MSiA AMX-003 Gaza-C (Haman Karn Colors)
AMX-003 Gaza-C (Haman Karn Colors)
Height: 11cm to top of head, 14.5cm to top of backpack. Approximately 12cm to top of tailfin, 13.5cm long in Mobile Armor mode.
Articulation: 26 total points of articulation: ball-jointed neck; 5 points in each arm- double-jointed shoulders, pre-elbow swivels, double-jointed elbow, ball-jointed wrists; ball-jointed torso; hinged waist; 7 points in each leg - ball jointed hip, mid-thigh swivel, triple-jointed knee, double-jointed ankle. Other joints associated with transformation.
Accessories: "Knuckle Buster" Beam gun, Beam Sabers with removable blades x2, extra hands x5.
Colors: Molded pale lavender, purple, yellow, and translucent yellow. Painted purple, pale lavender, gray, and green.
Release Data: Released on September 29, 2006 at a price of 1500 Yen. This item is still widely available as of this review (October 7th, 2006)
Gallery: 25 pictures.
There were a few surprises for mecha fans in the Zeta Gundam: A New Translation trilogy. Most of the GMs from Gundam 0083 made brief appearances, as did the Gaza-E from Gundam Sentinel. But the only new MS to get more than a few frames of unremarked screentime is Haman Karn's custom Gaza-C, now released as the first Gaza in MSiA form. While Haman did briefly use a Gaza in the series, it was the same color scheme as all the others. Which I suppose would make it more impressive that Quattro Bajeena was able to sense her presence among the swarm of identical machines, but the new custom color scheme is nice enough that I'm not particularly apt to complain.
The head is pretty much a cylinder with a monoeye on the front and some cables running down into the neck area. The monoeye is the Zeta style: green with a crosshair imprinted on it. The ball-joint neck offers a pretty nice range, about as much as the odd head design could ask for.
The shoulder design, like a lot of the figure, is unusual for an MSiA- a hinge joint and a ball-joint, but in a previously unused size and placement. It allows for a good amount of movement and unrestricted swivel, but it's not going to break any records. The right shoulder joint is very stiff on my Gaza, enough so that the socket for the Knuckle Buster's cable rotates when I turn it. It's a bit worrying.
Once again, the shoulder is a simple cylinder, leading down into a square upper arm and a rounded forearm. The pre-elbow swivel is like that of the Galbaldy Beta- the joint itself swivels rather than having a cut joint just below the shoulder. The elbow is a single hinge joint with a ball-joint for added flexibility. But like Astray Red Frame, the elbow has been designed to get the maximum possible range from that joint, folding into a tight V. The Binders mount at the elbow, with a small connector designed to allow you to shift their positions slightly for Mobile Armor Mode. The Beam Sabers store on the underside of the Binders- there are enough sockets to accomodate four, though only two are supplied. (On the upside, this means there is no proper left or right Binder since they're both identical- no getting them confused since they're shipped detached!) The wrist joint is the standard ball-joint wrist with socketed hands. The hands are otherwise not standard at all, and are pretty neat-looking. The joint is recessed so that the closed version of the hands will fit closely to the forearm.
Really, the Gaza-C doesn't have a proper torso so much as an area that connects all the transforming parts together. The upper torso is divided into three parts, and the outer segments slide apart to make room for the massive backpack in MA mode. On the right half, there's a larger version of the Gaza's monoeye camera- in a particularly nice touch, this is a separate ball-jointed piece rather than just being molded into the torso. Under this segment is the socket that the Knuckle Buster plugs into, mounted on another cylinder. There's a mid-torso joint at the top of the narrow purple midsection that allows you to turn the upper body to a certain degree, but you'll be stopped eventually by the yellow cables. Fortunately, these are attached much more securely than similar cables on the back of the Hambrabi. At the other end of the purple joiner is a hinge, and the minimal lower torso. The skirt armor is attached to the hips themselves for a change, so I'll cover that in Legs and Feet, below.
Next we come to the backpack, which is pretty large, to the point that the Gaza gives the impression of having been built around it. It's a big block with a tailfin, two pretty big main thrusters, and a pair of small Beam guns mounted on the nose. There's also a socket for the Knuckle Buster. It's designed to sit down over the head and center torso for MA mode, and does a pretty fair job of it. It's really pretty light, and combined with the big feet it doesn't present much of a challenge in terms of balancing.
