Gunplars eagerly awaited the release of the Ver. Ka edition of the Nu Gundam, no one more than me after seeing it in person at the Model Show. I was so taken with what I saw at the show that I even wrote a post about it. A whole entry dedicated to an unreleased kit? That was the first time I’ve ever done that. Last week was launch of the 1/100 MG Nu Gundam Ver.KA and it was huge. Hundreds of these were shipped out all over the world and even then supplies were not sufficient. I was one of the lucky ones and had it the first day, starting the build almost immediately. And now that I’ve built it I sit down to write the review. In some ways I feel pressure. I feel that, because I wrote the New Nu entry and was part of the hype machine, if it’s anything less than amazing I will have let some people down. I’ve purposely tried to remain close to neutral in the WIP posts so readers can see the build as it happens and develop their own feelings towards the Nu. This being a review post, I have to attribute a score to the Nu that places it in the MG hierarchy.
Before I get to the individual aspects of the review I want to take a moment to say how fresh it was to sit down with this kit. It seems that during the past two years or so I’ve been building Wing kits, Seed kits, and Unicorns. To sit down with a kit that is none of those things, that shares no frame design similarities, that isn’t one of a series is refreshing. That’s a feeling I haven’t experienced much in the last couple of years and for that I thank Bandai.
Now let’s break the new Nu Gundam down.
Overall Look: 11/10
Can I do that? I guess it doesn’t really work when it comes to calculating a score. Very well…
You can’t deny it. This kit looks amazing. It’s the Nu, it’s a Ver. Ka, and it’s Bandai’s latest MG masterpiece. I love everything about how this kit looks with or without the Fin Funnels. I actually prefer it without the funnels on its back and instead having the funnels displayed on the stand. The proportions, the color separation, the fierceness of its head. MG Nu Gundam Ver. Ka is one of the best looking Gundams ever. Love it. It also looks great when ‘transformed’ and showing the Psycho Frame, but I’ll talk more about that aspect of the kit later on. I’m just going to put this here.
The Nu was always that much cooler because it took the colors of the original Gundam but darkened them up and used them slightly differently. As you can see, the colors on the MG Nu look fantastic, though when viewed from the back with the fin funnels on there is maybe a bit too much blue for my taste, or maybe it’s just because from the back you see the blue break up the string of white found on the fin funnels and it looks like that part of the build hasn’t been completed. One thing that people will appreciate or denounce is Bandai’s choice to use stickers for some of the gray areas as well as quite a bit of blue found on the legs and feet. The stickers are the perfect size for the job, and work, but just thinking that Bandai used stickers instead of designing the build to incorporate another set of parts seems like Bandai might have opted for the easy way out. But then again, that’s more a complaint that should be in the Build Design section.
Again no complaints from me. The massive shield is so gorgeous and the rifle, bazooka, and two beam sabers and handles just tops it all off. Seam lines are hidden well so you won’t need to do much work when it comes to detailing the weapons. Weapons are solid all around with the tabs designed into the handles of the weapons making Nu’s grip on them all the more secure.
There is a great amount of articulation to be found on the Nu. The legs have a good range of movement at the knees, the shoulders thanks to a whole new joint design work splendidly, the wrists move well thanks to those PG type hands (though there are some issues there. More on that later). I did find that it felt a little wobbly if I spread the legs too wide, even without any fin funnels attached, but this also may have something to do with the new frame (more on that, as well, later on.)
A big plus: The neck joint! Look to the stars, Nu!
Build Design: 8.5/10
There is a lot of stuff to talk about here so I am going to break it into sub sections for ease of reading and also make it easier for me to get my thoughts down.
The new polystyrene frame
Bandai opted to not use the ABS plastic that we’re so used to and instead molded this kit out of polystyrene. The end result is a much lighter kit and a much easier to cut plastic. I found almost no need to trim most gate marks on the armor though the frame will need some attention. In some ways it felt like I was working on an RG when it came to cutting parts off of the sprues. The downside to the polystyrene? Well, speaking from some experience with the kit now, the lightness might work against it in some ways. With other ABS kits the lower body and legs, which takes the majority of parts in a build, are the heaviest parts of the kit and this makes standing the kit up fairly simple as all the weight is down below. With the Nu Gundam at times it was tricky to get this guy to stay still as he tended to wobble. When the Fin Funnels were attached that added to the issue. That said, once you get him standing he looks amazing.
The hands were a big part of Bandai’s promotion for this kit and for good reason. Gone are the part swapping found in the Wing kits of two years ago (bad) and the AGE kits from last year (good). Now you get an RG/PG style hand. The hands themselves work amazingly well. The fingers are no problem to maneuver into position, and the design for the little tab that fits into the weapons was a stroke of genius on Bandai’s part. The downside to the design from Bandai? The wrist joint. The wrist joint is pushed into its place in the hand when you assemble the hand and it’s basically friction that holds it together. Stick the rifle, or the even heavier Bazooka into the hand and that little design can’t seem to handle it and will start to come apart leaving your weapons drooping.
