There is a new Gundam cartoon set to begin showing on Cartoon Network next week which can
mean only one thing, new MSIA figures. The MSIA (Mobile Suit In Action, the name of the original
Japanese line) has been on an unofficial hiatus during the SD Gundam merchandising blitz.
Now after a long dry spell there are finally some new MSIA figures hitting shelves. Aside
from new versions of some of the Gundam Wing figures and the two main Mobile Suits from
Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 there is also a new figure hitting shelves, the RA-78-1 Full Armor
Packaging - 4/10With the MSIA line in a slump due to an emphasis on the SD line, Bandai came up with a single packaging design for the MSIA. Sadly the design they came up with, while not unattractive, is pretty bland. The figure is still displayed in a large blister with all of the accessories spread out for display around it. An insert at the bottom of the bubble identifies the name of the figure as well as including directions and a sticker on the top of the bubble distinguishes which line the figure is from. The card sadly is very bland. It is a dark, almost black card with a red light burst pattern behind the figure with various, nearly indistinguishable technology related images around it. The back of the card is an even greater disappointment. They used the same layout as the original MSIA Gundam Wing cards stuck over a red background and the newer figures listed. It gives no information or images of this figure, what other figures are shipping with it or anything relevant to the figure at all.
Sculpting - 8/10The Full armor Gundam is the same sculpt as the Version 1.5 Gundam that came with the G Fighter with a new set of feet. Like the past MSIA figures, the sculpt is filled with details. The Full Armor version does stand out from the earlier version in one area. It's a freaking Sasquatch! The feet are huge compared to the figure. But since most people will probably choose to leave the bulky armor on the figure they don't wind up being that noticeable.
Paint - 8/10There isn't a lot of color on this figure, but it takes a surprising amount of paint to achieve that look. And all of it is done superbly. There are only the most minor of smudges along the orange section of the front waist armor. The paint is done so well that it can be difficult to tell what is paint and what is a separate piece of plastic. Unfortunately, like all of the domestically released MSIA, the Full Armor Gundam doesn't have any painted panel lines. Normally I don't mind this since the contrasting colors of most of the figures offers enough visual contrast and if the wrong color is used, the panel lines stick out rather than blending in to highlight the existing detail. But here the lack of contrasting colors means that properly executed panel lines would have really helped. The small shield that attaches to the forearm also has "EFSF" printed on it and some of the letters were damaged by the tape that held the shield in the packaging on my figure.
Articulation - 8/10All of the MSIA figures have had a ton of articulation for a 4.5" figure. And while this isn't the most articulated one; it still has 22 joints:
Accessories - 8/10The figure is call Full Armor Gundam for a reason; it comes with a lot of armor. There is a chest protector that snaps into place over the chest and shoulders. There are two small forearm protectors that slip on once the hands are removed. There is a plate to cover the back of the hip armor and the front as well. It snaps on tightly but restricts the leg movement quite a bit. Finally there is the leg armor which snaps together over the knee guards and lower legs. Once all of the armor is assembled the figure is considerablly bulkier, matching the larger size of the feet, but it still retains use of most of the articulation.
But of course, armor is no good if you are nothing more than a tin plated sitting duck. So the figure comes with a small arsenal as well. First of all is the traditional Gundam beam rifle and large shield, both being reused from the RX-78 and G Fighter set. The Full Armor Gundam also comes with a small shield that can be plugged into either forearm. The standard backpack has been replace with a removable one with a shortened version of the bazooka mounted on it. There is also a pair of cannons with a shield mounted on them that connects to the forearms as well as to a small pistol that can be held by the figure. And of course, you can't hold a gun without a hand so the Full Armor Gundam comes with three pairs: fists, grasping and a pair for hold guns with separate trigger fingers.
Value - 7/10This is a reissue of an existing figure with some new accessories, but the final product is so radically different that most people won't even realize that it is the same figure. I did realize it until I accidentally pried the top half off at the connector for the core fighter from the G Fighter release. And the weapons and armor are nearly flawless. For $9 these is a great deal. But I suspect the obscure nature of the figure will cause quite a few people to pass on it.
Happy Hunting:The Full Armor Gundam is shipping with the latest assortment of deluxe MSIA figures including the transforming Wing Zero and the GP-01 and GP-02 from MS Gundam 0083. I found this one at Walmart on the east side of Madison, WI but they are also beginning to show up at Target stores and I even saw a few new MSIA figures at a nearby Kmart.