Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Gundam Converge CORE 012 : RX-178+FXA-05D Gundam Mk-II Full Weapon Set

September saw the retail release of the massive Psyco Gundam which occurred more or less in tandem with a limited Premium Bandai release of the RX-178, a rather familiar face in Gundam Converge. Priced at ¥2000 it comes in a special package together with a redesigned version of its G-Defenser support craft. I must say I am really surprised that these figures were not released as retail, they are true mainstays in most figure series and it seems cheeky to hold them back like this. Perhaps they will find their way into some other more widely available form in the near future though. With these things you just never know.

The "Full Weapon Set" Gundam Mk. II (or Super Gundam as it is also known) comes in the typical P-Bandai oversized cardboard packaging. The inner box follows the typical boring black and white style of most other CORE figures.

Quite a number of parts in this set since it is one of those transforming 80's designs that must cause many gray hairs on the product designers.

This particular box comes from Bandai overseas division in Hong Kong so no chewing gum is included.

As you can see there is a lot going on with this figure set, let's go through the different concepts we get from the box:

RX-178 Gundam Mk. II

This is of course the "standard" RX-178 in the white A.E.U.G. colour scheme. We recently got the navy blue Titans version of this figure in the recent Converge #06 retail set which popped up earlier this year in April.

The basic figure is pretty much a recolouration of the already existing blue version and features the same basic gear. The CORE figures are typically marketed by Bandai as being improved versions of the basic figures, often including more markings or enhanced paintwork but as we can see here the figures are pretty comparable in that regard, the standard retail figure even including unit number decals.

The CORE RX-178 is the third version of this figure. The first A.E.U.G. Gundam Mk-II popped up as a 7-Eleven exclusive back in the early days of Converge (figure 19 from September 2011) and is quite rare these days. A general retail release with bazooka armament followed together with a G-Defenser in Converge volume 7 in May 2012.

The new sculpt from the Converge reboot looks much more aggressive and less like a Gashapon SD figure, a trend we have been seeing in after the reboot as the figure sculpts become more elaborate. The new design is really cool but I don't like that its eyes are obscured from view by that gigantic forehead. Bonus points also for finally painting the frame of the see through-window on the shield red.

Where the retail Titans Gundam Mk-II only comes armed with a beam rifle the CORE version has more armament options. The package also contains a redesigned large hyper bazooka as well as the long beam rifle normally mounted on the G-Defenser. An optional right hand has been designed for the latter two weapons since they use round handles as opposed to the rectangular handle on the beam rifle.

The new hyper bazooka looks really good and is much bigger than its older counterpart. The old Mk-II looks a tad bit jealous.

Now, here is where I have my main issue with this figure. The two new weapons are great (although a spiffy translucent red beam saber is still conspicuously absent...) but the need for a specially designed hand means that the old Titans Mk-II figures cannot wield them. Most of the CORE figures will no doubt be displayed in the Super Gundam configuration so here we have this nice hyper bazooka lying around in the box unable to be used because the only hand that can wield it is already in use with the G-Defenser's long beam rifle

I have already voiced my objections about not including more gear with the retail RX-178:s in that review, but this just reopens that wound. Just look how nice that Titans mobile suit looks with some decent armament. I will be getting a second CORE RX-178 so that I can re-equip one of my Titans RX-178:s with a Bazooka (as well as keeping a G-Defenser in its separate mode).

FXA-05D G-Defenser

The G-Defenser unit has also been given a significant make-over with this re-release. It either combines with the RX-178 figure or displays separately. Unfortunately no action base is included for this G-Defenser, which frankly seems like a dumb (or cheapskate) oversight. My figure here borrows a clear Assault Kingdom action base.

The new G-Defenser is very sleek and features quite a lot of nice colour applications. It is still somewhat fiddly to assemble and is prone to falling apart, much like its other Gashapon cousins I might add.

While we don't get any action base there are two clear support pieces that can be slid in between the fuselage and its... uh, landing gear? This reinforcement is definitely useful and helps keep the figure in shape.

Compared to the first version of the Converge G-Defenser the new figure is sleek and mean, not to mention much larger.

There are clearly two different design schools at work here. The early figure follows the cute aesthetics school found in e.g. Gashapon figures while the new figure clearly wants to look like the real thing.

There aren't two G-Defenser figures out there that look the same. Shape of wings, fuselage and equipment varies with each release. Below you can see the two Converge figures flanked by the SD Gundam Warrior NEXT Vol. 22 G-Defenser and the recent Gashapon Senshi Forte version which is almost as big as the new Converge figure but more clumsy in its style.

Notice how all of these figures list, bend and crumble in one direction or another. They are not only pretty but rather fragile as well.

RX-178+FXA-05D Super Gundam

The last and primary feature of this figure is of course how the two units combine into the Super Gundam. Basically you remove the cockpit section from the G-Defenser and reattach the landing gear so that they swing out 90 degrees acting as shields for the Gundam. The long beam rifle is removed from the fuselage and becomes handheld instead. Technically the shield is discarded during this transformation but I like to attach it to the figure anyway.

The figure's action base has a special support peg to help keep the G-Defenser parts in place but I thought it was quite fiddly to use and the figure can still stand up without the need for its support.

The CORE Super Gundam is really impressive when compared to its older version. Everything is more pronounced and increased in size, the look is definitely more down-to-business than kawaii now. In the above comparison we see the Bandai Asia metallic-colour "Overseas Only" Super Gundam for comparison.

We also just had a Super Gundam released in the Gashapon Senshi Forte line this summer. it is interesting to note how also this figure has more pronounced components, larger wings, shields and beam rifle.

MRX-009 Psyco Gundam

Lastly I'll just bring up the Psyco Gundam connection which is the RX-178's main antagonist in the early pre-Super Gundam era of the MSG Zeta Gundam anime. Since the two figures were released practically at the same time though through different channels it feels prudent to add a quick Psyco came here. : )


The new CORE Super Gundam figure is an excellent realization of this mobile suit and clearly superior to its older counterpart. On the other hand this doesn't mean that the old version has become obsolete, far from it. Like all the other recent Zeta Gundam redesigns it makes a key mobile suit available again which mainly benefits people just starting out their collections. It is a shame that it doesn't help improve the existing Titans mobile suits (a spare right hand would have helped) and it sucks that it is released as a CORE figure only but the price point isn't that bad. Limited availability will be its main problem down the line I suppose.

Several Zeta-era mobile suits have now been redesigned following the Converge 2016 reboot.

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