Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Gundam Converge #06

Gundam Converge volume 6 was released in Japan at the beginning of April 2017 and so here I am, almost two months later after having finally snared a complete set. This time it was quite a lot of work and I ended up sourcing figures from no less than five different sellers with prices ranging between anything from ¥600 to a whopping $15.00. Never mind all the rare figures released in Converge, now I am actually having trouble with the commons too.

Still, as the different candidates started arriving I could see that this was a set worth hanging out for. Although the general feel of volume six is very "blue", this set contains a lot of high-profile figures and unexpected choices and I had a lot of fun with it once I actually got to open the damned things.

I'm sure anyone who has collected records has had the classic "walking into a store and finding a lot of hard to find albums" dream. I have yet to dream about stumbling into well-stocked second hand toyshops in Japan but I am actively daydreaming about it already. I didn't know collecting toys can be so stressful. :)

Anyway, enough rambling and let's take a look at what the designers at FusionWorks and Bandai have in store for us with Converge volume six.

150 : XXXG-01W Wing Gundam (Endless Waltz Version). Before we dive into the Wing Gundam figure let's just pause for a moment and note that with this figure the regular figure line has now hit number 150. As far as collectible Gundam minis go this is a very respectable number. There are not many figure series that can measure up against this even when you include smaller Gashapon miniatures.

Unless you are acquainted with the Gundam Wing series the different designs of the various titular Gundams can be a bit confusing and I myself can never remember which version belongs where (even though I suffered through the full series as my first introduction to the Mobile Suit Gundam universe). Perhaps not entirely surprising since some of the designs are a bit similar, especially as far as the Converge Wing Gundam is concerned.

Converge Wing Gundam history: XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero (EW Version) from Converge 10 released April 2013, XXXG-01W Wing Gundam (Original TV series) from Converge 15 released June 2014 and the new XXXG-01W Wing Gundam (EW Version) from Converge #06, April 2017.
The Converge interpretations of the Wing Gundam have all been good looking and fairly detailed, but the new figure takes things to a whole new level. The new Converge figures are simply much more defined and littered with colourful detail. In case of the Wing Gundam this becomes very apparent as it is exploding with colour and intricately painted parts.

The Converge Wing Gundam next to his big brother from STANDart which was also sculpted by FusionWorks. The kinship is striking.
There's not a whole lot going on in the accessory department although we get the basic rifle + shield combo (which is more than you can say for the STANDart Wing Gundam that preceded it). Overall I find the new Wing figure a huge improvement when compared to its earlier versions and now that we have 3 of the 4 variants available I can only hope the next thing we see from the After Colony timeline will be a completely different mobile suit...

151 : XXXG-01H2 Gundam Heavyarms Kai (Endless Waltz Version). The second figure in volume six is a new face for Converge and the third mobile suit from Wing Gundam to make an appearance here. The Heavyarms is probably the most conventional looking of the five Gundams from Wing although this version from the Endless Waltz movie is a bit more spectacular looking than the original red and white design.

Heavyarms is one of those figures that just grab your attention immediately with a very stylish livery and nicely painted metallic parts. The figure actually also comes with a pair of replaceable hands which is very unusual when it comes to Converge. I am really curious why FW and Bandai were kind enough to give us two hand choices since the empty hands are just closed fists with no ability to hold any weapons. Perhaps there was some disagreement around the conference table which pose would be the best.

Speaking of looks though, there is one feature of the Heavyarms figure that is bound to cause a bit of controversy. I am fairly certain I am not the only person who was appalled to discover a clown mask covering half of the machine's face. This detail had completely slipped me by in the promotional shots. The main photo on the box shows the figure from the left side and I hadn't noticed this until it sat there in front of me grinning like some crazy toy from a Stephen King novel. I loathe it and I think it pretty much ruins the entire figure. And sadly, this cannot be unseen.

I wonder why the designers thought this was a great idea? Perhaps they enjoyed the technical aspect of this feature as it would add some novelty to the endless line of samey Gundam faces but this thing is positively hideous. It also gives me flashbacks of that mopey emo-kid Trowa Barton who was piloting the machine in the show (one of those characters that I am normally doing my best to forget).

If there was one part they should have made exchangeable on this figure it should have been the mask.

152 : RX-178 Gundam Mk-II (Titans Color). Leaving the After Colony time line and heading back to Universal Century we meet with a real senior when it comes to Mobile Suit Gundam figures. The RX-178 is a true veteran to Converge where it has appeared in at least half a dozen different variations, and now it is getting a brand new make-over again. It follows the trend of the reboot figures in having a more chunky and cartoonish appearance with a more prominent head. The new colour scheme with brighter yellow and darker blue is also the most accurate version of this figure in regards to what we saw in the Zeta Gundam show.

The Gundam Mk-II is a design very faithful to the original RX-78 and the figure has a very classic look to it. The accessories have a nice modular feel to them and we now have a beam rifle which is not molded directly onto the hand which is really nice.

If you have been following the announcements regarding the Gundam Mk-II you have probably caught wind of the fact that FW and Bandai have played around a bit with this particular figure, offering us three slight variations with the individual unit numbers 01, 02 and 03 printed on the left shoulder. This troika is nothing new among Gundam figures and we have seen similar takes on them in small Gashapons all the way up to the pricey HCM Pro 1/200 scale figures and beyond. Now, the way this was handled was in a random fashion; buy a figure and you will end up with one of the three figures. Buy another and you have a fairly good chance of scoring a different one, and then buy three more hoping to get lucky with the last remaining figure.


