Tuesday, February 22, 2011

HGUC GM Custom - Review

I never do reviews.  But this is a new era of Plamo Addiction (cue the reverb) so...  Time to switch things up.

Preface:  My Build Process

After building more than my fair share of Gundams, I've finally settled on a build technique that suits me.  I even do this with MG's but I'll detail that process separately when I review one.

1. I cut out everything and attach parts together that are meant to go together.  Like the two halves of a helmet for example.  I cut them out and them attach them together lightly, so they can be pulled apart easily.  I do this for any part that has a "partner".  Naturally this varies depending on the suit but I'm sure that most of you have built at least one Gundam model and know what I'm referring to.  If you don't... you'll see soon.

2. Not all parts have partners.  I cut those out too.  Very small parts I leave connected to the gate so I don't lose them but I cut around the runner, leaving only the parts I need.  Confused?  Scroll down to the pic that is 3rd from the bottom (the PC parts).  You'll see what I mean.

3.  I generally start from the waist because it is the center of the mech.  From there you can branch out and keep attaching parts.  I like seeing the mech form in that way.  Waist - Chest - Legs - Shoulders/ Arms - Head - Backpack - Weapons. The second way is to hit the largest pieces first just to get them out of the way.

The primary reasoning behind this is get as much plastic out of the box as quickly as I can.  I don't like having a lot of unnecessary things to look at.  I don't need all that runner plastic so I get rid of it right away.  I've built enough Gundams so that I know which part goes where (outside of PC parts), the manual is more for "confirmation" purposes than a "guide".

This is the same reason why I tend to assemble larger plastic pieces (like large rifles or shields) first just so I can get them out of the box or finished and then I have less things to look at.  This enables me to work faster as the build progresses while also giving me the satisfaction of seeing the mech "come to life" before my eyes, which is the part I like most and why I always assemble the frame first and then put the armour on after.  I'm a true "mecha" fan.  I like the "machine" aspect and enjoy building and looking at the "frame" and mechanical detail parts as much as I do the finished product.  This is also why I'll spend an extra amount of time to paint or highlight the parts of the suit that have exceptional attention to mechanical detail.

That's about it.  The build process varies from kit to kit and these aren't hard and fast rules but more like general guidelines that I tend to follow when I get a new kit.

I'm taking the time to explain all this now so you can better understand what's going on in the pictures and why I'm doing it the way I am.

Alright, let's get on with it!

The mech in question.  I'm a big fan of the GM Quel and this is almost the same suit but when I saw the reviews of this... I knew I wanted it.  After I built it I realized that it is different from the HGUC GM Quel in just enough ways to warrant the purchase.  I picked this up in Narita Airport as I was leaving Japan.  Truly... I bought Gundams right up until the very last moment that I was in that country.  As of now this is the LAST Gundam I've bought... And I can't see myself buying another one for a very long time.  I won't say it's my last Gundam... but there's a high chance that it will be.  At the very least this Gundam does symbolize the true end of an era.  And the beginning of another.  Thus it becomes the first Gundam that I officially "review".

As mentioned above I cut out all the parts and placed them with their "partner" pieces (which are generally right beside them on the runner).

Here are those same parts attached together loosely (so I can separate them easily.)  I do this just for the sake of organization and greater ease when I'm searching through parts in the box.  No Ngee Khiong EX style of paper box organization for me.  I just toss everything in the box and look for it manually later.  It doesn't take me that long.  Of course we're just talking about a 1/144 scale here.  I couldn't do it like this with a MG.

Assembled pairs plus add the parts needed to "complete" them.

Stand alone parts that won't need to be dis-assembled again.

Extra or single parts that don't have partners.

Organize the rest into their respective pair groups.

Standard mod.  I ALWAYS do this with HG's.  Generally the front skirt is molded as one piece so both sides move together.  I don't like that.

Simple.  Cut it in the center with the nippers and trim a slight bit so that they both move smoothly and independently. 

Semi assembled.  You can see that the newer HGUC's kind of have a frame of their own.  Not as intense as the MG's of course but... still a frame none the less

Parts that will be added to said frame.

Just a couple of small things left to put on.

This is pretty much all that's left after this much building.

KEY POINT:  The wrist joint of the hand on the right allows this model to hold the bullpup machine gun better than the other hand.  This was a problem I had with the GM Quel and ended up modding the rifle because of it.  I'm glad they changed this.  This is also the same type of hand that comes with the ReZel Commander so that it can hold it's rifle properly (which it still can barely do despite that.)

Even with the improved wrist, it's still a simple 2 piece part so it does still come apart easily.  This model comes with so many extra hands that I just glued it together with extra thin cement (after using this stuff I'll never go back to regular cement again. This stuff is awesome.  Little bit of clear green paint spilled on it while crossing the Pacific Ocean.  No other damage luckily!).

And here he is!  All done!  An important feature of this kit is the left hand gripping the underside of the gun.  It has a proper wrist joint so you can get poses like this with little effort.  I think this should become standard practice with all HGUC's from now on.

And it comes with so many different types of hands!  This is awesome!

And this is all that we're left with at the end.

With ReZel's hand and cannon.  I love giving older MS, weapons that weren't around when they were made.  Like the RX-78-2 with the Sinanju bazooka.

Here he is guarding my "Blade of the Immortal" collection.

Good kit.  Very good kit.  I'm impressed.  The design is good, articulation is good (especially in the ankles and wrists) and they give you enough hands that you can give it a bit of personality and put him in a bunch of different poses.

Armament is sparse.  Two beam sabers, bullpup machine gun and a shield but that's what this suit is all about.  It's a soldiers suit. A high ranking soldiers suit but not something a new type ace would pilot.  I like the GM Custom for that reason.  It's a limited edition upgraded mass produced suit which is basically... my type of war machine.

The proportions are good.  Better than the Quel (which looks a bit lumpy in comparison to its predecessor)  and I really do like the shape of the head better.  I even like the protruding shoulders which is kind of rare for me.  I think it works with this suit.  I also think the idea of a baby blue MS is kind of ridiculous but... I like it here for some reason.  I think it all works.  And that's a telling sign for me.  Separately there are many things that I usually don't like about the design of some mobile suits in general and the GM Custom has a couple of those things but for some reason when I look at this suit, none of it bothers me.

The wrist joints sealed it for me though.  Being able to have it pose with both hands on the rifle and have it look naturally was a big selling point for me.  Glad I finished the previous era with this kit. It's great.  Looking forward to really working on it later on down the road.

It's a good example of what modern HGUC MP suits can be.  Very good, very well rounded.  The most telling thing is that I have nothing bad to say about this kit.  It even comes with a bit of mechanical detail behind the visor which the ReZel Commander didn't even have! Terrible!  How could they overlook that?!  It's like the only Fed MP suit with a mono eye and they didn't include the detail for that?! wtf... (btw thanks Hemish for the great photo, the silver on it looks awesome.) Anyway, I think it's better than average and that's considering what an average suit it is.  Recommended for the MP, Fed, 0083 and/or GM fans.  It's a nice little guy to have on your desk to play around with.  A good looking model AND a fine toy as well so it gets a high score from me.

5/5.  Everything I thought it would be and more.  Worth the price I paid for it.  No regrets.