Friday, 17 February 2017

Gundam Converge #05

Just in time for Valentine's, Converge #05 decided to show up at my doorstep. Our relationship is currently on its fourth year already so we didn't bother with any useless courting gifts and went straight to work. As usual with the new Converge format, we have a set comprised of six figures, in this case without any variations or secret items. I can't begin to explain how refreshing this feels for a simple fan trying to keep up with the Converge line. The basic figures are what Converge is really about and they always provide good value for money.

Converge #05 released officially on January 24th 2017 and are sold as individual figures at a price of ¥500. Volume 5 gathers figures from wildly different sources and timelines, which is a typical and enjoyable aspect of Converge as far as I am concerned.

The bigger the plastic bag, the more intricate the figure design. Converge #05 has a couple of standouts in this regard, which are balanced by some less complex figures.

144 : It is easy to see where most of the budget for wave five went. The RX-93-v2 Hi-Nu Gundam is not only the first figure in the set but easily the most luxurious of the lot. If all standard Converge figures were up to this level they would not be costing a mere five hundred yen.

The RX-93-v2 has always been one of those chock-full of bling Gundam designs with bits and pieces sticking out all over the place (think Sazabi or Freedom Gundam for example). To solve this, the Converge figure relies on a lot of separate pieces with fine precision built into them, and the paintjob and logos fall rather close to CORE territory. This is one of those figures that bridge the gap between regular figures and the EX/CORE families (making you wonder why the latter two have to exist in the first place...).

I don't have a whole lot of insight into the Hi-Nu Gundam but as far as I understand it from some of our readers this version is based on the Ver. Ka (for modernized designs by Katoki Hajime) although this is not particularly mentioned on the box itself. What I can see though, is how much this version differs from the older Hi-Nu that shipped with the Operation Revive box sets (in 2014 and 2015 respectively).

Comparing the new RX-93-v2 with its earlier Converge appearance.

The new version of the Converge Hi-Nu has been cleaned up and has a much more angular and slim look when compared to the previous figure. Another notable difference is the increased size of the head and in particular the V-Fin. The original figure was no slouch either, so even though the new figure is an upgunned design it doesn't necessarily mean that I think it looks any better. In the end it will come down to personal preference (I still prefer the first design myself).

Converge Hi-Nu Gundam evolution: Original version from Operation Revive box set (February 2014), the pearl-color edition from the "Overseas Only" Operation Revive sequel (August 2015) and the new RX-93-v2 from Converge #05.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, the new Hi-Nu figure will sell like hot cake, especially when you consider how tricky it was to get hold of the first version. Either figure has a given space in any Converge collection as far as I'm concerned. Don't sleep on it.

145 : ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos Lupus. Following the excesses of the Hi-Nu Gundam figure the Lupus comes off as exceedingly simple as you take it out of the box. Snap on the (ridiculously large) V-fin and stick that baseball bat in its hand and you are done. That's not to say it is in any way an inferior design, it just gets the job done with less bells and whistles.

The Barbatos Lupus is an evolution of the earlier Barbatos figure and the more you study the Converge figure the more you will see all the intricate detail that went into its design. It is easy to miss tiny detail like the little green decals markings on its kneecaps for example.

The original Barbatos figure from Converge #02 is quite a bit shorter than the new figure and although it also has a very large V-fin on its head that one doesn't bother me as much. It seems we get a couple of crazy designs like this every now and then (think the Converge Asshimar for example).

So far we have seen a total of four mobile suits drawn from the Iron Blooded Orphans series enter the Converge line, and they are all very solid figures. I do hope we get to see some more grunt suits like the EB-06 Graze to flesh out the group a little.

Not sure just exactly how popular the IBO figures are with Converge fans but the model kit builders seem to have embraced them so hopefully we can see some more appearing in Converge as well.

146 : With the Barbatos Lupus being one of the most recent Gundam designs the RX-160 Byarlant can be said to be a true veteran at this point. It is pretty fascinating when you realize that 30 years have passed between Zeta Gundam and Iron Blooded Orphans, yet the two mobile suits can stand next to each other without looking any awkward. Well, unless you consider the fact that the Byarlant is perhaps one of the more awkward mobile suit designs with its lumbering Gorilla look, which is exaggerated even more in the Converge representation.

The Byarlant figure is another one of those "simple" Converge builds. You will however have to cut out its yellow antennas from a plastic runner and attach each separately although this should present you with no particular trouble. The two arms are very symmetrical and seem to fit just as fine on either side of the body. Not to worry though, the designers have made the pegs a slightly different size. Nothing is left to chance here...

The Byarlant has a pretty ominous looking monoeye which can be a tricky to spot under its brow, a problem it shares with a very large number of Converge figures. They look down to the ground but since they are no longer 18 meters tall it can be tricky for a viewer to enjoy this spectacle. Overall the Byarlant figure is nice if a bit basic, one of those middle of the road things that have to exist for the Hi-Nus to be able to spread their wings in glory I guess. Still, a beam saber for the Byarlant would have been much appreciated.