I myself did not enter this lottery but instead had to painstakingly seek out figures from different vendors over a period spanning several weeks. I managed to find units "01" and "03" fairly easily for six hundred yen a piece fairly easily, but it took me another month before finding a unit "02" which I had to spend a ludicrous $15 USD for. Then, to my great joy, after having waited for a month for Mandarake to ship me unit "03" I was exceptionally pleased to see that I had been sent a number "02" instead. So... here I stand like a bloody fool with a spare unit "02" that cost me $15.00 which is probably what I will end up paying for another unit "03" as well.

It doesn't help that clever sellers are hoarding these and then instantly creating a secondary market after having identified the contents. I can live with this when we are talking about random Gashapon at 300 yen a piece but it doesn't work for expensive Shokugan (The stupid A/B pattern in Universal Unit also comes to mind). Of course this is mainly a problem for foreign devils which, as we all know, doesn't bother Bandai too much.

Converge RX-178 (Titans Color) history: RX-178 with bazooka (Unit 01) or beam rifle (Unit 03). Both released in Converge volume 3 in June 2011. Metallic RX-178 with beam rifle from an "Overseas Only" limited edition triple back from Bandai Asia released in February 2016 and the new RX-178 from Converge #06.
Casual Converge collectors can safely ignore my ramblings though. If you want a nice looking RX-178 it doesn't matter whichever version you end up getting (unless you have a thing going on about lucky numbers) as they are all similar apart from the unit number. Wouldn't it have been really spectacular if FW and Bandai had equipped each figure with a signature weapon, say unit "01" with a beam rifle, unit "02" with a beam saber and unit "03" with a bazooka?

^How Bandai and FW should have managed the Mk-II trio.

153 : RX-139 Hambrabi. With the recent influx of Titans design into the Converge roster it was perhaps not a big surprise that FW finally got around to sculpting the unorthodox looking Hambrabi. This is one of those designs that cannot be mistaken for something else and I am personally a great fan of the design. It might seem a bit strange to create aerodynamic transformable designs in space but it sure looks cool.

Being such an unusual design the Hambrabi does not feature the standard Converge articulation, i.e. arms that rotate at the shoulder and a head that spins from side to side. Here head and shoulders are molded directly onto the body but the arms are actually rotating beneath those awesome shoulder pads. It doesn't matter that much though, as the arms will quickly get stuck on the wings that are attached to the mobile suits' back. You will only be awarded with a slightly different bend of the arms for your effort.

Yazan Gable with Dunkel Cooper and Ramsus Hasa, a.k.a. the Titans Hambrabi Team.
The Hambrabi comes loaded with the huge Fedayeen beam rifle which is molded onto the right hand in a pretty awkward position. Unlike the Gabthley which held its Fedayeen like a spear in front of it the Gabthley instead manages some half-half pose and I can't quite shake the feeling of a violin case.

Custom Mobile Armor mode using parts from two Hambrabi figures.

The real Hambrabi transforms into a really sleek looking Mobile Armor mode resembling that of a Manta Ray. Although the Converge figure does not transform you can do a pretty nice half-baked MA-version of it if you happen to own two figures. Simply replace the rifle carrying right arm with the left arm of a second figure, the effect is quite nice.

154 : LRX-077 Sisquiede (A.E.U.G. Color). The tail end of Converge volume six also holds the biggest surprise. Upon its announcement I wasn't even sure where to start looking to identify it, having never heard of a Sisquiede before. The executive summary to its origins is that for some reason this design appeared in a console game full of super deformed (SD Gundam) mobile suits where it is inserted into the Gryps timeline, is later sketched as a fullsize Gundam and now shrunk back into Converge dimensions.

I know the background doesn't make much sense and while it seems strange such an odd mobile suit choice (a first for any Gashapon or Shokugan figure series I believe) is given preference when we still lack so many basic designs the design team clearly had some love to spare for the design. Enough love apparently two create two of them at that. Not surprising perhaps, since the design is pretty striking and the Converge figure looks really good as a result. It is just that I don't have a whole lot to say about this rather alien figure.

155 : LRX-077 Sisquiede (Titans Color). And the same holds true for the blue Titans version of the LRX-077. The two figures are simple colour variations on the same basic design but each is equally stunning. Not that there aren't many other equally stunning designs out there (now, where's our High-Mobility GINN?).

I really wish I had more to contribute on part of the two Sisquiedes since we are talking about a full third of this set. I have noticed though, that the figures themselves seem fairly sought after. From what I have seen myself the LRX's are the least commonly appearing figures from volume 06 so if you would like to add them to your collection it pays to be a little bit extra vigilant here. The two Wing Gundam designs on the other hand seem to arouse much less interest.


Overall Converge Volume #06 is a bit of a mixed bag. All the figures share the impressive quality which we have seen in pretty much all the new Converge reboot figures and there are many exceptionally striking designs in this volume. Still, there are a couple of questionable designs and distribution concerns here (Heavyarms and RX-178 I am looking at you) so in general this volume is perhaps more of a cherry-picking contest than a given full set pick-up.


  1. Man, this Hambrabi is definitely a huge add to the collection! The first time I put my eyes on this unit, I loved it.
    About this Sisquied... Well, I knew nothing about it until the Converge line up. I looks quite nice, maybe I'll pick one.
    Anyway, thanks again for the review!

  2. 100% agreed about the mask on the Heavyarms. Heavyarms is one of my all-time favorite Gundams, so I was waiting a LONG time for it to get some love. What do I get?

    Fucking clown mask.

  3. Great review as always. Looks like I'll be picking up that Heavyarms!

  4. If they were absolutely pushing for the clown mask, I would've made a maskless Heavyarms as the standard and the clown mask version as a Secret Figure.