Gaijin Gunpla

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!)

Colors: 10/10

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.

Weapons: 10/10

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.

Articulation: 7/10

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…

Extras: 10/10

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.

(pondering)

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.



47 Responses so far.

  1. Brian says:

    Sazabi is my favorite design, and Sinanju just blew me away. The fact that Katoki put Sinanju in Sazabi was just so glorious. I only got backpacks and weapons to do, but I’m saving half the Funnels for my best friend (she made a Beargguy III recently ^^).
    I am mildly disappointed by the fact that there is no Funnel display and a Char’s custom display base.
    Thinking of doing the Gauntlet? I know I am. 🙂 That is when my rebuilding will happen, since I already know this is going to be my most paint-intensive kit I’ve ever done.

    Just curious for everyone else, who’s turned Char’s Counterattack while building this beast?

  2. Md Scid says:

    Because of this kit..I also got the sinanju ova together with this one..luckily the ova also got with the bazooka..yeayyy..cant wait for my shipment to arrive..chrismast has been hectic at hlj they only ship mine after 3 days of paying my shipment :))

  3. ClayCannonII says:

    Wow it got a better score than Sinanju it must be good

  4. Brian says:

    Syd, much to my dismay, the backpack and the entire torso is so top/back heavy, mine couldn’t really stand up straight without some really awkward manipulation of the legs. He kept leaning back because of the weight.

    I tried putting some blutac onto the ball joint and it works like a charm. Give it a try, it doesn’t hurt the polycap or the ball joint, so its an easy non intrusive solution. My guy is standing up just fine now.

    • Bocalt says:

      The failure of a UC kit to stand up is pretty much a fail in my book, god they had ideas for the Rezel Revils, guess the failure of the delta comes to mind.

      • Brian says:

        But from what I’ve read, Delta Plus didn’t have such an easy fix. My Sazabi can stand whatever way I want now that I’ve put a tiny bit of blue tac into the joint. It’s sad however that Bandai couldn’t have implemented something better, especially considering what a massive engineering/aesthetic feat this kit is.

    • lupes says:

      where did you have the waist joints positioned? even with the sazabi being the size it is, i have a hard time seeing it have weight issues caused by the backpack. I’ve nearly got the frame together for mine (my compressor is currently underwater so who knows when i’ll get to finish it, shoutouts to floods)and everything fits really solid thusfar. then again, it seems like sometimes some people’s kits have issues that others didn’t, like how my crossbone ver ka is just fine but a lot of other folks have a myriad of issues with it.

      • syd says:

        Hi Lupes, the issue didn’t arrive until I transformed it once and elongated that huge ass it has. That shifted the balance considerably.

      • Brian says:

        What Syd said. When I had just the frame built and put him together, it was fine. But the backpack + dat ass really makes it sag back unless you really mess with it and spend your time making hairsplitting tweaks.

        Using a tiny bit of blue tac on the ball joint made mine very stiff, easy to pose, and best of all its not permanent.

  5. Zeon_Two_Six says:

    Wow. Seems the Ver-K Sazzer is really living up to the hype. Love the opening parts on its legs.

    BTW, on the last 3 pictures, right pose, wrong camera angle… XD

    • Anonymous says:

      I find it funny considering the heavy engineering of this kit, the Polycaps are actually reused from the older MG Sazabi. Kind of amazing Bandai actually managed to design this new kit from scratch based off those older Polycaps

  6. Archer says:

    “I don’t need to build another kit from this point on as I’ve reached the pinnacle of this hobby”. so..according to your words you’re gonna retire aren’t you, syd from gunpla making..

  7. Astelan says:

    Sadly, mine has to sit in the private warehouse until the new year… Thankfully I already have a backlog to keep me busy.

