Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review 12: Armor Girls Project - Wing Gundam Girl

Laziness…it is a rotten disease, I swear it. I had plans to release this review a great while earlier, but work and my bed took up so much of my energy. Anyway, I’m here with a little something out of the box for me, personally, but still fun, and welcomed to the Hobbyist’s family.
 Akitaka Mika. That’s an innovative man, right there. If you don’t know, he is a pretty renowned mecha designer. He is responsible for the many drawings of girls in Gundam armor that we have seen throughout the years. No, he hasn’t drawn them all, but bringing the idea to the public is all him. After so many years of Gundam-this, Gundam-that, figure here, figure there, Bandai finally gets the rights to go ahead give us die-hard fans a taste of something more awesome than we can imagine. That’s right, MS Wing Gundam Girl [EW ver.] Yukina Schneelein!!
 I’m sure throughout the years we have seen plenty of Gundam/girl crossovers. Some look like they are prepared for war, some look like innocent children, and some dressed as maids. Whatever the case, the idea of making something like this into a tangible, articulated figure was merely a feint dream to me. Never could I have hoped that they would mix two of some of my favorite things: Armor Plus system, and Gundam mech design. You see, when I saw the announcement of Bandai’s first Armor Girls Project (AGP) release, it was revealed that the idea behind it was a simple formula: Girls + Armor = Awesome. Sounds pretty legitimate, right? What little ol’ me didn’t understand at the time, is that though they were correct in this simple formula, the level of awesomeness would far exceed my expectations. 
Even if this wasn't pre-ordered, the packaging would make me buy it in stores.

I'm starting to regret not having Robot Tamashii

 Technically, Wing Gundam Girl is the second release, but she vastly outshines the first release just because of what armor she wears. I have to say, this was a pretty genius move to give the public this. Whether you liked it or not, everyone and their mother knows Gundam Wing…all across the board. Personally, I know many American fanboys that would defend (to the death, mind you) that Wing Zero is about the greatest robot who ever came online. I’m more partial to Strike Freedom, but hey, that isn’t what this is about right now. 

Full assortment

Special hands

Base figure
 Not only did they pick Wing Zero, but the ever famous Hajime Katoki variant with the orange coloring, new wings, arm armor, and buster rifle. That executive-type command decision to go ahead and choose this particular set of armor was absolutely what was needed. Everything that Bandai releases that has “Ver. Ka.” stamped on it sells like hotcakes, and AGP is no different. Since Tamashii Nations leaked the first prototype of this thing, we fans and hobbyists could hardly contain ourselves, waiting for June to arrive, so we can tackle the mailman, or knock over everyone on our way to the hobby shop just to get our hands on it. I will tell you this, the wait was well worth it, and if I knew what I was getting, I would have waited longer if need be.

I'm a Marine. I couldn't help it.

"What's this thingy do?"

Same style, different peg/hole system

 As previously stated, Akitaka Mika is the man behind the “Gundam Girl” movement. I have seen his idea stretch beyond the parameters of Mobile Suits, and reach as far Virtuaroids from Virtual-On (another Katoki work), Transformers, even Evangelion. However, if you’re looking for some more of his works and even fan submissions, check this: and this:, and even this: . Should help out. 

I kind of broke this part. Happens when you ignore the instruction manual.

 Enough mooching. Figure time. The packaging is simple enough…giving you a small preview of what’s in store for you, however, I doubt there are many people who purchased this who didn’t know what they were getting into. The back gives you images of the gimmicks associated with it, which made me want to rip the thing out the box like a kid on Christmas. It goes more into the details but…I can’t read Japanese, so I’d figure I just take it out to see what I can make of it.

No matter how hard I's not readable.

Fully open wings

More wing articulation

Great wing span
 Base body: About as light as you expect. Of course, this is a girl’s body, so I expect arms and legs to be skinny…which they are. Her head seems a bit large to me even though she doesn’t have much hair. That hair hook is a nice touch. Yukina is wearing a white base jumpsuit-like costume with grey trims. Reminds me a bit of Eva’s plug suits a bit. It doesn’t cover from head to toe, leaving a bit of thigh, bicep, and “cleavage”. The neat notes about the suit are the green “light” at the base of her neck, the blue tops of her “stockings” with an orange triangular shape on the left leg only, and what looks like some form of identification or some kind of deal atop her right breast. Other than that, she isn’t too impressive for her base form. I get the feel of a “Kos-Mos concept art” type thing going for her. I will say that Bandai did a good job of keeping the holes for armor assembly down to a minimum. You get two noticeable ones on the shins, but the other holes for armor are located on her back, so it doesn’t ruin the integrity of her base look as much as it could.

