[gundam] [REVIEW] Mastergrade GM!

Prabal Nandy (nandy@U.Arizona.EDU)
Sun, 28 Mar 1999 10:57:23 -0700 (MST)

        Hey guys! It is I, Crazy Probe, and I just got the latest,
hottest, Master-Grade Variation mecha from Bandai and all I've got to say

        GMs KICK and Gundams Lick!

  Heh heh, that's right! The goons at Bandai have finally realized that
their adoring fans need a backup for their MG Gundams to help fight off
the scads of MG Zaku variations (7! Can you believe it?) so they have
finally bowed to the demands of us fans and have produced the first Master
Grade GM! And BOY,does it ROCK!
  Yeah yeah, it is a GM in the 'old-style' with the cherry-red/orange
torso and shoulders, and yes, it lacks the funky Gundam faceplate with the
funky fins and wacky pirate's beard, but what it lacks in kitch it makes
up for in class!

   "But Crazy Probe! What about the puke green plastic?"
    SHUDDUP! I'm talking here! And I'm the king of complaining about
puke-green plastics! For you newer modellers, let's take a brief walk down
memory lane: See, Bandai has traditionally modelled alot of their white
colored MS in this godawful pale-greenish white plastic. Not only is it
stomach-turning to look at, but it has also tended to be slightly
transparent. And let me tell you, Gundam-fans, there is NOTHING uglier
than a model that looks pale-green and slightly 'glowy'! So when I first
heard that the MG GM came in a greenish-white plastic, I almost
immediately cancelled my order from HLJ! Boy was I glad that I didn't!
  For you see, the GM _Does_ come in a greenish white plastic, but it's
most assuredly _not_ that disgusting limeish green. It's more of a
'sea-green' or green-sky-blue kind of color, very similar to the color
used in the G-Unit Gundam Griepe (Best example) or the 1/100 VG Gunblastor
kit. And it is definately not a transparent green. I test 'black-backed'
some of the foot and ankle parts and none of the plastics display that
noxious transparency effect that alot of the smaller 1/144s suffer from.
(Naturally, if you opt to completely reprime and paint this bad boy this
is not an issue, I may do that if I get ahold of another MG GM. The Red
torso, shoulder, and foot armor is not trally a red so much as a sort of
reddish-orange color, almost like what you'd expect to find on a sun-faded
piece of construction machinery, it goes well with the sea-green armor and
gives the GM an appropriately mass-production, sun-faded, "I'm just a
background character, don't look at me!" look. I LOVE that! It's so
understated you just want to HUG the little guy!
        "But Crazy Probe! Don't we have to do alot of painting because
it's a color variation?"
        Geesh, no! Yes, it's true that the GM is a color variation on the
RX-78-2 (and in fact, several of the model-trees have been restamped with
"RGM-79 GM/RX-78-2" (did they do this with the unit#3 trees too?) but
alot of the parts are completely, COMPLETELY new, for example, the
forearms, front-of-shin armor, all the skirt armors, the cockpit area, the
core block (which has been completely replaced by a HYPER detailed engine
block, you still get a core block so I'm seriously thinking of replacing
it with the core and displaying the way cool engine block sepaparately...
I showed it to our local 'car guy' and she thought it was way too cool,
especially the way you have to pry open the body to get at it.) and of
course, the awesome head! Not to mention, Weapons weapons weapons and
        "But Crazy Probe! Isn't this just a recycled Gundam?"
        Listen, it's like a gundam but BETTER! Gone is all the silly
stylisms and bright goony colors, this GM is lean, mean, sea-green, and
ready for action! You get a remade right forearm, complete with plug in
slot for a rubber-jointed shield mount (So it can simply plug the shield
into its arm, it also comes with the traditional handgrip with a
three-position plug in area so you can pose it shield in hand any way you
like it!), you get a slimmer, remachined left arm too. You get way cool
red shoulders, slim-trim skirt armor, a new cockpit hatch piece, and a way
cool head! The head is particularly cool because it's got the GM's
traditional sensor visor with a 'detail plate' slapped behind it. The
Detail plate is molded in the grey-black extra parts tree that the GM
comes with (that includes the parts for its backpack bazooka holster, beam
pistol, and some other knicknacks) but I went ahead and painted it with
some flat silver and chrome silver (for the sensor and lights on it). The
GM's visorplate is for some reason molded in clear transparent plastic, so
I guess you have the option of painting the visorplate bright green or
something. I got some Gunze Sayno clear-green and lightly painted
underneath the clear visor and it's a PERFECT match for the way GM
sensor-visors look. A particular treat is the tiny indented 'spotlight'
sensor on the GM's forehead (under the visor). Leaving the rest of the
visorplate black, I dabbed in a little bit of chrome and it really looks
like there is a spotlight in there now, I love it! The rest of the GM's
head is fairly simple (No opening hatches unfortunately, but the Vulcan
cannon barrels are attached to the visorplate so it's easy to paint them
gunmetal/chrome, and the "Earphone" parts are also separate...) Don't
forget, you still get all those "Reality: Upgrade" little fiddly bits and
hooks and bars and vents and stuff that the MG line is famous for... the
only difference is that they actually look GOOD on a GM!
   I guess at this point you're probably wondering how much paint you're
going to need. Well, Bandai's actually done a great job of molding
