Tuesday, December 12, 2006

PLAMO Review 15: MG Nu Gundam

This time, let's talk about MG Nu Gundam.

I'm sure most Gundam fans will know about Nu Gundam, not only because of its suerb action and mecha design in Char's Counterattack, but because of the pilot who made it special, Amuro Ray, who is also the pilot of the first Gundam in Universal Century.

Front and rear view of Nu Gundam

Amazingly, even though Amuro Ray is a Newtype, Nu Gundam is actually the first MS that take his psychic ability to the battle field, and ultimately the last one as well. Featuring six powerful fin funnels, Nu is deadly in both close range as well as distance surprise attack. Although similar to the funnel system on Sazabi, the design on Nu Gundam seems to be more superior. The funnels are capable of generating beam shield to protect Nu Gundam, and can sustain longer time in battle, away from the MS's main body

Apart from the funnel system, Nu's weaponry follows the standard of a typical EFSF MS: head Vulcan, beam rifle, shield, bazooka, and two beam sabers. There are four mini missiles underneath the shield, probably for close range counterattack. The more special design is about the beam saber: one is mounted on the backpack, while another one, a smaller one is 'hidden' in the left forearm. The one on the backpack is more like a beam sword, since the blade has a bit of curve, and there's a small beam jut at the end of the handle. Not sure about the real purpose, but my guess is for stabbing enemy coming from the back.

That's about the mecha design. Now let's talk about the model. The main reason for the purchase is the size of the model. This is the biggest MG Gundam yet. Others like Full Armor ZZ and Ex-S Gundam are big because of the extra stuff on their body like armor, missile launchers, propellant tanks, giant rocket thrusters and so on. For MG Nu, it's just plain big, with or without the fin funnels. Assembling MG Freedom Gundam after Nu was felt like assembling HGUC then MG for me :-)

The head of Nu Gundam, as compared to RX-78-2's

Another important thing to note about the model is the metal die-casts, one for the hip and two for the ankles. The die-casts are to balance the weight of the fin funnel when mounted; else the model will suffer from back injury. Those metal parts add quite some weight to the final model, and make it much sturdier, even with all the funnels mounted. The negative side is the legs become so tight and heavy; it's hard to move them around.

The three die-cast parts

The inner frame of Nu Gundam is also quite detailed. Of all the MG offers during its time, Nu is the only one featuring the inner frame for the arms and shoulder armors. Even though given the standard set by F91 (smaller size model with PG details) nowadays for the MG line, Nu Gundam is completely out of the league since it's a much older model. However, I personal like Nu Gundam details, because it's easier to ink the panel lines, and size does matter here, because Nu Gundam's massive size enables people to see the details with ease.

The leg unit of Nu Gundam

Nu Gundam also features a very posable 'neck', enabling you to pose it looking up as much as 60 degrees. That's pretty cool, but the designer at Bandai must have overlooked the design of the collar, because it blocks the turning of the head left and right. That's quite bad, imagine you can't even turn your head to see your own shoulders, your line of sight is limited to pretty much what's in front of you right?

Now let's move to the weapon. The beam rifle is OK – pretty much straight out of the anime. The problem is, it's so heavy on the front end, it's hard to make Nu Gundam holding it, since it will keep on dropping. Nowadays, the handles of the weapons come with a little lock so that you can attach them to the palm of the models firmly. Guess that they learn that from Nu Gundam and some other models with this kind of weakness. For the bazooka, the handle is moveable, just like the ones from PG Gundam Mk. II or the Version 2.0 of the same MS in the MG line. Since it can be mounted over the shoulder, there's no complaining about the handle from me here. Most MSs carry their bazooka mounted on their hip armor, Nu Gundam's one on the backpack. Those who watch Char's Counterattack would remember that Amuro actually utilize this feature as one of his offence maneuver. The beam sword is also great; it's a bit longer than the ones for other models, which are understandable given the proportion of Nu Gundam. However, since there isn’t much action for Nu, the beam sword seems wasted. The shield is like a huge piece of metal plat, just plain and simple. As a matter of fact, it's almost too simple. However, it has more to do with the mecha design than the model, so I'm not complaining.


The beam sword and saber

Then we have the funnel system. I was quite excited when I finally finished assembling the funnels and have them attach to each other. It forms a huge letter 'A', signifying the pilot Amuro Ray. The locking mechanism is designed to be hidden when the funnels are detached, so on or off the backpack, they look really cool. On the other hand, the backpack is also strong enough to hold all the six funnels, which I think is quite amazing. However, you have to be extra careful when assembling the funnels. Even though all of them look alike, there are parts that are used to distinguish each one of them. If you're confused over the parts, then the funnels will come out wrong.

The funnel system of Nu Gundam

Now here a problem with reality: the funnels when mounted on the backpack are on the left side, and the left arm is also used to carry the shield. So the shield will actually hit the funnels if you move it back too much. I'm sure they didn't figure that out when they are sketching Nu Gundam, or maybe the designer would say, "when Nu Gundam is in action, all his funnels will be launched, so the shield can move freely," Very convenient.

Anyway, my idea about Nu Gundam is an elegant model, the one that will look awesome when it's being pose standing (just like that) with all the equipments and weapons mounted. Just like Sazabi, the weight of the model and the tight inner frame deter Nu from all the action poses like how you would treat MG God Gundam, Gundam Ver OYW, and so on. With the lack of a display stand to show the model in cruising mode, as well as the funnels in action, I say just leave it like MG Ex-S Gundam, standing with the beam rifle in front. That’s the best way to show off this model.

Reviews on MG Sazabi coming soon!