147 : We've seen a couple of Celestial Being mobile suits in the recent Converge waves with the GN-003 Gundam Kyrios being the third and as it appears, last of them. It was really about time for Bandai and FusionWorks to feature the Dynames and Kyrios into the line. We've seen so many variations on the Exia / 00 / Qan[t] and here finally it has something other to pose with.

All the Mobile Suit Gundam 00 designs are fairly intricate and complex, not to mention tall and slim.  Ironically the Converge format therefore seems to suit these figures well. The short and compact limbs of Converge figures should give the engineers a bit of a break, allowing them to avoid delicate and easy to snap components. Let's just say I don't expect these to be featured in the Universal Unit line-up any time soon.

Those... eyes.
The Converge Kyrios is also a superbly detailed mobile suit and is one of those unusual figures that look almost as good when viewed from behind. When you compare it to the Converge Exia it suffers from the same "basic" feel as the Dynames, no optional equipment or beam sabers here.

Converge Celestial Being line-up: GN-001 Exia (Converge #02, April 2016), GN-002 Dynames (Converge #04, October 2016) and GN-003 Kyrios (Converge #05, January 2017). Several older variants of the Exia / 00 / Qan[T] also exist.
We now have the core Celestial Being line-up available in Converge (still missing the Virtue) and it seems as if Bandai have turned their attention to other timelines. I am still hoping for more MSG 00 designs; especially from the various opposing forces whose mobile suits are all pretty spectacular and unique looking beasts. I will admit that the chance of this actually happening seems pretty slim.

148 : RMS-179 GM II (also known as the RGM-79R for upgraded original RGM-79 units). Ahhh... finally a proper grunt suit in this set! The GM mark II is a modestly revised bog-standard GM and I guess you can say the same for the Converge GM II. It sure has a lot in common with the original RGM-79 figure.

The first Converge GM was rolled out from Jaburo in June 2011 and not a great deal has changed in these five and half years. As you can see in the comparison shots below the new figure is more defined and precise in its appearance but there isn't really a whole lot to differentiate it from its ancestor.

Gundam Converge GM evolution: RGM-79 GM (Converge vol. 3, released June 2011, RMS-179 GM II (Converge #05, January 2017) and the RGM-86R GM III (from Converge vol. 13, released December 2013).

One peculiar detail in the figure's presentation is how the box text specifies the mobile suit user as Titans/A.E.U.G. While technically correct the actual figure is painted in the standard Earth Federation colours (compare the various liveries on the Gundam Wiki) so this seems a bit misleading. While I won't make a fuss about the minor differences between Titans and E.F.F. colours you can be sure that I will attempt to acquire multiples of this figure for conversion into A.E.U.G. and perhaps Titans Test Team service.

More GMs! The original figure with Beam Spray Gun from volume 3, the Operation Jaburo box-set repaint (December 2012), the "secret" beam saber wielding "revival selection" GM  from volume 18 (March 2015) and the GM II and GM III as specified earlier.
It is nice to see the GM return to Gundam Converge and although the figure is a bit basic I am sure it will be quite popular with collectors out there so you probably want to secure yours before long.

149 : Holy moly! Coming in at the end of Converge #05 is perhaps the figure I was the most excited about for this set. The RMS-179 GM II Semi Striker is an outrageous gladiator-style GM with a crazy beam spear close combat weapon. As cool as it is I doubt it would have much survivability on a Universal Century era battlefield.

The figure itself is not just a simple repaint of the GM II but FW have taken time and attention into sculpting new accurate shoulder armor as well as a new left arm which also replaces the standard shield for a more close combat oriented one. Not that anything of that will matter to you because your eyes will be drawn to the crazy good looking beam spear with its two translucent tips. One word accurately describes it: Awesome.

Although not technically accurate, I will definitely aim to get a second unit and have it painted up as a RGM-79FP GM Striker. It would deeply shock me if this doesn't turn out to be a fan favourite among the Converge collectors. It is just crazy good looking.


Overall I feel that Converge #05 has something for everyone. Even the more basic figures in the set look very appealing. Once again a fine testament to the work being carried out by FusionWorks and Bandai. It is an easy recommendation to pick up all the figures in this set.

As you probably already know, Converge #06 has already been announced since a while back, planned for retail in April. However, the second part of the year is still shrouded in mystery. The Converge line-up for Q1/Q2 is pretty dense and I hope that we will see more Converge news rolled out for the latter half of 2017 as well.


  1. Oh, man... This set is crazy! I need to get it asap. Just a minor correction: you mentioned the Seravee, but I think you wanted to say Virtue, since it's the 4th unit for the first season of the MSG 00. With this in mind, I really expect it - along with the Nadlee - as a SP/EX release. I'm a huge fan of the 00 series and expect it to be a awesome addition to the collection.
    Anyway, thanks for the review!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out, error corrected. I still haven't watched MSG00 but I really enjoy the designs. I lean more towards the AEU Enact and the Union Realdo although I doubt we'll ever see either of them in Converge. :)

  2. That GM II Semi-Striker! Like many MS in Unicorn it was a one-scene-wonder! Still kinda sad how the Efreet Shneid defeated it so quickly (I don't get how it dodged those attacks!) but its become a favorite in the eyes of GM and grunt MS fans!