Gaijin Gunpla

3.0

Those digits have caused a stir in the Gunpla community. With the news of a new style of MG came the excitement and the trepidation. Many were overjoyed at the thought of a more detailed RX-78-2, the big daddy of Gundams, while others felt slight disappointment that the ‘new’ kit was a look-a-like of a now three-year-old kit from another Grade. I was among my fellow Gunplars with an opinion on the 3.0. Now I’ve had the kit in my hands for a little over two weeks and having built it (twice) I’m ready to lay out my feelings regarding Bandai’s latest venture in plamo.

Let us begin Gaijin Gunpla’s Guide to the 1/100 MG Gundam RX-78-2 Ver.3.0

Overall Look: 10/10



The fact that this kit is basically an exact replica to the RG isn’t reflected in the score. This score is based solely on how the RX-78-2 Ver 3.0 looks and it looks amazing. In a way it looks better than the RG. Perhaps it is the size. When looking at the RG you have to look closely to take in the details because the scale is so small whereas on the 3.0 the details are right there in front of you, easy to see. Bandai is able to make the 3.0 look like this thanks to a very trim, undetailed frame.



Certain areas are a cut above the RG such as the backpack, thanks to the inclusion of the clear parts.

Even the hands, which I originally felt were too large, have grown on me during the time I’ve spent with the 3.0 and the larger-than-expected look of them doesn’t bother me now, though from certain angles they still appear odd.

The only real flaw when it comes to the look of the 3.0 (which is debatable as being a flaw considering it is easily remedied)? The foil stickers. These for the most part worked fine on the small 1/144 scale Real Grade Gundam but expanding that idea into 1/100 scale doesn’t really work. For instance, the part on the back of the leg.

This small part uses three foils to cover it up but once in place the stickers don’t actually make the kit look any better.

In fact, they make the kit look worse because the stickers don’t cover all sides of the piece only the back which means from certain angles you will be able to see the gray of the part and the foil sticker loses its effect. The foil stickers do work well for the thrusters.

But the elbow? We’ll talk more about that later.

Colors: 10/10

Plenty of times I have written how the blue, red, white (and yellow) combo is wearing thin but I can’t say that applies to the 3.0. Bandai made a point at the Shizuoka Hobby Show of listing the nine colors used for this kit and the same thing that appealed to me about the look of the RG when it came out, namely the color separation in the armor, appeals to me here in bigger scale on the 3.0.

If anything it looks better colorwise and areas of the RG that were almost too small to notice are easy to see on the 3.0

Weapons: 8/10

You’re getting enough weapons with the Rifle, Bazooka, Shield and Beam Sabers, but let’s be honest here; other than some new handles and attachment parts, which work great, you’re just building the 2.0 weapons and as great as that kit was at the time it is five years old now.


As fine as these weapons look and function, I got no joy from building something I built five years ago. For a kit that is this hyped, using older designs and parts seems a major oversight or something that can be chalked up to laziness.

The best thing about the weapons would have to be the design of the shield attachment. The little arm on the back of the shield fits perfectly around the lower arm of the 3.0 securing the shield in place so you don’t have to rely on the hands, though it can come loose fairly easily

Articulation: 10/10

The 3.0 ranks up there as one of the more articulate and poseable kits I have ever assembled. Part of this is because the old-school design of the RX-78-2 doesn’t feature a lot of excess armor in certain areas that can throw off the Suit’s balance but I’d be doing a disservice to the design of the frame of the 3.0 if I chalked up the great articulation to the leanness of the suit instead of acknowledging the frame that allows it to move like it does. Those armor panels that are there to enhance the look of the RX-78-2 in no way hinder the kit’s movement.

The great articulation in this kit and is mostly a result of a couple of differences to the design of the 3.0 compared to that of the 2.0. So I’ll leave you with a couple of more poses and then we’ll talk about how Bandai did it in the next section of this review.


Build Design: 10/10

The 2.0 featured some great articulation but Bandai had to find a way to give the 3.0 the movement of the 2.0 while giving it the look of the RG. This required some differences in frame design in some key areas and those differences become apparent at the start of the build in the upper torso/shoulder area.