The Legs and Feet
There's an awful lot of good stuff going on here. First, the skirt armor is mounted to the shaft of the hip joint much the same way that shoulder armor is usually mounted. This allows the entire skirt half to rotate with the leg. On top of which, you have ball-jointed plates in front and back, and a hinged side plate. The cables in the midsection are the only thing to come close to restricting forward leg movement. The hip joint also has pretty nice side-to-side movement, not as extreme as the best EMiAs but more than good enough. Next, there's a mid-thigh swivel to allow for transformation, followed by the standard triple-jointed knee. It can't quite fold the leg in half due to the flared shape of the Gaza-C's lower leg. Finally, there's a very flexible ankle and an articulated three-toed foot, also for MA mode. While the ankle's range is better backward than it is forward (just like our own feet, really), you can use the smaller rear toes to lean it further forward if you like. It's a great set of legs.
Mobile Armor Mode
Transforming the Gaza is fairly easy once you know what you're doing. With the obtuse black-and-white-and-in-a-foreign-language instructions it can be hard to figure out that you're supposed to press those u-shaped indentations onto the shoulder joint shafts, but once you do everything else is a matter of alignment. It's a good thing those ankles have as much play as they do, because the Gaza-C's knees are useless in the standing version of MA mode. (Somehow this mode really reminds me of the original Galvatron.) In flight configuration, it's very menacing- it's essentially a big gun with claws. It looks good and is executed well- like some other transforming MS there's some pieces that can't lock into place because of the design, and you'll have to adjust them from time to time. But there's nothing really frustrating about the adjustments, unlike many other MA modes I've encountered.
Paint and Decoration
The paint is clean, with none of the occasional sloppiness you see with MSiA. As it's been since the dawn of Gundam SEED Destiny, there are no panel lines, but even if this figure had been released earlier it wouldn't have had many. The curves of the legs always looked a little doughy and indistinct to me on paper or celluloid, but in three dimensions have a very pleasing shape and don't really need further detailing, in my opinion.
Articulation gets 8/10
Sculpt and Deco get 9/10
Quirky designs make for quirky toys. For the most part, the Gaza is well-executed, and even here I don't know whether to blame the mechanical designer or the toy designers. The Knuckle Buster is a fairly large Beam gun, only slightly smaller than the Asshimar's gun. One little problem: no handgrip. On the original design, the idea seems to be that the gun itself is attached to the torso somehow, and the Gaza braces and aims it with the right hand. Problem being that it doesn't attach to the torso except by a tiny conduction cable similar to the ones I loathed on the Hambrabi. So not only are you dealing with something that's naturally difficult to balance and pose, but you have a tiny cable to keep attached too. Not the best thing I've ever seen. The HGUC Gaza managed to overcome this with a small attachment that connected both Knuckle Buster and cable to the torso, and I think something similar would've been a great help here. It's not unusable like some of the Japanese GP01's gear, but it's frustrating. At least in MS mode- in MA mode the yellow post holds it to the front of the Mobile Armor just fine, and it's easier to get the cable attached.
One last note: the back of the package shows the Knuckle Buster stowed on the Gaza's hip, and this is technically possible. You have to wedge the yellow post between the side and rear skirt plates- this should be the last step in acheiving a pose, as any movement of the legs will drop the gun.
Featuring the modern hard-plastic blades, naturally. The narrow end fits into the sockets on the binders nicely, and the appropriate hands hold them adequately. If the fit seems a little loose, slide the Saber hilt forward- the weird shape of the Gaza's hands means you can sort of wedge them in for added security.
Seven hands in all, but nothing you can really call standard. Designed to fold up and leave only little purple stumps on the forearm, the figure includes a hand to brace the Knuckle Buster, two Beam Saber hands, two open hands for posing, and two literally closed hands, which amount to two little purple caps for MA mode. They all do their jobs fairly well, and the problems of the Knuckle Buster can't really be laid on the hand.
The Accessories score may seem low, but it doesn't have a lot to rate, so the Knuckle Buster really drags the average down. But even so, it's not unusable, so don't let the score scare you. The Gaza-C is a great representation of a neat design, and once again I have to commend Bandai on being able to handle such a non-standard design.
It set me back $20, but that's about standard for MSiA these days. And outside of the issue of fidgeting with the Knuckle Buster, there's nothing about it that isn't Excellent. It's worth having at least one of, and come November you may want to think about a 4-Gaza squad...
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