Saturday, 29 April 2017

Gundam Converge : NZ-999 Neo Zeong Option Parts Set

Following up on the Neo Zeong review here comes the optional parts set for the same figure. It was a separate Premium Bandai release from March 2017 and thus appeared about the same time as the retail Neo Zeong figure. There were also bundles where the two boxes were sold together with the Awakening Version Unicorn Gundam (CORE 009) which offered buyers a slight discount from the individual products.

The NZ-999 Neo Zeong figure itself has a Bandai-recommended retail price of ¥3500 where as the optional parts kit was priced at ¥2000. Interestingly enough; as I was browsing Mandarake today the Neo Zeong figure is available at ¥2500 whereas the parts kit was going for ¥3500.

The Neo Zeon Option Parts Set is the third add-on product for Converge figures that we have seen. First came the Stardust Memory themed "0083 The Last Decisive Battle Option Set" in June last year, which decked out the Neue Ziel and the Dendrobium. It was followed in November by the "Wings of Light Option Set" for the Strike Freedom and Destiny Gundam figures. I'm not a fan of this latest Converge trend but still not strong enough to say no...

This will be a pretty short product feature because there isn't a whole lot to say about the Neo Zeong option kit. Apart from all the excessive packaging we get exactly nine components and a somewhat superfluous instruction leaflet in the box. My copy comes from Bandai Asia in Hong Kong so chewing gums are never included with those, but I wonder if it was included in the Japanese edition (Trying real hard to add value to the ¥2000 investment here).

As far as options go, there aren't a whole lot in this box. The most obvious part is of course the large transparent ring-shaped Psycho Shard field, which attaches very securely to a peg on the figure's stand. I do wonder though if over time this peg will loosen up with wear and tear. That could lead the ring to start sliding left or right and requiring glue, which would be a bit of a nightmare since you'd have no choice but to store these parts in assembled condition. I am surprised that they didn't go for a two-peg solution here.

The second and last option is four replacement parts for the secondary arms in their deployed condition. The standard figure comes with all four secondary arms stowed on the back so here is your chance to replace them with wildly grabbing hands desperately trying to reach something.

All secondary arms have similar components and offer some slight articulation which enables you to do some rotation and bending, but the articulation is of course limited by the huge bulk of the mobile armor on one side, and the psyco shard ring on the other side. There's just enough movement in there to create a little bit of asymmetry but not much more.

Each secondary arm also comes with the five fingered hand, and each hand rotates in its socket. For hand options, this is pretty mediocre. The Neo Zeong can launch the individual fingers from its hands to act as remote weapons. It is highly surprising that for this price we couldn't get at least one or two hands with fingers shooting out. This was handled quite well on the Assault Kingdom figure:

Promotional Photo from the Bandai Shokugan page showing off the Assault Kingdom Neo Zeong's arm features.
Granted the Assault Kingdom figure is in another scale and price range but really, a couple of extra hands with fingers being released or as shown above with fingers locked in W-shape shouldn't have been very difficult or pricey to deliver. Especially when we consider all the advanced features that we've seen on recent premium Converge figures. Even the Neue Ziel included psycommu controlled hands.

"Pick on someone your own size..."
Overall the Option Parts Set for the Neo Zeong is pretty barebones, but the things it does add are all good. The Neo Zeong figure looks even more intimidating and majestic with half a dozen flailing arms and the massive golden ring, but for the price Bandai is asking the set feels incomplete. I can't really recommend this parts set to anyone other than die-hard Neo Zeong fans and you probably went ahead and ordered this set a long time ago anyway...

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