Monday, March 5, 2018

Gunpla #34 - RG Unicorn Gundam 02 Banshee Norn Review

When Bandai firstly announced RG Unicorn Gundam for release in 2017, I was among the most hyped people in the world and even able to get the first batch kit (because I live in Japan), the premium unicorn mode box. Sadly, I was too busy for completing the kit because of my studies, experiments and exam. The right leg and two feet were the only parts of the kit I could finish.

Unicorn, still in 'development stage' since September 2017
Therefore, when Bandai announced that they will release RG Banshee in February 2018 which was coincident with my 'free' time, I knew that I shouldn't let the chance went away. I got another premium unicorn mode box, this time for the Banshee. Seriously, there were no differences whatsoever between normal and premium box kit except for the picture on them, but of course, the 'premium' word alone is enough for the die hard fans to hunt for the kit. Some of them just for collection, while the others took further step: re-selling the kit with higher price on many auction sites.
Banshee with its thicc premium box
 I bought the Banshee at a retail store in Kashiwa with just 3000 Yen, which is 25% cheaper than the normal price. I haven't checked it, but I noticed the box was slightly bigger than the unicorn one, indicating more parts inside it. It housed 19 runners in total, and based on the name plates, we knew that 9 of them were newly molded for the Banshee, which was really a good thing. Design wise, Banshee was practically identical to unicorn, with slight modification on some body parts. The new additions were the extra accessories for the Norn upgrade which includes Armed armor DE/XC, revolver launcher, beam jutte and its effect part.

The building process itself was quite similar with unicorn. Extra time though was needed to complete the extra parts. Due my office duties, it took around one week to finish the kit. Every thing was smooth and straightforward. Extra care however, should be taken in order to assemble the head unit because there were so many small parts, in particular with the horn around Banshee's elaborate v-fin.

Once finished, the completed product never stopped to amaze me. It really was a marvel of gunpla design I've ever seen. The detail was so great with lots of panel lines and multiple color separation all over Banshee's body. In its unicorn mode, Banshee looked so compact, robust and much more modern (in my opinion), but once it transformed into Destroy mode, gone the minimalist looks, replaced with the badass and classic gundam persona. The transformation was quite simple and secure since it shared the same inner frame with Unicorn. The articulation was also great for an RG kit. The armed armor XC on the backpack also articulated really well in both unicorn and destroy mode.

One of my favorite new accessories was armed armor DE, which is basically an upgrade for the shield to make it meaner and bigger than before. The enormous shield also had a special connector for attaching the shield onto Banshee's back for extra propulsion (just like TR-1 Hazel custom). Other than armed armors, the kit also introduced revolver launcher with beam jutte and its effect parts. Three pairs of hand are provided by this kit: standard closed, open closed (for beam magnum and beam sabers/jutte) and open hands. With the price 200 yen more expensive than the original unicorn, I could say that Banshee had more values with its extra accessories. The decal stickers were also pretty good and not hinder much of the original appearance of the kit. You also get extra parts from the RG unicorn if you want to make a normal/novel Banshee instead of norn. The only accessory missing from RG unicorn was the bazooka and storywise, it's reasonable.

The only downside of this kit was probably the golden parts and I guess anybody knows why. If you want to have more accurate color, I suggest to repaint the golden parts.  Also, it's unfortunate that this kit doesn't include armed armor VN/BS to make the original Banshee from OVA, and I'm pretty sure that Bandai planned to releasethem as p-bandai exclusive. Other than that, everything came with this kit looks just fine.

The verdict, this kit was fantastic, and in term of design, I think it's the best RG ever made by Bandai. It's slightly more valuable than the RG Unicorn due to the price, accessories and gimmicks. If you don't have RG Unicorn yet or you have to choose only one, I strongly recommend you to get this kit instead of unicorn.


RX-0 [N] Unicorn Gundam 02 - Banshee Norn

  • Everything except for golden parts
  • Nothing except for golden parts