|The White Warrior that will protect everyone!|
The Gundam AGE-1 Normal is the very first Gundam that appears in the series and is piloted by one of the main protagonists of the show, Flit Asuno. This will probably be the last kit I'll review in the Advanced Grade line of kits. (Hopefully, I'll be able to find more AG kits in the future.)
So, why don't we get started? Join me past the break for the full review!
Again, to anyone who is not familiar with this Gunpla Kit line, the Advanced Grade is a Gunpla Model Kit line that is targeted at Gundam Builder beginners. They are very easy to build (it would probably take you between 30 minutes to an hour to build one) which is why they are perfect for beginners like myself. It also seems to have a gimmick where you can use it to play an arcade game but I'm still not familiar with the "GAGE-ING" concept right now. I'll do a separate blog post when I learn more about it. Also, the Advanced Grade line exclusively features Mobile Suits from the Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Anime.
Before we start, as usual, let's take a look at the box!
The front cover has a picture of Gundam AGE-1 Normal with its DODS Rifle and its ginormous shield smack dab in the center of the box. Nothing fancy here, just a 2D anime-ish boxart of Gundam AGE-1 Normal. Although the boxart is dull when compared to High Grade (and especially Master Grade) kits, the drawing's not that bad either.
As usual, basic (and essential) information about the Gunpla Model Kit is also printed on the front cover for potential buyers to peruse. At the top of the front cover, we can see the kit's scale (1:144) and the Mobile Suit Gundam AGE logo. It also says "Gage-ing Battle" in Katakana, right below the scale (this is probably the arcade gimmick of the Advanced Grade Kits). Below the box, you'll see the name of the Mobile Suit printed in Katakana. Below that is its English-equivalent, and above is the Advanced Grade logo "AG" to denote which line the kit is from. You'll also notice the price tag on the upper right corner of the box (which is slightly torn). The price of this model kit is ₱300, which should translate to around $4-5 in the US.
|Left Side Cover|
Checking the left side cover... Hey, it doesn't have that big warning sticker that are usually stamped to most of the Gunpla Model Kits I review! Wait. Oh, sorry, it's still there. It's just tiny. That's good.
Anyway, in here we can see more information about the "Gage-ing Battle" gimmick. Unfortunately, I can't read Japanese texts, so I don't really know what to make out of this. It seems that there's an arcade game in Japan where you can use your AG Gunplas to battle with. Printed in the middle are a few information and a demonstration of the kit's "Block Build System" (that's the only part I could read). And to the right, there are some warning notes in Japanese.
|Right Side Cover|
There are pictures of the actual Gunpla Model Kit's front and rear view at the right side of the box. However, take note that these are pictures of a sample Gunpla that was painted by a professional. The kit will not look like this when constructed out-of-the-box. There are also a few information about the Mobile Suit's pilot, Flit Asuno, who is one of the main protagonists in the Anime.
|Top Side Cover|
|Bottom Side Cover|
The top and bottom side covers of the box replicates pictures of the kit's boxart along with a few basic information about the featured Mobile Suit. From here, we can view the Mobile Suit's name (in Katakana), the Gunpla scale, and its corresponding number in the AG line. Being the very first Gundam to appear in the screen, and seeing that this Model Kit is from a show about Gundams, it is only appropriate that it is the first Mobile Suit in the Advanced Grade line of kits.
We've covered the box, so let's proceed! (What's inside? Hopefully, runners containing parts.)
|The box opens up like a typical High Grade Gunpla box.|
|The runners are separated between 2 plastic bags.|
The box is similar to a typical High Grade box. You have to slide the top half of the box away from the lower half to reveal its contents. Checking the contents, the runners are contained in 2 plastic bags. Also...
|Inside Box Print|
Look, the instruction manual is printed on the inside of the box. I find that this is a common trend with cheap Gunpla Grades because the Entry Grade [EG] line that I've previously reviewed also has its instruction manual printed on the inside of its box (although the EG line's instructions come printed in B&W). It doesn't really bother me, since the instructions here are very minimal. Most of the assembly are easy to figure out, and you probably won't be needing the instruction manual for kits like these. Here's a picture of the instruction manual at a better angle, for those of you who'd like to get a closer look.
There are more information printed on the sides, as well.
|Inside Box Print Top Side|
|Inside Box Print Bottom Side|
|Inside Box Print Left Side|
|Inside Box Print Right Side|
We get to see the "Gage-ing Battle" gimmick here, and more items related to it. As you can see from the top side of the insides, aside from the arcade machine thingamajig, there's also a "GAGE-ING HARO" and the AGE Device. Personally, I'd love to take a closer look at the AGE Device. It seems to have a functional screen installed on it. It would also double as a sweet keychain, albeit a very big one at that.
|Runner A: 14 Parts|
|Runner B: 4 Parts|
|Runner C: 5 Parts|
|Runner D: 6 Parts|
|Runner E: 1 Part|
|Runner F: 1 Part|
Total No. of Runners: 6
Total No. of Parts: 31
With kits like these which are aimed mostly at beginners, parts are kept to a minimum and are usually molded in big chunks. Also, there are no stickers available. Usually, in High Grade Gunpla Model Kits, this translates to a better Gunpla build (with parts molded in their proper colors). The AG Genoace ended up quite alright, so here's hoping that Gundam AGE-1 Normal will look awesome. Looking at the Gunpla's "Block Build System", it seems to be more complex than the Genoace's build.
|There's another piece here that's wrapped.|
|This is called the "Gage-ing Chip". It goes inside the AG Kit.|
This black block, I've read on the box, is the "Gage-ing Chip", which I guess has something to do with the Gage-ing arcade game gimmick. This is the only part in the Model Kit that doesn't have anything to do with the Gunpla itself. I wish I can try out one of their "Gage-ing Battle" games, but I believe it was only available in Japan.
|Gundam AGE-1 Normal Card Front View|
|Gundam AGE-1 Normal Card Rear View|
Now, I don't know if this is also part of the Gage-ing Battle gimmick, but there is also a card inside the kit, which contains the boxart of the Model Kit and a few technical specifications. I'm a sucker for these kinds of things! This will go straight to my card binder, along with my other trading cards.
|Gunpla Promotional Card Front View|
|Gunpla Promotional Card Rear View|
There was also a "Fun to Build Gunpla Campaign" card in the box. It was a promo back in 2013. Yup. I'm always late to the party.
