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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.