At long last, here it is. My very own successful attempt at a Master Grade Unicorn Gundam model. It seems almost everyone owns at least one version of this suit.
Having picked this up at Anime Expo last year, I didn’t get around to finishing it until half a year later. And then it takes roughly another half year for me to get around to photographing it…orz my backlog cries.
I say successful attempt because this isn’t my first Master Grade Unicorn. Ironically I had gotten the Ver. Ka. of this kit several years ago at another Anime Expo when I was but a Gunpla novice, but failed spectacularly in my attempt to build it. It all started with breaking several pieces in the head…and then it all just went down from there. That being said, I left my original bane for dead and resolved to refine my skills before tackling this kit again, and in that time Bandai managed to crank out not only a slightly altered version of the original, but several different versions of the suit as well.
Kicking off with Unicorn mode. I’m actually very partial to the Unicorn’s overall design – I like it a lot. Though I may have gotten a bit sick of it, seeing as it’s been everywhere on Gunpla news and hobby sites since 2006.
This is in essence a straight build – I only did some minor touch-ups throughout the kit, but for the most part this is how it looks out of the box. Given that this is the more recent OVA Version release, the suit’s inner frame is molded entirely in a beautiful gunmetal gray. The dark blue areas on the feet and backpack are also molded in metallic blue, unlike the original Ver. Ka. release, which sported a pale gray frame and flat blue parts.
Despite it being the OVA Version, I went ahead and ordered a sheet of water-slide decals meant for the Ver. Ka., and applied them here. The OVA kits have a default set of very minimalistic decals, but I found myself preferring the mess that was Katoki decal placement more.
I gotta say – I love Unicorn mode for its solidness and stability, even if it does feel a bit like a block.
The MG Unicorn is actually a kit known for its severely limited range of movement, and while the OVA release sought to improve upon that, it really wasn’t by much. The knees can’t go much further than 90 degrees, and the design of the elbows is a bit restrictive and cumbersome. Despite all that though, the Unicorn doesn’t really need to be able to pull off some crazy limb-bending action to look good. The design itself is aesthetically pleasing enough (at least to me) that it looks good doing the bare minimum.
While in Unicorn mode, you get the option of either using a two-piece or one-piece horn. I personally prefer the one-piece more (used in all the photos above) for its stability and aesthetics – the two-piece horn gets the actual closing/opening gimmick, but is pretty unstable and when closed leaves a nasty, half-open seam.
The v-fins themselves were also painted by hand with a flat acrylic yellow.
And then – NT-D Activated. Destroy Mode unlocked. It’s a Gundaammm!!
We get quite a color palette expansion here, in the form of a whole mess of clear red panels suddenly appearing from the dark netherworld.
For my particular Unicorn, I stole a page out of fellow Guntoka Z’s handbook and painted the clear psycho-frame a deeper, darker shade of red. The original plastic seemed more pinkish (which is technically anime-accurate) but I thought the red looked better after seeing it on Z’s Unicorn.
The effect was achieved with a very primitive method – simple red Sharpie marker over the exterior of the red pieces. The Sharpies preserve the translucent plastic, though they can leave “brush” strokes. This is only really evident in the shield pieces though. The Sharpie also does kinda rub off if you touch it, but it’s not really a huge problem, since it doesn’t take the color off the pieces, it just leaves your fingers with some red hues.
Eyes were painted with metallic green Gundam marker as per usual, and I tried something new for this kit – I panel-lined it not with the standard black Gundam lining marker, but with my ‘ol Gundam Lining Pencil that I ordered from Hobbywave ages ago. I had never used on a single kit, but I figure since the Unicorn is mostly white anyways, a more subtle lining method wouldn’t hurt.
I also took the usual liberty of separating the fingers, allowing for an expended field of hand gestures and signals….
Cockpit open. Unicorn’s cockpit is fairly simple in how it opens; just two hinge joints under the main hatch. The whole thing clicks satisfyingly into place when closed, becoming completely flush with the rest of the torso.
Something I’ve heard a lot about with the MG Unicorn is its extraordinarily loose midsection. Modelers and Guntokas from all over have despaired at how floppy the stomach section is with the psycho-frame popped up, and the main culprit of this is a loose stabilizer flap in the back (see above).
