In the past seven or eight years of keeping up with Gundam shows week by week, Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans currently holds the fastest time between the first episode's air time and the purchase of a kit from the series. Let me elaborate.
- 2007, Mobile Suit Gundam 00: I made my first purchase of a kit from the 00 series this month. Check my lists, I have zero kits from the 00 series including Build Fighters kits based on the 00 series.
- 2010, Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: I did not purchase a kit from the Unicorn series until 2014, if you count the Nemo (Desert Unicorn Colors Ver.) as an actual kit from Unicorn.
- 2011, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Though I told myself I'd purchase a kit from the AGE series as it aired. I did not purchase a kit from AGE until 2014.
- 2013, Gundam Build Fighters: The first thing I purchased from the Build Fighters series was Hyper Gunpla Battle Weapons from the Build Custom series. It was around 8 months later.
- 2014, Gundam G no Reconguista: The only kit I ever purchased from this series of the G-Self Assault Pack. This was almost a year after the initial air date.
- 2014, Gundam Build Fighters Try: I cannot remember when I purchased the Try Burning Gundam, but it was definitely over the summer, meaning it was well over ten months after the first episode of Build Fighters Try.
- 2015, Mobile Suit Gundam The Origin: In the same order with the 00 kit, I have my first kit from Origin this month. That would set it to a little over six months after the release of the OVA.
Originally, I was going to purchase this from Model Grade (along with a few other kits), but I held off because Graze Kai was coming out soon and I like the small modifications to that kit more than the original version. I ended up purchasing the kit on impulse when i saw it at The Spare Time Shop.
Graze is the Zaku of Iron-Blooded Orphans: It is the antagonists' mass produced mobile suit. We see it from the very beginning in episode 1 and we continue to see it and its variations through the episodes that have aired so far.
Something that caught my eye even before opening the box is the title. Normally, the box art will have the suit's English name printed in large text as the main label of the box. However, this time, we see the English is used as a "subtitle," translating the Japanese text which is used as the main body. The last time I saw Japanese used as the main title was the two Musha Gundams (using Kanji in place of Katakana). I do not think it is a big deal, just an interesting decision on Bandai's part.
The build is very different from the previous High Grade kit lines, both Universal Century and other AU. Rather than going for the typical split shell design, the High Grade Iron-Blooded Orphans kits go for a full inner frame, a feature only seen in Master Grade and more recently Real Grade.
This proves to have its advantages yet by the design choices, there are some parts i do not agree with. I do like the articulation despite having minimal polycaps, and I do like the details within the build. However, the shoulders fall off with minimal force, and the wrists/gauntlets move too easily to name a few of the issues. Overall with such a complex build, the Graze pushes the boundaries between complexity over delicacy.
Moving on from the inner frame, the rear thrusters (however these things make sense), can be connected in two ways: from the rear armor skirt, or on the back. It should be noted that these fin pieces are of the few pieces that require panel lining. Most other pieces are small enough that they take care of the color separation by themselves.
Another option on the suit is the Commander Type fin. If you have built any antagonist suit, nothing new comes to the table here: replace the head piece for one with a slot for the commander fin.
Included with the suit, there are two play options typical to a mass produced antagonist suit: a rifle and an axe.
Starting off with the axe, it is a single piece, as somewhat expected. With a hilt-like nub, the axe can be attached to the side skirt armor (on either side). Nothing here to complain about, though nothing to praise. The design is overall meh.
The other option, the rifle, can be inserted into the hand without removing the hand armor. To fasten the rifle into the hand, a piece is attached from the bottom that also connects to the gauntlet armor.
Though the design to attach the rifle to the hand is pretty good, the magazine-like drums on the side do not hold too well together. This issue is minor, but compared to many other Gunpla weapons, this terrible design is unacceptable to me.
Overall, I like the core suit design. The complexity is an advantage and a disadvantage, but is a balanced design. The play options are less than desirable, but for a kit that is MSRP 1000 JPY, there is no reason not to get this kit or its variations. The HG IBO Graze Standard/Commander Type definitely stands beside other High Grades as a quality product. I cannot wait to dig into more of these kits in the coming months!