I’ve never really had a thing for the Metal Build line…I used to always see the releases, Freedom, 00, etc. on news sites but immediately dismissed them. It seemed like such a small line, didn’t have any particularly defining or impressive features, and I wasn’t drawn or interested in any of the suits getting the treatment.
But then, Robo Toy Fest came along, and my horrible impulse buy habit kicked in…
I’m not gonna lie, the main reason I was even attracted to this figure at all during the little mini-convention was because of its box. Yeah, I was attracted to a $200 figure because it had a really appealing box, and the actual suit looked so nice on it. Congrats Tamashii marketing, you’re doing your job well.
Still, even without doing any prior research and buying this thing totally on impulse, at the end of the day all I can say is that it was totally worth it. I can never hold a plastic kit again and see it in the same light. Metal builds are mind blowing.
As Exia’s go, I’ve mentioned before how I was sorely disappointed with the Master Grade model. I’ve since sold that kit, being less than satisfied with it, resulting in a distinct lack of 00 suits in the collection. Thankfully, the Metal Build line is all in 1/100 scale, fitting in quite well with the rest of the Master Grades.
Aesthetically, I feel like this is what the Master Grade should have been. I love the slim and sleek proportions, in contrast to the more muscular and imposing look the MG went for. To each their own for personal taste in mobile suit design, but I’ve always preferred my Gundams sleeker and sharper.
The Metal Build sports very small feet, which seems to be trending nowadays with many new kits (MG G-Machines, anyone?) but for the most part keeps the redesign to a minimum, representing Exia’s anime counterpart better than some other kits and figures.
Loving the head design. I applaud Bandai’s choice of the metallic green – it looks just like the Gundam Marker green I personally use for most of my kit’s eyes. Very well done.
Moving right along to the figure’s actual detail…while Exia doesn’t sport the level of mechanical detail we got on some of the newer Seed Master Grades, you get some good stuff. I love how you can see bits of gunmetal (metallic) pieces under all the clear green condensers.
GN Drive sports some nice turbine detail, able to open up for Full Burst or whatever it was…
Also removable. You get some nice detail on the end of the Drive that plugs into Exia, but it’s all molded in white. Didn’t care enough to line it in or paint it since it’ll be inside Exia anyways.
Like the Master Grade kit, a red cap is included for when you have the Drive removed.
The hands…gahd I love the hands. I think this is the most detail I’ve ever seen in a mobile suit hand. It’s made of a softer plastic (probably PVC) but sports the same gunmetal color as the rest of the inner frame.
A rather large selection is included, many of them with varying wrist positions to hold Exia’s swords.
A little defect I noticed with this piece is that there was something that looked like plastic flash on the end of the v-fin, and only on one side. Quite strange for such a high quality figure, though it’s such an insignificant piece, and it was easily fixed with a quick cut.
What makes this figure worth the $180 price tag though? Aesthetics aside, even I wouldn’t be able to justify paying that much for a figure that just “looks good.” There has to be something else…
…which would be Exia’s almost entirely metal inner frame.
I knew it was a Metal Build, but having not done any research into the figure before, I had no idea just how much was metal.
I’m not gonna lie, my first experience with this figure blew my mind. All the joints are solid, moving metal. Not plastic.
All the metal used in the frame, which sports a nice smooth gunmetal sheen, lends the figure an incredibly satisfying heftiness. I can never pick up a Gunpla kit and look at it the same way again. They feel paper-light compared to this. An added bonus is that the joints are all very nice and tight due to the material, and I can’t see them loosening up anytime soon.
Some more of Exia’s accessories on the side. It is the Seven Swords Gundam, so naturally you get plenty of blades.
The beam sabers are really trippy in that the beams themselves are not just a solid clear pink. They begin as a sort of transparent silver at the base, and become more clear pink as it gradually goes up. I don’t even know how this effect was achieved, but its subtle and very nice…
The metal frame lends Exia a very wide range of articulation. It can actually grab its beam sabers without looking funky!
Another really nice bonus is the fact that the feet are also made out of metal (red parts). This gives the figure absolutely amazing stability on the ground, something the Master Grade suffered horribly from.
While rather small, they’re enough to support Exia’s hefty metal frame very well. It feels like the feet are legitimately planted in the ground.
