What’s this? A review for a model kit (or series of model kits) that originally started to come out in 2007? This may seem like odd timing but, trust me, I have several good reasons for doing what I’m doing. (I tell that to myself everyday). With the MG Psycho Zaku Ver Ka. Thunderbolt Ver kit coming this winter we may see a completely different frame design and new engineering on that Zaku making the 2.0 seem old. This frame and its variations appear quite often on this site and, maybe more importantly, before it is retired it would be great to know just where it fits in amongst other MG kits.
For this review I’m using the exclusive MS-06R-1A Eric Mansfield’s Zaku II but aside from some minor cosmetic changes this kit is identical to the other main Zaku II kits so it will work fine for the purpose of this definitive review. I’m calling it definitive because I will reference the other Zaku II 2.0 kits in this review as well. Before I get to the individual sections and scores let me list the kits that are considered the Zaku II 2.0 and to which this review applies. You can divide the Zaku II 2.0 up into the two groups with the main differences being the lower legs and backpack.
MG MS-06S Char’s Zaku II Ver. 2.0 fits in here.
I think my favourite version would have to be the MG MS-06J Zaku II Ver 2.0 “White Ogre” Igloo2 Color . An all white Zaku is pretty awesome. (/foreshadowing)
When it comes to the Space suits you’ve got three main versions; the MG MS-06R-1A Zaku II Black Trinity Ver. 2.0,
My first exposure to a Zaku II was seeing shimakou’s Hobby Japan Modeling Contest winner. See it for yourself here!
Then you’ve got the MS-06R-2 Zaku II Johnny Ridden Custom Ver. 2.0, and, my favourite, the MG MS-06R-1A Zaku II Shin Matsunaga Custom Ver. 2.0.
After that you’ve got variations using pretty much the same frame, with some minor changes. The MG MS-06K Zaku Cannon,
another one of my faves, the MG MS-07B Gouf Ver.2.0,
(okay, that one has been painted.)
There are many other colour variants released as exclusives the latest of which is now going to be used for this review, with a little help from a friend.
Overall Look: 10/10
Everyone knows what they’re looking at when they see the Zaku II. You’ve got the shield mounted to the right shoulder, that three-horned armour piece above the left, and piping around various parts of the body.
And you’ve got the mono-eye.
Other aspects may differ amongst the Zaku II variations but these three are pretty constant.
And what a look it is! I guess most Zaku II are considered grunt suits but there’s something so aesthetically pleasing about the shapes and proportions found here. The rounded shoulder, feet, and head. The square backpack, whether small or one of the larger versions are sized appropriately so the overall look is one of a complete package rather than several packages put together.
When you consider that the Zaku II may be the most popular MS of all, the overall design must have many little things that different people appreciate, all combined into one MS.
Me? I love the space legs!
Sure most of these kits have colour combinations of main color, different tone of main colour, and gray/black but even then the colours work to contrast and show off the different segments of the MS. I actually like the predominantly one-colour look which stands in contrast with how our main protaganist suits are usually multi-coloured and vibrantly so. No matter your colour preferences, there should be a Zaku II for you. They are also exceptionally easy to paint should you not find a colour to your liking.
The Zaku has weapons all its own. The Zaku Machine Gun features the drum atop the rifle and a scope and foregrip that can swing to either side so the Zaku can carry it with either hand.
The Zaku Bazooka looks mean without being ridiculously over-sized like with some kits and even features a cover for the scope.
The Bazooka handle features two grooves which fit the tab in the palm of the Zaku II’s hand so that it can be held at two different angles.
Some of the Zaku II variants will come with parts for a second, larger bazooka as well, though you are usually told to choose to between them.
And you’ve got the Heat Hawk which can attach to the side skirt using a small adapter.
Independently the joints are actually very articulate however it sometimes gets tough to move this guy around if the arms run into those shoulder attachments or, something I find somewhat frustrating, the piping for the side of the legs pops out if the leg is bent too far.
You can see plenty of Gunplars putting the Zaku 2.0s in a lot of great poses so I won’t get too carried away showing what it can do. The secret to the Zaku’s articulation is found in the frame which I am talking about next.
