Ok so by now we all know that the BIG Bandai release for 2012 is going to be Hajime Katoki's reimagining of what is in my humble opinion THE greatest Gundam suit design the Nu Gundam, Amuro Ray's suit from Char's Counter Attack and the star of the ultimate battle scene with Char in the Sazabi, representing both pilots at the peak of their Newtype abilities piloting the greatest prototype suits of the era to date.
Now there's debate about the validity of the existing MG Nu Gundam kit, but what I will say is that for it's age it is an incredibly well engineered kit. I will argue all day about how it has great proportions, sleek lines, beautiful angles, and is my first and favourite Gundam to date of the 60+ kits I have built.
So what could be better than taking an already great design, modernising the technology and gimmicks, and adding Katoki's fierce sense of design, style, and detail to the kit?
This is being heralded as the greatest MG kit ever by renowned bloggers such as Gaijin Gunpla, better perhaps even than the Sinanju!!?
So let's break it down and take a look at what we're gonna get shall we?
All pics via Gaijin Gunpla and Gundam Guy
You can order yours right now through Hobbylink Japan by clicking HERE or the banner above will take you there as well.
1. Two Tone Armour
Much like the Real Grade series has redefined detail on a smaller scale by slightly altering the shade of some of the main colour armour, it looks like we will be seeing this simple yet effective addition of contrast and detail making it's way into the Master Grade range via the Nu Gundam Version Katoki.
2. Re-engineered Frame
Gaijin Gunpla speculates the Nu Ver. Ka. will have the same or a similar frame to the Sinanju. This means sturdiness and ability to support some weight. Anyone who has built the MG Nu Gundam will know that it has die cast ankle and hip joints which add weight in critical points and help anchor and stabilize the kit. The Sinanju by contrast did not have much metal in the fame work at all. Not many or no screws from memory, just tight fitting and precision engineering to support all of the external armour and upper body/backpack weight. The fin funnels on the existing Nu kit distributed the weight suprisingly well, it was only the sagging over time that really caused any problems. I found the hip joints to be a bit loose as well so hopefully these are two issues that have been adressed in the revamped Ver. Ka.
3. Hyper-Ultra-Mega-Collosso Panel Detail
Yup. It's pretty much a given that a Katoki designed kit is going to have some extra panel lines and panel details. The Nu Ver. Ka has panel lines in it's panel lines. Get your Gundam markers/panel wash primed for a workout.
4. Fin Funnel Gimmick
The Fin Funnels will be able to be removed and displayed in psy-commu attack mode much like the MG Hi-Nu Gundam. A simple and welcome addition which ties in with the next point:
5. Hi-Nu Stand
The kit will come with what I assume is the same Amuro's signature "A" logo stand as the Hi Nu, perhaps moulded in black and clear plastic but likely from the same mould and with the clear plastic coated wire pieces for displaying the Fin Funnels deployed. A welcome addition extending the posability and playability factors.
6. PG+ hands!
Here we see the evolutionary steps Bandai takes in learning from previous designs. What I think we are seeing is equal parts PG, RG, and aftermarket HD manipulator sets that Bandai have produced. All had their shortcomings, but these look aesthetically every bit as excellent as their Perfect Grade and Real Grade counterparts perhaps with better function; articulation and maneuverability. They will be moulded from one piece like the RG hands, and look to have three points of articulation in the fingers like PG hands/human fingers. For the record, in robotics the instuments used to grasp and hold items are called manipulators, which is where we get the term.
I certainly hope this is technology that carries over to future MG releases because these hands look GREAT.
7. Water slides!
If there is one thing that is synonymous with a Katoki designed kit it is a plethora of markings. As Bandai appear to be moving away from independently releasing waterslide decal sheet sets they are identifying with their target demographic for these kind of releases by heeding the consumer's disdain for stickers and dry transfers and including a water slide decal sheet with the kit. A welcome addition at that.
With the addition of the LED they have really given us the whole package. Every modern added extra I can think of has been included in this kit, giving the fans nothing to gripe about and really demonstrating Bandai's commitment to providing a complete experience with their key releases. As the inclusion of markings, a stand, HD manipulators, and LED becomes standard fare for MG kits I pose the question where can they go from here? What's next? Included metal option parts? That would be cool. Bandai seem to be cleverly widening the gap and making a distinction between RG and MG releases both in terms of price and kit contents. MG's with a huge amount of added value at around the :y:8000 price point is something I would be cool with, as I am with RG's with MG detail at :y:2000.
9. Mystery gimmick?
To keep the initial excitement and web buzz at a peak level from the announcement right through until release, Bandai will reveal a "Secret!" at Gunpla Expo 2012. Bandai are very aware of the power of (free) buzz and exposure among the online Gunpla community and this is a pretty clever manipulation to keep this release at the top of people's want lists from the date of announcement right up until it hits the store shelves. A great example of this is everything I've spent the last few days compiling and typing for you to read here. I'm super excited about this release but you can bet your bottom dollar Bandai aren't paying me a red cent for this exposure. Well played.
Naturally there's been some speculation about what it could be. Beam shield/Fin Funnel Barrier (pyramid)? A magazine kit release for FWS conversion? Who knows... but I know I can't wait to find out!
So what remains now is to place my preorder and count the days until December!
You can order yours right now through Hobbylink Japan by clicking HERE
This is the kind of release that has generated enough interest to qualify for a special GAF Group Build.... I reckon there might be a few of us interested in participating? Stand by for an announcement closer to release. Perhaps with a bit of luck and/or bribery we could persuade Fury to knock together a Nu Gundam Ver. Ka Schemer App??!
So what are you guys looking forward to about this kit? Are you skeptical about anything? I for one am wondering if something has been done about the sagging funnel issue. It's definitely up there in terms of price but I have no doubt it will be every bit worth it and filled to the brim with extras. I personally can't wait to look at the artwork in the manual.
Check out Syd from Gunpla TV hype it up:
Have your say about it at Gundam Australia Forum