    Sydney if you are wondering what the cockpit ball is all about, it’s meant for the Nu Gundam to hold to recreate some of the events that happen in the final scenes of Char’s Counterattack ( no spoilers )

    Cheers,
    Astelan

  8. Zephyranthes says:

    “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”

    It’s actually for recreating Sazabi’s escape pod, which is seen in char’s counterattack after amuro defeats it with his Nu Gundam.

    In movie, you can see that the Nu grabs it with one hand, so does this MG cockpit has the hole to use with the MG Nu ver ka.’s MP1 hands?

  9. Casval says:

    Do you have a picture of the shield with the Beam Tomahawks attached?

  10. Raven Zhef says:

    A kit double the price of another MG is of an equal rating. That other MG is the Sword Impulse, which also got 95.7%, and also 4-5 years old now. How bloody crazy is that.

    But, isn’t that kind of strange? The problem is that your review of your Sword Impulse had three 9s and the rest is 10. This one only has one 9.

    Well, just based on that, perhaps the Sazabi should get a higher rating, tbh. I have yet to build the Sazabi nor even buy it, but the detail is amazing. The Sword Impulse for now is still my favorite MG.

    • Raven Zhef says:

      One 7, for the Sazabi, sorry.

    • Bocalt says:

      About time to get that MG Force Impulse as well.

    • dave says:

      same here. I disagree that force impulse have same ratings with the beast. compared to other reviews, this beast rated off scale

    • Mavee says:

      Build process, parts, size, weapons and features, Sazabi wins hands down. And the grading system in MG section here baffles me so much. It is graded upon the expectations of Syd within the kit, and there is a limit in the scoring aspect. The Sword Impulse is good with that “longer-than-box” dual sword, with it’s accurate color scheme and bang-on proportions. Take the ratings as a grain of salt. Sazabi falls down in articulation. To my taste and standards, any kit that cannot pose; regardless of how great build process it has or how loaded with extra stuff it is, I am one of those that won’t even bother to get such kit.

  11. Belades says:

    I couldn’t help but notice that you complained that polycaps would mean the joints would wear. This goes contrary to my understanding that polycaps are something of a tradeoff, causing joints to sometimes sag a bit, but helping minimize and prevent joint wear from continued posing over time. (I can say from experience that by far the loosest joints on my Gundam models are the ones without polycaps.) Additionally, it’s apparently easier to replace a worn polycap than it is a worn joint. With a kit as expensive as the Sinanju, I’d definitely want to be able to fix it cheaply and have the joints last as long as possible.

    • Woodfish says:

      That depends on what you like to do with your kits. If you like to play with it a lot (you could go blind and end up having heary palms) joints will wear our eventually. Hence you may like regular PC joints better but if you like your kit to strike that one perfect pose, like the good old Sinanju did oh-so-well, and leave it like that that PCless joints work better. They’re stiffer, harder and more resembling something solid, “saggiless” that what your regular PC joints have to offer. So in the end of the day it all comes to what you like to do. Cheaper replacements that last longer or stiffer joints that offer better friction but wear out faster and cost more to replace. To me, after building a Sinanju some two years back, I’m still amazed why they did this the way they did. Joint wise, that is.

  12. d says:

    This beast has effortlessly just became my new favorite. Trumps even my titanium Sinanju. And Damn does it have some bulk and presence.

    If they ever decide to make a titanium finish on this, I’ll definitely consider it, even though I know it’ll cost quite a fair amount…

    Just finished building him tonight, unpainted and no decals. I’m leaving it like this, I think it looks amazing “as is”.
    http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/3123/sfjq.jpg

  13. Liahkim says:

    Do you have problems with the ball joint in the hip? Is it loose? Just asking because I saw a review of this kit in youtube that it’s hip connection is so loose that it leans everywhere too easily. Thanks in advance.

