MSIA GP-01Fb and GP-02A

With the premier of Gundam Seed on Cartoon Network, new Gundam shows are back as are new Gundam toys. But in the meantime, Bandai has been filling the void between lines by releasing some figures that have been missing from shelves for a while and a few that were never released in the US. I reviewed the Full Armor Gundam a few weeks ago. Today, it's the Gundam GP-01Fb and GP-02A mobile suits from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. For those unfamiliar with the story, the story takes place several years after the events of the first Mobile Suit Gundam series. The war is over and the Earth Federation Forces have defeated the Zeon forces. Following the war, the EF continues to develope mobile suits as weapons, including the Gp-02 which is equip to deliver an atomic warhead from its bazooka. When the GP-02A, complete with atomic payload, is stolen, it becomes the duty of the GP-01Fb's piolet to hunt down the missing weapon of mass destruction. (And no, they don't have to invade Iraq to find it ;-)

Packaging - 4/10

Like the Full Armor Gundam, the GP-01Fb and GP-02A come on the shared packaging design for all MSIA figures. 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 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. In the case of these figures, that is a big problem since I bought them expecting improved versions of the earlier releases of these two figures.

Sculpting - GP-01Fb 5/10, GP-02A 6/10

As I said, I was expecting new or at least updated sculpts from the original releases of these figures. I was wrong. These are exactly the same sculpts as when they were first released. Despite being older sculpts, both figures are very well done. The level of detail on each is quite remarkable. Having built the Perfect Grade model kit of the GP-01Fb, seeing details such as the panel to lock in the core booster on the back of the GP-01Fb or the piolet's access panel on the front are impressive. The GP-02A seems to have even more detail. But both have their weak points. The head and face in particular of the GP-02A appear to be a bit bland. This isn't entirly a short coming of the sculpting since there is detail there, it is just very difficult to see. On the GP-01Fb, there are a few details that don't show up well either, the thrusters on the ends of the shoulder armor in particular. If I hadn't built the Perfect Grade kit, I would still think they were supposed to be lights.

Paint - 8/10

Bandai did make some slight improvements over the first releases in this area, though they may not be immediately noticable. The GP-01Fb has a few extra paint details on the skirt armor parts. The GP-02A has the connectors between the side and rear skirt armor painted as well as portions of the knee joints. Oddly enough, Bandai did miss painting the interior of the barrels of the vulcans on the head, which were painted on the first release. The GP-02A also has another major improvement, the sickly looking yellowish plastic is gone, replaced with a far more appropriate tan. While this isn't exactly a paint issue, the change in plastic color makes for a stark contrast and a vast improvement.

Articulation - 8/10

The GP-01Fb has :
  • double jointed ankles (two ball joints in series)
  • hinged knees
  • ball jointed hips
  • rotating waist
  • ball jointed shoulders
  • rotating upper arms
  • hinged elbows
  • rotating wrists
  • ball jointed neck
  • the shoulder pads rotate around the shoulder
  • the panel on the shoulder pads is hinged
When attached, the backpack adds an additional eleven points of articulation: three for each of the large white thrusters, two each for the beam sabers and the entire backpack is on a hinge. The GP-02A loses the extra ball joint in the ankles and the articulation in the backpack but adds an additional rotating joint for the thruster assembly on both shoulders as well as three thrusters on each shoulder that can be rotated. For figures of this size, that is an impressive amount of articulation. (Actually it would be impressive for a figure of just about any size.) But when compared to the more recent MSIA figures that have double jointed knees and elbows and ball jointed wrists, there are some short comings. Neither figure can bend their elbows or knees more than about 90 degrees and the hips can only move forward about 45 degrees. Neither can make much use of the waist joint. The GP-01Fb can move a few degrees, but the GP-02A's offers no movement at all.

Accessories - GP-01Fb 6/10, GP-02A 4/10

The GP-01Fb comes with a veritable arsenal. First of all is the core fighter, the front part of which can be taken off so the rear can form the backpack. Then he has a beam rifle with a removeable power clip and two spare clips. There are two beam sabers with removable hilts. The shield that is included can store the extra clips for the beam rifle and can be set in a short and long form. There is an extra set of hands with trigger fingers but no closed fists are included. (The figure has open hands attached initially.) The final accessory and only new addition is a large cannon with a spring loaded missle firing action. The cannon looks good except for the screws on one side, and it gives people who own the first release an additonal posing option. But the missle firing action is a complete waste. The missile goes less than 6 inches. They would have been better off just leaving out the firing mechanism. I'm also disappointed that a second rear portion of the core fighter wasn't included. Since in the anime, the core fighter doesn't come apart and neither the figure nor the core fighter are complete with out the backpack, you really have to choose which one you want. A second backpack section should have been included so you could have both at the same time.

The GP-02A doesn't have quite the array of weapons. It does come with the large shield, atomic bazooka, two beam sabers and a second right hand with seperate trigger finger. The beam sabers are the same as those included with the original release but the bazooka and shield are all new. As with the original release, the bazooka comes in two parts. The rear portion connects to the right shoulder armor while the front section can be stored in the shield when not in use. The Bazooka is substaintially larger, probably about 15% longer. I believe this was done to accomadate the spring firing mechanism which does at least work unlike on the GP-01Fb. Unfortunately it still retains the failing of the original in that it won't stay together securely when assembled. The shield is also redone to accomadate the large bazooka. The also did away with the hinged top and bottom panel that were suppose to hold the bazooka in place in the original but never really worked.

Value - GP-01Fb 7/10, GP-02A 6/10

These are deluxe MSIA so you are going to be paying between $10 and $12 each for them. For that price, the GP-01Fb is a solid, though not outstanding, figure with a decent set of accessories. The GP-02A is also a nice figure, perhaps a shade better since the articulation limitations are less of a drawback for the bulkier figure but comes up a little light on accessories. However, if you already own the first release of these figures, the value of a second GP-01Fb takes a nosedive since you are basicly spending $10 for the new cannon. Meanwhile, the GP-02A may still be well worth picking up just for the astheic improvement the new plastic color brings. Plus you get the missle firing bazooka.

Happy Hunting:

I purchased both of these figures from Walmart on the west side of Madison. They are shipping with the Wing Zero Custom (with missle firing rifles) and Full Armor Gundam. I have yet to see them show up locally elsewhere but they may start showing up at Target and Toys R Us if they don't hold off on ordering them in favor of ordering more of the new Gundam Seed figures.