Is the Real Grade line really “Excitement Embodied”?
Let’s take a look at the granddad of all Mobile Suits.
As a huge Gundam fan I’ve been building Gundam model-kits for ages, it’s actually my favorite hobby. I discovered Bandai’s Real Grade line of model-kits during my stay in Tokyo, but didn’t really bother to pick one of the kits up. My mission was obtaining Master Grade and Perfect Grade model-kits that were absent in my collection. After two years I’ve decided to pick up a couple of RG’s and put them to the test. This is part 1 of my RG Excitement Embodied line review and It’s focused on Zeon’s Zaku II.
The Zaku II is basically the granddad of all mobile suits within the Gundam Universe. It’s reliable, pretty powerful when well equipped and it looks very bad ass if you ask me.
Building the Zaku II
I had a great time building this 1/144 scale model. As with all RG’s you begin with building the advanced ms frame. These frames are very detailed and are basically assembled on the plastic runner. The frame features all sorts of sliding and bending mechanisms that make the RG line a perfect choice for beginning modelers that need an affordable alternative to a Master Grade or Perfect Grade kit.
The next step is snapping on all the different armor parts that come with the Zaku II. I chose to build my Zaku II as a commander type, because I’ve always been a huge fan of the head-antenna on Zaku II’s. What I really love about the armor is the fact that it’s colored in so much different colors. (I lowered the saturation in some of the pictures I made, they don’t do the actual colors justice.) This really brings out subtle details. There must be at least three shades of green on the RG Zaku II kit and lots of panel lines.
Last but not least are the weapons. The Zaku II comes packed with a Bazooka, Machine Gun and Heat Axe, enough to destroy a platoon of unsuspecting Federation GM’s on patrol.
The Real Grade line is based on the smaller 1/144 scale size model kits and I personally stay far away from these abomination’s. even though I must admit that many 1/144 kits from the Gundam Unicorn HG line are pretty impressive in size and details. I do prefer the rich details on a MG or PG. However…
The Zaku II has a cool movable head camera that can turn the direction your models head is facing and that’s pretty neat for such a small size kit. The Zaku II also has a hinged cockpit hatch and a little pilot seat, a feature that is usually reserved for MG and PG kits. Get ready for lots of decals, because Bandai seems to go all out lately. There are decals for the Zeon space fleet and Earth invasion fleet, different rank markings, some awesome foil stickers and all of the little caution decals that we all know and love. Some of the decals do peel off easily, usually around corners. You can trim the decals a bit to fit better. Luckily, in most cases it isn’t even necessary.
Thanks to the advanced ms frame, articulation is magnificent on the Real Grade models. Want your Zaku II to hold his bazooka over his shoulder? No problem! Even the Zaku II shield is articulated and can slide in and out to give it much more motion and pose ability. The one thing I don’t like about this kit are his feet. They do a bit of a bad job in letting your Zaku II stand up straight,they also feel a bit loose. I would recommend an action base and display the Zaku II in flying poses, you will be able to enjoy the model much more. For some reason every RG model has a problem with a specific part that doesn’t always want to stay on. On the Zaku II it’s the front skirt armor. Lift up one of the legs and you’ll launch the front skirt armor in the air. Something that can be pretty annoying, especially when you’re trying to set the Zaku II in a cool action pose.
I am slowly but surely falling in love with this line. The details, decals and colors are amazing on the Real Grade kits and I can’t wait to build more. If you like Zaku II’s you could also try out Char’s red version of the Zaku II. It has a couple of subtle differences and costs the same. Even though the RG models are a bit small compared to MG’s, they look great when you display them on a nice looking action base. What are you waiting for!? Go order one now and see for yourself.