Looking back over the last several months of Master Grade releases from Bandai the majority of them are the larger, plenty o’ plastic kits with tonnes of gimmicks and even transformations. Then along came the 1/100 MG Jesta which is a step back to the smaller-boxed, finish-in-a-day type of kit, much like the Tallgeese I EW which came smack in between the releases of the Nu Gundam Ver Ka, Banshee Titanium and the Sinanju Stein Ver. Ka, ReZEL C, and Sinanju OVA kits. The Jesta shares almost nothing in common with these higher-priced kits but how does it stack up Plamo-wise?
Overall Look: 9/10
I actually really like the look of the Jesta and that surprises me somewhat. As a grunt suit the Jesta has more in common with Mobile Suits like the GM which don’t do much for me, yet for some reason the looks of this kit has grown on me. From the angles of the armor on the bottom of the knee to the way the upper leg armor doesn’t line up the more time I’ve spent with the Jesta the more I like the look of it. I wouldn’t call the look of the Jesta ‘eye-catching’ but if you take the time to look over the details of the suit there are a lot of little things which add up to a good-looking kit. Some of these will be mentioned later in this review.
Someone asked me to take a comparison shot with other Gundam UC kits so here it is beside a ReZEL.
You can see that it is almost the same height which isn’t something I expected when I first opened the box.
Probably the closest Suit to the Jesta in terms of color is the Delta Plus and I feel much the same way about the colors on the Jesta as I did for that kit. The subtle colors really work well and are a nice change from what we’ve seen recently, though a lot of details will tend to get lost as the tones for the two armor colors are quite similar. Perhaps some other, brighter color (used sparingly) would have added to the overall effect.
The Jesta isn’t loaded down with armament as many of the other Gundam UC kits but you shouldn’t really be expecting that for a grunt suit. What they did give you works really well and I’ve grown fond of the Jesta’s rifle because it is one of those that looks like something I see in use in militaries right now. The shield is also a step up from the standard grunt-suit shape and that arm! (more later)
Kudos to Bandai for making the yellow emblem an actual plastic piece and not a foil sticker.
It’s actually not very good.
With all that armor on the bottom of the leg (which I love the look of) the amount of movement allowed to the knee joint is minimal.
You’re only going to get about this much bend to the knees.
Just Kidding! 9/10
Thanks to a great frame design for the lower leg you can actually extend the leg downwards moving the armor away from the knee to give yourself a larger range of motion. Normally it’s like this.
Just pull down on the bottom of the leg and create the extra space.
Now look what it can do!
This was a great idea on Bandai’s part when you think about it. If they designed this suit to be accurate to the what you see on the anime then they could have left the knee as is and we builders would have just had to deal with it. Instead they design a whole leg with the idea of giving us that extra movement in the knee joint for when we want to pose this guy. If this is something we see pop up again in upcoming suits I, personally, will be delighted. We will talk more about this in the Build Design part of this review (which just happens to be next).
Build Design: 9/10
Continuing on with the knee design for a moment I’d like to point out that Bandai took the time to design that knee/lower leg gimmick to incorporate the moving parts we usually find in Master Grade kits, namely parts representing mechanics such as pistons, etc. The Jesta has these as well and when you extend the leg the piston parts slide down little grooves and move with the leg. It’s well done even though it wasn’t necessary at all for Bandai to make it that way.
Now let’s talk about the other real cool piece of engineering that can be found on the Jesta; the shield arm.
The shield arm, as I’ve taken to calling it, is a positionable arm that connects the shield to the backpack and can be expanded and contracted allowing you to position the shield in almost any way you can imagine. I played around with this quite a bit when taking photos (check the gallery at the end of this review for more) and I was delighted to find that the connection to the backpack is secure enough to hold the shield in whatever position you put it in but also fairly easy to remove if you want Jesta to go naked. I should mention here though that that the connection of the arm to the back of the shield is not undone so easily and it’s probably best to leave it as is rather than stress any plastic.
Other areas of the Jesta design worth mentioning:
I mentioned in the third part of the WIP that the backpack frame has two swinging arms that clip onto the main backpack frame and hold the thrusters. This gives the Jesta the ability to tilt the thrusters up a little bit and the design even has small frame parts that go with it. It’s a subtle difference in the look when they’re moved but it definitely adds to the kit.
