12.19.2014

Open Ocean Adventures: Zaku II High Mobility Type [Psycho Zaku]

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Preface
Thanksgiving day, Okinawa; we were to pull out almost immediately after we pulled in. I realized for the next month, I would not see land, and I had only one Gunpla kit; it was not going to last; I needed more, but where? I had only one day and we were on the desolate side of Okinawa.
Rewind to the day before; while underway, I caught wind of a department store about 2000 yen away; half way between where I was to be and the air force base. AEON; the Target of Japan; the shining star of hope that my days ahead would not be busy with simply grease and grime, but with accurately engineered plastic pieces.
0900, I was able to depart; 2000 yen only to find a mall full of nothing. Why AEON? Why have you failed me? But this cab ride cost me quite a bit; I could not go back empty handed; I was not just a mere tourist! I searched around the block. I headed up the river; Pachinko surrounded me. But there it stood, two stories of tinted glass: Yamada.
But what is Yamada? I think I have heard of it before. As I entered the tinted door, I read "For your >> Just" It suddenly dawned on me. I have been to one of these! They had one in Fukouka! They also had a pallet of RG Exias a day before they were supposed to release! I walked to the end of the main aisle and there it was, an aisle dedicated to Gunpla.

Introduction
The Thunderbolt series is a manga series about the Universal Century somewhere in a zone littered asteroids and space junk. Thus, some of the Thunderbolt suits have many shields. At least this is true for the Earth Federation. As for the Spacenoids from space, I guess they may just know more about traveling through asteroid fields or something. Since I have not read the manga series, I am one to say. However, one thing is true; the Thunderbolt suits were designed for space. From the insulated joints to the big insulated hoses, these suits were made to look like the astronauts of present day.

First Impression
As with the Thunderbolt series, the cover art has always been interesting to me. Instead of the cleanly cell shaded or 3-D graphics, they chose to use the only thing that was ever made for the series; manga cover art. This drew me to purchase the Full Armor Gundam earlier this year, and now, the Psycho Zaku. The drawback I always over look when looking at the box art is one; the price, and two; the giant back pack. The price is right around the range of a real grade, which is understandable due to the amount of plastic included and the details going in. Details include skin piercing sharp points, and much color separation or at the very least, the option for such. The back pack, well, it is the minivan of Gundam. Never have I seen such an unreasonably big pack. However, that is the general signature of the Thunderbolt series.

Body
As I was researching different Zakus, the one common thing aside from the mono-eye is the 'T' chest plate. In this case, it is orange plastic injected. As with most of the chest plates, the color travels down to the core piece. This chest plate is mounted on a beautiful maroon body. However, for the upper body, this maroon is hidden by the back pack and the shoulder sockets.


The shoulder sockets are made up of black plastic. Unlike most kits I have dealt with, the poly-caps are covered with a plate, giving the illusion that the socket is the same material at the rest of the body.
The collar for the head socket is a single grey plate. I saw this done on the GM Sniper K9, and it gives for nice color separation. This, as with the shoulder socket plate, do a nice job in hiding the poly-cap.
Although I wish they spent more time on the skirt, they still did a good job on it. As always with the High Grade kits, the back is stationary, the side skirts are mounted on poly caps, and the front is a single piece mounted on the crotch. The one thing that was done right was the inside joints. These were done in grey; if one was to paint the inside skirts in the same color, then the parts with the most movement will never lose color.

Head
As mentioned before, the hoses have been given the insulation treatment. This means busty hoses with more detail than just straight lines. In the case of the standard Zaku II head in this kit, the hose surrounding what would be the neck gives the impression of a thick scarf.


Skin piercing sharp points on the commander fin without the need to modify, file, or sand are a big bonus to me. Not that I hate doing those things, but for it to come out of the box that way tells me that the kit is a quality piece.

Arm
Nothing came out as special to me when it came to the arms; they seemed too much like the Zaku I Sniper type that I had built earlier this year. For example, the forearms are made up of two black half shells that are covered up a maroon piece on the wrist and under forearm. The only detail that I do enjoy is in every Thunderbolt kit thus far; insulated joints. I would make this the selling point of the arms, but it really is the selling point of the series.


As with most Zaku IIs, the shoulder armor is one angled deflector plate, and one spiked shell. The deflector plate uses four small boosters. So small, I lost one of them trying to put it in. The golden spikes on the shell give an almost royal guard look to the suit.

Leg
I have not built a high mobility type Zaku II yet, but I cannot imagine the others are much different in terms of the legs; a split shell core for the calves surrounded another split shell that is covered by a shin piece. The calf core houses three boosters, the biggest ones in the kit, which are generally covered by the outer shell. The one complaint I have is that the core was not done in black or grey. If it is not visible after the outer shell is placed, then it should really be an inside color. However, because it is not visible, I guess it really is not a problem at all.

Armaments
Included in this kit are a plethora of weapons. In fact, because it is cheaper to print two runners instead of making different customized runners, more weapons are included than the instructions state.

Two Giant Bazookas and four clips
 

Although this kit states that there is only one, they include two full main bazookas. Although the giant clips on the back intrude on the elbow and cannot be held straight, these big guns give the front of the kit some volume that otherwise would be outweighed by the minivan back pack. Would I dual wield? No; that would be cheesy.


The four clips I would imagine would be for the big gun. Gold ammo surrounded by a grey clip, most mistakes while extracting the gold are covered by this grey clip.

Three Zaku Bazookas

Mounted on the top of the upper tank, these three mini bazookas are significantly smaller than the main bazooka. Although the picture shows the exhaust is gold, these bazookas are sadly monochromatic.
Four grenades
Each weapon runner included two grenades. Although the kit calls for only three, one more was included. As with the grenades on a certain High Grade Kampfer, these grenades are split shells; nothing special here.

One machine gun and five clips

Standard issue Zaku II machine gun. If not being held, is simply hangs on the lower tank on a small hook. If it is being held, the shoulder stock intrudes on the elbow. Thus, holding this gun in general is a big problem. The four extra clips are mounted on the sides of the upper tank.

One Heat Hawk and three Strum Fausts

Split shells or single pieces, these simple standard issue Zaku II weapons will require some painting.

Conclusion
The one thing I feared most was that the kit would cheap out on the back pack, and they did. Like the Full Armor I built before, I felt like the time and detail spent on the main suit was not spent on the back pack. Thus there were many large two piece split shells that came together, making the volume bigger than the main kit. In fact, with this kit, the mount included is not tall enough to handle the back packs "wing span" which goes to show how much thought was even put into those large tanks.


Despite my complaints on the pack, this kit was fun to build. If you are looking for a detailed High Grade, or even some extra Zeonic weapons, I would highly suggest this kit. However, be warned that "minivan" is a perfect description. Hope to share with you soon, thank you for making it this far, even if you are just scanning through the photos!