MSiA Wing Gundam Zero (Second Version)
MSiA Wing Gundam Zero (Second Version)
Height: 11cm to top of head, 11.5cm to top of wings. 20cm long with 13cm wingspan in Neo Bird Mode.
Articulation: total points of articulation: ball-jointed neck; 5 points in each arm- ball-jointed shoulders, pre-elbow swivels, double-jointed elbow, swivel wrists; swivel waist; 4 points in each leg - ball jointed hip, double-jointed knee, ball-jointed ankle. Other joints associated with transformation.
Accessories: Twin Buster Rifle with removeable handgrips, Beam Saber with removeable blade, Shield, Extra hands x4.
Colors: Molded off-white, red, blue, medium gray, gunmetal, and transparent green (Beam Saber blade). Painted red, blue, metallic green, yellow, medium gray, and black.
Gallery: 16 pictures.
Lucky lucky you, North American MSiA fans, if you ever saw this figure on a peg somewhere. The domestic second version of Wing Gundam Zero was part of a short burst of stopgap assortments that came between the end of the G-Gundam line and the beginning of the short-lived Gundam SEED assortment. Unfortunately, this move came a year later than it reasonably should have, and most stores were so overstocked with Mandor Gundam and the like that interesting new things like this were little-seen. For those who want a Wing Zero that can actually transform, there is good news: the figure was released in Japan, and is about to be released again. Now, let's see if it's worth it!
The head sculpt is well-defined, with just enough black detailing to break up the vast expanses of off-white. The neck's tilt is pretty limited, though, and the swivel is restricted to the front 180-degree arc unless forced. Unfortunately, you have to force it to meet the requirements of Neo Bird Mode.
The large shoulder armor is mounted on a plate that allows it to swing down flat against the arm for Neo Bird Mode. It's stiff enough to prevent droop too, which is a plus. The small vernier and armor plate are also both hinged, naturally. A single shoulder joint has been used, and the upper arm's outwards movement is pretty horrible- the arm can only swing about thirty degrees out from the body.
On the other end of the spectrum is the elbow, which is double-jointed and can fold flat against the upper arm. The elbows do okay with the individual halves of the Twin Buster Rifle and the large shield, which connects to a hardpoint on the forearm. But the weight of the combined TBR is too much, and you have to wedge the gun into Wing Zero's armpit to get it to stay up. The wrists are the now-archaic peg joints, and swivel's all you get. In a way that's just as well, since ball-joints would just add further potential for droop.
The torso has a certain amount of bulk that's proportionate to the large wings and shoulders. The red part of the midsection is one of the few parts that's painted rather than molded red; it's noticibly glossier than the rest of the red on the figure. The hatches for Zero's Machine Cannons are molded separately, but appear to be fixed and I've been unable to remove them by any means.
The backpack assembly consists of two thrusters, a hardpoint to attach the shield for Neo Bird Mode, and the wings. The wings remind me of nothing so much as the warp nacelles from the movie version of the starship Enterprise. They're designed to fold out for Neo Bird Mode, and do so pretty stably and securely, with plenty of hinges and ball-joints allowing you to position them correctly. The halves do pop off the track once in a while, but replacing them is no big deal. I do wish the wings had a greater range in Mobile Suit mode, though- you can angle them back slightly or turn them to either side easily, but that's all the practical articulation they have.
The waist can turn a full 360 degrees- it's required for Neo Bird Mode. The front skirt armor is pretty stiff. The good news being that it'll bend at the top rather than somewhere in the middle, the bad news being that it's going to get in the way of posing the legs. The side panels are ball-jointed, and their shape makes it easy to get them out of the legs' way.
The Legs and Feet
The hips have a fair range, being able to form a roughly 90-degree angle side to side, and can swing forward until the leg is at a right angle to the body. The stiffness of the skirt does make this a bit difficult, though. The knees are double-jointed, and the leg doubles over almost completely.
