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.


  1. I'll try tro grab those Geara Dogas and Jegans asap.
    I've been thinking about it: with Kyrios coming in #05, do you think Bandai will make a SP/EX for Virtue/Nadleeh?
    Thanks for all your reviews. These little guys are amazing!

    1. Your guess is as good as mine. I have a feeling that this recent SEED suite will be broken next year but what will follow is pretty much open to speculation.

  2. If you try carefully you can tuck the Jegan's bazooka along his lower back/hip area, that way you can "fully equip" him, along with rifle mounted on the left leg, and knife on shoulder. It just occurred to me, despite the Titans getting very decent representation lately, Neo Zeon (from ZZ) has been nearly absent from the Converge series. I can only count the Capule, Bawoo, and ZZ Gundam. I suppose you can count one or more of the Qubeley variants, too. Surprising given that the Z/ZZ franchise were some of the most prolific in terms of introducing new MS designs...