Saturday, 4 February 2017

Gundam STANDart volume 6

FusionWorks' STANDart figures might be gone from store shelves by now but they continue their lives on the second hand market and of course also here on the blog. Today's entry is a retrospective look on STANDart volume 6 which appeared in January 2010, which seems very long ago by now. We also have a dark horse figure that snuck in here; the "Overseas Only" reissue of the Unicorn which was a Hong Kong special released in the summer of 2013.

The original volume six figures sold for ¥660 back in their heyday which makes it pretty absurd when you realize that the Converge and Universal Unit figures are rapidly catching up. As far as STANDart figures go however, this set is one of the trickier to acquire today. It shouldn't really come as a surprise given the several high profile figures included. Currently, volume six figures seem to be selling at around ¥3000-¥4000 a piece on the second hand market, so it pays to keep eyes and ears open if you are still looking for some of them.

The original four figures from 2010 come in the first generation STANDart boxes which are considerably larger than the revised boxes that were introduced with volume 8. The 2013 reissue figure comes in one such smaller box, which as a new figure sadly does not come with any collector card.

021 : RX-0 Unicorn Gundam (Destroy Mode). The Destroy Mode Unicorn is one of the more problematic STANDart figures to source. It took me almost two years of searching to finally complete the set and I ended up having to pay ¥3000 for it back in 2015.

It is not hard to see why the STANDart Destroy Mode Unicorn is popular. It stands tall against most 1/220 figures and the shiny red transparent parts are just everywhere on this thing. If not for the extensive detail and eye candy though, this figure does come around as very two dimensional and a bit flat. Perhaps a little bend to the arms or knees would have made it feel a bit more three-dimensional.

STANDart RX-0 family: Unicorn Mode (STANDart vol. 9, March 2011), Limited overseas version (also 2011), Destroy Mode (volume 6, January 2010) and the "Rouse Drive Ver." (a.k.a. Awake Mode) which was also an overseas only limited edition (released June 2013).
The STANDart Unicorn family features two versions of both the Unicorn Mode and the Destroy Mode versions, where the alternative versions were both "Overseas Only" limited edition figures. They all remain a bit tricky to find.

021 (Special) : RX-0 Unicorn Gundam (Destroy Mode) (Rouse Drive Ver.). While technically not a figure belonging to STANDart volume 6, I have banded this figure together with its original version since they share the same number. This edition however, was released in time for a 2013 animation festival held in Hong Kong and the figure instead has the Bandai HK logo on the box. So, "Overseas Only" in this case translates to being distributed by Bandai's Hong Kong arm, much to the frustration of Japanese collectors at the time, I would imagine.

The Rouse Drive Unicorn or Awakening Mode as we also know it is a clever variation of the standard figure, where the transparent red parts have been swapped out for transparent cyan instead. The engineers also had to create a new packaging variation of the original box since the STANDart figures had been chucked into smaller less extravagant boxes at the time.

So many nice things going on in the details of the STANDart Unicorn figures. It can be hard to believe that we are dealing with candy toys here.

Shokugan Destroy Mode Unicorns: Assault Kingdom vol. 2 (released June 2013), STANDart volume 6 (January 2010), Assault Kingdom Awakening Mode (EX 05, June 2015) and STANDart's Rouse Drive Version ("Overseas Only", summer 2013).
With Unicorn being a latecomer to the Gundam franchise there aren't that many Shokugan figures around for the RX-0, unless of course you count the numerous iterations done for the figures that actually were produced. Basically apart from the STANDart figure series (which contains all the regular variations sans Unit 03 Phenex) we only have the option of going the Assault Kingdom route. Surely it is only a question of time before they break into Universal Unit though?

022 : MS-06S Zaku II (Char's Custom). Char's trust old Zaku II sure took its sweet time to be released. Considering that the first STANDart figure entered retail in November 2007 that's pretty surprising (and the RX-78 itself had to wait until September 2008 as well).

There are almost as many different red colours used for this mobile suit as there are figures released. The STANDart version goes for a very pinkish salmon-red base colour, with darker red areas painted on the torso. While the colour is a bit pale for my taste the many coloured details still make it look really neat. Another odd design choice (which can also be seen on a couple other STANDart Zeon mobile suits) is the powered down sensor eye. I'd really like to understand what the intention was here. Few Gundam things are as iconic as the Zeon monoeye, and this really hurts the figure a lot.

Char's MS-06S as seen through the 1/220 eyes of FW Ultimate Operation (Nintendo Gamecube promo paint-up of the stock MS-06J, released March 2004), Assault Kingdom MS-06S (Volume 2, June 2013), STANDart MS-06S (Volume 6, January 2010) and the Universal Unit Origin Version MS-06 (UN2 Volume 1, August 2016).
The MS-06S enjoys a representation in pretty much any Gundam collector figure set, though there are many takes on the design. The STANDart figure is certainly the most detailed in the 1/220 size although not necessarily the best representation of the suit as a whole.

023 : F91 Gundam F91. Coming in at the tail end of the set are two versions of the rarely seen F91 from the movie with the same name. Even though the F91 storyline continues in the Universal Century timeline we have seen extremely few figures from its timeline. As far as I know there has never been any other representation in the 1/220 scale, the closest you come is with the two STANDart Crossbone Gundams from set 16 (which both are excellent by the way). It is too bad we never saw the Vigna Ghina in STANDart, it would have been an exemplary figure for this figure line.

The good news is that the STANDart F91 is a really nice looking figure. With its 15 meter height it comes in a bit shorter than your average 18m mobile suit, and this is also represented here. The F91 feels really diminutive, especially when paired with the Destroy Mode Unicorn. I'm not sure I entirely appreciate this; I wouldn't have had a problem with an average sized STANDart figure also for the F91.

"What do you mean beam-rifle is up-side down!? It's gangsta!"
Interestingly, the Gashapon F91 (HG MS Series 38, September 2005) which is supposed to be in roughly 1/250 scale is actually on par with the STANDart figure. Not a fault of the STANDart figure but just shows how the Gashapon figures have a more standardized size.

The STANDart F91 as a figure is very detailed but suffers a bit from the "early STANDart build", where certain parts are exceptionally willing to fall out of their sockets. While not as exaggerated as with the first generation STANDart figures, the arms and shoulder mounted beam rifles do have a tendency to come off even during gentle handling (the same problem is replicated in my blue figure). Another low point is the lack of other in-universe figures for the F91 to pose with. There's the (huge) Assault Kingdom Jegan I guess, and aforementioned Crossbone Gundams. It is such a shame that the awesome Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits are yet to break into anything bigger than SD format.

024 : F91 Gundam F91 (Harrison's Customized). It is not often we get to enjoy Gundam figures that are not white, but the vividly blue and orange painted F91 belonging to Harrison Martin certainly does the job. I really like the colour scheme of this figure (although perhaps in part because it has a lot of similarity with the Titans GM livery).

There isn't a whole lot to say about this version of the F91 figure, it is a repaint and it works as a repaint should. Both F91 figures have superb colours and markings, which is pretty much what STANDart was about in the first place. This figure should be the easiest of the four to obtain, although in general it is probably best to try to pick up the complete set as that should be considerably cheaper per figure.


FusionWorks delivered another mighty fine STANDart set here. It is obviously still in demand considering the relative rarity and high prices of these figures today. If you are just starting out with a STANDart collection just remember that you can pick up 5-6 of the cheaper figures for what you will be asked to pony up here.

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