5.06.2014

Review: HGBC Hyper Gunpla Battle Weapons

Foreword
This is my first long form review. I have had the desire to write a detailed review and eventually start creating video reviews in a similar format, but I currently do not have the equipment or time to get it going. Hopefully I can start before 2015 (because visual demonstration is a lot easier to see in these kinds of things). If you end up reading this review, I would love to hear back from you: I want to improve my writing, I want to focus on what a viewer wants to see in a kit.

If you are not interested in the review, maybe the full album of stock images I took for this review will pique your interest.
Thank You for your time!


Preamble
Time, February 2014: date unconfirmed. Wandering through reddit's /r/gunpla, I had found out Hobby Shops all over Japan, in the month of December, were giving bonus runners to any customer buying a High Grade kit. Bandai called it the HG Customize Campaign. Each of these runners had a unique weapon and adapters to help customize any 1/144 scale Gunpla kit. I realized no matter how much I wanted any one of these bonuses, it would never become available for a Westerner like me.

Time, eleventh of March 2014. Because the Master Grade Sengoku Astray was, and still is, a kit I am wishing for, I decided to watch episode 143 of Hobbylink.tv's Gunpla TV. Near the end of the announcement, the hosts of the show mention, as-a-matter-of-fact sort of demeanor, that the HG Customize Campaign will be a part of HLJ - buy a kit within the parameters (HG 1/144 scale, non-Builders Parts) and get a bonus runner. With much excitement, I gathered and convinced a small group of friends to do a group purchase at HLJ. Initial order, 2x RGM-79 'GM,' and a RGM-79FP GM Striker.

Time, late March 2014. The items were not restocked yet, but I found something interesting: Though Bandai's "Builders Parts" line was not included with the HG Customize Campaign, the HG Build Custom, a sub-category of HG Build Fighters, was part of the Campaign. I decided the bonus runners were worth paying a small amount of money for something I was not really interested in. Playing around with HLJ's shipping calculator, the cheapest item I could get would end up being the Hyper Gunpla Battle Weapons. It was a little more expensive compared to other HGBC items, but it would only increase shipping by 100 yen, meaning HGBC Hyper Gunpla Weapons would be the cheapest option.

Time fourth of May 2014. The order finally came in the week previous at my friend's house. I finally picked up my part of the package along with two of the HG Customize Campaign runners.  I can finally get a good look at these items.

Unbox
Hyper Gunpla Battle Weapons: Build Fighters Support Weapon. 006 in the High Grade Build Custom line, these weapons show up in episode 13 of Gundam Build Fighters titled "Battle Weapon." Teams would be given a weapon based on a lottery system and would be restricted to the weapon given to them in the specific round. Weapons in this kit includes a Rail Gun, Battering Ram, Radome Yo Yo, Scissor Sword, Shield Nipper, Spray Gun & Cartridge, and "Joint Persistence" [adapters].


The box art, in the front and on the sides with images of various Gunpla in the background wielding these weapons, was very unattractive: everything was seemingly cheaply made. The box looked like a large advertisement to buy more Gunpla rather than this being an expansion to Gunpla that I might already own. At least the 600 JPY price tag was attractive enough.


Opening the box I am met with a single bag with three runners and a sheet of stickers. Stickers: that is surprising. I was under the impression that this expansion kit would not have anything but plastic. Though I do not intend to use the stickers, perhaps I was wrong about this expansion kit being a sad excuse for 600 JPY. Under the bag was the single sheet instructions on how to assemble the weapons. Every weapon seemed simple enough, the most pieces being both the Shield Nipper and the Battering Ram with 9 pieces each, and the simplest being the Rail Gun with 3 pieces. I became slightly impressed with the items. Even the dull looking Shield Nipper had a slight appeal.


