The buzz about the kit and even the possibility of this kit was enormous. Having not watched Char’s Counterattack I wasn’t aware of the significance of the Sazabi. All I knew about it was that it was a massive Master Grade kit released by Bandai in 2000. The original MG Sazabi didn’t stir much interest in me aside from the fact that it is huge and that in itself draws attention to it. When the first images of an MG Sazabi Ver Ka were released, however, I was blown away. A kit this large, with all the newest Bandai engineering know-how, and a Ver Ka?! Count me in!
Overall Look: infinity/10 (okay, 10/10)
I can’t give out a score of infinity and break my little ranking chart but I would if I could for this kit. Despite not really finding much I like about the looks of the originally Sazabi MG, I absolutely love the Ver Ka. It is badass. It looks awesome. And then it becomes more awesome when you start opening up all the armour panels.
(okay, infinity + 1!)
Yes, it is all red, or at least predominantly red, but there are three different tones of red in here something I didn’t notice until I got building. (Kind of reminds me of how I went about the red on my Courage PG.)
The yellow is used sparingly and so I have no complaints about it and there’s a good amount of black as well. Of course, being the predecessor of the Sinanju it looks very much the same and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And another thing that I have come to really appreciate, the frame parts that were moulded in the silver. It really adds to the overall effect this kit has.
You get so much stuff here. A shield larger than most regular MG kits, that big Beam Shot Rifle, the appropriately named Long Rifle, two Beam Tomahawks, and the beam sabre handles. Like the Sinanju, you can attach the Beam Tomahawks to the shield.
This tiny little piece is used to join the Tomahawks together.
They then clip together along the shaft.
And then attach to the underside of the shield.
The beam saber handles can be stored easily in the Sazabi’s wrists.
There is also something you can do with the Long Rifle but more on that later.
This is where I expected the score for the Sazabi to drop and it does but not by much. The Sazabi Ver Ka is actually more articulate than I expected it to be given the size of the suit and its bulk. I’ve pretty much maxed out the range of motion in the upper legs in this picture and that is because of how the upper frame is designed. There is no separate part for the leg socket, but rather the upper leg frame is just two solid pieces. This means the legs can only rotate until the poly-cap in the frame reaches the point where it will start to slip off the ball joint. Yes, this is a step back compared to other MG kits but given that this kit has to support so much more weight it is a trade I think Bandai would make every time and I agree with it. The same can be said for the shoulders. The shoulder armour, as it connects to the upper arm in a unique way, won’t rotate too far forward or back unless the arm moves as well. Given that these shoulders are huge they would simply flop around if not secured thus this design choice makes sense.
Build Design: 10/10
There is so much going right for the Sazabi Ver Ka that it overwhelms the one thing wrong with it. I’ll talk about everything good first. First off all, the transformation! Yes this kit, like the Nu Gundam Ver Ka that came a year before has gimmicks, that allow the armour to open. Allow me to document it for you.
The chest opens slightly.
The shoulders open up.
The back of the arms have small panels that slide out.
The front skirts open slightly revealing that cool silver frame.
The side skirts expand and thrusters appear.
The rear skirt elongates revealing even more thrusters and silver.
Front armour for the foot opens.
The whole bottom of the leg opens outwards!
The head hatch opens.
The Backpack hatches open so those cool little pods come out.
There is a lot of moving parts on the Sazabi Ver Ka and they are all designed quite well. I didn’t have much problem transforming any part of the kit and it’s only become easier the more times I do it.
The pods that are housed in the backpack function fine once you get them assembled.
Another area I want to highlight is the lower torso, specifically the yellow piping that wraps around the waist.
On 2.0 MG kits where we are meant to slide these collars onto a plastic reed there are times when those collars can be a handful as they move around, can come off easily, and never seem to stay in place. Not so with those on the Sazabi. Their asymmetrical shape ensures they go on and stay there. It’s a small change but one that saved me a lot of time and frustration.
Don’t forget that this guy is designed to take the Bandai LED.
The MP2 hands made for the Sazabi are a step up from the MP1 hands we’ve seen on the other newer kits, though the connection isn’t as secure and the hand may come off easily but that’s fine with me because it’s not breaking when it does.
Now let’s talk about the one aspect of the kit’s design I am disappointed with. The use of Poly-caps. The Sinanju Ver Ka remains one of the best MG kits of all time not only because it’s huge and awesome looking but because it’s solid. The poly-cap-less design means that the Sinanju is rock solid and the joints don’t deteriorate under the weight of the kit. Yes, it also means certain areas can break if you’re not careful. When they first showed the Nu Gundam Ver Ka at a hobby show last year I was very impressed and though that it might be the equal of the Sinanju. I wrote that thinking that it would use the same design as the Sinanju, no poly-caps. I was wrong and as cool as the Nu Gundam Ver Ka is, it does suffer when it comes to being solid due to the use of poly-caps. When I saw the Sazabi Ver Ka at the Model and Hobby Show one of the first things I wanted to check into was whether this massive kit would be using poly-caps and I was mildly disappointed, and a little concerned, when I was allowed to handle one of the legs and saw the poly-cap in there. It turns out my concerns were correct. This kit is so massive that it really would have benefited from an MG Sinanju-like design, though I think Bandai got tired with having to replace so many hip pegs for Sinanju builders and decided to avoid that this time around. The loose joints become even more apparent when you’ve opened up all the ‘transforming’ areas of the kit. That huge back skirt is enough to cause the Sazabi to lean backwards and I wonder just what I can expect the life span of those poly-caps to be. All that said, everything great about the Sazabi amounts to much more than the one thing I consider wrong with it.
Fun Factor: 10/10
Best experience I’ve ever had with a Master Grade model. Made even more sweet by the sheer size of this guy.
So much stuff is packed in this huge kit and each area of the kit is meant to transform in some way so you’re working with many small parts instead of a few huge ones. This build takes time (I calculate maybe 6 hours) but every minute is enjoyable as each assembly is likely something you’ve never encountered before. I can’t think of another kit that is like this one. It’s part Sinanju, part Nu Gundam Ver Ka, part Gelgoog (oh so many thrusters), part Marasai…
You’re given two figures, and those huge effect parts and, being a Ver Ka, you get the watersides as well.
Though no option of using dry transfers like you could do with the Sinanju so those who may not be comfortable with waterslides better start practicing.
They also give you the cockpit with the pilot.
Yes, this is something you find with other MG kits but in the case of the Sazabi this cockpit doesn’t go into the kit at all. It’s more cosmetic so you may end up wondering what you’ll do with it.
Another cool ‘extra’ is the design of the Long Rifle. If you have a Bazooka from either the Sinanju Stein or Sinanju Anime MG kits you can put the two together like you could do with the Sinanju rifle.
It’s more huge than huge.
This kit is awesome. I would build it again in an instant (actually I’ve already got a second one). Though it scores the same as my beloved MG Sword Impulse (this is due to the low articulation score) if I had to choose between the two I would side with the Sazabi Ver Ka. It’s the best. The ultimate MG. I don’t need to build another kit from this point on as I’ve reached the pinnacle of this hobby.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to try to recreate that cool scene found in the anime and promotional artwork.