Build Design: 10/10
(Special guest appearance by MG Zaku Cannon.)
I love this frame!
There is so much to like about it. The second kit I ever assembled was the Shin Matsunaga Zaku 2.0 and I loved what I was doing so much that I started blogging about it in order to share my newfound passion with others. The Zaku II 2.0 is the origin of Gaijin Gunpla!
One thing that amazed me when I was assembling it back in 2009 was the feeling that I was really putting together a robot. The frame featured pistons/pieces that moved such as those found in the feet.
The upper leg features a piston that moved underneath the frame pieces.
The frame across all 2.0 kits is for the most part the same but you’ll see differences in the lower legs depending on what type of suit you are putting together.
Similar engineering is found in the elbows.
The shoulder joint houses more moving pieces.
Into this frame are built a couple of gimmicks such as the switch on the back of the torso which allows you to change the pilot position from one side to the other.
I don’t really use this but it’s nice to know it is there.
The head features a great design that points the mono-eye in the direction the head is facing as it turns.
(Ya, the Cannon has a mohawk.)
(He’s such a rebel.)
The end result is a great looking, gimmick-featuring, super-posable frame.
The 2.0 hands are were also a new direction at the time featuring articulation down to the knuckle.
Though I’ve come to appreciate the sturdiness the newer two-part hands can bring the 2.0 hands hold up really well. They do make a decent fist, which is something I pay attention to.
Another interesting aspect of the design of the 2.0 Zaku and its variants is found in how Bandai decided to design the piping found throughout the kit. This was in 2007, three years before the first RG kit, but at that time Bandai was molding two different types of plastic on one runner.
You are meant to cut the cylinders free and slide them onto the spring or plastic piece which will fit into its spot on the frame.
Once you get the armour all on there are other areas where the design stands out such as all the flaps that can move as you pose the kit. You see these on the space suits on the lower legs and bottom of the backpack.
The space legs also have other small parts designed in there.
The skirt is designed to hold the parts together to preserve the look. What I mean by this is often when you handle a kit areas such as the skirt may have parts that get pushed in one direction or another and you spend time straightening them out to make it look right. There are little areas of frame that stick out a bit underneath both edges of the side skirt.
When the skirts are closed you won’t see it but it serves its function keeping the front skirts in alignment.
One thing I really wanted to point out after getting back and building a Zaku II 2.0 after a bit of break from them is just how sturdy this kit is. It feels so solid. You can pick it up and put it down and it doesn’t sway much. Maybe it’s the older ABS plastic in the frame but it’s so sturdy it’s a pleasure to build and play with. Despite approaching 10 years old this frame and kit overall holds up extremely well.
Yup. I love these kits. I’m sorry if I’m embarrassing you with all the gushing I’m doing.
Fun Factor: 10/10
I’ve already ceaselessly extolled the virtues of the design and look of these kits so it goes without saying that they are a hell of a lot of fun. Sure, the piping can be a bit tedious but it isn’t terribly time consuming. The piping design actually changed with the Gouf so maybe Bandai did have some concerns or feedback.
It says something that Bandai can continue using this design for their limited edition colour variants and they all sell very well. The Zaku is a fan favourite and the 2.0 is some of the most fun to be found in Gundamdom (I just made up that word.)
It really depends on the kit you get. The Gouf 2.0, for instance, features the Heat Rod and unique cannon hand. The Char’s Zaku comes with a lift to take Char up to his cockpit. Some, as mentioned, have parts to make a different bazooka. Several of them have pilot figures.
Almost all of them come with the parts to make either the normal version or the Commander Type.
Mansfield has a third type of head if you hadn’t noticed yet.
They all come with markings, some with more than others. Dry transfers are something you are likely to see, and some of them, like Shin Matsunaga’s, even have water-slide markings included.
If you pick up the colour variants quite often you end up with a bunch of extra parts in a colour that’s not used for that particular kit. I think I could build at least 3 different colour versions with all the runners that came in the Mansfield kit.
The Zaku II 2.0. So great!