Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Gundam Converge SP07 : ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam vs. ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam

Today we are looking at the latest installment in the Gundam Converge SP-series (perhaps versus-series would be a better name). By now this box has already been out in the shops for a couple of months. I've been falling behind on Converge reviews due to extended travel and not to mention the recent explosion of hard to source items, causing a lot of difficulty of finding and completing sets for review (without having to pay through the nose that is). The Converge SP07 box has the benefit of being probably the easiest to find among the recent releases, with the added benefit of it not being some sort of premium or exclusive product either. You might almost stretch it as far as saying SP07 is a decently priced set, available for around 2000-2500 yen. I grabbed mine for 1800 which all things considered can be considered a Converge bargain these days.

The SP07 box has a slightly different feel to it thanks to the graphic design, but the contents prove to be familiar. This time around though, we have been treated with a pair of combatants from the Cosmic Century timeline. The recent Converge foray into SEED and SEED Destiny is dominating the autumn's box sets with appearances also in CORE and P-Bandai.

The SP07 box comes loaded with a fair number of components and a little assembly instruction for the various wing variations of the Freedom Gundam, and since this is a Japanese market item, we also get the traditional Shokugan chewing gum.

ZGMF-X13A Providence Gundam

The first of the combatants in the box, Z.A.F.T.'s mighty Providence Gundam, kind of like a Cosmic Era take on the Zeong it makes it appearance at the very end of the war. The Converge figure though, doesn't exactly have an intimidating aura about it, it mainly looks chubby and feels a bit clumsy.

The Providence is certainly getting the short end of the stick as far as SP07 goes. The figure feels very basic when compared to the exorbitant Freedom with its several features and optionals. The Providence on the other hand has just one way to display it. Snap the DRAGOON System on to its back and the beam rifle in its hand and there you go. I'm surprised we didn't get an optional part for the beam-emitting shield; that would have been an easy way to increase the sexiness of this now mostly dull grey mobile suit.

The DRAGOON backpack is quite large too, and makes the Providence very back heavy. I have not been able to balance the figure without attaching the clear action base, something you can usually do with most Converges if you just fiddle with them a bit. It is a shame this figure was developed under the old Converge system and is not like the rebooted figures with a pegged action base that slots into its foot. That would have displayed so much better.

The Providence is certainly getting the short end of the stick as far as SP07 goes. In many aspects it feels a bit like an early Converge figure that just happens to have an oversized backpack.

ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam

It is clear that the SP07 box belongs to the Freedom Gundam. If the Providence came out a bit lacking, you will not feel that way about the Freedom. Here is a mobile suit jam packed with detail, vibrant colours and different ways to pose it.

The most noticeable thing about the Freedom is of course its huge wings. Each wing consists of three components snapped together which allows for the wings to fold or extend. Two additional center pieces are provided with the pegs used to attach to the figure's back featuring a different angle. This makes it possible to have the wings point straight backwards or to the sides, as can be seen in the rear view above.

With wings extended the appearance of the mobile suit becomes very different. Amazingly, it can still stand upright without support in this mode, although you'll need to balance the wings with an extended beam rifle (or use of the beam saber). I think both the SP07 mobile suits suffer a bit from not being converted into the pegged action base system of the recent Converge generation.

Apart from the wings the Freedom also comes with three optional components, a beam rifle, a dual-bladed beam saber and a shield. The Beam Saber is intended for use with the figure's left hand and has a second hand molded directly on to it. The Beam Rifle is fully separated from the right hand though, like most modern Converge figures these days. The shield can attach to a peg on the left arm only.

While technically possible, it gets a bit crowded when you display the figure with all the equipment at once. You have to fiddle a bit to find the right angle for the beam saber to coexist with the shield but it feels a bit unconvincing and you can't help but wonder how well these weapons would have worked in "real" life.

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).
With the recent Cosmic Era revival going on in Gundam Converge we now suddenly have three versions of the Freedom Gundam and considering we had one in STANDart it is only going to be a matter of time before someone whips up a limited metallic colour version of it, mark my words. I sincerely hope Bandai now feel they are done with the Freedom and can move on to other interesting mobile suits of this largely neglected timeline. The thought of assembling a little army of a GINN, CGUE and a DINN for example fills me with hope.


So, we have our first Cosmic Era SP-box, should you go out and get it? Well, I guess it depends on your investment in the SEED timeline. There are many Converge items out there these days, and there are certainly more interesting Cosmic Era figures out there too. Go grab the Astray Red and Blue Frame figures first if you have not yet done so. And with the Strike Freedom Gundam of Converge #04 just becoming available you might feel you have all the Freedom you need, considering the Providence Gundam figure isn't all that great. Still, this is a cheap package as far as doubles go, something to keep in mind with the pricey SEED figures we are about to see.

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