The lower leg is home to the most complex part of the Neo Bird Mode transformation. The calves are hollow, and a compartment in the back opens to hold the foot, which turns around and folds in. The heel of the foot then opens to reveal a thruster. It's all pretty neat, but it costs Mobile Suit Mode in terms of stability. You see, the ankle turns a full 360 degrees, and very easily at that. And there's not much of anything to stop it, so you have to be very careful in posing, unless you want Wing Zero to look like it just broke its ankle. Unfortunately Wing Zero makes substantial sacrifices to stability for its transformation, as was the case for most of the earlier transforming MSiA.
Neo Bird Mode
Thanks to the length of the shield and Buster Rifles and the width of the extended wings, Neo Bird Mode is one of the larger Mobile Armor forms to be seen on an MSiA this size. The converted feet and wing-nacelles add thrusters, and the center of the wings add two more small Beam Guns to Wing Zero's already top-notch arsenal. It's not the most elaborate MA mode you'll ever see- from a side view it looks particularly off, particularly compared to a lot of the transforming Zeta designs- but it has its charm and it looks powerful. On top of that, once you get the Buster Rifles attached to the shield and the shield to the back it's all pretty stable. There are a few fidgety bits- the hinged parts on the ankle and heel, and you'll have to readjust the wings every now and then- but it holds up nicely otherwise. The only thing I could classify as a flaw in the execution of the design is the lack of a stand- Zero's torso is far too rounded to allow the Neo Bird to sit flat. But it was absolutely unheard of for MSiA to include stands at this time, so I can't really penalize the figure there either.
Paint and Decoration
Paint applications are universally sharp, with only tiny amounts of bleed to be seen. The yellow is a bit heavy, and softens details on the V-fin in particular, but otherwise there's nothing negative to say about the paint job. And on the positive side, I really like the metallic green used on the torso- it reminds me of the shade used on the SD Gundam Force line.
Articulation gets 6/10
Sculpt and Deco get 8/10
-Twin Buster Rifle
Of course, to top Wing Gundam's big gun, Zero would have to have either two big guns, or one even bigger gun. But wait- it's both! The TBR's two halves can be combined into a large double-barreled gun, but as I mentioned above that configuration does tend to take its toll on the elbows. The single guns can be managed pretty nicely, though. The handgrip is removeable for use in Neo Bird Mode, and a single handgrip is available for the joined Rifle. This is an especially nice touch, particularly since it's not strictly necessary- the separate handles are thin enough that they work fine together, and the combination of the two Rifles is good and firm thanks to some large tabs on the left-handed gun.
Fortunately, this Saber has the appropriate green blade, rather than the pink one used by the original Wing Zero figure. The blade is good and firm- about as good as the old-fasioned soft-blade Beam Sabers can get. The hands don't work as well as they should, though, and the fit is very loose. The design of the grip presents a solution, though- you can get a pretty firm grip if you wedge one of the small fins on the hilt between the thumb and forefinger of the Saber-hand. It looks a little off, but it works well enough.
Easily the largest single chunk of plastic in the package, yet still light enough to pose well. The shield fits securely to either arm via the hardpoint on the forearm, and Wing Zero can hold it up with relative ease. It does impair posing, naturally, but given its size the only thing that could've prevented that was a forearm swivel, which up to the point of Zero's release had only been seen on the far larger Jegan. It also fits pretty securely to the back for Neo Bird Mode, and stays put even with the added weight of the Twin Buster Rifles.
The Standard Six, but with pegs! Outside of the little trick you have to pull with the Beam Saber, they all function as intended. Perfectly acceptable hands for the era in which they were made.
It's an older figure, and I like to give a bit of leeway on those where I'd rip a modern figure apart. Outside of the shoulder range, it's all stuff Bandai knows better than to do now, but didn't then. Also, Neo Bird Mode works extremely well, with all its removeable parts being pretty secure and only a bit of fidgety frustration around the ankles. I paid a bit more than the SRP for this- I believe it was $12.99 and shipping at BigBadToyStore, the only online store that stocked it at time of release- but it's still less than I would pay for the imported version.
I don't have the original version of Wing Zero, but I feel that the transformation, while not doing the ankles any favors, is enough when coupled with the upgraded elbows and knees to recommend this over any first-generation MSiA. It's pretty Good despite its age.
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