4 different parts for the bottom leg

Docking skirt armor...

 Base Paint: It’s as good as you expect for less than 10 colors. White, grey, blue, orange, black, flesh, purple, yellow, green, and pink…with 6 of them in the head alone. Not as fine detailed as a figma would be, but not slouching either. I would really love to touch more on it, but there honestly isn’t much to offer in this section. 

Would be nice if there was a central crotch armor as well.

Had I done his the first time, it would not have broke.

 Base Articulation:  Honestly, for a Bandai fig, this has all the anatomy and movement of a figma. Besides the smell of plastic and paint that comes with a figma, you would think that it is if you didn’t look at the box, or the holes in her legs. The joints are figma joints…plain and simple. However, don’t think this means that figma joints are the only thing this toy is about. Ankles, knees, and thighs move as you would expect, but expect some rigidness at the top of the legs, since the there is a skirt piece at Yukina’s waist that limits the range of motion. The same thing happens again at her shoulders. They will not move as freely you may hope, because of her shoulder armor getting in the way. Her hands and arms work just fine though. Be careful of the arms. Unlike figures of men that use muscle to hide and mask articulation (Guts, Goku, Revoltech Ken, etc.), her skinny arms will wear thin from removal and applying of the armor, as well as playing with it too much in general. Stomach area and top torso are two separate pieces, linked by what I assume is a ball joint. Her neck is a thicker figma joint that pegs into the back hair piece of her head. Her head moves just as well as you need it. Nothing lacking there.

 Armor Paint: Ah, yeah. Now that’s what I’m talking about. The colors are all accurate and vibrant, but the real prize is in the decals. “Colonies Liberation Organization: Gundam Wing System – Lagrange One” is stamped on the blue of the wings, and it looks just amazing. In the series, LaGrange Point was a pretty important area, so it’s nice they put that in. The decals don’t exactly match what came with let’s say the MG Wing Ver. Ka but, I don’t need all that myself. Besides…it’s not she is an actual Gundam or anything…she is just wearing mimicked armor. Anyway, the orange has a nice gloss over it to give it the metallic look. The blue does as well, but the reds are about as flat as the whites. What’s a bit special are the circles at the shoulder joints. They are completely chromed out. The green lights by the hands are metallic painted, but the green light in the center of the forehead crest is different. It seems to be made of some other plastic...almost glass looking or something. Shame there is no light piping, right? Sorry, that’s a Takara/Hasbro thing. Also, many whites have enough black trim to distinguish themselves and not look too bulky and plain. They still give you plenty of room to customize and paint as you like, but its good enough as is for me.

 Armor Articulation: First, let me get this out the way. Ball joints, ball joints, ball joints!! This armor is chock full of them. The legs have ankle, back and sides of calves all on ball joints. That gives you a total of 4 moving pieces on one piece of armor…nice! The shoulders are also on ball joints as well, although you can’t move the different shoulder “feathers” of the armor like you could in the model kits. The sie skirt armors also move…which is entirely new to me. The claws on the fore arms are not only articulated, but removable. However you imagine being removable can work for you and your figure, more power to you. The wings are the crown of the articulation for the armor. Per wing, there are 6 points articulation that you can use to make them go just about any way you can imagine. The MG kit doesn’t offer this, so I think it’s a nice addition. 

Last piece...

 Armor Assembly: As you can guess, it has much to do with how Bandai has done armor in the past: remove hand/foot, slide piece on, replace hand/foot. No, the Ronin Warriors don’t exactly follow this, and the Tekkamen only do it for the arm sections, but you should already know about Saint Seiya and their ways. But, don’t think just because a similar formula is used, that this is any less rewarding putting on, or even fun putting on. Removethe fee, and slide on three pieces that make up the leg armor. Be careful of the link between the first 2 pieces, since they need to be spaced properly in order for them to connect. Moving up to the waist, it’s pretty easy. Two swivels allow the waist to open, with her body coming in, and closing back on it. Remove the hands and slide on the whole arm armor, and reapply hands. The chest and shoulder are together, and are very interesting. The chest is held together by two ball joints that connect to both intakes. Whichever side you choose, open them up, and pull the shoulders back. The shoulder armor will fit nicely over the shoulders, and make sure to remove the central white piece from Yukina’s bust to ensure proper linkage with the chest piece. Don’t worry if the chest doesn’t fit securely just yet. Adding the wings through the hold in the back of the armor and Yukina will put the finishing touch, and secure everything properly. The final piece is an old Bandai favorite, or removing the front hair piece, and replacing it with the one that has the cheek armors and famous Gundam forehead crest.
Fully assembled

