Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: HGUC 1/144 Gouf Custom

Hey Builders,


I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year's filled with the joys of Gunpla! I certainly did. For Christmas, I received two new kits to work on, one, the MG Aegis, I am very excited for because I just recently also got the MG Aile Strike RM so I am definitely excited to have the nemesis duo posed together on my shelf.


The other kit I received was the HGUC Gouf Custom, from Gundam: The 08th MS team. This kit brings me back to my childhood when I was really curious about the Gundam series. My cousins used to build model kits, and also were really into the series at the time. When I asked, they let me borrow their box set of DVDs for The 08th MS team. I went home and watched the series in its entirety.


One scene I will never forget was the epic battle between Shiro and Norris in the city. Seeing the Gouf Custom silhouetted by the sun, overlooking the city in its menacing pose always sends chills down my spine, not to mention the brutal destruction of the Guntanks as per his mission. 



Needless to say, I was excited to get this kit, especially with its giant shield gatling gun, and sword.

Parts


This kit comes with runners A-E. The A runner is molded in multiple colors, some light blue, dark blue, black, and transparent orange. The B plates are mostly identical light blue runners that contain the symmetrical armor pieces for the arms and legs. The C runner contains the manipulators and the pieces to make the gatling gun. The D runner contains identical inner joint pieces for the arms and legs. The E runner is the chain ammunition which connects the gatling gun to the drum mag. It also comes with a wire for its grappling hook. 

Size Comparison

I did not have a kit that I felt was appropriate for comparing size. The Gouf is about the same head height as a typical HG Zaku, however it has the commander horn, and also protruding spikes from its shoulders. The gatling gun is also very large. 

Weapons and Manipulators


This kit comes with 5 manipulators. 
1x Open palm
2x Close fists
2x Open hands for holding weapons 
(the left hand has a slot in which to insert the peg from the gatling gun handle for a more secure hold)


This kit comes with only a few weapons. However, they are very awesome.

Heat Wire with grappling hook
3-barrel 35mm Machine Gun that attaches to the left forearm
Gatling Shield
Heat Sword Type D III 


Combining the shield with the gatling gun creates the Gatling shield, which can be connected to the arm by pegging into the 3-barrel machine gun. It can also sheath the heat sword.


Here is another look from the other side. 

Articulation


As you can see, the bulkiness of this kit doesn't really allow for too much motion. The arms can bend at a 90 degree angle, and the legs slightly more. The skirts prevent any full splits, and the shoulder armor can get in the way of the arm reaching all the way to the left or right. 

The design of the chest and head make it so you can't even turn the head all the way around without it getting caught in the sections of the chest. 

The feet can maneuver a bit so you can get good flat footed poses even when you spread the legs out. Since the feet are so wide, you can also get some good balance. 

Color and Quality


Most of this kit comes in light blue, dark blue, and black. There are areas where the black really pops out, like the knees, and where it also gets lost, like the chest. There is a transparent orange piece that goes into the torso, but unless you look up close, you can't really see it inside the dark blue pieces. The light blue, however, is very refreshing. The contrasting blues with the black make for a stunning look for the kit. 

Unfortunately, this HG kit is missing some colors. The gatling gun can be very bland if you don't paint it. I decided to give it some gunmetal, with black detailing. The sword is also molded in black plastic. I decided to give that some silver, and paint the rest of it with black as well. 

This kit only uses 2 seals, which can be appealing if you don't like using stickers on your kits. One is used for the mono-eye, and the other is used for the scope on the 3-barrel machine gun. 




To talk about the quality of this kit, I would like to address one potential issue that you might be worried about. The fact that the gatling shield is so large, can the HG Gouf actually hold it up? If you're familiar with the world of Gunpla you definitely are aware of certain weapons being too large for kits to hold up without the arm sinking, and it's just not as cool to have kits pose with their weapons facing down. A few kits that come to mind are the Exia and 00 Gundams with their GN Swords, and the Astray Gundams with the Tactical arms.



This kit however, has a very interesting gimmick. There is a piece that you insert after putting together the torso, that snaps on top of the polycap where the shoulder joint connects. This piece has a slot in the front of it. The shoulder ball joint has a notch on the bottom of it. This is so when you pose the Gouf holding its gatling shield up, you can slot this notch in and the arm will not sink. It basically locks the arm into place so that the weight of the gatling shield will not be an issue. 

This is an ingenious design, and I wish Bandai would utilize it more often. This is one of the first times I've actually seen this used, and I was actually very surprised and overjoyed to see it. 

Some issues I did find were that the hands can be fairly difficult to separate, and this can cause an issue for when you want to swap out weapons. I had to use an x-acto knife to get in and pry it apart. 

Pros and Cons




This is my only light blue Gunpla kit, and even though it doesn't transform, you guys should know by now, how much I love unique kits that vary in color. It is a very sturdy kit, and can stand strong while holding its gatling shield. It's a menacing looking kit to boot. It holds its weapons fairly well, and offers some unique weapon choices that you won't find on many other kits. 

This is not an expensive kit, nor is it very difficult to build. However, it's really satisfying. This is a really great looking kit when you put it together. It also offers a good amount of panel lining opportunities. If you love mono-eye kits, add this guy to your collection. 


The only issues I had with this kit had to do with the color molding. It would look fairly bland if you didn't add some detail to the gatling gun, sword, and machine gun. You could get by, but honestly it looks better with some silver in there. The other issue I had was that the commander horn fell out a few times. It doesn't snap into place like other Zaku kits I built, but I guess this is no Zaku...

Finally, a minor issue with posing. It's a chunky kit. It has a skirt that wraps all the way around. It has shoulder armor that can get in the way. You won't get many acrobatic poses, but this guy is a tank, so you can find some menacing poses to put it into without having to make him look agile. 

Verdict



This kit is just way too cool not to have. This might be the nostalgia speaking, but I can't find enough wrong with this kit to say you shouldn't add it to your collection. It's one of the iconic villains from The 08th MS Team, and a variation on one of the most popular designs from the original Mobile Suit Gundam series. Don't be afraid of weight issues! This kit can handle it. Honestly, if you love mono-eye mobile suits, or are on the fence on getting this kit, I say go for it. It is definitely worth its price tag. 

Until next time!











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