Monday, April 29, 2013

Gunpla - #15 - HGUC Zee Zulu Review

Finally, my first Zeon kit. I am not actually a fan of Zeon MS, but after watching Unicorn OVA, I could not resist myself to buy at least one of them. Zee Zulu, this thing wreaked havoc during the assault of Torrington base on Unicorn OVA eps. 4, before finally taken down by Feddie's Byarlant Custom. Being a variant of the mass produced Geara Zulu, Zee Zulu was built as an amphibious and close quarters mobile suit. This MS is equipped with hydro jets for the greater underwater propulsion, scuba gears (LOL), a cased-beam rifle, and the most badass of them all : a pair of heat knives and claws. Combined with the dark blue color scheme, Zee Zulu really looks stealthy and much more menacing than the ordinary Geara Zulu.

There are 11 runners for this kit. Quite many for a HG, even though some of them are identical (for right/left parts). There are also some "spareparts" left from these runners. I'm not sure whether this "spareparts" could be used to make variations for Zee Zulu, or they are simply the leftovers from Geara Zulu parts since Zee Zulu is actually the variant of Geara Zulu. There's also a sheet of foil stickers for this kit, and damn, there are so many of them. If you hate foil stickers, then you're doomed LOL. The building process was actually simple and straight forward. What I liked the most was that most of seam lines and nub marks were hidden by the kit's design. Bandai's engineers really made a great efforts for this.

Zee Zulu without his equipment. The seam lines and nub marks were concealed by the design :-)
This kit surely includes tons of accessories. Officially, you'll get 4 sets of hand (2 closed, 1 open, 1 trigger). Anyway, as I mentioned above, there are spareparts left, and there are actually 2 more hands provided. Hence practically, you'll have 6 sets of hands. Other accessories included : 2 hydrojets, 2 flippers, 1 tank (for oxygen?), 2 heat knives, 2 heat claws, and 1 beam rifle with its case.
Zee Zulu with his complete equipment

Zee Zulu jettisoned his equipment. Guess what's inside the case ?
Yes, the beam rifle is inside the case. Cool !
Now, the articulation. As other HGUC kits from the Unicorn series, Zee Zulu also possessed a stable yet quite impressive articulation. The hands really capable to do great poses, especially with the knives and claws. Unfortunately, the skirt and leg armors somehow limited the feet movement, for example for kneeling pose (as shown in the OVA). Anyway, I personally satisfied with Zee Zulu's action poses for now.   

Bare handed pose
With opened heat knives and claws
Defensive pose
With the beam rifle
Heat knives unsheathed pose.  Really like a pro killer >.<
Overall, Zee Zulu is one the best Zeon MS design. If you are confused to pick your first HGUC kit from Zeon faction in Unicorn OVA, I really recommend you to get this guy. IMHO, It's better to pair this kit with other Geara Zulu variants such as Guards Type or Angelo Sauper use Geara Zulus. Here some pictures of Zee Zulu, enjoy :-)   

AMS - 129M Zee Zulu

Pros :

  • One of the best design for an amphibious Zeon MS
  • Great details and tons of accessories
  • Great stability for posing
Cons :

  • Limited articulation for the legs
  • Too many foil stickers for the details  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gunpla - #14 - TT Hongli Machine Nest Base Review

I'm sure some of you have already known about TT Hongli. This brand is so infamous for their "bootleg" kits, that is imitating the real one produced by Bandai. Well, you could buy this bootleg kit with much cheaper price than Bandai's, usually half or even one-third of the original price. Of course, the quality of the imitator would also be worse than Bandai's. Some friends told me that they had problems while building the bootleg kits. The parts should be trimmed before snap-fitting, the plastic were easier to break, etc.

So, why am I talking about this bootleg stuff ? Well, I felt quite bored while looking at my kits recently. They were just standing and posing on my book shelves, with the plain background ... BOORING ... (-_-).

Therefore, I was planning to give some realistic environment touches by adding bases for my kits. After browsing on several forums and online shop, I was really interested with Kotobukiya Mechanical Chain Base (MCB). But ... Dear God, look at the price ! It costed almost the same as one HG kit only for one base. Bandai's System Base was no better. Their price really choked me up. Hence, I tried to find an "alternative" for MCB, of course with the cheaper price. Finally, I found this suitable "alternative", and it was TT Hongli Machine Nest Base. At first, I had some doubts for purchasing the kit, but finally I decided to buy it anyway. If something happens, well, it's just base, not the kit, and at least it's still cheaper than original. 

6 MCBs at once ^^

I bought 6 MCBs, unit 001 to 006, and it cost only IDR 300.000. Very cheap. As you could expected from a bootleg product, the box, the name, manual  etc was almost identical with the original Kotobukiya's. And if you look at the English description on the box, you'll notice that is roughly translated. I supposed the manufacturer used some kind of Google Translate for their products description ^^.

The building process, surprisingly, was very easy, without any problems. There were no snap-fitting problems nor trimming issues. Everything's going smoothly. I just had to clean some nub marks which seemed to be existed during manufacturing process of the kit. Well, it's a bootleg kit, so It's completely okay for me. The plastic itself, looked good, even though the material was not as good as the koto's. 

These MCBs (001-006) are actually divided in two types. Let's say, type A for 001-003 and type B for 004-006. Type A mainly consists of a docking wall and a floor. Docking wall means the hangar wall for docking or parking mobile suits. Meanwhile, type B consists of a launcher wall and a floor. Launcher wall means the hangar wall for mobile suits which are ready to launch. The floor of type B contains a catapult-like launcher as you could see on some Gundam series. Both of the base types also equipped with several accessories such as crane, fuel car, missile trailer etc. I attached some pictures of the respective MCBs with Jesta Cannon and GM Striker as the model ;-)

MCB 001. Accessories : 4 weapon hangers and 1 container truck.

MCB 002. Accessories :  1 crane with  claw/basket container.

MCB 003. Accessories : 1 MS pilot corridor, 1 fuel car and 1 missile truck.

MCB 004. Accessories : 3 medium containers, 2 small launchers, and 1 MS parts trailer.

MCB 005. Accessories : 3 big containers, 2 medium launchers and 1 fork lift.

MCB 006. Accessories : 3 small containers, 2 big launchers and 1 launcher light.

The main feature is, these MCBs could be combine together to make a hangar, thus the name "Chain" or "Nest" came from. Again, I was quite surprised that this bootleg MCB could be combined without any difficulties. The picture below showes what's happened after I combine MCB 001 and 002. 

If you combine all 6 MCB's you'll get something like this :

Welcome to the hangar. The big sniper rifle in the front is an original Kotobukiya MSG. The yellow small mecha is DRAKEN-E unit which came together with GM Sniper II kit.
The accessories really look good, do they ?

Loto's under maintenance :-)

Of course, you could use any combinations you like for the base. As for me, the combination shown on the picture is my favorite, because there were no unused walls/floors :-)

Overall, I was really satisfied with these MCBs. Despite the bootleg status, they could be built easily, pretty solid with nice details and accessories, and the most important thing is, they are very cheap. Well, it's not like  a recommend you to buy a bootleg or imitator kit, but for such an add-on or accessory only, I guess it will be no problem to give a try, especially when you're short on budget  :-)