Thursday, July 06, 2006

PLAMO Review 9: MG GP01fb

GP01fb is the upgraded version of GP01. The later is more adapted to land battle, as the pilot discovered later in one of the episodes in UC0083 Stardust Memory, GP01 doesn’t have the mobility needed for space combat. The unit is heavily damaged by Zeon’s Cima Garahau in her Gelgoog FS, but the pilot, Kou Uraki survived the blow. Fortunately for him, the Gundam’s armor was strong enough to withstand some heavy beam gatling while his teammates rushed to his rescue.

GP01fb front and a closer view

GP01fb was then taken to the developer, Anaheim Electronics’ base on the moon for the required upgrade, supervised under the original designer, Nina Purpleton, who has a crush on the pilot Kou. The upgraded version, Full Vernien, is given a far more powerful thruster output than the predecessor although the design is pretty much original. The head, arms, and the inner frame of the legs are the same, but heavily mounted with rocket thrusters. A new Core Fighter was designed, although the docking sequence is the same as well.

The new Core Fighter and the transformed Core Block

In terms of arnaments, the unit uses the same weapons as the previous GP01. Head Vulcan, beam rifle, shield and two beam sabers are all inherited from GP01.

After the success of the testing, GP01fb saw action for the first time in dealing with ex-Zeon pilot Kelly, who is determined to return to the army although he lost his left arm in the last war. His determination was ignored by Cima Garahau, and Kelly went to prove his worthiness by challenging GP01fb with his customized Mobile Armor Val Varo. Kou was able to win the duel by ejecting the upper part of GP01fb and buried his beam saber into the heart of Val Varo. Later GP01fb was involved in the major battle to stop Gato from targeting the nuclear warhead at the Earth Federation’s fleet. However, while Kou and his gang battle the diversion created by the Zeon, Gato was able to break through the defenses of the fleet, and checkmated the Feddie. Kou rushed to the scene with maximum speed, only to witness the worst defeat of the Federation since the beginning of One Year War UC0079. An enraged Kou then battles Gato in his GP02A in an epic sword duel, only to have both units trashed in the end. The story of Stardust Memory however, merely reached another dreadful turn of event after this.

The MG model of GP01fb was released shortly after GP01 came out, which was much to everyone’s expectations. There are designs of parts in GP01’s kit hinting that GP01fb will use them together with some new parts, and that’s exactly what we get. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t any tone of disappointment here, because both models has their own specialties and not merely a swap of color and some facial differences as we see in some GM and Zaku’s kits.

The inner frame of GP01fb's leg unit, which is identical to GP01's

I’m quite amazed with how well Bandai engineered the new kit to fit so well with GP01’s kit. Changes made include the shoulder armor, chest armor, waist, leg armor, and additional “shoes” :-) the “shoes” mentioned here are thrusters-incorporated feet that slide right into the original parts of GP01, given it a bigger feet. Very funny to describe this part, really :-) The changes were so simple but effective, they make me feel that the old parts were just chucked out and new parts can be mounted onto them just like that. The Core Fighter is new of course, although the transformation process seems much simpler than GP01’s. Frankly speaking, I like GP01’s Core Fighter better, I think GP01fb’s design of sticking two fat barrels onto a small fighter jet is a bit hilarious.

Opening and closing of the shoulder vernier. Looks cool, but be wary of tiny parts

Some parts are extremely small, be wary of that. For example the rocket nozzles for the shoulder armor need some extra attention. Drop it on the floor and you won’t get it back :-) MG kits are well known for their glue-less assembly, but you might consider using glue for these tiny-biny parts. By the way, the model also has chest verniers, for him to pull back easily when the speed forward is a bit too much. Unfortunately for the MG kit, the mechanism of opening and closing verniers can only be done by swapping the particular parts. Bandai was able to design the full mechanism without the hassle of swapping parts in the Perfect Grade version, which of course is way bigger and more expensive than the MG version.

The arnaments are exactly the same with what you can get in the GP01 kit, so please refer to that post for the details :-)