HGUC 1/144 MS-06S Char's Zaku II Review

 In 2001, when the US releases of the HGUC line were out (to run alongside the broadcast of Mobile Suit Gundam), there was the issue of lack of 0079-based kits in the line, with the RX-78-2 Gundam just being released in Japan and was converted for domestic sale (with the Hyper Bazooka and Core fighter removed for unknown reasons, aside from making it cheaper, I guess). Especially with the lack of any of Char’s mobile suits being introduced into the line. Bandai did a quick-fix for this problem for us with a recolored HG 08th MS Team MS-06F/J Zaku II, complete with it’s own original boxart and manual.

Manual of the US released HGUC 1/144 Char’s Zaku II

But, of course, such a rushed solution wouldn’t satisfy the Japanese market, so in 2002, an official HGUC Zaku II was made. Of course, starting with Char Aznable’s.
This is the second one I’ve owned, since I had changed the method in which I do kits from 10 years ago.

I: Main Body
Front View

Back View

The first thing you’ll probably notice is the absolute lack of details or panel lines. While admittedly boring looking, this is accurate with the antiquated 1970’s design of it’s animated counterpart, so I appreciate the “faithfulness” that had been allowed.
Something about the “red” (see: pink) used on most of Char’s MS have a hard time showing up on my camera, so the colors appear richer than the plastic actually is.


The head is fairly plain and simple, with the monoeye gimmick added to keep from being entirely lackluster. I added some light panel lining to the nose vent and painted the walls of the visor gunmetal to match the original lineart (a detail always overlooked, in my opinion).

 The monoeye is the foil sticker, however I painted the sticker silver and coated it with clear hot pink. I may restore the sticker, though, as I’m not thrilled with how it stands out. Or, lack thereof. The antenna was also snipped of its safety bar to appear more accurate. (Shown in later photos)


 The body is simple and to-the-point, yet the design is somehow very limited in posability. The torso can not move independently from the waist, so no turning is obtainable (a design flaw with most Zaku’s, not fixed until the MG 2.0’s). The shoulder pegs are jointed similar to the HGUC RX-78, so forward arcing is possible for the arms.

The backpack retains no thrusters of any kind, as the original design was. An aesthetic choice, in my opinion, as I would have accepted some on this kit, even if recessed. The usual mount rack for the Bazooka is left on the back skirt, and can fold up to stay hidden, when not in use.
Very minimal painting was required, however I did go overboard. The neck area was painted the base body color (and one very tough to match through mixing) and the two “vents” on the ransel were painted in gunmetal.

The front and side skirts can all move, as usual, and actually give the legs pretty decent room for movement.


The arms are, once again, kinda dull. The elbow joints were added to give the arm a rough 90-degree arc, as otherwise the articulation would be almost nonexistent. These joints were painted the same base color to be color accurate with the old design.

Example of the elbow joint flexibility.

 The right arm retains the shoulder shield which is molded in two colors: Light red exterior and blackish inside, with a subtle amount of panel lines being the only details added that are readily visible. Having the two parts allows for a polycap for attachment instead of the old peg-in-socket of the old HG. Nothing was painted on this, as the two-toned make beat me to it.

The left arm has the spiked shoulder pauldron, which is a simple 2-part + polycap assembly.


 The legs house the few little additions this kit needed to actually fare better than the US release.
Second verse, same as the first, the legs are bland, with the exception of the knee joint, added to increase the flexibility.

 Back view of legs, showing conductor pipe connections and the knee joint detail.

The pipes were implemented almost the same way as the old 08MS HG, but with the slots they sit in being less open, removing their chances of slipping out. The ankle joint is one of the few new features, though.

The typical ball-joint stick is left, but attached to a hinge in the leg to extend the foot downward, increasing the foot’s mobility pretty drastically, and allowing for more angling of the feet, themselves. This would be simplified for later HGUC kits as a now-standard joint.

The feet also hold the only added details, on the sole of the foot. When viewed with the rest of the kit, it stands out considerably, but it is nice that some detail was added, at least. The thruster on the bottom was painted gunship grey and black to give it some contrast.

II: Weapons

Zaku Machine Gun

The standard ranged weapon of the Zaku genealogy, the machine gun has a design very faithful to the original lineart.

 The scope was painted in the same manner as the monoeye, but seems to work better against the grey than the black. Also filled in the casing eject flat black (Not seen here).

Zaku Bazooka

I personally find it funny how Char’s Zaku is always pictured with the bazooka, though to my knowledge, I don’t remember him actually using it. Anyway, the bazooka is also classically sculpted, and the only painting done was the scope (silver + clear hot pink) and the inner muzzle and exausts (flat black).

Heat Hawk

Always a doozie, no matter what kit or how recent. The heat hawk is a single piece, well sculpted, but color-inaccurate inclusion to the Zaku arsenal. The nice thing with this is the addition of a harness to carry the heat hawk on the side instead of an unsightly peg molded in-place.

Heat Hawk stored in harness, attached to th Zaku's left sideskirt.

The entire heat hawk was molded in grey, so I painted the whole thing, save for the cable, in Napoleonic purple and bright yellow for the blade.

III: Accessories

The only included accessories are the extra hands for holding the weapons. However, this is a rare case of including fist and weapon-gripped hands in both left AND right options.

IV: Full Equipped

Front view

Back view

The Zaku is able to mount and carry all of its weapons at once, which is pretty standard for what’s supposed to be a very versatile war machine. The Heat Hawk can be mounted on the waist, while the Zaku Bazooka can go on the aforementioned rack on the rear skirt below the Ransel.

V: Poses

The limits of the Zaku’s movement is very apparent with some time to play around with it. But its weapons are largely base around these limits to keep it from being a stationary paperweight.

It can reach the fore grip of the Machine Gun with relative ease, thanks to the shoulder-swing gimmick.

Basic flying pose, not unbecoming of a Zaku.

 Heat Hawk lunge, this pose definitely lacks some of the dynamic that’s more deserving of a Char MS.

A sideways sweep. Now I’m just imagining Char’s Zaku in the starring role in Golden Axe Warrior (for the Sega Master System. Proof I’m too old for this stuff).

Crouched down with the Zaku Bazooka. The Tamashii Stage was almost necessary to balance, since the knees don’t have a lot of bend to them.

The falling-while-firing pose works well with this kit, at least.

If only I could get a Gaw model, then this pic would make more sense. I guess I should blame this on the misfortune of my birth. (Please don’t boo me.)

And, of course…

CHAR KICK!! Let’s pretend he kicked the Gundam into absolute oblivion, reducing Amuro’s life span even less than the original novel. Problem solved, series over!


For its obvious age, the kit has a lot to aspire to. Even the HGUC Zaku I that came out a few years later got double-jointed elbows and some back thrusters. But this was probably rushed due to the circumstances that surround this model. It definitely could have been better. But it has been a lot worse.



Joe said...

Great review! I like that painting you did on the joints. It makes it look even more old school. Glad to see you are truely back in action on the blogger front!

OZKai said...

I've got another one ready to go and another one in review process, but no photos yet. I'll have the next one up either later this week or sometime next week!

NekoGundamu said...

Nice job man! Love the design of the Zakus ! ^^ Glad to have you back man!

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