By Tyler Provick - images & text © 2001
^ Instructions are clear - it's easy to put the parts where they belong, based on the diagrams
^ The color profiles included in the directions are quite handy.
This is the first Bandai kit or review I've ever done, so please be patient with my unconventional views. It's also my first kit in a very long time. I've been painting wargaming miniatures (between 25 and 10mm) for the past four years. So if I'm doing something that sounds a little off, it probably is.
I've been a big fan of DP9's Heavy Gears for a long time now. I was really in the mood to put something together that would take time and effort so I decided to get a model kit. I was also looking for mecha. Not only is Fusion Models' beautiful Kodiak OOP, it is almost too expensive for a first time learn-as-you-go project. My second choice is Gasaraki, however I didn't feel like searching far and wide and spending money to have a kit shipped to me. I also considered Votoms, but the only kit I saw which was reasonable to my situation (read: available in my province) was on eBay and I was (sadly) outbid.
That left Gundam. Readily available from Wal-mart, made by Bandai, which I'd heard makes good kits. Still, I don't like the scale of their mecha. I've never been a fan of really big robots. I prefer something the size of Gasaraki, Votoms or Heavy Gear. Plus the colour scheme was too bright and toy-like for my preferences. After a bit more research I found that most of the models I've seen were not painted. That accounted for their plastic look. Since I want to paint something I decided it didn't matter. So off to the store to pick up the Gundam that appealed to me the most. Since they don't currently make a Gundam Wing 1/100 Heavyarms, I settled for Deathscythe. I bought him, brought him home, and immediately started putting him together.
I'd already heard a lot of good things about Bandai kits, but taking a look inside the box really blew my mind. There were a lot of pieces - 147 to be exact. They were also molded in colour, which is a first for me. The thing that really surprised me was that some of the sprues were molded in different colours. Amazing!
A couple of other things caught my attention immediately. The first was the chrome parts - too shiny in my opinion. After a bit of research, I soaked the pieces in a Comet and Water solution, stirred occasionally over 2 hours. Comet doesn't fully dissolve in water. It would settle on the sprue and bottom of the sink and needed to be stirred occasionally. I probably should have worn gloves, but I've washed enough bathrooms with the stuff I didn't think it was necessary. Still, I would recommend gloves, just to be safe. Anyway, after the soak and rinse the chrome was fully removed, without need for scrubbing. I did scrub them, because this is the first time I used this technique, and didn't realize that the chrome would just disappear until I became tired of scrubbing and let them sit. Now I have a perfectly flat black sprue of parts I can paint whatever colour I want. This step was important, because during my research I discovered you can't paint over the chrome easily.
The other thing that caught my attention was the clear green parts. They were very flexible, and will probably not hold paint very well. Since I want to paint them I'll probably have to find a way later. I might consider casting my own parts, since it's not the transparency I'm looking for.
One thing modelers will notice about this kit is the almost complete lack of flash and seam lines. I think Bandai must change their molds every 5 kits or something. Of well, I'll not complain. What I will complain about is the whole snap-fit concept. Bandai does it very well, with minimal seam lines (all things considered with snap-fit) so that the model can be assembled very quickly and look good. I planned on gluing this, and spending a lot of time making sure there were no seam lines. That's one of the reasons I wanted this kit. Before you begin building you must remember - if you want to test fit parts, you will need to be careful, as some parts don't come apart easily due to the snap-fit.
Tenderly laying the sprues back into the box it is time to look at the instructions. Eight B&W pages make up the English instructions. Not that they're needed, as the actual assembly part doesn't use words. It is good to have them, just to know you aren't missing something important. Also, Bandai uses symbols for many things, which are defined on page 1 of the English instructions. The Japanese instructions are the best instructions I've ever seen. 12 pages including cover and back, 4 of these in colour. The first two pages (not including cover) contain a schematic type drawing, showing back, front and side of the mecha (not model). It also includes "Story", "Explanation" and "Spec". Titles are English, but writing is Japanese. I can see that the mecha stands 16.3 metres tall and weighs 7.2 tonnes. I also see references to OZ, and the year, AC 195. Fans of the show will recognize this, but if you just want to build a good kit it isn't important. What are nice are the diagrams. It gives a good idea for putty filled panel lines and stance of the finished kit. It also shows you that the knee joints of the model look exactly like they should. The next page is a parts list, and then the instructions begin. They are very clear and work well. My only complaint is this is a snap fit kit, so there is not idea of what can or can't be glued. Still, a little common sense fixed that, and all that was supposed to move on my kit does. In the middle of the Japanese instructions are colour pictures of the finished model, including a short blurb about its pilot, Due Maxwell. Then, more instructions, and on the back, more colour pictures of the finished model.
Main construction took me a few days. First I began assembling the pieces. Many of the snap-fit locator pegs made construction of the parts easier, others didn't. The plastic is nice and crisp, very non-porous. Finger prints really stood out as I literally couldn't wait to get my sweaty little paws all over the thing. The kit will need to be washed before painting. Of course this is SOP, but very obvious on this kit. One of the really nice things about this kit is that sub-assemblies are fairly easy to make, as many bits fit together with polycaps, making it easy to pop on and off.
I'm not going to go blow by blow on construction, as I built the thing pretty stock. One piece of advice though, watch what you are doing. I glued one of the feet guards on backwards, and was luckily able to switch it around without re-gluing or breaking the piece. After some construction I realized this kit will take a lot of work to look realistic. I'm not saying accurate, as I really don't care if it is or not. Some of the pieces have visible backs which show mating pins and such. It would take a lot of putty and pieces of plastic card to cover that up. I decided to leave it as is with this kit. If I get another I may look at fixing this.
Seams were very easy to remove, as most parts lined up perfectly and could be sanded smooth once the glue had dried. A few seams were located at panel lines, which is a blessing and a curse. You don't have to worry about them as far as making them invisible. However, if you make a mistake and there is a gap, puttying the bottom of a panel line without filling the panel can be very tricky.
A few notable features discovered when building:
There is also a backpack, although there is nothing spectacular or gimmicky about it.
Once the model was in sub-assemblies some putty and additional sanding was needed. Some panel lines run perpendicular to seam lines, and will need to be re-scribed. There is small detail all around the model that must be watched out for. The worst of it are similar to panel lines, so if you sand them off you'll have to carve into the plastic to get them back. This is most apparent on the sides of the torso.
This model really does not need to be painted to look good, at least better then the grey plastic airplanes I used to make. I still plan on painting this kit. However I want to airbrush it, and I don't have an airbrush, so that isn't possible yet.
This is an excellent first timer kit, and a welcome break for a seasoned modeler who has spent the last 5 years on his 1/1 scale International Space Station diorama. The molding and crispness of detail are winners for seasoned modelers. The ease of assembly is great for young or new modelers. One thing to note: While many pieces are small and can be swallowed, if a parent helps clips bits off the sprues a young child can have fun putting this thing together. That's great for parents who want to share their hobby with their children (who always want to do whatever adults are doing) without poisoning them with toxic glues or paints.
This page copyright © 2001 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 7 March 2001.