Saturday, 8 July 2017

Assault Kingdom : FA-010A FAZZ

It is nice to revisit the Assault Kingdom figure line again after its (much too) early retirement in May last year. It seems Bandai had similar thoughts although in this case we are probably dealing with a very old project that has been shelved for some time.

The FA-010A FAZZ or Full Armor ZZ Gundam is a bit of an anachronism. The design, introduced in 1987's Gundam Sentinel is supposedly a development step between the enhanced ZZ Gundam (MSZ-010S) and the original Full Armor ZZ Gundam design (FA-010S). The original Full Armor Gundam had appeared in the Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam series a year earlier in 1986. And once the FAZZ had been released the Full Armor ZZ Gundam design also came to benefit from it by being upgraded to also carry the FAZZ's majestic shoulder cannon.

The Assault Kingdom FAZZ is also a backwards implementation of the existing MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam model. The ZZ Gundam was released as EX09 in March 2016 and the FAZZ followed as a Bandai Premium release in March 2017, at a point where the Assault Kingdom product line had already been sleeping for ten months, replaced by the Universal Unit line.

It took me some three months to finally find the FAZZ and I had to spend a soul hurting ¥3500 to obtain it. This is about twice the price Bandai originally sold it for. Ironic, considering how the standard ZZ Gundam figure (which also comes with the Mega Rider) originally sold for ¥3200 and can now be had for about half that price.

Although the titular FA-010A FAZZ mobile suit cannot unequip its armored coat this is a redesigned ZZ Gundam figure so of course we have the option to do so here. In fact the basic figure is a direct replica of the ZZ Gundam figure, apart from the different paintjob this is the exact same figure down to the last hinge and panel. So our model is free to pose without its cumbersome armour which gives us a lot of playability to consider.

The basic figure without its armour has some decent articulation but a lot of it is held back by the gigantic backpack. Don't expect anything that fancy but you should be able to get some decent poses out of it.

One thing I did not like about the original ZZ Gundam figure and that (of course) remains unchanged is that the action base is dark gray instead of transparent. This is an obvious production cost choice but since the figure only comes with the standard sized Assault Kingdom hexagon plate you can easily repurpose a transparent base from one of your other Assault Kingdom figures. In fact, I would encourage the purchase of some additional cheap AK figures just for this very purpose.

Improving the dynamic feel of the mobile suit with a custom transparent base and also borrowing a beam saber from the Qubeley.

Completing the FAZZ involves doing a few changes to the basic figure and then attaching the various armor components by clipping them on to the figure's various limbs. If you have built the Assault Kingdom Full Armor ZZ Gundam before this will be familiar territory since this figure holds no surprises on its own.

The transformation between two modes of this figure is simple once you have figured out which parts go where, and you can alternate between the two fairly quickly. As with all Gundam figures though, it is probably a wise idea not to do a lot of parts replacement as it can sometimes wear out the joints and create lose fits.

The FAZZ certainly looks the part in its fully assembled mode. The articulation is of course not helped by the addition of several bulky components but it is still really only the backpack that produces the most posing limitations.

The oversized beam cannon slung over the FAZZ' right shoulder is of course also a huge articulation stopper. Not only is it tricky to line up all the components to make the FAZZ's right hand hold on to the grip (I tend to use the open hand and consider a near miss good enough here) but if you want to swing it in any direction other than straight forward you will most likely end up uncoupling it from the backpack.

As pointed out earlier in the review a flying mobile suit works best with a transparent action base and since none is included with the figure, make use of other bases that you may have lying around.

Here the FAZZ poses next to the FA-010S Full Armor ZZ Gundam (Assault Kingdom EX09) showing the kinship between the two. I did unmount the shoulder cannon from the FA-010S as I think that design looks cleaner that way. With the advent of the FAZZ figure it now looks even more convincing to load the two out differently.

And just for fun, here the FAZZ poses to the MSZ-006C1[Bst] Hummingbird, a Universal Unit figure which released around the same time in 2016.


Overall the Assault Kingdom FAZZ figure is a successful repaint of the existing MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam figure. While it seems strange that Bandai would release it almost a year after the demise of the Assault Kingdom line, and as a pricey P-Bandai limited item to boot, you got to wonder who the target market is for a figure of this kind. However, if you are a hardcore Assault Kingdom fan with an accommodating budget I can definitely say go for it (and don't be shy to pony up the cash once you actually do manage to find it) but for casual collectors the money can probably be spent better elsewhere.

If you enjoy custom builds and repaints it would be a much better deal to buy the EX09 MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam figure. Not only is it much cheaper but it also contains the exact same figure plus the Mega Rider vehicle at half the cost. Before Bandai revealed the FAZZ figure I had actually gone and purchased myself a second EX09 with the intent to have it converted. Right now I'm still trying to decide whether I should pass it on or hold on to and display it as a plain ZZ Gundam to pose next to the Full Armor version.

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