This new shoulder joint design allows for a lot of motion and while there are quite a few MGs out there with great frame motion they are often inhibited once the armor goes on. Not so with the 3.0. Looking at the shoulders you can see they’ve designed the kit to allow the frame to reach its maximum potential.

Along with the joint the armor also shifts to allow that joint to move very freely.

Even the side panel of the shoulder armor move slightly to allow more space for the arm.


(Be careful in this area, though. If you spread the side panels too wide the top armor will start to come off.)

However, this very flexible shoulder joint does have its downside and that is that it can just pop out if you are too aggressive when you move the arm.

It’s easy enough to put back in, however, so you need not worry about breaking anything. And to conclude the topic of the shoulder design I highly recommend pushing the arms and shoulders into place before putting on the head. This will allow you to position your fingers inside the torso and push against/hold in place the shoulder joint when you are pushing the arm completely on. It takes a bit of force but when you hear the satisfying click as it pops into place you’ll know you’ve done it correctly.

Often a kit’s leg movement is hindered at the ankles due to armor on the foot or lower leg but the 3.0 has some new design elements here that help its cause. For instance, the rear armor part on the foot is attached by a ball joint.

This allows this armor piece to move enough to allow the double ball-jointed ankle plenty of movement. Designing a foot and ankle in this way ensures movement but it does mean that you’re not going to see the inner frame mechanisms that many have come to love on MGs, such as the pistons at the bottom of the lower leg connecting to the foot.

This is also true for the knees. You won’t find any inner frame workings here, either.

The inner frame gimmicks are replaced by the layers of different color armor parts that move when the joint is flexed.


Who can deny just how great this looks.

Bandai also came up with a way to get the 3.0 to house an LED. If they would have released a 3.0 without the capability for the LED when so many new kits such as the Geara Doga, Nu Gundam Ver Ka, etc have the gimmick there probably would have been an uproar and it would have been justified. But this is the 3.0 and it can take the LED despite being somewhat smaller than the other LED-capable MGs.


You will have to give up something to get something when it comes to using an LED. Unfortunately, the LED will not fit into the torso if the Core Fighter is folded up in there. There simply is not enough room. Instead you’ll have to use the included Core Block.

And while we’re on the subject of the Core Fighter. Here it is.

Yes, this is the Core Fighter as found in the MG RX-78-2 2.0. It’s cool that my 3.0 can take the transformed Core Fighter but I feel the same about the Core Fighter as I do about the use of the 2.0 weapons; can 3.0 be considered a big jump when you’re using five year old designs? Luckily, the Core Fighter is not necessary for the 3.0 to function so, if you’re like me, you’ll assemble it at the start of the build, put it aside as you start on the Suit itself, and then forget about it all together.

The build of the 3.0 is very well done and it’s interesting to see how Bandai designed this frame compared to the Real Grades. The Real Grade had that one part frame that you just cut off the runner and added armor to, but this is Master Grade here and part of being a Master Grade means building frame. The 3.0 frame is unique in that some areas of the frame are partly made up of armor parts. You can see these armor parts in the thigh and knee.

Three armor parts are found in the elbow alone.

All kits have there flaws and most great ones still have one area that is a little suspect and where the 3.0 is concerned that problematic area is the elbow. The first fight you will have with the elbow is putting on the gold foil stickers they give you. Where the RG had two (or was it four?) gold foils the 3.0 starts with four but two more, one on each side of the main elbow part, make six in total.

This step is made more difficult when you realize that you need to have the gold sticker on perfectly the entire length of the elbow because the back of the joint is exposed when the arm is fully bent.

You’ve got this incredibly narrow, abnormally long, sticker that needs to run the complete length of a part with multiple contours. And you have to make all this work four times and then add the larger foils to the side in order to get the proper effect. It is a lot of painstaking work and you’ll find yourself questioning the value of this step. My advice is to save yourself the time and grief and just paint that part before you start assembly. You’ll thank me later.

But that’s not even the worst part about the elbow. Actually assembling the elbow joint can be thought of as either a test to your building skills or a sick joke played on you by Bandai. Around that piece that you’ve just spent the last ten minutes stickering you now have to build a joint. You have to slide frame parts in from either end, make sure they lay in the proper place, and then try to sandwich them between the outside elbow frame parts. It’s really difficult. There are two smaller frame parts with hooks on the end that must also clip around very small pegs and everything needs to be in perfect position in order to close and finish the joint assembly.


