10.18.2014

Quick Review: SD Ξ Gundam

Has it really been over a month since I touched a Gunpla kit?

Preamble
Hello Builders!
I'm not sure if you know this, but our group has been here for 6 months!
...As a small thank you to this group for your contributions...I am holding a small competition!

Early June: While I was working on the Jegan Sniper Type, Strike Senketsu, and the group was in the midst of an enormous group order on Gundam Planet that seemingly grew larger by the week, the group's creator, author of Gunpla Works, posted this "Half Birthday Competition!" Was he counting? Why host a competition among only 20 members for a group that hasn't even been around for a year? COUNT ME IN ANYWAY!

It was a simple competition: pose off! Using an unmodified Gunpla, parody something from pop culture. Simple enough: think of something in the broad spectrum of pop culture, imitate it using Gunpla, take a photo and submit. Problem is, of the 20 members, only 3 submitted - Morgenroete, the one we call Meijin, and myself. Between Gunpla Works and myself, we were hoping for a larger turnout. Despite the small number of entries, I enjoyed each submission.
In third place, Morgenroete submitted 'Astray Saints,' a parody of the Boondocks Saints' iconic scene. In context with the contest, third actually means last, but at least he submitted a photo and did a pretty damn good job getting the poses and camera angle right!
In second, the Meijin submitted a parody of a scene from Blades of Glory. I've never seen the movie, but from the reference image he posted, I might have to watch it at some point. The more I looked at the photo, the more I couldn't stop chuckling at how absurd this scene is.
The winning submission happened to be mine, 'Jackedge on the Roof.' I decided to imitate a poster for a Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Using scrap cardboard, a sheet of printer paper, a desk lamp, masking tape, and HG AGE G-Exes Jackedge, a gift from the Meijin, I constructed the scene. For first place, I was awarded the what is the subject of this review, SD BB Senshi RX-105 Xi Gundam.

Left: Astray Saints; Center: Blades of Glory; Right: Jackedge on the Roof

I am not fond of lead suits. Let me rephrase: I like obscure, one-off mobile suits. Suits with an interesting story behind them - not limited to the story within a media piece, but also the design history of the mobile suit. For example, I really like the design background of Shin Musha Gundam from its origin in Plamo-Kyoshiro to Katoki's rework for Gundam Musou. I am also not fond of SD kits. Let me rephrase: I want to keep my SD kit collection to a minimum only showing off my absolute favorite mobile suits in SD form. The SD Xi Gundam does not fit either of these parameters.
After receiving this kit as a reward I was ready to give it away or sell it. The triangular shoulders, enormous red head piece, and double beaked chest. were off-putting, it was a lead suit for a novel series I had no connection with, and it was an SD kit: nothing about this kit wa- IS THAT A TINY MOBILE SUIT?

During the Half Birthday Competition, Gunpla Works commissioned me to paint the SD Loto from his SD Kshatriya. The day I handed the completed commission back, I received the SD Xi Gundam. I had so much fun working on the SD Loto, that upon seeing the mini mobile suit included with the Xi Gundam, I was ready to give it a chance.

Background
I have no personal connection with this mobile suit. Everything I know about the Xi Gundam came from rrobbert184's review of the same kit, and reading the Wikia page. I guess its harder to get information on a series that was never animated.

From Gundam Wiki: Illustration from the Novel
The Xi Gundam is the lead suit for Tomino's novel trilogy, Hathaway's Flash, piloted by Hathaway Noa, also known as Mufti Nabiyu Erin. In normal scale, the mobile suit stands much taller than a typical mobile suit - 28 meters! Compare that to the RX-78-2's 18.5 meters. I wonder if we'll ever see a Gunpla kit in regular scale, especially with the emergence of Bandai's line for obscure and/or large mobile suits, RE/100. The Xi Gundam would be the perfect candidate!

Review
My experience with SD kits is limited to BB Legend Musha Gundam and BB Senshi Sengoku Astray, but with the MSRP of 1500 JPY, this kit is expensive for the SD line, not to mention the size of the box is about the same as a typical High Grade kit. This SD kit must be a monster. In the box, there are quite a few colors included, as would be expected from a lead suit - White, Red, Blue, Yellow, with some clear and grays mixed in. This kit's color separation already looks comparable to a High Grade


Like any BB Senshi kit, assembling the Xi Gundam was pretty easy - since the kit is mainly comprised of large pieces, nothing seemed too fragile. As you may expect, the head is the most interesting part of the build. The most detail goes into the focus of the kit, and that happens to be the face. Everything else sort of compliments it in a much less detailed way.


Stickers are used for much of the color separation, but even without the stickers, the kit looks quite nice. Because I plan on doing a full paint job on this kit (unlike my other two SD's), I decided to not use any stickers. Hopefully painting in the color separation is not as painful as I am imagining.

In terms of articulation, like any BB Senshi kit, the Xi Gundam is terrible. Joints are not held together very well, and the range of motion is pretty much non-existent. Relative to other SD kits I have experience with, the Xi Gundam's articulation is okay - not as good as BB Legend Musha Gundam, but better than BB Senshi Sengoku Astray. Basically, it is what one might expect from the BB Senshi line.

One of the biggest gripes I have with the BB Senshi Xi Gundam is the shoulders. Come to think of it, I had a problem with BB Senshi Sengoku Astray shoulders. If I continue down the path of BB Senshi/BB Legend, I may run into more shoulder problems. On to the point! The regular shoulders are covered by White triangular pieces of plastic, front and back, that can rotate outward to create a horizontal plane (some sort of flight mode). For the regular scale it may be okay, but these large shoulder pieces get in the way of the head, the most important part of the kit. I don't think I'll ever use that feature.


Accessories include a Beam Rifle, Beam saber, Shield, two Funnels with effects, SD Messer, Galcezon, and Clear Stand. The funnel effect parts are interesting pieces. I wish they were part of the clear runner the stand is on, but they're white. With a little airbrushing, the funnels should look top notch, but right now they're white.
The SD Galcezon triples as a storage compartment for the beam rifle and beam saber, a stand for the SD Messer, and an optional base piece for the Xi Gundam stand. If I want to display this large yellow piece of plastic, I would require a paint job.
The third notable accessory is the SD Messer. This successor to the Zaku line is composed of 4 pieces - 2 half shells creating the main body, both arms connected by a single shaft between the half shells and a (cute) beam rifle. Besides the gray of the rifle, the Messer is fully red with color separation based on 2 stickers that make the monoeye. I want to change that.


The Xi Gundam's full paint job may not come for a long time. However, I have big plans for the little guy. Besides a full and detailed paint job, which I would like a candy red base color, I would also like to fill in the hollow back-sides of the arms, gouge out the mono-eye section and add a MS Sight Lens. I am not sure exactly how I should go about it, but I will definitely make WIP posts as I take steps to customizing the SD Messer. Stay tuned!

Overall, I am impressed with this SD kit. Great accessories, great color separation, and it even comes with a stand! But for the price of 1500 JPY, I am not sure if I would pick it up for myself - It's still not my cup of tea. But if you are into lead suits and like the occasional SD kit, the Xi Gundam might just be for you. If you want a much more detailed review of this kit, I highly suggest rrobbert184's Youtube series, as linked above. This wraps up my initial thoughts on the Xi Gundam. Until next time, may your cuts be clean and your sandpaper rough! See you then.