I've got an interesting kit for you today, and one that I especially know very little about! Today we're going to look at the Advanced Hazel released in 2005.
It was a warm Saturday morning that had been long awaited by my friends and I, in our gunpla group. Finally, the day had come for us to embark on a trip to the fabled "Comic Store" located in New Hampshire. Upon arriving, it was down to business. Our group opened the door and made our way to the fateful aisle of Gunpla, and there it was.: a wall, lined with kits from a multitude of series. We were like kids in a candy shop, no, we were as close to Gunpla heaven as we could get.
The day was filled with the seven of us perusing the aisle, enjoying the process of physically shopping for kits. Each of us would pick up a stack of kits, and then exchange them for others as the internal conflict in our hearts and minds (and wallets) shook us to our very core. Which kit do I want, which can I afford, how many can I get, is it worth it?
At the end of the day, I escaped the store with 3 new kits, and some option parts. The HG Age-1 which I had the Razor parts for, the HG Cherudim, and the HG Advanced Hazel which we will be talking about today.
This High Grade kit comes from Advance of Zeta which takes place before the events of the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Zeta. Again, I know very little about this series and its suits, however the interesting design of the suit really drew me in.
In terms of a little background, what I gathered from reading a little bit about this suit, was that it was a Titans prototype mobile suit, based upon the GM Quel. Basically, it was a Quel with a Gundam style head, and various armaments.
This kit comes with a polycap runner which is interestingly in a letter system, instead of a numerical system which I hadn't seen in awhile. It also comes with a foil sticker sheet, and a set of decal stickers, for Titans markings and logos
The A runner comes with yellow, red, and black plastic. It also includes the pink transparent beam saber.
The B runner contains blue plastic pieces, including the two shields.
The C runner includes blue plastic, and features a lot of the leg parts.
The D runner includes the light grey plastic that makes up the joints and inner parts.
The E runner is split into E1 and E2. E1 actually comes molded in 3 colors of plastic as well, which I hadn't seen before.
I decided to compare the suit with the Jesta Cannon and GM Sniper K9. The Advanced Hazel has a taller head height than both, but with the cannons extended, the Jesta has a height advantage. As you can see, however, I stripped the Hazel of most of its armaments. With the shield boosters, it gains significant height, and weight.
Weapons and Manipulators
This kit comes with 3 shields. One standard shield, and two shield boosters. It also comes with one beam saber handle, and a beam rifle with a detachable magazine. The two additional magazines are only for show, as they only clip to the side skirts.
The kit only comes with three hands. For the right hand, you can either have the standard holding hand, for the beam saber, or the trigger finger for the rifle. The standard holding hand is actually fairly different from other kits I've built, as the fingers are at an angle, so the saber will actually tilt forward in the hand. The trigger finger is also different in that it does not have a slot for the rifle to plug into.
With the shields, you can see an interesting gimmick they included. The kit only comes with one hard-point connector for the shields. Instead of the connector plugging into each shield, each shield has a small grey piece that you can slide into connection piece.
The Hazel can realistically have either shield connected to its arm, but only one at a time
I feel that I've been spoiled with articulation lately, so this kit actually has been very disappointing in that area. It's so bulky with its armor and additional armaments that it really doesn't articulate all that well.
I'll give it a little bit of credit though. With those bulky legs, you'd figure you wouldn't get a good bend, but they designed it in a way that it's not a brick at least...
Color and Quality
This kit is baffling to me in this area. For a 2005 kit, you don't really anticipate the same plastic quality as more recent kits, and this is no different. You're going to get that lighter feeling plastic that almost feels brittle.
This is a Titans suit. If you've ever built an HG you'll know that color separation is hit or miss, and with a dark colored mobile suit, especially from the Titans, you almost fear the worst. However, as you can see, there are some bright spots where the yellow and red really shine through the black and blue (which at times can be almost indistinguishable). Along with this, you're given some very nice decals which brighten up the kit as a whole. Adding these decals breaks up the monotony, and add a dimension not usually found in HG kits.
Even more baffling was the foil seals. As you can see, the kit decides to use seals on the lower shins, and the top of the head (of which, only the back part will actually show). Areas that don't use seals include the enhanced sensor (shown below) and the beam rifle.
For both those areas, I decided to use a hobby knife, and measure out a section of the leftover green to create my own makeshift seals. I was very happy with the outcome.
Pros and Cons
If you couldn't already guess, you can go kick yourself for not expecting this. I love this kit for how unique it is. If you didn't see it before, I didn't really mention it. The shields are asymmetrical for the booster, and damn does it look cool. That shield booster is such a cool gimmick. The enhanced sensor gives it that cool "recon" look, and you're not going to get just another Gundam looking figure. Its bulky legs, covered in thrusters are really interesting as well.
A kit with this color scheme most likely will look pretty boring, but including seals in the right areas, and decals in addition to a good amount of different colored plastic really breaks that up and makes it look great. The kit also comes with some cool additional armaments which I will talk about towards the end of the review.
This kit however, feels fragile at times. When putting it together, there are areas which call for snapping parts into each other, which locks them into place. However, these points are all plastic connections into plastic slots. I fear that if you put too much force into it, those connection points will snap. I also found the hardpoints for the shields to be fairly loose in the area where the shield connects to the backpack, and the arm. Both still stay fairly well, but don't give you a snug fit that makes it feel more secure.
The kit is fairly back heavy, and it doesn't come with a lot of manipulators or weapons, which is kind of sad. It's also a very bulky kit.
This kit comes with a front pack that has folding claws. This section slides into the suits already ginormous crotch, to give it a fanny pack of grabby goodness.
These claws have folding "fingers" which can grip an assortment of weapons. Here you can see it with some knives from the Zee Zulu
Need more fire power? No problem. The claws can grab your favorite HG Customize Campaign parts, like the gatling gun and grenade launcher!
I am so on the fence for this kit. There is so much that I was disappointed with, but also so much I was impressed and amused by. I would have to say that this kit was very fun to build (aside from the stresses of maybe breaking a piece while building it). It is a very unique kit, and don't be afraid of the Titans color scheme. You'll find that this kit isn't average at all. Almost every section has a surprise in addition to its standard build. If this kit fits your definition of cool looking, I would say grab it just for the experience. I can't say this kit is for everyone though.
Until next time!