Opened up

 Special Pieces:  Normally, I’m excited to talk about this area, but here…not so much. You get the Buster Rifle, which has rolling articulation just as the MG’s do as well as articulation for the blue part on top. The writing on the rifle makes no sense, really. Something about multiple weapons, and long range. A beam saber that has a rather unusual shape toward the burst point, and the shield with similar articulation to the MG. “Operation Meteor XXG01” and “Gundam Wing System LaGrange One” read on the shield. 3 pairs of hands for fists, shooting, and holding. A stand with extra pieces that can connect to other Bandai products. The stand has 3 holes in it, much like Ver. Ka’s and Tamashiii Stages. Now, here is a good part. There is one more piece to add to her back, in case you want to change out her wings, and use the wings of Robot Tamashii Wing Zero Custom. That is freakin’ awesome! I don’t collect robot Tamashii, but if I did, so help me God, the FIRST thing I do with her is replace those wings! This thing’s has some excellent gimmicks. But everything good usually has a bad part, and here is hers. She has only two faces, and BOTH of them don’t look straight ahead. They are both looking to the side. I don’t mind that there is no stoic or fierce face, but not looking straight isn’t something I like in a special piece like this. You really can’t put her into any battle poses because she is always smiling, but more than that, she can’t be “plain” because in order for her to look ahead, you must tilt her dead in some kind of direction. Ahhhh, I don’t have much choice but to deal with it, I guess.

The prettiest beating imaginable
Buster Rifle time!

One look sells her as a Mika creation.
 Once everything is in order…have at it! Man, I can’t tell you how much I love this thing.  Such a nice figure from front to back. The idea of having a Gundam girl as a toy is already a dream come true, but for them to go all out, and not skimp on any finer details (except maybe a face that looks forward) is all kinds of awesome to me. Though this may be one of the only ones in my collection that has weapons, but isn’t exactly battle ready, she certainly is a well addition to anyone who enjoys toys. 
With Big Brother

 Overall score:  9.5/10. I know that is a bit high, almost calling this the perfect figure. The only flaws I have are that in my particular figure, the left wing I a bit funky with the articulation, but ok after some finagling. And like I said…the head thing. That irks me a bit. But it’s a girl with Gundam armor. Again: A GIRL WITH GUNDAM ARMOR. What is not to love? The armor is hella articulated, the weapons and paint look amazing, and it’s even compatible so it can have Wing Zero Custom’s wings! Get out of here, this thing is great! 
Believe it or not...this is real bad news for OZ

Yes, I know it's the Celestial Being stand, but it works that much better!

"Stand down"

Almost reminds me of Perfect Cell's death.

Could make for a pretty good poster or something.

Should you buy it? Absolutely! No doubt in my mind anyone a fan of any kind of Gundam that has a fondness for collections, this will be one of your best. When I have more space, I’m going to want a case for this. I think she deserves it. Bandai went out of their way on this one, and I’m not sorry for it. She looks so good fully dressed, and I don’t know what else I can do to get people to understand the sheer awesomeness, and dare I say…”swagger” that this thing pulls off. I can’t help but think that this is like a Bandai crack at something akin to Konami’s Busou Shinki line (which I would LOVE to get my hands on), but since I never dealt with one of those, I’m gonna go ahead and leave this in a class all its own.

Into the heat of battle...

I should really find a better background for stuff like this...

Tekkaman Blade and Pegas, anyone?

Like-minded company
  Again, sorry for how long this took. Haven't been on this blog for almost a month. I would say "stay tuned", but I don't know when's the next time I can do a review. Maybe...I can take a request or something. I don't know. I hope everyone enjoys the review. It's a real good figure. 
Try THIS for AGP, Bandai. My favorite Gundam Girl yet.
 Happy Hobbying, everyone!!

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