EVERYTHING in the right colors! That's right, you don't have to paint a
THING as long as the clear visor doesn't bother you (but that's just about
the only thing that wouldn't look quite right) I went ahead and used
chrome for the sensor-plate on the mecha, and I painted all the joint
housings dark grey with black indents (A Signature Crazy Probe kinda
thang, all my robots have that) The back of the shield I sprayed
charcoal-metallic-grey and then put a layer of dullcote on to give it that
dark military look... I had some overspray spatter on the front edges of
the shield and I was going to clean that up last night when I realized
that it looked like the shield had been burned a bit, and I LIKED that
look! He's also got some piston-piping on the feet that look much more
realistic if you paint the inner-pipes silver and the outer pipes either a
different kind of silver or grey. I put some grey and silver details on
the beam-saber handles to make 'em look even more like lightsabers.
Speaking of sabers (You get two transparent pink bladed ones here BTW)
let's talk weapons and accessories!
   "But Crazy Probe! What about weapons and Accessor--"
  Didn't I tell you to shut up! I'm TELLING you! This Guy is loaded for
BEAR! This hip hop GM's got so many weapons it could take on A bau Aku
and still come back lookin' for more Zeon to romp! This guy is so loaded
it could walk into a biker bar and say: "I'd like a Pabst" and nobody
would mess with him! This guy is so well armed he could survive a day at a
downtown DC Elemetary School! This guy is so loaded up that he could come
up toe to toe with a Gundam and say "Got Weapons?" Hooyeah! If you're like
me and you LOVE a Mecha loaded down with GUNS GUNS GUNS, you're gonna HAVE
ta get this GM!
   So what do you get? Well, first of all, Bandai decided not to be
cheapskapes (Or, more likely, they just got lazy) and you retain all of
the weapons of the original Gundam, plus the original Gundam's
dummy-core-block and backpack. This means your GM has the original cool
beam rifle and the awesome bazooka! Ever wondered what that wierd pen-clip
thingy was for on the back of the bazooka? Well, with the GM kit you can
finally find out! The GM comes with its very own green-colored backpack
cover-armor (Same internal backpack as the Gundam) which only has one
beam-saber housing on the left side (I guess all GM pilots are left handed
or are expected to reach across their body and face to get their sword
out! Tricky!)
        "But Crazy Probe! What about the other saber?"
  I'm getting to that! First, remember when I told you that you get the
Gundam's backpack armor in addition to the traditional GM's? Well, that's
relevant here because this kit gives you enough parts to build not just
one, but THREE GM variations! The instructions even suggest that a typical
space-based GM team consists of one "GM-Commander", three regular GMs, and
one "Heavy Support" GM. To build a GM-Commander, you use the Gundam's
backpack and both saber-slots and you give the GM both sabers and the
forearm shield, in this mode I personally like to give the GM the Gundam's
beam rifle (which is supplied!). To build the regular GM, you use the
GM-style backpack with this wierd little black "Terminator Block" plugged
into the place where the right-hand saber should be. You also replace the
right side-skirt armor with this new, "Holster" armor piece that allows
the GM to carry its beam pistol on its hip! Very cool! In case you're
interested, the beam pistol is a nice combination of the traditional
design with some modern stylisms, I painted some of the coolant grills
grey and some of the inset pieces silver and it comes off looking very
futuristic and cool. For the record, the GM's beam pistol looks like a
much heavier, larger caliber weapon than the Gundam's (albeit longer) beam
rifle, this is NOT a wimpy looking weapon! The coolest variant though is
the Support-GM! Here, you replace that terminator block with this big
wedge-shaped piece of greenish plastic with two inset pieces of dark grey
black plastic (and lots of cool techy details inside, I painted them
silver and grey) This is the "Bazooka Rack" I was talking about earlier,
remember that wierd clip-bar on the back of the Gundam's bazooka? Well,
it slides into a special clip on the bazooka rack, while another 'arm'
comes around and cradles the bazooka across the flat 'shoulderpad' area of
the weapon. It's a very sturdy fit and it looks REALLY nice!. I guess this
version is not supposed to be equipped with the beam pistol, but heck, I'm
a heavy weapons kinda guy!
  What's really kinda cool is to load this puppy up with all its weapons,
it's quite impressive! And he really can hold his bazooka over one
shoulder, very nice! The ankles provide decent flexibility, you can stand
him in a "Git some!" posture and angle the feet out at 30-degrees or so,
but there is some problem putting him into a crouch, primarily because of
the ankle armor. In case you don't have the MG Gundam, this guy still has
the cool "Calf Muscle Thrusters" of the MG Gundam kit, though for some
reason the pop-open forearm armor has been disabled (my only real
complaint about this kit). I'm not sure why there is no polycap used in
the robot's waist area, it has a little mobility there which makes it
kinda wobbly, more on account of the core-block than anything else.
Luckily, gluing is an easy option there. The feet are INCREDIBLY detailed
underneath, it's a real treat (especially compared to the 'treadless'
Mk.II kit!) Definately a nice modernized take on a classic but
much-maligned design! Git one now!

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