Alright, now that the box is done, let's go ahead with the assembly!
|Time to assemble the Gundam AGE-1 Normal!|
Looking closely on the printed information inside the box, it tells us that this is one of Bandai's "easy snap" kits. You won't be needing any tools to assemble this kit. All the parts can be easily removed from their runners by snapping them off. However, I still used my sidecutters to avoid large nub marks. Remember to take note of the part's number if you are assembling your Gunpla for the first time. Time to assemble the kit!
|Section 1 is for the head's assembly. I'm amazed that they put in this effort to give the head this amount of detail. Usually, even in High Grade kits, Bandai uses stickers to give details to the eyes.|
|...and once you put on the head armor, it looks awesome.|
|This is how small it is, by the way. It's face is smaller than my fingernail.|
|Section 2 is for the torso. Again, amazed by how much detail this cheap kit has. It has an inner frame similar to some of the more expensive Grades. There's a different mold for the vents, too.|
|Once connected, it looks amazing. Now, for the skirt armor and the bezel for the AGE System.|
|The torso's done! It houses the "AGE System", a unique system that helps the Gundam equipped with it grow stronger. How? Well, you have to watch the Anime for that!|
|...oh, wait. the Backpack's still not attached.|
|That's where the "Gage-ing Chip" goes into.|
|...and we're done. (With Section 2.)|
|Section 3 and 4 are for the arms. The left arm has a peg. That's where the shield attaches into.|
|Here's the shield. Again, in 2 molds! Usually, Bandai uses a sticker here instead. I'm glad they didn't go that route.|
|Sections 5 and 6 are for the legs and feet.|
|Once the feet are attached, we're done! Then, we connect them all...|
The assembly only has 6 sections. Once you're done with those, all that's left to do is to combine all the parts together to form the Gunpla! After assembly, we get to see it in its full form...
Next up, we're now going to look at the unit itself. I must say that I'm really impressed with how the Gundam AGE-1 turned out. It looks super awesome! Very detailed! Unfortunately, articulation is close to nothing, so this review is going to be quick. As usual, I'll let the pictures do the talking. (And I'll do the talking via the captions.)
A. Basic Profile
Here are some basic profiles of AG Gundam AGE-1 Normal!
As I've said, articulation is pretty much non-existent on this Gunpla. Most of its parts cannot move except for the arms and its head. The arms can only be moved by rotating it from the shoulders. The arms are attached to the body via a peg and I believe that they've only used a peg for practical purposes. The head is attached via a ball joint and can be tilted slightly upward or downward, although its collar only lets the head rotate at an awkward angle.
Aside from the disappointing level of articulation from the kit, the detail it has is great. Here are some pictures to show them off.
|Here's Gundam AGE-1 Normal, standing still with its basic equipment. Nothing else to say here, really.|
|Getting up close to it, it looks very very nice.|
|If you're really good at it, you can panel line those tiny linings there.|
|Here's the chest part again. Very very good! In the middle is the AGE System. In the Anime, that "A" lights up.|
|The legs don't look bad as well. There are a few spots that needs painting. For example, Gundam AGE-1 Normal's knees are grey. (But I don't think anyone will notice. Hehe.)|
|The legs and feet don't move at all. So it'll just stand there.|
|The thrusters need painting as well. I'd do it, but I'm not very good.|
|Last look at the back side. Again, a lot of opportunities to do some panel lines there.|
|Beam Daggers. If you've watched the Anime, a certain protagonist likes to use these. Dual-wielding.|
|These are the equipment that Gundam AGE-1 Normal uses most of the time.|
The other 2 accessories are the DODS Rifle and its shield. I use these 2 more because they look natural (and because its the equipment that Flit Asuno usually uses in the Anime).
IV. Final Thoughts
Another fast review! The Gunpla was very easy to assemble, especially since most of the parts are molded in large pieces. The parts can be removed from the runners easily and kids can actually build this thing during the car ride on your way home.
However, as I've said several times, articulation on this kit is pretty much non-existent. I know that most people looking for Gunpla Model Kits out there expect to display these on their shelves in cool action poses. Sadly, the only non-awkward pose that you can put this Gunpla in is in a standing position. I guess an upside to this is that the Gunpla feels super sturdy.
But, to compensate for its lack of articulation (or, perhaps, because of this), the AG Gundam AGE-1 Normal has amazing details. Even without stickers, the kit looks amazing. What's amazing is that the Model Kit also incorporates a sort of inner frame via its "Block Build System". Just look at how detailed Gundam AGE-1 Normal's chest parts are. Honestly, I like these kits better than the Entry Grade [EG] Kits that I had reviewed before just because of the amount of detailing on these kits.
|"I'll just stand here, looking awesome. Like in that Asuno painting."|
That's it for my 2nd (and probably last) review from the Advanced Grade line. I wish I could see more of these kits, especially the 3 remaining main Gundams. If I do, I'll be sure to post the pictures here on Jyuzou's Blog for you!
I'll see you on the next post!