The gimmicks Bandai built into the back of each arm work really well and make playing around with the Jesta more enjoyable by giving you options. The left arm houses the beam saber handle.
Whereas the right arm houses the three extra ammo magazines. Both are easily removable when you want to use them.
And while we’re talking about the arms let me show you the elbow joint.
Yes, it’s only a simple molding thing but I really feel these kinds of design elements add greatly to the overall look of the kit. Just look at the Nu Gundam Ver Ka and what you could do with the elbow frame parts to enhance the kit.
These contain missile storage units that can be opened.
But, um..wait a second. What shoots these missiles? Jesta only has a rifle and already has extra magazines.
I’ll be honest when I say I don’t really know the purpose of this thing. Bandai has designed this unit to move slightly though I see no reason for it to do so.
One thing worth noting is that the little armor flap at the bottom can come off if you’re not careful.
Here’s another fun gimmick that we see in so many suits and it’s nice to see it not left out on the Jesta. Open the rear center block and you can store your weapon.
The design is actually quite tight in that there is just enough clearance to allow that door to open but you shouldn’t have any problems with it unless maybe you have gigantic sumo wrester-sized hands.
I like how the cockpit hatch opens and I normally don’t pay much attention to this area of any MG (except for the AGE-1). First pull out the bottom door then open it downwards.
This leaves enough space to pull out the top door slightly and move it up.
I’ll speak here about the decision to go with the new type of hands which were previously used for the first time on the Nu Gundam Ver Ka. I’m still up in the air about whether or not these hands are a good idea. They look great and you can get them into all the hand forms you previously needed several interchangeable hand parts to get but I still find them really fragile and difficult to work with. The use of the tab in the palm is a great idea but in the case of the Jesta the lower arm is so big that trying to get the tab of the rifle into the hand while getting the right angle to keep the rifle butt from jamming up against the lower arm is quite time consuming, though it looks good once you get it done. Another thing to consider is if they use just one mold for future master grades we may end up with hands that are out of proportion. The Jesta is shorter than both the Nu Gundam Ver Ka and the Sinanu Stein yet has the same size hands. Hmmm. I will ponder this further.
And it would be a sin if I forgot to mention that this guy is designed to use Bandai’s LED.
This design is the same as the Nu Ver Ka and works just as well on this kit as it did on that one though several times I felt that I couldn’t get the neck frame/LED housing piece firmly back into position after I had removed it. Right now only the green LED is available through normal channels but it looks like the Red LED from Bandai’s online shop (sorry non-Japanese residents) is making a return in July. Whether that means a normal release in the future to go along with the just announced MG Geara Zulu only time will tell.
(No head. No life.)
Fun Factor: 8/10
Despite it being far less extravagant than pretty much all Gundam UC Master Grade kits it still is quite an enjoyable build and fits perfectly into the ‘I’ve got a day off so I’m gonna build this kit’ category. It’s got enough gimmicks to keep the build fresh while not being overly complicated and you shouldn’t experience any of the frustrations you get when, for example, trying to transform a ReZEL.
There’s really not much here and I can’t say that is surprising or even disappointing as the Jesta is pretty plain-Jane when it comes to Mobile Suits. Of course you get the markings.
And an extra Beam Saber blade though that’s only because Bandai considers the one runner with two blades as one part. The three extra ammo magazines are sweet. I would have liked to see something done with these, though.
These are obviously something that is stored in the shield and meant to come out at some point. It would have been a nice plus from Bandai if they included extra parts that could be used stand-alone.
So after building this kit, playing with it, and writing this review up until now I’m still not certain where the Jesta fits in. It scores really well but it is not going to compare with kits such as the Sword Impulse, Sinanju, Infinite Justice, etc. If you were to give me a choice between a Jesta and let’s say the Nu Gundam Ver Ka for example, I’d go with the Nu Gundam probably every time but that kind of does the Jesta a disservice as it is a superior kit to other 3,800 yen kits such as the Tallgeese I EW, in my opinion, and better overall than most of the Wing MGs of last year. Perhaps the best way to express how good the MG Jesta is is to say that Jesta fans will definitely love what they get in this kit and no one will walk away disappointed. That sounds like a great kit to me.