    • dave says:

      Brian says:
      December 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm
      Syd, much to my dismay, the backpack and the entire torso is so top/back heavy, mine couldn’t really stand up straight without some really awkward manipulation of the legs. He kept leaning back because of the weight.
      I tried putting some blutac onto the ball joint and it works like a charm. Give it a try, it doesn’t hurt the polycap or the ball joint, so its an easy non intrusive solution. My guy is standing up just fine now.

      Bocalt says:
      December 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm
      The failure of a UC kit to stand up is pretty much a fail in my book, god they had ideas for the Rezel Revils, guess the failure of the delta comes to mind.

  14. fantasie says:

    Anyone know if there’s gonna be a Titanium Finish release of this?

    • AgentAdam says:

      Bandai has not announced one. Titanium releases seem to occur a year or so after the kit is released so it probably won’t happen before November.

  15. stephen says:

    Unghh.. Been reading this thrice now and I still haven’t got the budget for it. I can still remember my SD Sazabi from before. My first kit. 😐

  16. Lee says:

    Haha…i think it is my 4th time reading this same article (read today again after i saw it at the hobby shop yesterday). Think i won’t be able to hold long before finally buy it. Still hoping for a bargain buy.

  17. Andrew says:

    I’m curious, have you ever considered building the Ex-S kit? I was kinda surprised not to see it on the master grade nor the high grade lists. I recently completed both the Ex-S and the Perfect grade Freedom Strike, I was pleasently surprised to find an MG kit that was on par with a PG kit.

    • syd says:

      The Ex-S intrigues me because of the size but it’s looks never have won me over. I should reconsider it again given how much people praise it.

      • Andrew says:

        You will not regret it sir. It has been one of the best builds I’ve done to date.

      • Frankon says:

        EX-S is the most fun build i did to date (well the sazabi is still in the box and i think it will top the EX-s). The enginering is great for a 12 year kit. The problem is lack of possability. The parts itself have very nice articulation but when put together its lost due to the bulkness (because of the backpack). But when you tilt the model a bit forward (put the stand in a place between MS and MA mode) and you get one of the best looks of any gundam ever.

  18. sazabi fanboy says:

    Hi,nice review out there.Actually its your review that makes me buy this kit lollll…i would like to ask what colour would you recomend to panel line the sazabi red coloured parts ,if it were to be a straight build.nice review still.

  19. Tom says:

    Hi Syd

    I know you mentioned that you painted your Sazabi using Mr.Hobby Gundam Red #3 but being from Australia it seems we only have Tamiya branded spray paint.

    Do you know what a similar or equivalent color would be to the Mr.Hobby #3 in the Tamiya range? I am after a darker red color.

    Just ordered my Sazabi from Hobbylink Japan after reading your reviews and can’t wait to get cracking.

    • syd says:

      It’s an awesome kit and I’m sure you’ll love it. When it comes to looking for a certain colour from Tamiya I suggest looking at their colour chart. If you type Tamiya Colour Chart into Google you get a pretty comprehensive list displayed. Good luck!

  20. Luis says:

    Please help me decide. I don’t i know if i should get the sazabi ver ka first or the sinanju ova. i just don;t have the funds to buy them both at the same time.

  21. Kyuzzo says:

    So I’ve had this kit since december, and the shield joint unfortunately began getting weaker, up to the point to where it can’t stay on the arm and won’t keep the shield from swinging down. Does anyone know of any way I can either find a new piece or strengthen the joint?

  22. Dawson Lee says:

    Hi Syd, reading your reviews and posts has been a daily staple for me over the last year. It’s this post that swayed me into getting the Sazabi ver Ka and it was a blast to build and just marvel at once finished. It’s standing right beside my Nu ver Ka now. Looking forward to more kit reviews.

  23. Md. Rafiuzzaman Bokhari says:

    Hello,

    Ty for all the reviews! 🙂

    Just wanted to know if you felt like the shield connector to the arm is weak or not? I can see the plastic connector on mine is already developing stress marks so was wondering if you had found a workaround. Also any recommendations for fixed hands compatible with the weaponry?

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