Welcome to yet another review of the Superior Defender Gundam line. This time it's the Gundam
Wing figures up for review: Wing Gundam, Wing Zero, Deathscythe and Gundam Epyon. For many
Americans, Gundam Wing was our first exposure to the Gundam franchise. And now fans can
reenact at least some of those scenes, in super deformed form. Unfortunately the cast is a
bit short. Gundams Heavyarms, Sandrock and Shenlong Gundams didn't make it into the SD Gundam
Packaging - 6/10All four figures use the same packaging design as the rest of the line. The bubbles give an excellent view of the figure and accessories. The insert at the bottom provides the figure information as well as the directions. A second insert in the top left corner is suppose to advertise the action feature. but since only one of the four actually says what that is, they are pretty silly. Like the other deluxe figures in the line, the Epyon and Wing Gundam have an additional insert for the logo at the top. Oddly enough, the Wing Zero did not! But again, the insert serves no real purpose since to the casual eye it looks just like the basic figures. Bandai really should learn to start distinguishing their basic and deluxe lines beyond a minor difference in the logo. The back of the card is the biggest let down here. Once again, the card backs are recycled and give no information about each particular figure or even the wave that in which they came.
Sculpting - Wing Zero 6/10, others 8/10Deathscythe is another strong sculpt for this line. Unfortunately it is mostly lost due to the paint applications. Still, Bandai managed to squeeze all of the significant features of the full size figure into the SD figure. The Wing Gundam and Epyon both have the same high level of sculpting as well, even with the transforming feature. But the best part of the sculpts is the improvement in the screw holes. They are still there. But for a variety of reasons such as the ankle guards and backpacks they are far less noticeable than they have been on any of the other SD Gundam figures I've seen. Unfortunately, the Wing Zero didn't make out as well. The head, arms and backpack are all well done. The torso is close, but just a little off in the waist. Where the other figures maintained the tapered waists of the original designs, the Wing Zero's waist is almost as wide as the shoulders. But what really throws the sculpt off is the feet. Gundams generally have fairly large feet to begin with, and the super deformed versions usually exaggerate this with even larger feet. But in order to accommodate the transformation to neo bird mode, the feet were made tiny. The are so small in fact that they tend to just disappear into the ankles entirely.
Paint - Wing Zero 5/10, others 7/10Once again, the Wing Zero is the stinker of the category. Deathscythe, Epyon and Wing Gundam all have enough paint applications to bring out the details in the sculpt. Deathscythe could use a little paint on the legs which are currently entirely white. But the face and eyes more than make up for it. Since he doesn't have a light up feature, the eyes are actually painted in metallic green flake paint. In my opinion, the result is better than the light up eyes which only look geed when lit. And then the light tends to shine through areas where it isn't suppose to. Gundam Epyon gets most of its color from the colors of the plastic, but the few painted areas really stand out. But the lines are a little sloppy. Nothing terrible, but there is at least one spot that can be seen quite easily. Wing Gundam has the best paint of the four. the lines are neat and the paint applications do an excellent job of bringing out the existing details in the sculpt. The Wing Zero is another mixed bag. The paint on the head and arms is very nicely done. The torso is fairly plain though. And from the waist down the figure is overwhelmingly white. There are a few areas which are painted gray; but they are so small that they are barely noticeable.
Articulation - Deathscythe 6/10 others 10/10I've generally scored the SD Gundam figures highly in the articulation department, and rightfully so. But the Gundam Wing figures have taken it up a notch in order to have the transforming feature. Deathscythe is the one exception since it has no transformation. Still, even it has 20 points of articulation:
Wing Gundam has 32 points of articulation. In addition to the articulation listed for Deathscythe, there are toe joints that are used for the transformation. There are moveable thrusters on the back of each leg. The claws in each arm are hinged. The shoulder pads are hinged to fold down in neo bird mode. The wings are hinged at the backpack and flip out from the wing struts when a button on the backpack is pressed.
