Thunderbolt kits are all crazy. Full of so much stuff and crazy. Usually so crazy that you can’t really do anything with them except stick them on a stand and let them sit there. The 1/144 HG RX-78AL Atlas Gundam (Gundam Thunderbolt Ver.) may be the exception to the TB rule in that there appears to be a whole lot you can do with it. Does that change the experience? I guess we’ll find out.
Overall Look: 9/10
What? For a Thunderbolt kit this looks really plain. And that statement is correct except that the images above show only the base MS. I actually think this looks really cool. I do like the globe joints which are quite different from the frame cover look the previous MS from the series had.
This MS is meant to operate in water so a simple joint frame cover may not be sufficient so the solution is globes. I find that look novel and I struggled to compare visually the Atlas with other MS thought I do think the head looks similar to that of the Hi Nu Gundam.
That is a good thing.
Now let’s add the things that make it all crazy. The Sub Legs.
Things are getting crazy!
These things are what makes the Atlas more versatile than most MS out there and will need to be written about in a bit more depth later.
I actually really like the colors of the Atlas Gundam even with the amount of stickers you need on the body and limbs.
I would probably rate this higher except for something I noticed.
Look at all that white! However, you get the dark colour.
It’s like they didn’t even try here. White is a predominant colour here. I guess they couldn’t fit any more on that foil sticker sheet.
Two bullpup rifles!
The hands design allows either hand to hold these so you can wield both without a problem.
But the cooler weapon is the rail gun.
Unfortunately, it can only be held by the right hand.
It’s quite heavy so often that hand will fall apart.
You’re also given two Beam Sabers the handles of which, when not in use, can be stored in the shoulders.
And the you have the shield which is more than a shield. It’s called the Blade Shield.
You can flip it over and use it as a base onto which you can mount those giant Sub Legs.
I like the surfing poses.
The sub legs feature a set of tabs onto which you can stand your Atlas thanks to the slots on the bottom of each foot.
If you lie him down he is then in ‘Submarine Mode’.
If you want to have him hold the shield you have two options, both involving this adapter.
Attach it to the back of his arm.
Then you can attach that adapter to the underside of the shield.
In theory you can attach that adapter to the underside of the shield.
I couldn’t get it to stay on enough to take a decent picture.
This kit has no poly-caps and yet articulation isn’t hindered at all by that. Withouth the Sub Legs attached it can do pretty much anything however you may find that the front of the foot part comes off quite frequently when you’re trying to do certain poses.
The feet are worth mentioning.
The front and rear parts of the foot connect via pegs to the center of the foot and move independently.
When you splay the legs out the ankle doesn’t turn like in other kits but instead the front and rear parts of the foot do the work.
The sub arms that support the Sub Legs allow for movement in almost any direction.
I twisted them many different ways testing them out and they did well. However, I may have overdone it. The connections in the sub arms weaken quickly and now the Atlas can’t do what it did at the start.
Also, word of warning. Don’t cut the front skirt into two parts. I do this on most my kits but I wish I didn’t here. The skirts pop off all the time now.
Build Design: 9/10
For a HG the Atlas was an ambitious project on Bandai’s part and for the most part they did what they had to do. You can do a lot with the Sub Legs. I’ve mentioned a few already but I haven’t shown flight mode yet. Here you take the Sub Legs and rotate the ends around.
That’s Flight Mode!
He can dual carry in this mode.
(Okay, he can do that in the other modes as well.)
The Sub Legs attach to pegs where the side skirts would be and not to the back of the MS.
From the sides, depending on how you bend or turn the articulation parts the Sub Legs can be out front or behind. With so much range of motion I found it hard to get them lined up symmetrically. This issue becomes more pronounced as the joints weaken.
Fun Factor: 7/10
Most of the enjoyment I experienced with this kit came at the beginning when I was assembling the MS. The Sub legs are pretty much the same at both ends and go together quickly and then you’re off to play and pose after finishing the weapons (or before if you can’t wait).
It was at that stage where all the frustration came. The Sub Legs seem to work fine at the start and then fail more and more as you play with the kit. Near the end of the photo shoot for this review. I almost wanted nothing more to do with the Atlas but a big part of that was the front skirts falling off which was my own doing.
You’re given the adapter for the shield which I think works and on more to attach it to an action base.
Unfortunately, no base is included.
And you’re given enough stickers to put the Origin HG kits to shame. You could spend just as long stickering this kit as you could building it which puts it in RG territory.
With Gundam Thunderbolt being a focus of Bandai’s over the last year the Atlas was a kit that needed to come out. However, the HG version of the Atlas may fail to do what we all want the Atlas Gundam to do. For that, they’ll need an MG version. If the MG FA Gundam TB and Psycho Zaku TB Ver Ka kits are any indication an MG Atlas Ver Ka would be pretty fantastic. I’m excited.