Bandai Robot Spirits - GUNDAM
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Continuing our look at Bandai’s incredible Robot Spirits is a return to one of the most popular anime franchises ever, Gundam. Bandai is no stranger to these giant robots, producing toys and models of them for years in different scales, materials, and price points. They naturally hold many spots in the Robot Spirits lineup as well, where they really shine in the 5 inch scale at about $25 - $35 at fine importers.
Today we’ll be looking at four recent releases that show off the range of different robot styles in the Gundam figures: #076 OO Qan[T], #078 RX-78-2 Gundam, #079 Sinanju, and #085 Destiny Gundam.
All Robot Spirits figures come in similar packaging, which any giant robot collector should be familiar with by now. A wide window box holds the figure and its many accessories, with a broad stripe to the left of the figure that proclaims the series. Above and below the window is the robot’s name along with a beauty shot of the figure.
The back of the Robot Spirits box is really where the magic happens. You can never tell by the small window just how many accessories and extra parts are in each box, but the back panel shows off everything the figure can do in a series of jaw-dropping photos. This is especially helpful for collectors who may not be familiar with the source material; the back is essentially a primer on what poses work best! Combined with the graphical instructions you’ll be able to get the most out of your figures even if you can’t read all of the Japanese text.
After you’ve freed your Gundams and all of their various equipment from their plastic trays, the fun begins. Each figure has its own distinct personality, as evidenced by its sculpt and overall look. The RX-78-2 is perhaps the quintessential “Gundam,” an angular robot whose design dates back to 1979. While one of the more plain figures, there’s still plenty of cool stuff going on with the RX including its detailed chest and head parts. A clear descendant, the Destiny Gundam has a strong aerial motif with its wing-like shoulder armor, chest vents, leg thrusters, and more. Of course, once you pop on its wings the image is complete!
From Gundam OO the Movie comes the OO Qan[T] (hereafter referred to as “Qan”). An almost feminine looking robot, the Qan has more rounded shapes than the usual Gundam. It’s probably my favorite from the new batch with its unique joints, asymmetrical armor, and distinctive head. Finally there’s the Sinanju, a striking unit with heavy ornate armor plating and an overall bulky presence. All of the Gundams have top notch sculpts, a testament to the Robot Spirits line. Mechanical details flourish on the robots with vents, panels, and a myriad array of armor designs.
While a lot of the more “generic” Gundams may appear the same with their predominant white color schemes, put a few together and you’ll see a lot of differences with respect to their palettes and paint applications. Take a look at the RX-78-2, for example. Sure, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the white. But then there’s the cool chest piece in blue, red, and yellow. Matching colors pop up on the feet and belt while grays are used on the joints and backpack. Red, gold, and black define the face and head. Other figures like the Destiny Gundam feature different colors on different parts like limbs and armor segments. With lots of dark blue and red, the Destiny’s white and yellow really pop. This Gundam in particular has a really cool face design with metallic blue eyes and red war paint.
The Qan is similar with white, blue, and red sections, but kicks it up a notch with pearlescent green caps on its joints. Bright yellow chest vents and large metallic eyes spice up the design even more. Finally there’s the always unique Sinanju, resplendent in its blood red armor! This beast features black panels chased in gold designs, while some silver and gray appear at joints and in the background. Who says Gundams all look the same?
Before we get to the amazing accessories, a note about articulation: the Gundams have plenty of it in all the right places. Like all Robot Spirits figures, the Gundams are loaded with functional ball-joints for extreme poseability. On top of that you’ll find a bunch of additional articulation in moveable armor pieces, thrusters, “skirts,” and more. Even Sinanju’s booster pods are attached via ball-joints so you can position them just right! Posing may take a little work (especially when you’re dealing with a bunch of weapons), but you can get these Gundams into just about any battle stance.
Every Robot Spirits figure, and especially each Gundam, comes absolutely loaded with accessories. Each one has multiple extra hands, usually in fists, weapon-holding, and open configurations. Then there are the weapons! Let’s take just a quick peek at each Gundam. The RX has a fairly traditional armory of dual shields, dual rifles with underslung grenade launchers, dual bazookas, dual beam sabers with an additional “swinging” energy effect, and a ball and chain weapon with swappable heads. Many of the unit’s weapons can be combined or attached to its body via universal posts.
Destiny Gundam wields a basic rifle and small shield (that itself transforms), with poseable wings mounting on a back unit. Also stored there are two huge folding weapons: a sword and energy cannon. It also has multiple translucent plastic energy effects for its shield arm, mega sword, shoulder emitters, and the enormous phoenix-like wings. To hold all of that up the Destiny comes with a poseable stand that works really well (it’s also sold separately and several of the other Gundams include parts to mount them on it too).
The Qan looks at first glance to be light on weapons, with just a shield and sword with swappable blades. There’s plenty more than meets the eye, though, as the shield breaks down into a half dozen parts that can be mounted on the sword/gun in different configurations and also the included display ring.
Sinanju mounts heavy thrusters on its back with their own articulation, a mighty shield on its left arm, and a large rifle. It also has beam sabers, energy axes that can combine into a larger weapon, and more energy effects for the shield.
Gundam collectors, you might as well just sign over your paychecks directly to Bandai; that’s how cool these figures are. For the rest of us who might be interested in buying the occasional giant robot, there’s enough variety in this line that you’re sure to find something that catches your eye whether that’s the traditional and stoic RX-78-2, the high-flying Destiny Gundam, the shapely shield-wielding Qan, or the big red beast that is Sinanju.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of Bluefin