Sunday, 16 September 2018

Gundam Converge CORE : Operation V Set

Ahh yes, the infamous Project V figure set. A set containing the three classic machines from the original Mobile Suit Gundam show and sold only as part of the huge Converge White Base set available through the Premium Bandai program. This will without a doubt become one of the hardest to find Converge products unless Bandai are kind enough to reissue it.

The Gundam Converge White Base model (can't really call it a figure at that size...) was released as a retail product in March 2018 with a suggested price tag of ¥19500. The Premium Bandai version which also included this figure set was priced at ¥23000, giving you an idea of Bandai's price idea for it. Since then I have seen this set pop up a handful of times on the secondhand market, presumably because the shops try to split the two for more profit, or perhaps some customers are keeping only the White Base ship itself. Whatever the reason I finally secured this figure set (minus the White Base carrier) and burning ¥8000 in the process.

The Operation V Set features the Converge Reboot versions of the Gundam, Guncannon and Guntank as well as a brand new figure for the Core Fighter. At its point of release neither the new Guncannon nor the Guntank had been released and so these were the first appearances of each.

Now that we are familiar with all three rebooted figures we can see that each figure is made up of the same components as its retail version counterpart. There are no bonus weapons or gimmicks to these figures except for the base plates which are transparent instead of solid black. I've said it before that this seems like a desperate attempt to make the figures appear more unique than anything else. If you display your Converge figures on their bases these will just stand out like a sore thumb. Luckily the bases are usually not needed anyway.

RX-78-2 Gundam

The new version of the Gundam itself was first released in Converge #08 in October 2017 and features a wide-legged pose. It comes equipped with two weapon choices, either of which can fit into the right hand only.

The bazooka can be stored on the figure's back skirt when not in use but there is no similar feature for the beam rifle. The shield can either be attached to the left forearm or sit stored on the figure's back covering up the bazooka. Still no beam saber for the Gundam, what a disgrace. :)

So what differs this Operation V version of the figure from the base figure? Well basically the colours have been brightened a bit, especially the blue. We also get the typical CORE style markings on the figure in the form of some White Base and EFSF logos and a couple of red lines here and there. Interestingly FusionWorks thought it was a good idea to spend resources on a nearly invisible red line on the bazooka instead of giving us a painted gunsight on the beam rifle which has been standard on the old figure since its time of inception.

RX-78-2 Gundam as seen in Converge volume 01 (November 2011), CORE 003 (December 2015), Operation V (March 2018) and Converge #08 (October 2017).
The Gundam has of course been released as a CORE special markings version before, and we have also had some other variations with extra markings as well. In the above line-up I have placed the two CORE variations in the center, the old figure to the center left and the new Operation V figure at center right. You can then see the standard retail versions of each figure at the far left and far right. I still think the old figure has a more attractive posture although the new sculpt clearly has it beat in detail.

RX-77-2 Guncannon

The Guncannon figure is also one of the oldest appearances in Converge but the resculpted version took its time to appear in the rebooted figure line, being releases more or less in tandem with the Operation V Set.

The new Guncannon sculpt is in my opinion a very superior design compared to the original version of the figure. The large head has been sized down a bit and the shoulders are also toned down to give it a sleeker look. Overall the detail has been refreshed all over the body and I really like what they have done with this figure.

The new Guncannon figure also has a weapon swapping gimmick which allows you to switch between guns or missile pods on the shoulders which is really neat. The Operation V version of the figure adds unit markings for machine 108 and a couple of White Base stickers here and there. This is all well, but I still think that the 108 markings should have been present on the retail figure (and then they could have done 209 as a P-Bandai to really impress).

Guncannon RX-77-2 as seen in Converge voume 01 (November 2011), Convere #10 (March 2018), Operation V (also March 2018) and CORE 003 (December 2015).
When lining up a couple of Guncannon figures it is clear to see that while the new figure is a marked improvement in design we have also lost some detail in the process. I still can't believe the original figure had painted Vulcan guns and a shiny yellow gunsight when neither is present in the new figure. One step forward and two steps back...

RX-75 Guntank

Next in line for a resculpt is the Guntank. This figure premiered in this Operation V Set and would eventually be released as a standard retail figure in June 2018. The new Guntank sculpt is also a very successful design and a much more accurate representation of its appearance in the show.

The Guntank has no special gimmicks and is also the only rebooted figure to date to feature a base plate without a peg in it. The Operation V version of the figure again features a couple of White Base and EFSF markings and some white lines painted on its guns. It is one thing to market a figure has having special markings, another for the designers to actually come up with something original or interesting I suppose.

The RX-75 as it appears in Converge volume 01 (November 2011), Converge #11 (June 2018), Operation V (March 2018) and CORE 003 (December 2015).
Out of the three resculpts, the Guntank is the figure which I think is served best by its new design. Where the old figure had a more generic robot show feel to it the new design looks very much spot on.

FF-X7 Core Fighter

The one thing driving me to seek out and purchase this figure set (and sparing no expense in the process...) is the introduction of the Core Fighter figure. One can only hope that this fine figure will see a retail release somewhere outside of this expensive set but I wasn't prepared to wait for that to happen.

The Converge Core Fighter is quite tiny for a Converge figure, while the figure itself might feel a bit tiny it makes sense when displayed next to the Gundam. It has a fairly basic paint scheme with some nice special markings but it doesn't really need anything more. It also comes on a very nice display stand, in fact most Converge vehicles get very neat action bases although they typically do not allow any alternate poses through ball joints or similar.

FF-X7 Core Fighters as seen in Converge Operation V (March 2018), Converge G-Sky (October 2013), Banpresto Micro Collection (2002), FW Ultimate Operation (March 2005), Strategy of Gundam (June 2006) and Gashapon HG Selection (1999).
If you don't feel like spending an arm and a leg for a Core Fighter figure the good news is that you can also consider sourcing them from other Shokugan or Gashapon figure series at a much more affordable price. The figure above compares the Converge Core Fighter with some other variations out there.


So what is the overall conclusion of the Operation V Set? Is it a set of very premier looking Converge figures? Hell yes! Should you go out and spend a truckload of money on it? Ehm... no. Well, as usual I guess it depends. A casual collector will get as much enjoyment out of the retail figures and they can safely ignore it. Completists needn't really fret too much if they are unable to find it either as these figures are pretty much bound for a reissue one way or another in the future.


  1. I freaking new it!

    Crossbone X3 confirmed as a CORE figure

    1. January (or rather February) is going to be a very expensive month. Two Crossbones and the Neo Zeong CORE:d all over... that's 12000 yen before the middle men get to them. :)