That flap is supposed to clamp down on that little tab on the lower back and keep the midsection in place, but it’s rather loose and comes undone easily. Of course, pushing it back in will solve the problem straightaway, but with it coming loose so often, it gets tedious doing so. This was one of my biggest gripes with this kit, but I quickly got used to it. When posing, it would come loose and the torso would flap around, but once I had it in the pose I wanted, the final step would be just to slip my index finger in and tab that little flap in place, solidifying the torso in place.
Also note the metallic red thrusters – those were done with a base coat of silver acrylic paint and then a secondary coat of clear red. The outer thruster shells were painted gunmetal gray. This treatment was given to all eight thrusters in the suit.
A quick look at Unicorn’s basic armaments. I love kits like this – bare bones, basic weapons to get the job done. No need to get too fancy or go overboard.
I went ahead and spray painted all of the beam magnum cartridges gold because why not. There isn’t any other gold on the suit, so it does look a bit out of place, but I generally like the effect. I added some gunmetal detailing to both the magnum and the bazooka, and painted the bazooka rockets red.
For a transformable suit (well, kind of not really in the traditional MS –> MA sense) this kit is exceptionally stable on the ground. Given that the design is rather conservative (it doesn’t sport a massive backpack and bells and whistles everywhere…yet) Unicorn doesn’t tend to have balance issues with its feet on the ground.
Pegged onto an Action Base, thanks to its own dedicated crotch-connector.
Some more beam magnum and shield action in the air. I’m actually very impressed and pleased with how well Unicorn wields its magnum. Surprisingly, the pegs in the hand work like a charm, and the weapon is pretty secure most of the time. My only gripe is that the wrist joint is a bit weak, meaning the magnum can flop in some undesired angles sometimes.
The Unicorn comes with two extra magazines, each with five cartridges, which I’ve all sprayed gold. They can be attached onto the rear skirts for storage.
I should mention this though – the beam magnum cartridges can be linked almost indefinitely, and thanks to my previous MG Unicorn that I mentioned above, I do have two Unicorn’s worth. Not quite enough to complete a whole circle of beam magnum overkill, but it should serve even Banagher enough for one battle against the Red Comet.
Unicorn comes equipped with the standard pair of beam sabers mounted in the traditional Gundam style on its backpack.
I do believe this kit actually comes with blue beams…I can’t remember if it was this one or the Ver. Ka., but I’m almost certain the OVA version opted for pale blue beams instead of the traditional pink. Either way I had more pink beams readily available, so my Unicorn is using those.
Some pretty standard stuff, nothing too special here. We’ve seen countless suits like this already, right?
The hilts do peg into the palms, and quite securely at that.
But wait, there’s more!
The two beam sabers stored in the forearms are removable, and can either be wielded in the hand as a normal saber or deployed directly. I’m pretty sure the Unicorn has never used the above configuration in-series before, but it would make for some pretty insane slicin’ ‘n dicing, no?
I personally really like the beam tonfa configuration, with the beams coming from the forearms. Apparently this was a feature carried over from the Sinanju Stein…
Unicorn’s Hyper Bazooka, of which I’ve touched up with a bit of acrylic gunmetal paint to bring out some detail.
I gotta say, the bazooka is actually a very aesthetically pleasing weapon. I’ve never really been partial to this kind of thing (opting for a traditional beam rifle instead any day) but the Unicorn can handle its bazooka well. The rounds on the back have been painted red from their original gray, and the ammo pack itself is capable of detaching and pegging into the rear skirt armor for storage.
The barrel itself is also capable of collapsing and a peg on the top end of the bazooka flips out for easy storage on the Unicorn’s back.
So overall what can I say about my first successful experience with a MG Unicorn?
I love this kit. While the transformation has its issues with panels constantly closing and certain areas being floppy, the play value surprisingly doesn’t suffer much from it. I suppose it’s just because I’ve grown used to handling the kit that none of that stuff really bothers me anymore. Either way, I like the design so much that all of those previous flaws are (almost) negated. The suit simply looks unbelievably badass on display.
Juxtaposed with its brother unit, the Banshee…which has yet to see a review.
That contrast doe.
And to top it all off, here it is. I managed to dig my original wound up from the box of Gunpla shame in my closet, and threw in a little Gashapon figure I found in there too. It doesn’t look that bad, right? Did you think I made it sound like it burned in a terrible hellfire and passed through an infant’s digestive tract? It’s only because I’m not photographing it up close. And trust me, you don’t want me to.