Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Figure Collection : Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt - MS-06 Zaku II

Recently we looked at the Thunderbolt Sector GM released as a prize item for the Ichiban Kuji lottery in 2016. Manufactured by Banpresto this figure series is one of very few aimed at the Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt designs. The figures are somewhat deformed and compact in appearance and mostly resemble the Gundam Converge aesthetic although they are not completely similar.

The Thunderbolt Sector Zaku II appeared as the C-level prize in this series, with the GM coming in as D (the Full Armor Gundam and Psycho Zaku being levels A and B of course). Just like all other figures in this set (except the RB-79 Ball) it comes in a huge box measuring some 18,5 x 20 cm which makes it hard to guess just exactly how big is the figure inside. Well, let's take a closer look.

You will immediately notice that the figure is housed in a cardboard insert which is only about half the size of the box itself, so right off the bat we can see almost 50% excess space in there. Also immediately visible is the instruction leaflet which is shared among all the figures in the set. In the image above you can for example see how to assemble the giant colony cylinder you can collect if you happen to purchase a total of six Gattle or Saberfish fighters (Prizes in category F).

The actual figure comes in a plastic bag with only a few extras, mainly a huge and rather ugly looking action base which is similar to the others used in this set.

The figure's proportions seem very similar to the Gundam Converge figures indeed, although the Banpresto Thunderbolt figures are intended to float around in space and so feature legs in a dangling pose unable to stand on their own.

I have to say the Zaku figure is looking quite smart with its clean and crisp colour scheme, enhanced by the shiny mono eye and nice metallic golden detail. The large backpack is typical for the Thunderbolt design although the figure does not feature the large external booster tank which is supposed to sit on it. This feels like a strange omission and would have made up a bit for the general lack of accessories.

The figure has some simple articulation in its arms as can be seen from the parts explosion above. The head can also move from side to side. Just like the GM in this series the pieces don't really hold together very firmly and excessive manipulation will probably wear out these joints very quickly.

Above we see the Thunderbolt Zaku together with the rival Thunderbolt Sector GM and a pair of Zeonic Gattle-type spacecraft. The scale of the figures doesn't feel very consistent as the GM feels quite large and the Gattles a bit tiny.

Let's end with a few more comparisons to figures of the sizes we normally deal with on the blog. The Thunderbolt Zaku is gigantic compared to a Gundam Converge figure and is roughly the same height as the 1/220 scale Zaku II from Assault Kingdom.

I purchased my Thunderbolt Zaku II from Mandarake and paid ¥1200 for it, which is 50% more than the GM goes for so it appears to be more in demand. These figures currently aren't that hard to dig up but the question is if you want to spend your precious shelf-space on a set of figures which really do not pose well with anything else. I really wish we had some Thunderbolt sector figures in the other more common scales as well as the designs are quite nice.

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