It’s that time of year again! The third week of May brings to Japan some very pleasant weather but more importantly it heralds the first ‘big’ trade show of the year for those who love models, the Shizuoka Hobby Show. Like I have for the past few years I boarded a train early in the morning to take me to Tokyo Station where I jumped on a Hikari Bullet Train bound for Shizuoka.
While on the train it occurred to me that I didn’t really know what I would be seeing there. Last year, the day before the show was set to begin, Bandai revealed the RX-78-2 Ver 3.0 and so I knew I would be seeing a lot of that at the show. This year I didn’t really know anything, except for an educated guess about the Neo Zeong, so once on the train I pulled out my iPhone and just surfed the net in case there was news of any kind.
And there was. News of another Ver Ka. News of a whole new line of models. And even news of a PG release. Two out of those three rumours turned out to be true.
Hopping off the Bullet Train we joined the line of people waiting for the shuttle bus which would take us to the event hall. It’s only a ten minute drive so we were at the hall just at 9:30 AM when the event opened. Walking in I headed immediately for the Bandai booth.
Eager to determine exactly what the big ‘reveal’ was at the show I headed towards the display that had the most people crowding around it.
And there it was. The big news was a big kit from a new line. Dubbed the Reborn One Hundred Line, or RE/100 for short, this is an entirely new category of Gundam and to launch this they chose a Mobile Suit people have been longing for for quite some time, the MSN-04 Nightingale.
Above the kit they had a video playing on a loop showing the Nightingale and giving details about the new line of kits.
From the video, and judging from what I saw of the display, it seems Bandai is looking to give us kits in 1/100 scale, made famous by the Master Grade lineup, but with simpler engineering which basically means no inner frame. Looking at the arm and leg section that Bandai had displayed for all to see it appears the assembly is much like an HG kit.
There is no inner frame but HG style Poly-cap joints wouldn’t cut it when it comes to holding big kits such as the Nightingale together so Bandai has come up with a new design. The kit looked good, though admittedly not as good as an RG kit or even an MG kit but the popularity of this new lineup will come down to two things, 1)the Mobile Suits they choose and 2)the enjoyment found in the build. Looks like they started off strong by choosing the Nightingale. The next release will be the Gundam MK-III.
And No. 3 will be the GP04 Gerbera.
My honest feelings about this bit of news I learned at Shizuoka? Well, I’m torn. I love the idea that we can be seeing the big suits in 1/100 scale (Kshatriya anyone?), but I really love just how much detail we have seen in the RG line and the more recent MGs like the Sazabi Ver Ka. I’m keeping an open mind.
The next rumour to confirm? Another Ver Ka is on the way. This one turned out to be true and actually it’s coming much sooner than I would have thought. In August we will see the Hi-Nu Gundam Ver Ka!
Really the big surprise here is just the timing of the announcement. After the Nu Gundam Ver Ka in 2012 and the Sazabi Ver Ka in 2013 we know what to expect here and judging by what I saw at Shizuoka no one should be disappointed.
Like the last two Char’s Counterattack Master Grade kits this one has the details and proportions to match as well as plenty of gimmicks.
Yes, it will take an LED (and yes, it’s sold separately) and it will feature opening panels on various parts on its body. I’m excited for this guy but what makes me even more excited? This being an August release frees up the December release to be something even bigger. I wonder what Bandai has planned…
But after these two kits there were no surprises at the show. All the other kits on display I had already been aware of in some form or other. While that is a little disappointing I did enjoy seeing them. For example, the RG Z’Gok is going to be great.
You can see they have it in the display doing all its famous poses and the box art was also there for everyone to see.
Like the Exia, Bandai has an all new RG frame for this release.
I’m excited for July (and a little disappointed the next RG wasn’t revealed at the show)
The MG I wanted most to see? The Turn-X.
I was quite surprised how much bigger than the Turn-A it was. And that it comes apart!
This guy will split into nine sections and a stand will be included so you can set them up like this display if you are so inclined. Nice!
Beside that was the Gundam Build Fighter wall featuring all the kits to date (plus some kit bashes of course) as well as this not so little big of text.
If I’m reading this correctly (and everyone will correct me if I’m not) it says that the new series is under production. This will please GBF fans. As for models though, we are getting High Grades.
The Gouf R35.
The Amazing Exia.
And the Wing Fenice Ricotta (just kidding, it’s Rinascita).
They had the Gundam Build Fighter kits under really strong lighting that made it difficult to get some nice pictures of. That also applied to the HG Gundam Airmaster.
As I reached the end of the GBF and HG display that there were no new Gundam Build Fighter Master Grade kits at the show. At the Gunpla Expo last year they had three MGs on display and they came out very quickly one after the other. At this show, no GBF MG news at all.
To the right of the GBF stuff was the Gundam UC stuff.
Episode 7 hits the theatre during the Shizuoka Hobby Show so Gundam Unicorn was heavily represented there. But it’s the new kits we wanted to see.
The Zssa (katakana has it written as Zusa)
The Zeta Plus Unicorn Colour version (though in this case it was the no-color-whatsoever version).
The Schuzrum Galluss (did I get that right?)
And the Rozen Zulu, a kit we have seen before, but this is the Episode 7 version.
But really, when it came to Unicorn kits I just wanted to see this.
The NZ-999 Neo Zeong.
Hahahahaha! It’s so big it’s ridiculous. Remember the HGUC Sinanju and how big that was for an HG kit? Hahahaha.
This will be fun.
And after that the only series that needed checking up on was Gundam Thunderbolt.
Sweet box art as always.
And I absolutely love the colours they’ve done the Zaku I in.
With everything Gunpla ogled over, photographed, and drooled on a second time I left the Bandai booth but stopped to check out what they have going on for the 35 anniversary.
That 35th anniversary logo will be making plenty of appearances this year I believe.