Saturday, 22 April 2017

Gundam Converge CORE 009 : RX-0 Unicorn Gundam Awakening Ver.

It has been a couple of months since we saw MSG Unicorn being featured in Converge but now they are back and in full force. We have no less than three more or less simultaneous releases, and all of them sitting in the premium segment. This also means that your wallet will hate you if you do decide to join in.

One of the three figures is the latest Converge CORE offering, another RX-0 Unicorn. This time around it comes with some new equipment options though, and a price tag of ¥2000, equalling four standard figures.

I picked up my Unicorn as part of the Premium Bandai Converge UC0096 bundle, meaning it shipped together with the NZ-999 Neo Zeong and an optional parts set for the latter. All three products are sold individually although the Unicorn and the Neo Zeong Parts Set are limited Premium Bandai items. The Bandai suggested price for the three separate products is a whopping ¥7500 yen. Customers could also order the full set at a slightly discounted price of ¥7100. It is one of those bundles that I picked up from a seller in Hong Kong, paying 100 USD for the privilege. That's a 50% mark up from the original price but I decided it was worth the hassle this time.

As this item shipped from the local Bandai Asia H.K. the classic Shokugan chewing gum was not included with this package. So much for being a candy toy. Alright, let's open this sucker up:

Nothing out of the ordinary thus far. I still think it is a pity that the CORE box art is in black and white, it would have looked really good in colour.

As you can see from the contents this is a pretty basic Destroy Mode Unicorn with a single beam rifle as part of its standard equipment. The majority of the parts in the box are dedicated to the new shield booster units.

I think it would have been nice to get one or two additional gear choices with this figure. Granted this figure is aimed at depicting a specific battle scene only, but it wouldn't have hurt to get a couple of bazookas or so in there, now that we have two hands that are able to hold equipment. A bit of a missed opportunity as far as I am concerned.

The basic Unicorn figure is turquoise, very turquoise. As in toothpaste turquoise. The basic colour is pearly whitish-green with a coat of turquoise which creates a rather pleasant luminous effect once you get used to it. Although not clearly evident in these photos, my figure's right arm has less of this top coating making it appear more white. I don't know if this is an intended effect or just a manufacturing inconsistency.

The three Shield Booster units each feature a dual Beam Gatling Gun which can be removed if you feel like it. There are pegs on both arms on the figure which allows you to equip one or two shields in traditional fashion. Due to the figure being ambidextrous you can also plonk the beam rifle into either hand. Even better; if you have more weapons lying about you can create interesting dual wielding poses with those as well. The figure also features tiny holes on its lower legs. These are for the missile pods that came with the Full Armor Unicorn figure (Converge EX 02), which the new figure is obviously based upon.

The Awakening Version Unicorn can dual wield weapons. Here it borrows a Hyper Beam Javelin from another Unicorn figure.
The figure is made of a more rubbery type of plastic, which is not a good mix with articulation. The pieces seem to latch on to each other and the friction can cause limbs and head not wanting to rotate in their sockets like you are used to. I get the feeling that the plastic material inside the actual arms for example, is more likely to twist and bend than the arm rotating in the socket. Be very gentle when you attempt to reposition the figure's arms or head as you could end up damaging them.

Now that we have talked about the basic figure itself, let's take a closer look at the three Shield Booster Units. Bandai and FW ship three plastic stands of different size that you can use to create the impression of them zipping around like funnel type weapons. Each figure has a triangular base and a transparent arm with a ball joint attachment, which allows you to wiggle the Shield Boosters in flight a little, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. The picture above shows how much variation you can expect to get out of them.

I think the cooler way to display the Shield Booster Units is as a shield wall. Thank goodness for the instruction leaflet because this looks much easier to do than it was to pull off. Due to the very limited articulation for each Shield Booster you need to perfectly position each arm in a very specific fashion. When completed though, it looks pretty spectacular.

Be aware that ball sockets like the ones used here do not always age well. Sometimes it can be hard to disassemble a ball jointed figure like this. I have seen several pegs of this type break apart with the ball coming off the peg and remaining inside the joint. This happened in several Mechwarrior Age of Destruction figures and I also had a similar joint break apart on an old Cosmo Fleet Zanzibar vessel. 
Converge Destroy Mode Unicorn line-up, from left to right: Bog-standard red psycho frame (from SP02 double pack, released August 2012), the Pearl Clear red version (UC episode 7 advance screening promo item), Full Armor Unicorn Awake Mode (EX 02, released March 2014), Metallic Color Awake Mode (from SP Overseas Only double pack released August 2015) and the new CORE 009 Awakening Version from March 2017.
The Destroy Mode Unicorn line-up is starting to look more and more like a rainbow by now. I still think the old EX 02 Full Armor Unicorn is the pick of the pack for all its extra equipment, the traditional red psycho frame figure from SP 02 looks pretty good too.

Overall the Awakening Version RX-0 is a really nice figure, but I would still consider it highly optional in your collection. There are so many Destroy Mode Unicorn figures released already and all of them fill the role just as well. Then again, the older figures aren't always that easy to find either...

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