So, what of Exia’s main weapon of choice…
The GN Sword isn’t anything special, to be perfectly honest. It’s a satisfying length with very nice paint apps, but at this point I’ve encountered so many that no single one seems to be anything impressive anymore.
The Metal Build wields it effortlessly, looking great on both the ground and in the air.
I like how the arm plug makes a very satisfying click when plugged in. Many 00 kits have been plagued with this design issue, as the weapon plugging into the forearm has been a staple for suits in the series, but the kits and figures that have done this feature well are few and far in between.
Fold the sword back and pew pew~
Simple, done right. But Exia was never a long range specialist, it has other toys to play with…
I COME TO CUT YOU!!
Exia’s GN Blades are, like the GN Sword, simple and done well. They get the job done, nothing too fancy.
The blades are made out of plastic, no metal in them. I’ve personally never really cared for these weapons, it’s all about the BFS. Mounting parts are included to attach them to the waist (these are actually very stable and don’t tend to fall out or be stupidly finicky) but I never bother with them. Options are there though, to suit your taste.
ORE WA GUNDAM…
I honestly think I had a little too much fun with these sabers. I normally don’t even bother with shots of these, since they’re such simple weapons, but Exia benefited immensely from that. Its articulation allows it to do some crazy stuff with them.
Two more sabers stored on the butt. Let’s grab ’em.
Beam daggers = shortened beam sabers.
Exia also comes with a nice, over-sized action base. The base plate seems to resemble a GFF base, while the actual crane arm reminds me of the usual Bandai 1/100 action bases. It functions essentially the same way, but features some extra locking mechanisms to make sure it stays in place due to Exia’s great weight.
The entire base is made of plastic, though it supports the Metal Build rather well. Don’t have to worry about it falling or anything, the locks work well. Adjustable height and whatnot in the crane arm, and Exia just slots right in at the crotch.
And then guess what? Metal Build Exia itself was pretty amazing as it was, but Bandai decided to throw in just a little more bang for your buck with extra armor pieces and accessories to convert it to the Exia Repair III.
Okay, not gonna lie here – before this figure, I’ve never even heard of an R3. R2 was used in the last 10 minutes of Season 2, showed 0 Gundam who was boss and got totaled in the process, but I was never aware that a third Exia was suddenly made canon while I had my head turned.
Went ahead and did some research, apparently this suit is canon somewhere in 00 lore, in some side-story, in some other universe, but at that point I stopped caring…the suit itself looks pretty nice, I love the new color break-up and the added weaponry, so I’m not complaining.
R3 is quite literally nothing more than a minor armor swap with the regular Exia. You get some new leg and shoulder armor, a bigger backskirt, a few new weapons, and the beam sabers have been moved to the sideskirts.
The GN Sword is now the GN Sword III Kai(?), and uses the same rifle area, just with a replaced blade. I actually really like the thin and slender clear green blade; its much sharper and cutting-edge than the rather big and blunt original sword.
One of Exia R3’s original weapons (think it was used on the 00 Seven Swords version before too though) is the new GN Long Rifle. Not gonna lie, while I’m in full support of Exia staying as a close-combat suit, I like me some cool guns.
The Long Rifle can be attached to either forearm, and folds up when not in use.
Unfortunately, for one of this figure’s coolest weapons, it also suffers the most from mass production quality control. This is the only part of the figure that sports excessive plastic nubs. I suppose it’s because its a rather large piece made entirely out of plastic and not metal, but the handles and whatnot shouldn’t have that many huge and ugly nubs…
Thankfully, a little sandpaper and matching paint clear those away relatively easily.
Beam sabers are now in a somewhat easier position to draw…
Just about the exact same deal as with regular Exia. The new armor doesn’t hinder articulation, despite some pieces being a little larger and bulkier.
So, at the end of the day, was this impulse buy worth it?
I never knew what to expect from the Metal Build line, but I’m certainly glad I got a good entry into it with the Exia. The quality of the figure, along with just what it is make it a very worthwhile purchase. Much more worthwhile than some things I’ve thought long and hard about splurging on…
I gotta say, these figures might be worth an arm and a leg each, but they’re ever so worth it. Just the sheer weight of them is awing. You’d never expect a 1/100 mobile suit to be that heavy. I certainly look forward to more entries in this line, and hope it doesn’t become abandoned after such a small run so far.