It’s a lot of detailed work in a small space using parts shaped to move around. I’ve assembled that joint six times now and it didn’t really get any easier. The good news is once that’s done the rest of the kit is smooth sailing.

Bandai also made sure all weapons could attach to the Gundam just like they could with the 2.0. The bazooka fits onto the back of the skirt if you flip the rear armor part around.



It is a bit loose so just keep that in mind.

The shield also has a little peg that fits into a hollow that is exposed when you flip around a small armor part on the back of the backpack.




The overall look of the kit is fantastic and the design makes it all happen and for the most part the design is more than solid. But is it 3.0?

Fun Factor: 9/10

Assembly of this kit can be broken into three categories; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good, or in case of the 3.0, the great, is the majority of the kit and how fantastic the finished product looks. Once completed it’s a blast to play with. The bad are the recycled designs of the Core Fighter and weapons and the use of Gold Stickers (you couldn’t have included gold parts, Bandai?), while the ugly is the elbow. I get frustrated just thinking about it. But really, if the only real problem with the kit is working on a very small, parts-extensive, elbow joint your Gunplar life must not be that bad. Maybe we’re just spoiled.

Extras: 7/10

I don’t think we can consider this kit loaded with extras particularly because some things are just leftovers from the 2.0 runners such as the old beam saber handles that don’t work with the newer hands, but you are getting a Core Fighter which Bandai probably didn’t really need to include. The biggest ‘extra’ in the 3.0 are the extra parts Bandai gives you so you have a choice on what elbow,knee joint covers you want to use.

You also get all those markings. Even more than the RG.

What’s this thing?

Apparently, more ‘extras’ for the 3.0 are on their way in the form of an expansion set, though I don’t know if I really care about that if it’s going to be more 2.0 stuff. Other than wishing for the Gundam Hammer I don’t think the 3.0 needed any real ‘extras’.

Normally, at the end of the review I sum up my thoughts about the kit in a sentence or two and leave the reader to check out the gallery but I feel there’s still more to write when it comes to the 3.0.

Thoughts

The day before the start of the Shizuoka Hobby Show, as I was readying camera equipment and making sure I had my bullet train ticket, Bandai announced the 3.0. I suspect this was to get the info out to everyone so no one could spoil it by leaking it before the start of the event.

I was surprised.

Like many I was hoping to see a new MG Sazabi or other big news but the announcement was that the original Gundam was going to be rereleased and dubbed 3.0. Looking at the images, it was glaringly apparent that they were trying to replicate the look of the Real Grade kit and my first instinct was one of protectiveness. I really like the RG line (even more so after those two new GP01s!), for reasons I’m not even sure of myself and the 3.0 seemed like an infringement on the Real Grade line. Think about it. Bandai at that moment showed they can release kits that look just as good as RG but have a frame you can assemble in a grade everyone has loved for years. Is there really room for two kits that look exactly the same but come in different scales? High Grades don’t look like Master Grades and Master Grades don’t look like Perfect Grades and, until now, the Real Grade didn’t look like anything that came before. Maybe my favourite line had just become a little less special. No one wants to see the things they are fond of in any way diminished. These thoughts were all in my head as I made my way to Shizuoka, saw the kit on display, and went back to my regular life while the 3.0 release date got closer and closer.

Then I was given the kit.

I was fortunate to receive a sample kit two weeks before release and the excitement that comes with being in that position was tempered somewhat by the thought that I was going to find out, right there, if my fears for the future of the RG line could be a reality.

Then I put it together.

Oddly enough as I started the build I was immediately reminded of the MG 2.0 rather than the RG. Of course, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the 2.0 as I started the build with the 2.0 Core Fighter but leaving that behind I saw so many similarities in the torso and skirt that I felt like I wasn’t building a new kit but re-building an older one. That feeling didn’t last long however when I started on the arms and legs.

Is it a 2.0/RG Hybrid? Should it be called the 2.5? Is the 3.0 moniker justified?

