Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Gundam STANDart : MSA-0011[Ext] Ex-S Gundam

This review is a double feature of two different Gundam STANDart figures which both depict the Ex-S Gundam mobile suit from Gundam Sentinel. Both were released as rather pricey limited edition figures, the original Ex-S appearing in March 2014 and the recent CORE revisitation coming out in July 2017. The original figure had a price of ¥3600 while the CORE version upped it to ¥4167. Somewhat amusingly, the 2014 version was hailed as the first step in the next ten years of FW Gundam figures, we all know how that went.

Each figure comes in a large box the size of roughly two normal STANDart boxes, and contains all pieces in separate slots for easy storage and with extra soft plastic sheets in between to avoid pieces rubbing against each other and messing with the paintwork. To date there have only been three premium STANDart figures like this; apart from the two Ex-S versions we also have a magnificent Sinanju figure that was released in between.

Each figure comes with full assembly instructions which come in extremely handy as there are many specific features of especially the action base configuration which would be tricky to sort out through trial and error.

Each figure contains the exact same parts, with mainly paint applications differing between the two.

Instructions are included to display each Ex-S figure in up to three different modes. We'll be looking at both figures simultaneously as we go through the different poses.

Mode 1 - Basic standing mode

The Ex-S Gundam figure is pretty massive and has several heavy parts attached to its back which makes it difficult to display on its own. Hence we get an action base with three different configurations. Even in the most basic form a simple stand is used which clips into the figure's crotch keeping it securely upright. This is necessary since the legs are only loosely attached to the torso. This is done to allow for the figure to either stand upright or dangle its feet while flying.

The basic mode omits the most iconic accessory of the mobile suit, which is instead featured specifically in the next display:

Mode 2 - With Beam Smart Gun

Notice that the action base now uses a sturdier stand which attaches the Beam Smart Gun on a separate arm in front of the figure (this is the famous smart gun claviature pose...). The Smart Gun attachment point is rather loose and the gun will easily spin around or fall off in this position. Note also that the mobile suit is now propped up from the ground and is instead hovering above it.

Other than this, the first two modes are very similar and you could easily remove the front arm holding the smart gun to display the base mobile suit only.

Mode 3 - Parts Separated

The parts explosion mode removes several components from the mobile suit itself and floats them around the basic mobile suit by attaching them directly onto the action base instead. This has a more natural looking Beam Smart Gun positioning at the side of the suit rather than it being dangled in front.

Out of the three variants this is easily the most imposing and also the main feature of the figure.


Here you can see the two colour schemes next to each other. The standard Gundam red-white-blue is enhanced with a sharp two-tone blue zigzag pattern and there are also several smaller distinct colour changes giving the CORE version a more modern look (the old colours are beginning to look a bit vintage already). I am not entirely sure I appreciate the updated white action base though. Although it matches the figure quite well I think it is attracting too much attention and could have benefitted from being toned down or why not even fully transparent.

If you are a Gundam Converge collector you will recognize the colour pattern used for the CORE figure from the Converge CORE redefinition of the S-Gundam figure as well. Both figure series are/were manufactured by FusionWorks after all.

The STANDart Ex-S Gundam is significantly taller than the average STANDart figure. Although the figure line is not done to scale, the Ex-S Gundam has been allowed to retain the same proportions as the S Gundam that it modifies, which is a really nice touch.

2017 has really been a Gundam Sentinel year in the Gundam Shokugan series. We have got new Sentinel-themed figures also in Universal Unit and Gundam Converge and even Assault Kingdom was revived to provide us with a FAZZ recolouration of the old FA-010S Full Armor ZZ Gundam figure. The E.F.S.F. Sentinel line-up is now pretty daunting when you combine figures from all these 1/220 figure series.

Overall the STANDart Ex-S Gundam figures are highly enjoyable and both are given centerpieces in a 1/220 line-up. Their main problem is of course the high prices. The CORE Ex-S figure is currently commanding around ¥3500 on the Japanese market while the original figure is getting harder to find as well as more expensive, expect to pay at least ¥4500 for it.

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