HGUC 1/144 Rozen Zulu Review

At the end of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Episode 5 "The Black Unicorn," a new mobile suit appears to aid our protagonists when faced with a truly hopeless situation. And, boy, was its 2-minute appearance something! The Rozen Zulu really stole the show for that last brief moment before bowing and exiting stage-left. What's a bit upsetting is getting this kit before it's true abilities are showcased, which won't be until Episode 6. But, this aside, Bandai still decided to pull a Banshee and release the kit prior toward it's true OVA appearance. With some rather controversial sleights. I acquired mine through GGInfinite, as payment for a commission for Gundam Guy, of which you can see as the banner to his blog! ^___^

I: Main Body

Front view

Rear view

I just want to get this out of the way now, because I know this is such a huge bother to most people when this kit was revealed. I'm sure you noticed the difference just scrolling up to the manual cover and scrolling back down to my photo. The colors the kit is molded in are significantly darker than the painted prototype's colors, and sadly, it's not just lighting.
But, I have found a slight justification for this, and it lies in the original line art...

Concept art for the Rozen Zulu, used for the OVA.

As you can see, its colors are closer -though still not perfect- to those of the pre-molded ones.
But versus the Rozen Zulu's on-screen appearance...

From Gundam Unicorn Episode 5.

Somewhere along the way, the colors brightened, which lead us to the colors seen on the manual. Whatever the case may be, I'm fine with the colors it comes in, so there we go. XD

Head and Torso

The head is designed -much like the rest of the MS- with a rose motif, with petal-like plates cascading up the side of the head. The monoeye is molded onto the lower head, meaning no movable eye for this kit.
The torso is a well-built piece to this kit, having a hidden joint that allows forward arching motion for the upper body. The large collar is crisply molded, with all the lines needing to be white raised, making painting times easier.
As per usual with my Sleeves MS kits, I painted all the crests with flat white and painted the field in gloss black (despite it's supposed to being the blue-ish black that the rest of the torso has). The mono-eye was done with a gloss black field, again, but used the red sticker for the eye. The non-lining "white" parts were painted with a mixture of light grey, tan and white, to separate them from the Sleeve markings.

Aside from the storage units (covered later) and propellant tanks, the back alone doesn't have a  lot going on. 
The backpack only has the little bit of grey and off-white that needed painting for the back thrusters and exposed mechanical detailing. I should note that while I'm alright with the darker purple colors, all of the grey had to be painted. T__T A bit disappointing, but more of a nuisance than a flaw.
The propellent tanks needed the grey and dark purple (that was a difficult one to match ^__^;;). I panel-lined in the thruster hollows due to their size.

The waist has the now standard leg pivot with the connector slot for an Action Base 2. The side skirts have a neat swivel that allows them to fold back, which gives the front skirts clearance to flip up.
While the prototype only had the side skirts painted, I went ahead and did the little button designs on the front skirts. the four buttons were painted the off-white mixture with black panel-lining in the centers, while the lining was done in flat white.


The arms have a nice size to them with a decent bulk. The elbows only bend about 90 degrees, but still is good enough. The claws have limited movement when attached to the arms, but when removed doubles their ability to open.
The entire elbow joint needed painting to grey. The cuffs had the same white lines/black field as the rest of the Sleeves elements. Flat black was added to the "slits" of the detachable hand and inside the cannons, while the cannon barrels were also painted grey.

The shoulder armors are fairly simple 4-piece construction, with a single joint to lift upward.
Painting was limited to the white stripes along them, those small apogee thrusters, and the side maneuvering thrusters, which required a bit more attention. They were painted grey for the thruster exterior, flat black for the inset the thrusters sat on, off-white for the thruster interiors and the inner walls of the thruster housing. The hollows were panel-lined.


The legs are a unique part of this kit in terms of its aesthetics. Aside from the strange high-heeled feet (keep in mind, a male pilots this...), the legs kinda hybrid between the Geara Zulu's and kind-of a Deathscythe Hell-esque look.

The spikes on the knees actually are attached to the knee block, so they move separately from the lower leg. There's a spike on the back, as well, that has its own movement... of about 12 degrees. Similar to the pointless gimmicks on the Kshatriya's legs.

The white lines are the most prominent parts needing painted, but the ankle thrusters needed their exteriors grey along with the knee joints, and the back thrusters had the off-white interiors. Black was added to all four of each thruster's hollows.

II: Accessories


 The shield's construction is simple, with only 4 large parts. I forgot to take a picture of it's arm attachment, but it simply plugs int the open slot on the back of the forearm.
Some large-scaled painting is required for color accuracy, with a copious amount of grey for the exposed mechanical part on the bottom, backside and the outsides of the cannon barrels. Flat black was added to the inside cannons and the small purple "wrap" around the handle had to be mixed to finish the paintwork.

Relay INCOMs 

The main feature of the Rozen Zulu, the INCOM arms utilize four thin wires between two clear ends (either consisting of two parts) with the relay INCOMs situated along the wires. The manual gives you the option to make one long one or cut the wires and make two shorter ones. I chose to make the two, since it would leave fewer spare parts.
The only painting required for these are the three apogee motors around the relay INCOM discs, which I painted the off-white and panel-lined black.

There was the option for closed ones, but they're really only useful when doing the longer, single arm extension. They received the same paint treatment, though I'll likely never use them. ^__^;;

Psycho Jammers

The rose-like weapons haven't been shown on-screen yet, but my knowledge on them is that they block all Psycommu-utilized weapons, including funnels and even the Unicorn's own NT-D... Likely to be one helluva fight when it releases!

The closed ones store in the backpack storage units. Mine are kinda jammed (no pun intended) in there too tight, so they're there to stay. XD 
Painting to the storage units was mostly the large amount of grey from the exposed mechanics,but also included mixing the lighter purple-pink color for what is supposed to be another fixed jammer molded to the interior.

The open Psycho Jammers are super-reminiscent of George de Sand's Gundam Rose's Rose Bits from G Gundam... ANOTHER guy, mind you. XD
 The Rose Bits Psycho Jammers (6 opened and 2 closed) had flat black painted to the interior nozzle and Testors Gunmetal to the "stems."

The open ones can be attached to the included stands (I forgot to photo these on their own), which allow them to be displayed floating at selected heights.

III: Action Poses

I didn't take a whole lot of action shots, but that shouldn't dilute what this kit's capable of.

As you can see, the head doesn't have a whole lot of X-axis movement, however the arms, despite their minimal elbow bend, have great range.

The relay INCOM arm deployed along with the Psycho Jammers. The display stands are capable of mounting the deployed arms, as well as the jammers.

"The path has been cleared, sir..."

The bow out at the end of the fifth episode, allowing Full Frontal to approach the General Revil with minimal problems before-- Cliffhanger ending!

IV: Final Verdict

I think, despite the controversy, this was an excellent kit. It's got great detail and gimmicks, but at the cost of a bit of painting. But, it wouldn't be a model kit without that, so I find that to only be a small setback rather than a deal-breaker. As a Unicorn enthusiast, this kit was a must-get for me, no matter what, but even with that bias, this was a great kit!

FINAL RATING: 4 out of 5

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