I decided to put those thoughts away for the time being and think about the kit in terms of Master Grade. How is it similar to the MGs I’ve built and where does it differ? My first kit was a Master Grade and I loved the inner frame. Assembling a frame for what is supposed to be a giant robot is really cool. Master Grade for me focused on the frame which is just an afterthought on High Grade kits. The detail on MG frames is amazing considering their size but all that got flipped upside down with the 3.0. On the 3.0, like the RG, the detail is on the outside. The color separation. The parts. The markings. Where the Real Grade line gives you a frame and you spend the majority of your time putting on armor the new 3.0 has to incorporate an assembled frame into that concept. Bandai designed a frame that would be able to accommodate all those armor parts, still be something that needs to be assembled, and still functions very well. In this sense it’s not an RG, at all.

The look of this kit is nothing new to me. I’ve built the Real Grade three times. I’ve been to Shizuoka for the 1/1 Gundam Project and to Odaiba where it has been towering over Diver City for over a year now. I’m used to it and there’s nothing the new MG 3.0 can show me that I haven’t seen before, right?

Well, actually…

I built the kit half-armored very quickly and then sat down one Saturday morning, when the family was out, to finally finish it up. Once done I set it on the coffee table and proceeded onto one of the other kits I had on the go. Every once in a while I would look in the direction of the 3.0 and glance at it. And each time I looked at it I liked it even more. It was growing on me. There’s something about it.

Even just standing on the coffee table in a normal pose it looked good. No, it looked great. It looked as good as the Real Grade but being 1/100 scale it looked more like a machine and less like a model of a machine. It looked solid. It is solid. It is a Master Grade.

And I think there’s a place for it.

I don’t know if Bandai intends to start releasing 3.0 kits for Suits that have seen Real Grade releases and given the popularity of this kit already it would probably be a bad decision for Bandai not to do so, but I no longer worry that the 3.0 is the harbringer of doom for Real Grade.

Quite often, an exciting kit will be released and I find it doesn’t live up to the expectations I had for it. With the 3.0, I didn’t have high expectations. Actually, in a way I wouldn’t have minded if it had failed. Instead, it suprised me with how great it was.

You belong here, 3.0.

33 Responses so far.

  1. Pshyga says:

    When 3.0 is announced, I’m very agitated waiting for 3.0 will be released, it’s got LED, moveable armor, and some extras in premium pack. When I read couple of comment about 3.0 is an upscaled RG, or just a little upgrade from 2.0. Nah, I think it will be MG 3.0 for me. When I read your review, and see the pictures, I began doubt it will be great just like what I think. Because I’m little bit disappointed with the gold foil sticker, and using 2.0 parts. But I still agitated to build it as 3.0, not as an upscaled RG or 2.0 upgrade. Thx for the great and deep review syd, I like it very much! ^^V

    • Pshyga says:

      Btw I forgot to ask you about the hand, it’s still dropping when holding weapon like nu ver KA? Thx

      • syd says:

        The hand holds up pretty well but the weapon is quite light. I have learned that once you plug the new type hands into the poly-cap in the wrist they are impossible to get back out again. If you try, rather than have the hand come out of the poly-cap the wrist assembly of the new type hand comes apart. After that it is never as strong again.

      • Pshyga says:

        So, the poly-cap make the hand more rigid than nu ver ka right? And the weapon are lighter, so the hand not drooping. Yeah, I have experience when the wrist assembly of new type hand detached when I want to put the finger back to the hand. I don’t know it’s only me or anyone also experience it too. Some finger are loose-fitting from the hand, and come apart easily. I do exactly like the picture guide.

  2. Hypnos says:

    really nice kit, im really eager to get one, but something else caught my attention… there´s a Sazabi Ver ka coming this december, i cant wait to see more info of that 😛

  3. Karu says:

    Thanks for this review Syd, now I REALLY can’t wait to get my own 3.0. 🙂

    Regarding your thoughts here, I have the same feeling at the moment I saw the 3.0 back at the Shizuoka Hobby Show, I thought it means that the RG line will be dead soon. But no, I think Bandai made the 3.0 as a way of showing the world what they can do with newer technology in Gunpla.

    So I think the RG line is still safe. I mean, I don’t think Bandai will make all future MGs to have RG-like details from now on. That’s like showing what’s the point of the Real Grade line, if we have some bigger models which other people would prefer? Look at the recent MG Strike RM and Geara Doga. They don’t have any 3.0 like details despite the fact the 3.0 has been shown. The RM Strike looks less like the RG counterpart because Bandai still wants it to look connected to the designs of the previous GAT Models. Newer MGs will still have a connection to the old releases.

