Thursday, 12 April 2018

Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Figure Collection : Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt - RGM-79 GM

After covering the mobile armors and spaceships in the Ichiban Kuji Thunderbolt collection and feeling overall quite satisfied with them I (of course) began glancing at the remaining figures in this series. We've already looked at the Earth Federation Ball and Saberfish as well as the Zeonic Gattle in previous reviews. Today we will look at one of the four mobile suits also released in this one-off figure set.

This Thunderbolt Sector version GM is as far as I know the only figure ever produced of this mobile suit (save for the HG model kit of course). It belongs to a series of prize items made by Banpresto for the Ichiban Kuji lottery. As such these figures are not available through regular retail although they pop up on the second hand market from time to time. This figure isn't particularly pricy, in fact being one of the cheaper ones in the set. I think I paid 800 yen for mine.

I was a bit surprised when opening the large box only to find a cardboard insert almost half the size. I had expected this figure to come with a piece of a space colony cylinder like some of the other large box figures in this series do but now I realize this is reserved for the two spacecraft figures only.

Apart from the figure itself we do get an enormously oversized stand (four times the footprint of the smaller vehicles) and the same old instruction sheet that is included with all the figures in the set (you can for example see prize items A through C in the picture above).

With all the pieces laid out you can see this is a fairly simple design made of the harder type of plastic that Banpresto often uses. The material is somewhere in between the soft plastic used for Converge and the hard plastic used in model kits. The figure appears to be very sturdy and not so easy to break.

Above you can see the GM as it is intended to pose. The figure sits on its peculiar base which attaches to the crotch and also allows for the backpack to connect through a hole in the back. This makes the figure very balanced and helps keeping the backpack in place, but of course also means you cannot change the pose even a little.

The Thunderbolt GM has some decent articulation in its arms and the head sits on a ball joint. The shields can also be attached to the backpack on attachments which use ball joints as well, allowing them to swivel from side to side. Overall I found the articulation points very weak; these joints will wear out very quickly if you are not careful.

You can also pose the GM without its backpack for a more classic look. Sadly the legs are stuck in the floating position, so it is not possible to have the figure standing around on the ground (or on a flight deck).

An interesting feature is how the two arms are basically the same piece, except they have holes drilled into them on opposite sides. This allows for the GM to use its shields in the old fashioned way, and when you place the shields elsewhere you can swap the arms around to have the holes hidden on the side facing the torso. A neat trick. And, if you manage to get hold of a second figure it would be possible to attach a total of four shields to the figure which would be more in line with Thunderbolt style.

Below you can see the Thunderbolt GM together with the Ball and the Saberfish vehicles also included in this figure range. I don't think either of these figures matches the others in style or size very well.

To get a better feel for its size, here the GM poses with a GM II from STANDart (1/220 scale) and a Converge GM:

The Thunderbolt GM does share some of the deformed style of the Converge figures but is much too large to be able to pose with them. I'm still hoping FW will make some more Thunderbolt figures for the Converge line.

All in all, the Banpresto Thunderbolt GM is a fine figure although it doesn't really share size and style with many others, making it ill-suited for any organized display.

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