Saturday, September 01, 2007

PLAMO Review 23: HGUC Advanced Hazel

As my previous work being MG Zaku II Ver. 2.0 and HGUC Zudah, Advanced Hazel was actually the first Gundam-type model I assembled in months.

Advanced Hazel only appears in Advance of Zeta: The Flag of Titans published by Dengeki Hobby, a monthly hobby magazine in Japan. The novel itself is about a group of test pilots testing out new experimental MSs developed by the Titans, and their encounter with the AEUG forces and Zeon remnants. In each issue, new mecha will be introduced, complete with scratch built models by certain professional Gunpla artists. From time to time, the magazine also throws in free goodies ranging from clear sticker set to newly developed model kits! Their level of seriousness in pushing the story and mecha eventually won many fans', and eventually Bandai's attention. Starting from Hazel Custom, Advance of Zeta has being developed into the mainstream Gunpla line.

Advanced Hazel is one of the many variations of RX-121 Gundam Hazel. To call it a Gundam is just to pay homage to its Gundam head, as the overall design and performance of the Hazel series is nothing but a little more impressive than GM, particularly GM Quel where Hazel's design was based upon. The Gundam head was installed purely as psychological effect to the Zeon, reminding them the dark memory of their encounter with RX-78-2 in the One Year War. Now that's what I call an exploit on the original Gundam :)

As a test unit, Advanced Hazel is equipped with many unique parts, including the new optical sensor on the head, sub-arm unit, feet enhancement parts, and a new shield booster with ten diffuse beam guns, mounted on the backpack. Overall, they make Advanced Hazel a really strange-looking MS, especially the "high-heel" :-D But then again, when you get to see some other Titans test units, like Kehaar and Dandelion, Advanced Hazel should look perfectly fine ^^; Read more about it on

For me, the HGUC version of Advanced Hazel is really one fine kit. Apart from the rich articulation, most of the parts are molded with their designated colors, so painting is quite minimal. However, these advantages gave you over 200 parts to assemble in this 1,600 Yen kit, and many of them are extremely tiny. So if you're looking for some serious Gunpla challenges, you will definitely find plenty of fun in this one.

Advanced Hazel features probably the best arm and elbow design in the HGUC line. Very much MG-standard, the elbow can bend to a degree that allows the hand to touch the shoulder. The ankle of the model is also quite flexible, and allows much greater movement of the legs. There are a bit of space behind the neck, so the head can actually tilt backward quite a lot, allowing it to look upward quite nicely. That feature makes him look superb in cruising mode (you will need the action display stand, or just any other stand for that pose). Same goes for the waist as well, apart from the normal turning to the side found in all other models, it can bend to the back as well.

The hand can reach for the beam saber, for a HGUC kit!

This cruising pose is copied from the model's box cover.

The only drawback is the bulky equipments to be attached to the whole model, especially the sub-arm unit mounted on the torso. Together with the huge knee boosters, the movement of the legs will be distorted. Plus, the "high heels" are not exactly friendly in supporting many poses, as the model will eventually slip and fall after a while in certain poses. Take those down, and the model would probably cry out loud his gratitude for freeing him from all those torments (or maybe not :). Anyway, with the help of an Action Display Stand, those problems will be solved.

Some detailing in terms of coloring needs to be done as well. "I thought you said the colors are given?" Yes, I did, but some details are of course not possible for such a small-scale model. For example, the tips of the fingers which are supposed to be in red, need your Gundam marker. Of course such tit-bits may not be of any significance to some people, and others won't notice unless they pay close attention to the original mecha design. The part that demands painting is the diffuse beam gun area on the new shield given. It's molded totally in white, so you'll need to paint it in grey.

In terms of its armament list, like I said before, there are three shields given: two for the backpack, and one ordinary one to be mounted on the forearm. Actually, all of them can be used as normal shields, and frankly, the huge ones meant for the backpack are my favorite. The beam rifle looks very similar to the one used by Gundam Mk. II, with a shorter nozzle. Being an "improved" GM Quel, Advanced Hazel is only designed with one beam saber.

I'm particularly happy that Bandai didn't design the beam saber to be molded together with the hand that wields it, like in HGUC Gundam Mk. II

The sub-arm unit is quite cool. There are three claws on each arm for gripping, and it's actually very strong! It can hold both the beam saber and the beam rifle with ease. Next time I will try letting it takes on the shield. Hehe! Just joking :-D

Advanced Hazel's sub-arm unit totally kicks the one used by The-O right out of the windows :-D

In my opinion, the best part of Advanced Hazel is its compatibility to form Hazel Custom, in a different color scheme of course. The parts for Hazel Custom are included, even though the assembly method is not mentioned in the construction manual. From the backpack to the V fin, it's like the joy of building two kits in one. ^^

Personally, I prefer the white version...

...but the beam saber pose is definitely better than Advanced Hazel.

Advanced Hazel also comes with a nice sheet of clear stickers. Most of the patterns are the three-T insignia to be applied to the shields and legs, but again, the she-devil ^^ Cute!

Too bad it's at the back.

Action poses coming up:

Advanced Hazel doesn't look as good as it is in the air.

More photo in its Gallery.

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