I think Bandai could have avoided this by having the hand molded like the PG but included one wrist part, like those found on almost every other MG to date, which would connect the hand to the lower arm.
The pycho frame and its transformation
I’m going to be honest here. When I first was informed there would be a psycho frame and a transformation gimmick I was scared. What? Why? I saw the kit at the All Japan Hobby Show and at that time there were no psycho frame parts as that ‘secret’ had not been revealed and it looked incredible! At that time, I had no need for anything else. The Nu was going to be great. When it was revealed at the Gunpla Expo that there was a psycho frame and a transformation I was filled with a sense of dread. Bandai had included something that had the potential to ruin the kit. My previous experience with a psycho frame and transformation was the MG Unicorn and if I can be completely honest here the Unicorn when in Destroy Mode, though it looks cool, is a bit of a pain in the ass to do anything with. The limbs become too long and the joints too wobbly and it’s just inferior to Unicorn Mode. Of course, being the Unicorn, Bandai had to do it. But they didn’t have to do it with the Nu. But they did and I am glad to report that there are no problems. The parts used to ‘lock’ the limbs in position are simple and work fine unlike some of those on the Unicorn. It works great and looks good when transformed. Here are some photos showing different areas of the transformation.
I was probably most worried about the torso thinking that any transformation at the waist would mean a weaker joint but that isn’t the case with the Nu. It works fine. In fact, mostly the transformation is cosmetic and doesn’t affect the stability of the kit at all.
You are also meant to pull off the lower armor pieces on the upper leg. While this doesn’t show any exposed psycho frame it does allow the upper leg armor to drop down revealing the frame up top. If you don’t take off these pieces you only get this.
The armor part for the back of the lower leg comes off giving you access to the little ‘locking’ piece which will enable you to extend the lower leg.
The arms work really well. Simply pull down on the blue armor piece and the whole armor separates.
And let’s not forget to mention those awesome flaps on the back of the legs.
The Fin Funnels
By now I’m sure everyone is aware there are some issues with the Fin Funnels. Well, there is mostly one issue but it’s a pretty important one; the Fin Funnels can’t seem to stay together. The design they chose for the connecters attaching one Fin Funnel to the next is quite small, and quite weak which means that the builder is going to be spending some (or a lot) of his posing time picking up Fin Funnels. This, of course, is a serious issue with the kit and will be sure to frustrate a lot of people. It is the Nu after all and the Fin Funnels are an important part of that suit.
After writing all of this, though, I don’t think the fix will be difficult at all. In fact, I’ve already fixed it. And while we’re on the topic of Fin Funnels I’m going to give Bandai the thumbs up for including the parts we need to build the Double Fin Funnel configuration.
The backpack feels too frail for this size of kit. The lower armor parts (the biggest on the backpack) are meant to come off during the transformation, but as Bandai hasn’t designed a ‘catch’ to hold them in place they simply just fall off during every day handling of the kit.
The design for the contraption that attaches to the funnels also seems to come apart far too easily.
Other aspects of the kit
-This kit is meant to work with Bandai’s LED and the design for that is simple.
-The design for the neck allowing the head to tilt upwards is excellent and will definitely give people the ability to make some wicked poses with Nu on his base.
-Armor color separation is well done thanks to the small, darker runners for the white armor parts, but Bandai does have you use stickers for a few areas which can be a bit of a let down.
-The new engineering for the shoulder joint is quite cool and offers a great range of motion. It also looks completely different from what we are used to.
-Panel line/armor details aplenty without being overdone.
Fun Factor: 9/10
Other than some frustration with the Fin Funnels and some tedium when applying foil stickers the Nu Gundam is a great Gunpla experience. As I mentioned, the whole experience is something completely different from the more recent MG builds and for that I am grateful. It really causes you to pay close attention to what you are doing while discovering all the details of the build. Sure there may be some tedium, particularly when you get to the Fin Funnels but that’s at the very end of the build so it might be more of an issue of burning out after all the assembling you’ve been doing on this massive kit.
There’s a lot of extras thrown into the box but the biggest one for sure is that included stand. This is not unheard of, as there was a stand with the MG Hi Nu, but it is a very welcome addition to the product as a whole and really allows you to get the most out of your Nu Gundam.
On top of a base, you also get extra parts should you wish to build the Fin Funnels in their Double configuration as well as extra armor parts for the chest if you want to build Nu as it was in the Dome-G.
And Bandai included Water Slide decals!
So does the MG Nu Gundam Ver Ka live up to the hype (mine included)? Yes, it does! It offers a new experience, is completely different from the kits of the past few years, and simply looks amazing. The few issues it does seem to have should easily be remedied by people with a little imagination leaving the Nu Gundam to stand tall, or soar as the case my be, in your collection.
I’m happy to write that there will be a supplementary follow-up review coming later on talking about things I haven’t touched on yet in this review. Enjoy the Nu, everyone! And Merry Christmas! Interestingly, it’s two years to the day I did my review for the top-rated kit here on Gaijin-Gunpla, the MG Sword Impulse.