I really am enjoying the run of HG Origin kits. Not only do they look great but the design and assembly is some of the best among High Grades and in some ways even surpass the new Revive series. That must be why, even though I’m not a fan of the Zaku I design (except that one) I picked up the HG Zaku I (Denim / Slender) kit. That and you can build two versions of the Zaku I with it.
Overall Look: 10/10
What is this?, you may be asking. This kit is so boring that I can’t even bring myself to finish it in order to review it, you may be thinking to yourself. That’s not the case at all. Let me explain what is happening here. I was under the impression that I would be able to build both Denim and Slender versions of this Zaku I and switch between them only by changing some parts on that right arm. However, that’s not really the case at all because at, one point during the build, I’m instructed to choose which one I’m going to build. It’s not so easy to switch between them and, if you want to apply all those cool markings, you’re going to be stuck with one version or the other. I’ll talk more about that later but I’ll continue here and talk about each of them separately right now.
Denim is the far cooler Zaku I if you ask me.
That cool shoulder really stands out and makes it look similar to the Mobile Worker and other early prototype MS.
It is a sticker but it works well if you’re careful.
And here is Slender.
He has the more standard Zaku look complete with the shoulder shield and, like the Origin Char Zaku kit has what appear to be extra bazooka ammo mounted on the shield. I imagine that could be dangerous. Both look great, including the sweet panel lines on the legs, but I give the edge to Denim for that unique shoulder.
Oh, hey Denim. Zaku green is fine but the complimentary purple colour looks good and fits in with the colour pallet we’ve seen in other Origin kits like the Waffu. Denim’s got that extra yellow if you feel there’s just too much green here.
You get everything you got before! Well, if you picked up any of the first two Origin Zaku kits you’ve already seen and built these weapons but I’m glad they make an appearance again because not only are they solid but they look great. I love that long rifle. (Not pictured, the Heat Hawk axe.)
This thing is so cool let’s build it three times!
As much as I might be tired of building it you can’t deny it looks cool. Or looks cool by dwarfing the MS who is trying to use it.
I really like how I can make it look like he’s struggling holding that giant weapon.
Articulation is great but that was a already established with the Char’s Zaku. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it could be the underlying theme here. I was able to get all the great poses I got with the previous Origin Zaku kits which matched my expectations going into this kit.
Build Design: 8/10
I am unsure how I want to evaluate this category for this kit. On the one hand, because it has the same great design as the other Origin kits it should get the same scores. Wouldn’t that be fair? On the other hand, Bandai seems to push you to decide on one or the other.
There are two, I guess three, places where this issue arises. The first is in how they arms are swapped, or in this case, not swapped. If you were to make a kit and say you could make two MS I would assume that doing so would be fairly simple. Maybe they give you an extra arm or something so you only have to replace one entire thing. Nope. That is not how it is done here and that becomes an issue because the most important part for the swapping on this kit is this piece.
In order to change Suits you need to change arms but there is only one piece that plugs into the poly-cap on the shoulder and into the torso. Once plugged into that recessed poly-cap in the shoulder, it can be quite difficult to pull back out.
After you’ve got the shoulder sorted out you then can attach the arm.
It seems strange to me that they would give me new parts for that Denim shoulder but won’t supply one more shoulder joint for that new shoulder.
The other situation where you are meant to choose? The stickers. There is a big sticker meant to go on the shoulder.
This sticker will designate which MS it is. Number 101 is Denim while 102 is Slender. I guess you have to choose which one you are making because I can’t imagine it was Bandai’s purpose to have us swap stickers back and forth like we would swap arms.
This issue also arises for the right of the torso under the Zeon logo. A 101 or 102 sticker goes here.
How can I not think of this as some kind of giant fail? I’d pay an extra 200 to 500 yen for this kit if they included what I needed to make the interchange between MS easy and possible. It just feels like a missed opportunity on Bandai’s part.
Fun Factor: 8/10
A great design and fun built brought down by dashed expectations. I do admit that after page 3 in the manual, where I realised I wasn’t going to get both suits here, that my enjoyment of the build diminished considerably. I actually still don’t know whether I want this as Denim or as Slender. Well, actually, I know I still want both so I’m going to have to come up with some kind of middle-ground solution.
Stickers for both MS but you can’t use them. Aww. C’mon. If you gave me the extras that I would need to swap easily this category would receive an eleven.
It’s still an Origin kit so it’s already above average but the lack of extras that would make swapping painless really feels like a step back. Big fans of both kits and/or the Origin Anime will probably enjoy this kit just as much as the others but in some ways you do come away feeling a bit let down.