic expression and awkward pose but that's about it for this figure.

"Someone's been eating my porridge," Papa Bear growled...
Converge's peek into the Gundam Build Fighters armory has been pretty dismal to say the least. The Build Burning Gundam (with exactly zero accessories) and four Beargguys... I don't know whether to laugh or cry about it. I suppose we'll get the super deformed Winning Gundam next...

141 : If there is one thing that always puzzled and amused me about Gundam, it is the way they come up with the names of people, places and equipment. And the rather exotic design of the PMX-002 Bolinoak-Sammahn also has a name to match. I'd love to take a peek into the naming process and take a good look at all those runner-up names that never ended up being used.

Although it is one of the Titan's supposed powerhouse designs of the PMX series the Bolinoak-Sammahn has a very brief and forgettable appearance in the Zeta Gundam television series. From that point of view it seems strange for FW to focus on this one prior to completing a Messala or a Palace-Athene. The figure itself is really good looking with a striking colour scheme, although again the figure does feel a bit lacking. We've seen this with many of the Titans figures this year, a good basic sculpt but very short on accessories. Once again, a nice translucent beam saber or at least a hand able to hold one would have been appreciated.

142 : Although all the figures in set #04 are very nicely sculpted and painted we had a couple of rather bland appearances in the middle of the set. This changes abruptly with the remaining two figures which could both well belong in the Converge Hall of Fame. First we have ace pilot Rezin Schnyder's custom blue AMS-119 Geara Doga. It is such a striking figure that it is hard to believe we have had to wait for it for more than five years to make an appearance. Thankfully the wait has allowed Fusion Works to refine their modeling technique to make it look even better.

Although Rezin's Doga is a recoloured basic green AMS-119 Geara Doga (which appeared in Converge #03) it does features some unique accessories. It replaces the bog standard Beam Machine Gun of the green Doga and we get a nice two-coloured beam weapon in the shape of an axe. The shield accessory remains the same as on the standard figure but instead of the three helmet variations we only have one helmet for Rezin's Doga. Instead, the designers saw it fit to include a fourth variant for the standard Doga, a peculiar decision which can perhaps be traced to financial or marketing reasons.

With the newest helmet variation we now have a lot of options to play around with our standard Geara Dogas. The two Geara Dogas are some of the most successful figures that we've seen in Converge in my opinion, with satisfactory aesthetics and lots of customization options. Will Bandai and FusionWorks churn out Full Frontal's red MSV design as well, or will it be up to us to model it ourselves? I could sure use that sexy rifle.

The green Geara Doga is predestined to become very scarce, already the price seems to be climbing quite fast in comparison to its wave-mates. Its basic function as an army builder with so many customization options on top leads me to recommend you to pick it up as soon as you can. Not so sure how this will affect Rezin's blue Doga but I wouldn't wait around to get it either.

143 : The last figure in this set is another soon to become hopelessly rare product. The special forces RGM-89De Jegan (ECOAS Type) is another absolute killer unit and must have for your Converge collection. At least one, preferably two. It definitely belongs to the Gundam Converge hall of fame.

Just look at all those shiny accessories. The De Jegan is getting a lot of love from FW here, with several equipment options. However, the right hand can only hold either the bazooka or the beam rifle and the left hand cannot hold anything at all, so the remaining weapons have to be pegged into storage positions on the figure's limbs. We even get an extra left arm so that you don't need to see an empty hole in the shoulder should you choose not to store the knife.

A word of caution here: There is only one left hand in the box, you need to move it from arm to arm if you want to use the alternate look. The hand has a shaped peg and so does not rotate like you would expect it to. The peg will snap if you try to twist it, only pull it straight out of its socket.

While there is something silly about 18 meter tall mobile suits wielding knives the accessories on this figure look really spectacular. I must admit I am a bit shocked that we didn't have to purchase two separate figures to get all the accessories (Universal Unit, I am looking at you...), let's hope this is a trend that will continue to hold for future Converge releases. If this is the route Bandai and Fusion Works want to take in the future just imagine what they could do with updated versions of mobile suits like the Zaku II or the GM Ground Type.


Although there are a couple of figures in Converge #04 which feel like they have got the short end of the stick as far as accessories go (especially when you see the comparative excesses of the Geara Doga and the De Jegan), all figures in this set look very good, and will display well together with your existing collection. I'd once again advice fans of the Jegan and the Geara Doga to strike quickly to avoid disappointment later.