HGUC 1/144 Kshatriya Review
Posted by OZKai at 7:12 AM
The NZ-666 Kshatriya. Neo Zeon's sleeved beast. When I first saw this thing in images, I thought it was just bulky and messy. Then I saw the first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam UC...
Nothing prepared me for how awesome of an impression this mammoth MS would make on me. It's huge, mobile, and an overwhelming powerhouse! As of current, this is my favorite Zeon suit - "Neo" or otherwise. Say what you want about Hajime Katoki. But his designs for Gundam UC are easily the most welcome Gundam designs in almost a decade.
After the "Day of the Unicorn", this kit was a must get, and I obtained it during Ohayocon 2011.
I know they list this thing's height at 22.3 meters, but they're clearly stopping before the head spike, because this thing towers every HGUC I have thus far (Dendrobium aside). It has a very intimidating bulk to it that just seems to scream "Come at me, bro!" Despite its very strange weight distribution due to the wing binders, the kit has no problems standing, as long as the binders aren't all turned behind it.
The monoeye can be turned via a slide tab under the head. The eye was painted in silver then a clear coat of hot pink. The mega particle cannons on its torso and wing binders were given flat black hollows with the inner ring being panel-lined using a Micron .005 pen. As stated about my love for foil stickers, I hand painted the Chest crest and cuff designs. Two coats of white, panel lined the perimeter, then repainted all of the black in a gloss coat to really bring it out.
I: Main Body
Without the wing binders, the Kshatriya loses most of its frightening silhouette. However, even like this, it still has 4 mega particle cannons, 2 machine cannons and its beam sabers, but it definitely loses long range tactics and much of its mobility.
Another view of the torso. At this angle, you can see a couple of unclean lines from my paint method for the crest and cuffs.
Under side of the waist part. I followed the lineart over the model's photos and painted all of the thruster vents in black, as well as the recess they sit in. Gives it a little false depth, I think.
The arms are a very strange part of this kit that I feel could have been made a little better. The elbow has decent range for an HG. However...
The shoulders have weird gimmick where they swing out at the base of the binder joints to give the arms sideways mobility. While I appreciate the addition, they couldn't think of some other way to make the arms movable like that?
Also, the original lineart has the shoulder blocks much smaller and not so...
The forward arching motion is still left possible on the Kshatriya.
The legs have decent posability. Nothing to write home about. The do connect to the waist via the "revolver" ball joints used with many MG's today, so that does add a bit to it's movement.
They do house a couple of... neat gimmicks.
The middle fin between the knee guard and shin can move. Not really certain of the purpose, but it's there.
And the vent along the back of the leg can move, like, 12 degrees. Also not useful, as this doesn't add to the foot's articulation.
The foot has some decent detail on its underside, including the only real thrusters on the actual body. I have no reference to colors for the sole, so I just left it gray, only painting the thruster nozzles black.
II: Wing Binders
The wing binders are impressive, and easily can be credited as the selling point of this MS and the model. They're nice and seamless, but carry a lot of little gimmicks that can make their assembly tiring and monotonous.
A couple of things to note about Bandai's painted kit for the display images. They did not put any effort into the wing binders in terms of color accuracy. The thrusters' inner rings are seen as the same light green as the base color of the Kshatriya in the lineart, but are left the dark gray on the prototype. I made sure that detail transferred over to my kit. But the biggest offenders are the funnels.
These little things cost me a day alone to paint all 24 of them. But the end result is definitely worth it. I used two layers of white paint, scraping away the excess after drying. Then used a goldenrod Prismacolor marker for the yellow detail to replicate the inner ring of the thruster. Then my Micron .005 for dotting the nozzle of each thruster. Each funnel has 7 thrusters on them (Would be 8, but a notch to attach them to the binder removes one). So do the math and that's 168 thrusters receiving this treatment. I hate my own devotion, sometimes...
Now I wish I could think of some way to display the funnels deployed. :(
The sub arm in each binder needed some work, too, not seen on the prototype. The pipes running along either side were painted yellow, and the claws were painted in a dark gray mixture to match the mechanical color of the inner binders.
The binders attach via a double-jointed system that allows good freedom of movement as well as locking them in place. I, personally would recommend some method to tighten the joints, though, as they can move too easily when provoked. When static, however, they hold their own pretty well.
This sliding piece is meant to hold the binder's peg into position for extra security. However, it rarely seems to do what it's actually supposed to.
It falls out of place easily, and the only way to catch in place is to lift up on the binder to pincer in place. However, sagging will inevitably reverse this and it will fall out of place. Once again, though, it's only a hindrance when in some awesome pose or trying to move the binders slightly. If standing still, it's fine.
II: Beam Sabers
The only hand-held weapon for the Kshatriya, and pilot Marida Cruz was not afraid to use them. Probably one of the ballsiest chicks in the entire Gundam metaverse thus far... I'm open to correction.
The hilt is a single piece with an MG-standard blade for the beam. The color of the blade is very luminescent and looks great. As for the hilt storage...
No dice. Looks like the box or a bag are the only places to put it when not in use.
IV: Action Poses
Unfortunately, the Kshatriya's display connector requires removing the entire connection piece of an Action Base 1, meaning that it can't pivot and requires the entire stand to be moved around the base to be upright or at an angle.
I love that spinning attack it did against the Stark Jegan in the first episode... And then to the Unicorn Gundam in the 3rd episode. Ah, reused animation. Still cool, though. I wish I could have had it upside down for this shot, but that kind of gravity would be hell on the binders' joints.
A shot of the Kshatriya deploying one of everything it has (save for it's funnels).
This is the best I can do to get the shelled launch configuration. Not an easy task, but looks passable.
As you can see, the gaps in the top and down the front and back are too large to properly replicate the look it had in the series. But the binders themselves can't rotate sideways without the whole joint.
It doesn't look so bad from below, though.
In closing, the $80 I paid may have been a bit much. But considering it was at a convention, I probably got off lucky. It's a very awesome kit, and introduced the Gundam UC franchise into the HGUC line with grace that only Unicorn could pull off.
RATING: 4 OUT OF 5