Saturday, 11 February 2017

Gundam Converge SP08 : Infinite Justice Gundam vs. Destiny Gundam

Converge SP08, with its two Gundam SEED Destiny combatants feels like a natural extension to Converge SP07, which featured two rivals from the Gundam SEED finale. The box set released end of November 2016 at a suggested price point of ¥2 500 although I've seen it sold for around ¥1 800 for a while now. SP08 also has the added feature of being a retail set, a welcome change from all the special editions flooding the product line these days.

I must say I am really curious about which way Bandai and FusionWorks will take the SP-series from here. Bar the very first SP-set (one of those "Overseas Only"-metallic repaint type releases bundling the Exia and the Union Flag from 00), all the other previous SP-sets have drawn from the Universal Century archives. We saw half a dozen or so other Cosmic Era (SEED) figures released over the same time period as these two sets, but no new Cosmic Era figures are scheduled for the first half of 2017. Instead FW are doing new figures from 00 and Wing, perhaps this could be an indication of what to expect for SP 09 (well, unless they decided to shift all focus into the lucrative business of repainted CORE figures that is).

As a concept, Converge SP08 has a lot of things in common with its predecessor. Apart from the price point and the SEED connection, we are again looking at a slightly unbalanced set where one of the mobile suits has been given a boatload of accessories while the other has to do with much less.

Of course, a closer look is in order...

ZGMF-X19A Infinite Justice Gundam

The Infinite Justice is of course the spiritual successor of the doomed ZGMF-X09A Justice featured in the first SEED series (what is it with Athrun Zala and blowing up his rides?). The base figure has an attractive pinkish-red, white and black colour scheme with some silvery metallic paint applied on various joints and the hands. The accessories add a dark violet into the mix for some really nice results. The only disappointing thing would be the all gray beam rifle which looks pretty plastic when held in that hand, but it is pretty much par for the Converge course.

As you can see we are not getting a whole lot of accessories for the Infinite Justice. Apart from said beam rifle there is the Fatum-01 variable wing-flight unit which is the main attraction on offer here, but that's it. Where... are... the... beam sabers? We got the spectacular double saber for the Freedom, so why was it dropped here? I am really not feeling this decision. I guess I shouldn't be surprised though, we've had three Strike variations already and the ZGMF-X09A is still nowhere to be seen. There is no Justice...

The Fatum-01 flight unit on the other hand, is a well thought out accessory which pegs into the back of the mobile suit figure. As you can see on these photos this Infinite Justice is rather back heavy and if left without the (ugly) ankle support piece will lean backwards on his heels until the and wing tips hit the ground. Too bad this figure was not upgraded to rebooted Converge standard with one of those black bases instead. You can hack it a bit by slotting the Fatum-01 into the lower positioned hole on the figure's back instead. This will have the figure leaning slightly forward instead into a more aggressive stance.

The flight pack also comes apart into half a dozen pieces of that same mind-bogglingly 3D-puzzly variety as used for the ZGMF X10A Freedom and its wings. Luckily we have a printed instruction leaflet to follow but it still requires a bit of concentration to get the hang of it. When the wings are deployed, the little silver-painted piece is added as a second peg to the flight pack for added support when attaching it to the figure's back.

If the figure seemed back heavy before, this is of course a completely different story. There is no way around it now; you will have to use the ankle support this time. Oh, such a shame that we didn't get a modern base. You can of course modify the figure by drilling a hole into the foot or gluing it onto a makeshift base of your own.

The Fatum-01 can also act independently of the mobile suit which is a nice way to display it. Sadly there is no stand (or support for one) included with the figure but you can whip something up of your own. Here you can see two variants using a couple of action base pieces from your random Assault Kingdom figure, as well as the stand included with the Converge Skygrasper figure (Converge number 35). Neither is a tight fit since there is no hole or peg on the flight unit, so you will have to improvise again.

ZGMF-X42S Destiny Gundam

The Destiny Gundam is supposedly a late generation Z.A.F.T. designed powerhouse with its roots in the Impulse Gundam family which in turn is supposed to come out of a GINN. How quaint then, that it seems to share pretty much all of its notable visible features with the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam, or more specifically its Perfect Strike form. Blue and white "Classic Gundam" look? Check. Flight pack with red and black wings? Check. Oversized blue sword stored on right shoulder? Check. Huge green high output energy weapon stored on left shoulder? Well, you get the idea... Someone at the toy factory clearly ran out of ideas...

As uninspired as its heritage may be, the Destiny Gundam is still a mighty fine Converge figure. This little mobile suit comes with a really nice paint scheme with lots of differently coloured details. The accessories are less impressive in this regard, an area where Converge figures are usually going the budget route.

One unusual feature for the Destiny is the two replaceable clenched fists. Neither hand can actually hold any items. Instead we get two weapons with hands molded directly onto them, a very old theme for Converge. However, both weapons are designed for the right hand only, so the detachable left hand seems a curious design quirk. This will be explained once we look into the Wing of Light accessory pack.

And speaking of wings, the Destiny features unfolding wings straight out of the box. The mobile suit quickly grows in relative size and apparent strength through this simple tweak which is a really nice touch. And unlike the Infinite Justice, the sturdy and compact Destiny figure has no problems standing upright without having to rely on its ankle support piece.

Another odd design choice is the peg and hole for attaching the shield. There are holes available on each arm, but the peg is rectangular in shape which means it will only go into either arm at a predetermined angle. This seems a bit limited for a Converge figure.

Above you can see the many choices of right hand for the Destiny. Notice that the far left hand with open fingers comes from the Wing of Light accessory kit which is sold separately. This must be some sort of Converge record as far as choice of hands is concerned.

The last accessory for the Destiny is the Arondight-type Beam Sword in its extended form. This is a really cool component and I can't help dreaming of a Converge Sword Calamity or Sword Impulse Gundam wielding two of these things at the same time...

As mentioned earlier, there are even more parts available for the Destiny Gundam available in the "Wing of Light Option Set", which is sold separately and also features more effect parts for the Strike Freedom. Above you can see a quick breakdown of the news for the Destiny; open hands, the extended Long Range Beam Cannon mounted to the backpack, and of course the Voiture Lumiere Propulsion System in action, which is just a poor excuse for giving the mobile suit translucent angelic wings. This box is reviewed separately here.


2016 was truly a superb year for Gundam SEED aficionados. There hadn't been a Cosmic Era Converge figure since December 2012, and suddenly we got ten figures over a period of six months. And almost all of these figures have held such a high level of quality that these two hardly stand out. Picking this set up should be a no-brainer if you like SEED mobile suit designs, and the added playability factor out of this box should really sway most other Converge fans as well.

I really hope that SEED will come back to Converge soon again, there is so much more untapped potential here.

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