    Sorry for the long spam here, Syd… But still, this kit is amazing.

  4. Bugs says:

    Interesting review Syd. I always like hearing your take on Gunpla.

    What does the 3.0 mean for the release of future kits? There were a TON of MG’s that I was hoping would get a 2.0 version. Does this mean the 2.0 line is dead and Bandai is only releasing 3.0’s from now on?

  5. Ryan Edgar says:

    Great review Syd,

    As you know I’ve been very critical since this kit was announced, and after reading your review I’m still not sold on it. Don’t get me wrong, the armor looks great and the shoulders and ankles are very well done, but i still feel it’s a total cop out.

    When the 2.0 line began with the Gundam Mark 2, it was a revolutionary change in the quality of design and engineering, having full internal frames, much better hands and a whole new level of detail. 2.0 changed the standard that we could expect from MG kits and that’s why it deserved to be called 2.0

    In terms of changes, apart for some good looks, and a smartly designed shoulder and ankle, the “3.0” doesn’t bring anything new to the table, and in terms of quality, if anything it’s a step back, it’s really lazy, using previous generation parts, rather than create new ones.

    It looks like a great little RX-78-2 MG, but it isn’t remotely deserving of the 3.0 title.

    • syd says:

      Excellent points, Edgar. But let me ask you what I asked a good Gunpla friend of mine when he suggested the 3.0 was more a 2.5,”What would Bandai need to do to make it a true 3.0?”

      • Ryan Edgar says:

        Since writing my post Syd, I’ve been wondering that very question. The 2.0 RX 78-2 was the pinnacle of MG technology, it was a PG in 1/100 scale. They didn’t need to change anything, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        They should keep their innovation for the RG line and instead concentrate on bringing out much more interesting MG kits. There is a plethora of 00 designs just crying out for a MG release. Who wouldn’t want a MG Seraphim? or a MG Harute? I’d love a Special Edition MG Zabanya full burst with the 14 rifles and 14 shield bits.

      • lupes says:

        Kind of like how games have reached a point where ‘next-gen graphics’ doesn’t mean the same thing as it used to, the jump from 2.0 to 3.0 of course won’t be as huge. When you go from 600 to 6000 polygons, the difference is jarring and obviously very obvious. However, when you go from 6000 to 60000 polygons it’s hard to see much of a difference because there starting point was already pretty good (you can see what I’m talking about with this picture: http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/3/32776/2486940-0248877224-ChsSw.png)

        2.0 kits were no doubt good and the jump from 1.0 to 2.0 is like going from 600 to 6000. Bandai’s tech has of course improved in the eight years or so since the first 2.0 kit came out but because we’re already so used to inner frames and the detail levels they brought to the table, of course the jump to 3.0 won’t be as mind blowing. Let’s not forget that while the 2.0 line kicked off with the Gundam Mk II, aspects of the 2.0 design could be found in a few kits prior to it’s release, much like how aspects of the new 3.0 generation could be found in kits from the last few months like the Nu ver. Ka. There were a few things that, while not exactly wrong with 2.0s, that Bandai obviously felt could be improved upon- for example the aesthetics of the RX-78-2 2.0 didn’t appeal to some and this kit obviously is something that those folks will probably be in to. Another big thing for the shift to 3.0 is the change in materials since they’ve gone to PS frames due to the paint brand (Mr. Color/GSI Ceros/whatever) not playing nice with ABS plastic.

        I do agree it’s a downer that they recycled parts of the 2.0 for this kit, but again- how much can you improve on a design that’s as simple as the RX-78-2’s shield or rifle, you know? There’s almost no reason to put the money and manpower in to making new molds for parts that are pretty much going to look identical. But keeping all of their innovation in 1/144 scale doesn’t strike me as a good business choice- some folks don’t like 1/144, others aren’t a fan of the limited and/or slow release schedule of the RG line. With this, you appeal to a wider market and then make more money which in turn probably funds development of new MGs. While Bandai most definitely isn’t anywhere near broke stagnating or keeping all of the cool new toys in one line is never a fun thing since it alienates part of your customer base. Would love to see more 00 designs get an MG release though, especially the season one suits and 00F stuff.

