March 29, 2013

Wing Zero Custom Review [1/100 MG, 2004]

Wing Zero is about 95% complete. As per my custom I like to do a kit review right before I finish the kit, and I would like to share my experience with this guy.

Kit Name: Wing Gundam Zero Custom
Manufacturer: Bandai
Grade: Master Grade
Release: 2004
Price: Abt $40 USD paid
Kit value: Abt $400 USD after labor
Paint Colors:
Testors flat black (shading) [A]
Testors neutral gray (primer) [A]
Testors insignia yellow [A]
Testors insignia red [A]
Testors dark blue [A]
Testors green [E]

[A]= acrylic
[E]= enamel
[L]= lacquer
[S]= shellac

I've heard a lot of complaints about this guy. At first I was reluctant to buy the kit but a rrobbert184 review changed that around. I saw his look at the pearl gloss version and decided I would give the kit a try. When my camera arrives you can expect a retrospective review of this kit.

Opening the Box
When you open the box you'll be greeted to a few plates, but you will notice that Zero does not include a full inner frame. This kit was engineered before the rise of 2.0 inner frames. For experienced kit builders like myself, this won't be a problem. For intermediates and beginners, the seam lines and "plasti-cky" feel to the overall finish may leave an unsatisfying taste in the mouth.

No Waterslides
The kit includes foil stickers, dry transfers and stickers. I do not use stickers. No water slides are provided. I would use dry transfers but I am not a guy who decals Wing kits, so they will go in the decal box. For water slides you will have to order 3rd party sheets.

Despite the work involved, it was a pleasure putting the kit together. The feet have a fair degree of mobility. The legs have a weird mechanism where they fold back for the re-entry mode, making it difficult to align the legs and the knee armor just right. Minor nitpick though. Because of the age of the kit, there was no transfer bar between the upper shin and the lower knee mechanism which is present on modern day XXX-G frame kits. If you've worked with the previous XXX-G frames, Zero will be quite a bit different.

The waist has a fair bit of mobility, but you won't be getting uber crazy angles out of it. Sadly, the arms have about a 90 or so degree bend, and that's all you'll get out of them. This is definitely a problem that needs to be rectified in a 2.0. The legs are fairly articulate, but again can be a little weird to straighten out because of the re-entry mode gimmick.

Your biggest seam line issues will be on the back wings, the buster rifles and the forearms. These can all be rectified using patience, cement and putty. The hands are of the 3-finger, trigger finger split variety and have been notorious at not holding things properly. Sticky tack can rectify the situation quite easily. The rear wings have a section that opens up, revealing more wing detail on the inside.

This kit is also notorious for having wings dropping and falling down due to gravity. Since I painted my kit 100%, the joints have tightened and I have not noticed the wing problems everybody seems to have. As I said to someone recently, if Zero wants to play hardball I have sticky tack. If that fails, I have other steps that can be taken- such as tape (in sparing amounts).

The side wings are complex, but nothing impossible. Dare I say the Wing Gundam's wings [2010, Bandai, Master Grade] were more complex than these. The mold detail is excellent and I am very happy with how the paint came out on them. They will expand out and let you do some really neat poses, though I have not tried that yet. The photo-shoot should come soon when I get some stuff done, such as the feathers still waiting in the shop.

Speaking of. That is a nitpick I have with this kit. I understand the idea of rubber feathers so people can bend them how they please, but I feel they are annoying and they do not hold paint very well.

One other odd point of note is that Zero feels ever so slightly smaller than he should be. I have him next to Epyon here [2011, Bandai, Master Grade] and he feels a bit... short. This may have been done to accommodate the large wing span. This fact has been reiterated by a lot of bloggers and youtubers. It doesn't bother me a whole lot, but to replicate the scale effect, dimensions should be as accurate as possible. Still, the overall look they were going for nailed the head right on.

Display Base
Back in 2004 when this guy came out you couldn't buy action bases. This kit came with its own. It features two angles that allow you to stand the kit aerial and to allow you to do the infamous bunker buster pose. I have not tried that pose yet, but it seems Zero is attached pretty darn well to the base. I plan on attaching the base to a wooden base that I usually attach my Gundams to. The length of the included base matches the inner diameter of the wooden base. Go figure. I'll probably paint it all (both bases) the same color. I don't know whether to go with blue or black. I feel blue may detract from the viewer looking at the kit.

The Finished Product
The finished product is excellent. I have to say- my model building and painting skills have improved so much ever since I switched to an airbrush and got more serious with my hobby. I am laid back and take my time with these kits, but the effort, even if it was boring as hell at times, has been absolutely worth it. Every one of my kits, in my opinion keeps getting better and better. Hell, I'm so happy with this MG that I "may" not buy the 2.0. I'll probably buy the 2.0. If anything, do a vertical build where half the armor is on and half of the model is inner frame. I've always wanted to do a kit like that.

I am going to give this kit a thumbs up. It isn't the crème de la crème anymore, but it is still worth a buy if you are a fan of Gundam Wing or the Zero unit from Endless Waltz. It is one of my favorite gundams, so I couldn't pass it up, even after hearing the negative publicity on it. I guess it's a love it or hate it kind of situation. I was able to deal with the faults, correct them, and my oh my is it an eye magnet when people come in the room.

This is the first draft of the review. Some odds and ends may be added or changed in the future to more accurately portray my thoughts on the kit.

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