Monday, January 23, 2012

Mega Size 1/48 Gundam AGE-1 Normal - Review by Team GG

Mega Size 1/48 Gundam AGE-1 Normal

Bandai's 1/48 Mega Size line of kits are impressive in stature though simplistic in design. A few inches taller than a Perfect Grade equivalent the model's complexity is closer to a High Grade kit on growth extract. As such for what you gain in size and grandeur you lose in articulation and internal details.  

Those unfamiliar with the model line might find the construction process a little bit confusion. There's a lot more Japanese dialog in the instructions than most kits, of which I have no idea what about. One of the things that really threw me for a loop was how they indicated a step/piece needed to be constructed more than once. In normal construction manuals they use a simple "x2" or "x4" notation to indicate multiples. In the Mega Size guides they have a red box featuring the number and a whole bunch of Japanese writing. If I hadn't picked up that I was only building half of a kit I would have never known what those notes stood for. 

Perhaps the most unique aspect of a Mega Size model is how large sections are made by piecing two runners together. Instead of building multiple joints independently the guide instructs you to take a runner, add polycap joints, and a fix it to another conjoining runner.  Squeeze them together, break free, and you've done twice the work in half the time. The kit also includes a pair of pliers meant for pulling pieces from the runner. This simplifies the construction process for children and spares them the trouble of twisting and pulling parts off the runner. Most gunpla modelers will still snip and sand down the pieces prior to construction for the best results.

1/48 Mega Size kits are designed to be statuesque which has left posability lacking for those familiar with Master and Perfect Grade kits. It can't quite make it down on one knee but a 360 degree joint in the forearm allows a higher range of motion in the arms.

For what the 1/48 AGE lacks in posability it makes up for in playability. Most of the polycap parts on the kit have little notches which, along with the tightness of the joints, allow them to hold positions incredibly well.

These enhancements are incredibly important considering the beam rifle and shields are equivalent in size to a 1/144 scale kit. The shield is fairly simplistic, consisting of only three pieces, but makes up for it in detail. The beam rifle, I forgot what they call it on the show, is able to spin in the middle so that both hands can grasp the weapon.

As with other Mega Size models AGE comes with two sets of fixed hands, one a pair of closed fists and the other locked in a grasping position. The grasping hands look their best while holding the rife. While not as pronounced as those equipped with the 1/48 RX-78-2 they look somewhat awkward while holding the beam sabers.

I do like that Bandai not only included full length beam effect pieces with the kit but the short dagger ones as well. It helps to spice up the kit and provide more action pose possibilities.

Light Gimmick
Perhaps the coolest part of this kit is that the torso and head light up. The first real gimmick of the Mega Size line is perhaps the best LED addition Bandai has ever done. Those who who have built older Perfect Grade kits know that wiring up LEDs can be pretty painful at times, especially when a single power source is used for torso and head LEDs. The 1/48 AGE manages to light both areas using the same LED unit Bandai introduced over a year ago.

The unit conveniently sits in the backpack and utilizes a quick twist of the lower thruster to turn on/off.

The light then bounces around inside. From the rear of the kit the light is channeled through a large white cavity and out the front of the chest mounted A. At the same point the LED enters the torso a large clear plastic piece picks up the green LED's light and channels it up into the head. There it encounters more clear plastic and bounces out the front of the head. It's essentially a thick fiber optic system. The only downside is that in optimizing the light for the front of the head a white piece has been added internally separating the light source from the head's rear green sensor. In other words, the back of the head doesn't light up.

The whole system works incredibly well allowing the kit to light up brightly. Surprisingly I didn't have to adjust any photo settings to capture the proper effect in my photos. For those not interested in the light up gimmick Bandai included a pair of white stickers to apply behind the eyes and head A unit.

Now get this, the kit actually comes with the batteries needed for the LED. I'm not sure if Bandai has done this in the recent Gundam 00 kits but to have batteries where even PG kits do not is a huge leap forward in convenience.

In Conclusion

The designs from Gundam AGE seem to be among the most hotly contested. On a personal level I reflect the community's lack of general consensus regarding the design. It's a design that sits securely along the gray line between beautiful and ugly. From one angle I'm a fan, from another I'm not. The 1/48 Mega Size Gundam AGE has only helped deepen the debate. Now aspects I had concerns about earlier pose no issues while others previously looked past now stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe that's part of why I like this kit so much. Its size and simplicity allow me to really consider the design as a whole.

Design of the Gundam aside, this kit from Bandai is to be appreciated all around. It may be as simple as kits get but the detail and though that went into the unit is nothing to be scoffed at. It's able to offer challenges and a plethora of options to an advanced gunpla modeler while being so simple and easy to build that even those new to the hobby will have little difficulty.

Review by Team GG [Falldog]

1 comment:

  1. Sweet review falldog! Love the pics and the information. I really enjoy my Mega RX 78-2, I might just pick this up so he can have a friend.


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