Wing Zero goes hog wild on articulation with 44 points of articulation. All of the standard articulation is present. The legs have an additional three points of articulation each: an hinged panel on the back of the legs, a second ball joint for each ankle and the heels flip open to reveal a thruster. The shoulder pads have the small panel and thruster on the underside that are hinged. And then you get to the backpack and the pods on the back. The backpack has two moveable thrusters. And then each pod has 7 points of articulation. The strut is hinged at the backpack as well as at the pod. The pod can rotate on the strut. And each half of the pod has a double jointed hinge where it opens.
But the hands down winner is Gundam Eypon. The figure itself has 44 points of articulation but the heat rod adds another 12 points to that total. The wings each have two points of articulation. The claws on each arm are hinged. The rear waist armor is formed in two parts, both of which are both hinged and ball jointed in order to allow the transformation. The waist itself doesn't turn, instead then is a hinge to flip the entire lower half of the figure back for the transformation. And then you get to the legs. Ordinary SD Gundam legs have two joints at the hips and then ankle joints. Epyon has the two joints for each hip, but adds a hinge at mid-thigh and another at the knee. There is a second joint at the bottom of the knee where it attaches to the lower legs. The lower legs then have three additional joint. The lower legs actually extend, then there is a hinge between the extension and the mid section and between the midsection and the lower section. The ankles are double jointed, with both a ball joint and hinge. and then the toes are articulated too. And then, on top of all of that, as I mentioned before, the heat rod has 12 more points of articulation: a ball joint where each of the eleven sections attach to the next one and a hinge where the entire heat rod attaches to the shield.
Accessories - 8/10Anyone who has the Gundam Wing MSIA figures shouldn't be surprised here. Each figure comes with the same accessories as their MSIA counterpart. The accessories that they do come are very nicely executed.
Deathscythe has a removable backpack, scythe with removable energy blade, shield with opening blades and detachable energy spike. The backpack is hardly an accessory since it is only removable to allow the scythe handle to be stored and that can be done without removing the backpack. The scythe handle is nice, but doesn't collapse for storage and no retracted version was included. Both energy blades are cast in translucent green plastic and fit snugly in place. The shield has a nice paint job, though they did skip painting the thrusters. The silver blades open but unlike other versions, aren't linked together to open in unison.
Wing Gundam comes with two beam sabers, buster rifle and a shield. The beam sabers are a single piece of translucent green plastic with the handle painted white, the handles are not removable. The shield is nicely painted and fits snugly on the arm. The rifle has a moveable handle that retracts into the rifle for attaching to the shield in flight mode. It does have part of the stock on the bottom painted but overall the rifle is still too gray.
Wing Zero comes with all the same accessories as Wing Gundam. The sabers are exactly the same in fact. The shield is slightly smaller than its Wing Gundam counterpart but has a more complex paint scheme. And Bandai went the extra mile to make the mounting peg hinged to retract when attached for flight mode. The buster rifle is what sets the Wing Zero apart from the Wing Gundam. Rather than just one rifle, it comes with two buster rifles that snap together to form the twin buster rifle. I don't care for the buster rifle though. There is far less detail sculpted into Wing Zero's rifles. That, in addition to a glossier finish and the metallic finish to the paint seem to give it a cheap feel.
The Gundam Epyon has the least number of accessories, just two: a beam sword and the shield/heat rod. But they are some of the most complex and best executed accessories of the line. The beam sword has a small pack that attaches to the waist armor. A rubber hose connects the pack to the sword handle. And of course you get the huge blade cast in translucent green plastic. The only downside is that the blade is not removable. But that just means that it can't be lost as easily. The shield and heat rod attach to the left arm. The shield looks great but doesn't fit as tightly as the shields for the other figures. The heat rod lacks the range of movement that the MSIA version has, but still provides a decent range of motion.
Action Feature - Deathscythe 3/10, Wing Zero 5/10,
Deathscythe has a pretty basic action feature. When you twist the waist, the right arm rotates
down. I don't care much for this type of action feature. They managed to basically nullify the
waist articulation in order to make one of the arms do something that the articulation already
allowed it to do.