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you for the review. Unfortunately I don’t think my 3.0 will arrive before I’ll leave on a lengthy business trip, so I’ll have to wait till mid-October to build mine. These will be tough two months )

  7. Sherwin says:

    That head is simply gorgeous. *drools*

  8. Victor says:

    Just wondering. Can the Gundam ver. 3.0 fit the MG G Fighter?

    • syd says:

      That’s a good question. I think it all comes down to if the feet can bend the same amount as the 2.0 feet. I don’t have a G Fighter so can’t test it but I’m sure we will start to see those kind of things now that the 3.0 has released.

  9. Bocalt says:

    How likely are we to get another MG RX within the next two years when The origin starts next year? Could it be the most definitive version of the Gundam then?

  10. Archer says:

    even the legendary gundam can’t shake impulse throne

  11. Dinsdale says:

    With all due respect to Bandai´s amazing engeneering, its oversized hands and skinny legs remind me of a baboon.

  12. Markus says:

    The red decal is an image of a Pegasus showing that the kit is from a Pegasus class ship more specifically the white base

  13. Nicholas Fu says:

    OH MY GOD…..i just spend quite a bit of money on 2 zeta gundam ver 2.0 to display one is wave rider mode and regular mode. and i bought the old 2001 hyaku shiki AND THE HD VER MK II VER.20!!! LIKE 2-3 DAYS AGO, AND NOW I HEAR THERES VER 3.0?!!?!?!?! oh my god….

    Is there gonna a zeta gundam ver 3.0??

    Also I’ve been planning on getting the char custom zaku II ver 2.0 but….maybe not anymore cause there might be a ver 3.0??!?! is there?? can anyone say for sure?

    • Dragon says:

      Zeta 3.0? I do not think it is necessary since the quality of Zeta 2.0 is already close to perfect.

      The Gundam 3.0 is for someone like me. I am not a fan of the 2.0 “Old School Style” look so 3.0 is good choice for me, since it is more detailed than One Year War Version and it has a Core Fighter.

      Zeta 3.0’s improved features might only have to do with articulation, but balancing movement and transformation is hard. Zeta 2.0 is already very good and there are a lot of kits that are still begging for a 2.0 so more 3.0s will come by if there is absolutely a need for it.

  14. Camila says:

    Had just bought this guy, and come here to see if really worth my money. I’m happy with my acquisition, thanks for the amazing review 😀

  15. Paolo says:

    Great Review Syd, I’m a newcomer to the Gunpla world and this the first kit I got: it was a real pleasure to build it.

    Just a note about the title, I guess It should be:

    MG RX-78-2 Ver 3.0 Review – 91.4%
    ^
    |

  16. PKMNglaceon says:

    Is there an easy way to make the shield flip upside down like the 2.0 Origin?

  17. kaminokaze says:

    that decal (red pegasus) as i remember is the white base logo (pegasus class). and main decal in rx 78-2 1.0

  18. Bocalt says:

    Glancing back, that 3.0 trend wasn’t picked up and the Freedom 2.0 is completely different to its RG

    • S2 says:

      This is a good point. Perhaps Bandai felt that reproducing RG kits in a larger scale takes something away from what makes the RG special in the first place.

  19. Adrindrata says:

    Should I get this one, or the Origin version?

    Speaking of Origin, are you not going to do the Origin review?

  20. Michael says:

    I am in the process of building my version 3.0 and I thought the elbows were absolutely horrible! The metallic stickers keep peeling off and the elbows won’t go straight… I much prefer version 2.0. This kit is a 5.0 out of 10 points for me… 8(

  21. Sigma957 says:

    I find the hands on this thing to be deplorable. It’s the same hands on the MG RX-78-02. They CANNOT make a completely closed fist because of the design of the sockets. That is a huge step back from Ver 2.0 which gave you completely closed hands.

    Which is why I decided to go with the RX-78-2 Ver 3.0 Mechanical Clear Art of GUNDAM version so I can see the internals. My trust in its overall quality for prolonged manipulation sessions is low. The Ver 2.0 is still far superior. Especially if you get your hands on the MG RX-78-1 Prototype version. The color scheme is brilliant (you have two tone options for the abdomen area).

    It’s Premium Bandai but so worth it.

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