Runners
Emptying the contents of the lone bag, I am met with three runners and a sticker sheet labeled A1, A2, and B. Why it is labeled with A1 and A2 I am unsure, but it looks like the runner is molded in one piece, then broken off in the center. All plastic is in the same gray color, and the color separation through stickers is in a darker gray, yellow, white, with a hint of silver and some light gray
The detail in every piece is worthy of being in the High Grade line: enough detail to do a bit of panel lining, enough surfaces for ease of color separation in painting, and the plastic does not feel cheaply made. One unexpected aspect of this expansion kit is the size of these weapons. They look a lot larger than photos show them, especially the Scissor Sword and the Rail Gun.

Overall I am happy with the quality of the runners.

Parts
Scissor Sword
  • Many mold lines were very obvious in most pieces, though the build was still very solid.
  • Combined and closed, the Scissor Sword holds together very well.
  • In terms of articulation, the blades open up less than 90 degrees.
  • The shorter blade can take beam effect pieces on each end of the handle. It seems ineffective by the position of the blade relative to the holding position.
Rail Gun

  • With three pieces, this build was very straight forward and simple.
  • Many forms of media portray Rail Guns as a laser. I am glad this is not the case: a projectile is placed between the rails. Even so I do not like the design of this weapon.
  • Rails of the Rail Gun are flimsy. Each one can bend a certain amount.
  • What are the two stupid looking prongs doing on the front anyway?
Spray Gun & Cartridge

  • Spray Gun comes in three pieces.
  • Cartridges come with three tanks, one of which can be interchanged between the holster and the Spray Gun.
  • Inserting the spray can in the Cartridge can be easily achieved by sliding the piece into the slot: No need to remove the bracket on the Cartridge.
Shield Nipper

  • Seemingly simple for a weapon tied for the most parts.
  • Flimsy blade pieces.
  • No locked position like the Scissor Sword: parts tend to move around in every direction.
  • I would have liked more detail for the upper flat surfaces.
Battering Ram

  • Does not include the hat that is supposed to be included in the weapon set (then again, I want the pitcher set too)
  • The segments are a very solid fit.
  • The spikes seem to be the only detail on the weapon.
Radome Yo Yo
  • Seems to have the highest play options compared to any other weapon.
  • Functionally one of my least favorite, though the fact that the shield handle from the Shield Nipper can be used on one of the round pieces, this weapon has some good potential.
  • I am very pleased with the details on the dome piece (on the outer an inner sides).
  • The outer pieces that attach to the main Radome do not feel solid. Some glue may be required to a better fit.
Use on Mobile Suits

For demonstration on use of these weapons, I decided to use an older kit: my HG SEED 105 Dagger (without the Gunbarrel). With the adapter pieces included, I was easily able to add the Cartridge piece on to the side skirt. Taking off the Cartridge, the Radome pieces fit on to the side skirts with ease, though I would not know the function of those shields in that position. The Shield Nipper also fit properly, but was a little large.



The Battering Ram fit in the hand relatively snug. At least it did not slip. The Spray Gun and Rail Gun, however, did not fit properly. Both Scissor Sword handles are slightly large, making for a snug fit, but with a little bit of play, the backs of the hands fall off.



Though this is not true for all kits, it seems as though play options of each weapon is dependent on the compatibility of the items. It seems obvious, but even something as universal as weapon handles can hinder the compatibility.

Bonus: Beaming in the most absurd way.


In Closing
I started off thinking this would be a terrible idea and the only thing going for it was the additional bonus runner I would be getting on top of the one I was already obtaining. After building these weapons, I am pleased to say that the Hyper Gunpla Battle Weapons are a great set of weapons. Relatively obvious, this kit is no good as a stand alone kit, but as an expansion to other kits, whether it be recreating a scene from Gundam Build Fighters, or a custom project, this set of weapons will not disappoint.
In closing, with the thoughts of this post in mind, I give the HGBC Hyper Gunpla Battle Weapons the Yellow Seal of Approval.

This kit gets a totally legit seal  indicating that it is approved by a guy.