With the price of importing the items, and tax to The Commonwealth, I did not think purchasing Gunpla at Barnes & Noble would ever be worth it. For quite some time, this reigned true: most kits were at a 25% - 50% mark up of the Japanese MSRP. I refused to purchase any kits from the Bookseller chain until the next wave of kits came in. One kit in particular caught my eye, and no it was not the array of Petit'gguys (though I was excited to see them). Instead, I found the RX-78-2 marked with the competitive price of 10.95 USD. With a price like that I had to pick one up!
On a side note, as a fan of the Universal Century, I find it pretty embarrassing not to have ever owned a vanilla RX-78-2. Sure, I have the Shin Musha Gundam which is a kit based on the Gundam Ver. 1.5, but it is definitely not the same as owning the actual suit that kicked off the franchise.
The RX-78-2 is the original mobile suit that got the franchise started back in 1979. Piloted by Amuro Ray, this prototype was created in secret at a neutral base by the Earth Federation to counter Zeon's deadly mobile suit army (along with its counterparts Guncannon, Guntank, and White Base).
|This iconic suit, and the anime in general, really *spring-boarded* the mecha genre into a new direction. #dadjokes|
In this kit's simplicity, there is solidarity in the build and subtle beauty from head to toe.
Without the need of massive panel line details, sticker usage, paint, or crazy wings, this kit can easily stand out among other kits. Maybe there is a nostalgic factor combined with my bias towards Universal Century suits that forces me to put this suit on a pedestal. Nevertheless, the design really catches my eye over all the noisy and complex designs of more modern suits.
|Above & Below: These are not size comparisons. RX-78-2 is THE golden standard all Mobile Suits should be measured by! I think this kit will be in all my size comparison shots from now on.|
On top of its simplicity, there is also structure and beauty to the engineering in this kit, especially in hiding seam lines. Though the techniques are not new practices, the culmination of all the design choices make this modernization of a classic very apparent.
One design decision that stood out to me over the others was the polycaps that attach the shoulders to the main body. Instead of the joint facing horizontally for a forward rotation, they were placed vertically for an upward rotation. This allows for better articulation of the arms without moving the shoulder in awkward positions.
...ok, maybe still a little awkward, but I would rather this design than rotating the shoulder armor upside down for the same pose. With such great articulation, posing with the variety of play options is quite fun.
Despite the polycaps rotating upward rather than forward, the RX-78-2 can still use two hands to hold the iconic beam rifle. In addition, to the rifle, there are the shield and bazooka. These two can also be used with ease.
The Shield requires no polycaps on the shield or arm to attach on to the arm, but still holds very solidly. The Bazooka can be attached to the lower back via an adapter that also requires no polycaps to be installed.
More lack of polycap usage is on the beam sabers. Each saber is stowed using a friction fit slot and actually "snap" into place (though they can still move while attached). The beam effect is different from the typical HGUC beam effects: they look similar to the MG beam sabers but shorter. I wonder which kit in 2013 started using them.
I like the length of these more than the older HGUC beam effects. Though I doubt we will start seeing these for all HGUC kits from here on.
Overall, this has got to be my favorite High Grade kit from 2015 (of the ones I have built). Other kits try to bring in gimmicks, effect parts, and other flashy features to appeal to this generation. However, a little bit of color separation and good engineering can also go a long way. I look forward to experiencing future REVIVE kits.