By John Lester - images & text © 2007
TheYMT-05 Hildolfr, as seen in Gundam MS: Igloo, is an experimental, transformable tank developed by the Principality of Zeon.
Image: Detail throughout is pretty good
Image: Here's part of the main gun mantlet
Image: One of the mecha parts
Image: Front view, assembled
Image: Right/rear, with 35th scale tanker figure
Image: Subassemblies prior to painting
The 35-meter-long, 220-ton behemoth features a 30cm main cannon, Zaku machine guns and smoke launchers, and can be broken into three subcomponents.
What You Get
The box is jam-packed with 10 sprues of plastic parts, another of vinyl for the tracks and a bunnch of polycaps, plus instructions and a sheet of decals. Everything is separately bagged to prevent scratches. Detail and molding on the parts is everything we expect from modern Bandai kits: crisp and virtually flawless. The instructions contain exploded diagrams in 8 main steps of construction. All text is in Japanese, but the diagrams are explicit enough (for the most part) that you can build the thing without much trouble. More problematic are the colors, whic do not have any English translation or equivalent, so if you want this to be faithfull to one seen on screen you'll need to do research elsewhere. Decals provide mostly stencils; the instructions are pretty clear on where they all go (just reference the number in a circle printed next to each marking).
The kit builds up in three sections which, thanks to the use of polycaps, can be pulled apart after building. The center section can be switched between "transformed" and "vehicle" modes by moving the main gun up and inserting mecha's "torso". Five nicely detailed figures (for the scale) round out the kit's features.
Assembly and Finish
The kit is very well engineered and I had few issues building it, something I accomplished in a bout four hours on a rainy afternoon. My only confusion was the placement and orientation of some of the smaller parts (towing pintles G-1, G-2 and A-30 in Step 3.6, for example), but I figured it out in the end. My biggest gripe involved the tracks.
Not because they don't fit well - they do, and they have square posts that fit into square holes on several of the roadwheels for a secure join. No, I just hate vinyl "rubberband-style" tracks. I've not found a paint yet that won't flake off the material. That said, I don't see link-and-length tracks could have been done to fit in the tight confines on this beast, and individual links would have been a nightmare in tedium.
Oh, well. I'll survive somehow.
I assembled the kit about 3/4 of the way in order to facilitate painting. I didn't bother with the mecha's torso or various Zaku weapons as I have no interest in transforming this thing. The most involved finishing work will be painting the ten million roadwheels. Other than that, it should be fairly straightforward to finish the kit. The lack of painting information - taht I can read, anyway - doesn't bother me: I'm doing this as a hypothetical next-generation, automated bunker buster in Israeli service. I'll do that with just a magic wand wave to make the scale 1/35 and a set of walking Israeli infantry figures.
Normally, Gundam subjects don't appeal to me that much, but this was too cool a subject to pass by. It's a fun build, and not overly tough, so I can spend my energy on painting and making a scenic base for it - things I enjoy more than filling seams and pinning together individual track links.
Highly recommended - get one before they're out of production again!
Many thanks to my wallet for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2007 Starship Modeler. First posted on 21 November 2007.