A new Gundam anime means a new protagonist and a new protagonist means a new main Mobile Suit. In the case of Iron-Blooded Orphans that is the Barbatos a kit Bandai shipped early so it could be on store shelves the day the Anime started. The anime is getting some rave reviews but how does the first kit from the series, the 1/144 HG Gundam Barbatos, fare in the eyes of Gunpla fans (well, just this Gunpla fan.)
Overall Look: 9/10
It’s definitely different. With recent anime like Reconguista in G we’ve seen the designs make a departure from what we’ve come to expect in the terms of Mobile Suit design but the Barbatos seems to take that a step further. I will have to say, however, that where other Mobile Suits look like they are designed to fly around and look cool and then fight the Barbatos looks like he’s designed for fighting first. Those shoulders while large aren’t so flashy and look in some way similar to what we see in football padding designed for maximum protection. I also like designs found on the shoulders, chest, and knees though these are done with stickers.
I also dig how the torso narrows down towards the waist with the frame or mechanical areas exposed.
While this might not be the best in terms of protection it does leave it looking slick and agile. You can see this in the ankle armour as well.
Protection for the front, none on the sides.
This is where I should point out that a big part of the look of the Barbatos is the exposed frame and inner workings, something most suits armour over.
This isn’t just a case of there not being an armour part for that area. When it comes to the design of the Barbatos there are frame parts specifically for those areas. In fact, you get two runners of frame parts with this HG. In previous HG kits a lot of times the frame part was just there to cover a poly-cap at a joint and there wasn’t anything underneath the armour but the Barbatos has so much frame it is almost like an MG but on a smaller scale.
I’m still unsure how I feel about the head. From some angles I think it looks fairly decent. From others not so much.
I’m not going to rail against the red, white, blue, and yellow. I think I should retire that from consideration when it comes to protagonist suits but at least the Barbatos does have a lot of grey frame showing and the pink to add to the colour scheme we are all too familiar with. Something I’m really happy about, the yellow areas on the knees are done with plastic and not stickers.
Hold on a minute. No rifle of any kind? That’s a departure. While I think it would make sense to have your giant fighting robot have some kind of projectile firing weapon what you get instead with the Barbatos is actually quite cool. Sure we’ve seen the katana before but that mace!
That thing is badass! Not only does it look cool it really allows for some cool poses with your Barbatos (those are coming up). It is worth noting that you don’t get a shield either with this MS. You get the smaller gauntlet that he wears on his wrist but that can be swapped out if you don’t want to sport it.
You can mount the weapons on its back using the included parts if you want him to go in with bare fists.
The only problem you may have with the articulation of this kit is that it has a huge range of movement but you may not be able to utilize it as it can become unstable with the limbs at extreme ranges. That just seems more like a first-world-problem than a complaint. I was able to get this kit into some cool poses and enjoyed playing with it.
I did find however that sometimes it was tough to get it to stand steadily with both feet flat.
Build Design: 10/10
Bandai took an HG and made it more like an MG and they did it perfectly. It’s not like the parts are too small that the build is difficult yet there are quite a few parts to go through to get this guy completed. That said it doesn’t take that long to snap together and start playing. I counted my build time as about 45 minutes so experienced Gunplars will be playing with their new kit in about an hour and young kids will have theirs down within the day.
Let’s mention some gimmicks. On the backpack you can see that the center thruster, if that’s what that is, can tilt up.
You can also pop off two pieces/panels and attach the included arms.
If you get the sold-separately, Barbatos Cannon, you can attach it to the underside of the panels that are now at the end of the arm. I don’t have that cannon so I just played around with Barbatos as he was.
I think he looks good this way. Well, from this angle.
Fun Factor: 8/10
On the one hand, this new type of HG with more frame makes the build a little more complex but on the other, it’s not like there is a lot here. My guess is that the first kit release from this new anime will be trimmed down and, just like the anime where the protagonist’s suit gets bigger and better, we’ll see more beefier Barbatos in the future which means more stuff to build. It was cool to put together what feels like a unique kit and it’s even more fun to play with it once it’s done. Especially with the mace. 😉
Pretty much you’re only getting the extra arm, or three, which is actually really great because part swapping small pieces on an HG kit isn’t always enjoyable. You do get plenty of stickers as well.
However, there is one area I wish they had done in plastic instead.
The HG Barbatos is a good way to kick off a new Gundam anime and kit series. It shows right away that things will be different and makes you wonder what else to expect. You can also bludgeon all other Gundam into submission.