The first Master Grade AGE kit, the AGE-1 Normal, turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise scoring quite highly in its review on this site. Despite that I haven’t yet reviewed any of the AGE-2 variations so it’s about time I rectify that by sharing my thoughts on the AGE-2 Double Bullet.
Overall Look: 7/10
I’ll be right up front with everyone and say that I’m not such a fan of the looks of the AGE-2 Double Bullet but I do think it is the best looking of the three MG AGE-2 kits released so far. The Normal just seemed too spiky while the Dark Hound looked pretty much the same aside from a few differences. I would take the large binders on the Double Bullet over those on the other two any day but that comes at a cost. I also don’t much care for the large back skirt and one more important point; the Double Bullet in its Flight Mode looks kind of ridiculous.
Or maybe I leave out the ‘kind of’ and just go with ridiculous. Were it not a transforming kit and just a Mobile Suit the Double Bullet would score higher in this category (and others, as you’ll see soon enough).
Too much blue thanks to that large back skirt? I think so. For some reason the color balance seems off though the red on the binders definitely tries its best to coorect that. Unlike the AGE-1 Normal there’s no black on the legs to break up all that white so it’s almost like looking at two halves (a top colorful half and a bottom colorless half) rather than a whole.
There is no shield but maybe because the binders act as a shield? There is also no rifle, but wait there are if you take the binders apart?
For me it’s tough to figure out what to do with this kit. I can put the rifles in its hands but then the binders look odd but, conversely, leaving the rifles in the binders means your kit has nothing in its hand except Beam Sabers. The Beam Saber handles fit on the back skirt and aren’t the easiest to remove so it could be likely we won’t see many people use them.
Do the missile lauchers on the back of the legs count as weapons?
There’s a lot of movement in the legs and in the arms but you’re not likely to utilize both at the same time. With the legs spread wide it’s not a good idea to move the arms or binders too far away from the core else your kit topples over but if you want some cool binder poses then you may have to sacrifice some of your stance in the legs.
In fact, I found that I had to ‘lock’ the arms in a neutral position (using the shoulder design I praised on the AGE-1, the little tabs on the shoulder joint parts that can click into the main torso frame.
The binders are just too heavy and hinder what the kit can do. Take the binders off and ‘unlock’ the shoulders and you’re good to go
Even in a neutral stance I noticed the binders dropping down until they touched the arms.
But keep in mind that if you remove those binders you have some pretty strange looking shoulders.
One disadvantage to the range of motion in the legs, likely a result of the transformation design, is that if you spread the legs too far it isn’t strong enough to maintain the pose and instead the legs keep going and your kit tries to do the splits. I also found that the legs would come off quite easily when trying to pose them as the connection to the skirt frame is basically a very small rod.
Build Design: 7/10
I’ve already mentioned the articulation being affected greatly by the transforming frame design so I’ll use this segment of the review to show the transformation itself.
First ‘unlock’ the shoulders by spreading them apart.
Reposition the side sections of the torso and flip up the center white torso piece.
Swing the bottom half of the kit upwards to the back.
Swing the side skirts around so they face the opposite direction.
Flip up the front skirt assembly to allow you to move the legs outwards at the hip.
The manual then says you are meant to slide the plastic tab on the leg joint into an opening on the side skirts.
I could never get my Double Bullet to do this. It simply would not line up as it showed in the manual despite my many attempts. During the process the leg just fell off many times. After much frustration I left it there and moved on to the next step.
Next the manual shows how you are meant to maneuver the leg into its new configuration.
During the process my leg came apart at the knee.
To get things back together properly I would need to totally disassemble the leg right down to the frame parts but being short on time, and patience, I tried to put it back together as is. This led to stress on a key area of plastic.
But I did manage to get the leg back together and continue with the transformation. The next step is to put the hands in place, clipping onto an exposed piece of leg frame.
It was tough to get the extra piece of plastic (G26) to stay on the leg frame while I brought the hand down as there’s nothing securing it there but the hand itself, however once you get the hand in the right position it’s quite a change and makes the whole kit seem a bit more solid. Without those hands in place it felt like my kit was coming apart at the middle.
Then flip up the feet.
At this point my leg came apart again.
The final stage is to point the white side skirt pieces downwards and extend the knees. These act as landing gears which is a cool idea.
And with that the transformation was done.
Once I actually had it completely transformed I felt a little disappointed. All that effort and the end result looks like this.
To be honest I’m not sure how to feel about the design of this kit. Those design aspects that allow this non-parts swapping transformation are quite unique and for the most part well thought out but they make the kit in MS form less enjoyable to play with. Perhaps this kit needed a few more cool gimmicks to make up for that.
Fun Factor: 7/10
How enjoyable is the Double Bullet? That’s a tough question. Certain areas are a blast to build like the shoulders and the large binders, though if you’ve built any of the other AGE-2 kits you’re not likely to find much new and exciting. Posing it can be tough and a source of frustration at times and when it’s in its Flight Form what are you really supposed to do with it? One thing I guess I can thank the MG AGE-2 Double Bullet for is allowing me to come to the realization that I don’t like transforming kits. While I enjoyed the MG ReZEL I had a very disappointing time with its counterpart the Delta Plus and though the RG Zeta is quite a testament to Bandai’s engineering having to transform the unforgiving RG Frame led to some frustration. The AGE-2 Double Bullet reminded me of the lack of enjoyment I had with the transforming Dark Hound which exasperated me enough that I just gave up on it altogether while I was doing the photoshoot for its review.
(Had I written the review for the Dark Hound it probably would have recieved the same score as the Double Bullet, scoring higher in the Weapons category but lower in the Overal Look category.)
Effect parts make up the bulk of the extras here, along with the hand parts, but the reason this category gets a high score is more for what you don’t use with this kit.
These are all parts you don’t need for the Double Bullet but could use if you wanted to make yours into the AGE-2 Normal. You could think about this release as a two-in-one-box kind of thing and that is pretty sweet from a consumer’s point of view.
Maybe the AGE-2 Double Bullet falls below expectations simply because I loved the AGE-1 Normal so much but that shouldn’t be allowed as an excuse. The biggest problem with the Double Bullet is one of its strongest (selling) points; the fact that it can transform. If transforming kits are your thing then you’ll be able to forgive some of the issues with articulation or balance but for myself, a guy whose greatest enjoyment comes from assembling humanoid fighting machines the advantages a transforming gimmick gives you don’t outweight some of the frustrations that design has to tolerate.