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Bandai HG Buster Gundam (Gundam Seed) Kit Preview


By Larry G. Johnson - images & text © 2003

Scale: 1/144
Parts: 101 styrene parts and 27 vinyl polycaps on four trees
Instructions: Color fold-out with assembly diagrams, photos of the completed kit, and paint guide
Decals: Small sheet of self-adhesive stickers
Molding Quality: 9.5 - state of the art
Detail: 9
Accuracy: 9 - Looks like a Gundam to me
MSRP: •1000 JPY (~$8.40 USD/$11.70 CAN/ Ä 7.47 EUR) available from HobbyLink Japan
Overall Rating: 9 - an excellent little kit in a nice collectable scale

Who doesn't love giant robots blasting each other, and much of the surrounding population, to vapor? Gundam is one of the most well known anime series of this very subject. The Federation in their Gundam mobile suits fight the evil space Empire of the Zeons in their Zaku mobile suits.

[Boxart]

[What you get]

[Click to enlarge]

^ Parts are molded in color

Image: The white bits

Image: Gun parts

Image: Polycaps and stickers

[Click to enlarge]

^ Assembly guide

Image: Paint guide

Though a fan of the series, I had just recently told members of my modeling club at dinner after the meeting that I wasnít crazy about Gundam. Zaku yes, but Gundam didnít thrill me. So the next day I went out and bought the Bandai HG Buster Gundam kit. Go figure.

The Buster Gundam is a neat little design which attracted me due to the weapon arrangement. The beast has missile launchers on the shoulders with flip up doors and the guns are a neat little item as well. They rest aside a backpack when not in use and in combat, they swing to the Gundamís side on armatures. The two guns even combine to make a two handed BFG (Big-you get it-Gun).

What You Get

In a standard, thin tray/lid-style box, you get three trees of styrene parts, somewhat flexible, not brittle; one tree of vinyl polycaps; some stickers, and fanfold instruction sheet. The parts are perfect, clean with no flash or sinkholes and all ejector pin marks inside where they will not be seen. The parts are all molded in the proper color (the A tree is in that Japanese multicolor style which always makes this simple boy go oooooh and ahhhhhhh) so if you really donít want to paint, you still have a properly colored finished model. Detail is very nice for the scale and panel lines are engraved. The kit looks like it assembles easily and smoothly and the polycaps will make the model pretty poseable for dioramas (or if you just like to play with your Gundams). No decals come with the kit, only thick stickers and the instructions are not too clear on where they go. If applied properly the ones for the eyes (placement obvious) will look fine in the recess on the kitís face but the others will look bad due to the thickness. Fortunately they are not complex markings and can be painted on fairly easily.

The instructions are a fan folded sheet with four panels per side. The first side shows how to put the kit together: one panel of basic modeling tips and then three panels of assembly instructions. The other side has a title panel, a panel for the painting guide and then two more panels of pictures and artwork of the Buster Gundam. The instructions are clear and precise, yet small and crowded. Lots of assembly in a little space so you will need to pay attention to which piece is going where in a complex road map of dotted lines. They are in Japanese, of course, but except for knowing what paints are being called for, this really doesnít hinder building the kit. That painting guide, in color, has a sample of the color of paint being used but no numbers are given to correspond to Gunze-Sangyo paints. Otherwise they are clear as to mixing ratios and what colors go where.

Conclusion

This is an excellent little kit in a nice collectable scale. You can put a lot of 1/144th Gundams on a shelf and Bandai makes a wide selection. The kit promises to go together with little difficulty and filling. The pose-ability of the kit offers wonderful diorama possibilities and can appeal to kids in the hobby as Gundams can be action figures that the can assemble for themselves and then play with. The price is a steal for this nice and detailed a kit. Highly recommended.


Many thanks to Larry's wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2003 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 8 July 2003.