Finally getting around to the Banshee – the Unicorn Gundam‘s sister unit, this would technically be the OVA version of the suit, as it never had the Armed Armors in the novelization.
I actually do like this version of the Banshee the most – most people seem to favor the Norn for some reason, though I think the OVA-exclusive add-ons make it more unique compared to the first Unicorn.
Starting with Unicorn mode, as I did before with Unit 01. If it isn’t evident already, my kit isn’t exactly all stock – I painted it to actually reflect its moniker, “The Black Unicorn”.
The original kit came in a midnight blue, and that’s technically show-accurate – the Banshee really is a dark blue rather than black in-series, but I personally disliked the palette choice. Other than dark blue plastic usually being unusually ugly and glossy, it also has some painful nubs to remove.
As such, I went ahead and blacked out pretty much the entire Banshee and added a touch of gold here and there to exemplify the death and riches theme. I kept the gray frame parts stock, though the psychoframe pieces have an interesting story behind them, which I’ll get to in a bit.
I’m actually pretty fond of the Banshee’s Unicorn mode – the uniform black and gold is pretty pleasing on the eyes. The gold decals are of a third-party variety acquired from eBay. They’re actually gold-plated/foil decals, so they’re actually metallic and reflective.
The thing with Banshee’s Unicorn mode is though…it can’t really do anything. Like, it’s on-board weapons are almost all saved for Destroy mode. That giant claw on its left arm kind of does away with its ability to use that particular hand, and while folded up its more of a bludgeoning weapon than anything else.
I mean…I guess it can use a beam saber? Unicorn mode sure as heck looks good, but it looks best just standing there rather than actually doing anything.
Moving right along to Destroy Mode – look at all that orange psychoframe glory. The orange/black almost reminds me of a Halloween/construction site palette.
Transforming the Banshee isn’t actually as painful as doing the same for the Unicorn; I find that the paint has made a lot of it significantly more stable, therefore meaning less pieces are loose and collapse in on themselves. 90% of this kit is identical to the Unicorn, but thanks to the custom job it does feel considerably sturdier.
As with the Unicorn, we do get three sets of v-fins for the Banshee – one solid closed, one solid open, and one made of two pieces that can open/close. Unfortunately, I managed to mess up on the gold paint for the solid closed version, hence why it looks…textured…above.
Since I never use the operable v-fin set anyways, I just glued that one shut to eliminate the slightly open seam that always accompanies its use, and use it exclusively for Unicorn mode.
A look at the thruster work – painted gold for the insides and gunmetal for the thrusters themselves. Parts like the collar, v-fin, and innards of the rear and side skirts were sprayed gold for a bit more flair, though I had also originally planned to spray the entire psychoframe gold.
While it would’ve looked absolutely badass, I opted against it to keep the psychorame clear and matching with the Unicorn, not to mention I can’t even begin to imagine the paint scratching from transformation if the frame were sprayed.
So about the psychoframe – as I mentioned above, there’s a story to be told here:
When I first built the Banshee, I used orange Sharpie to color all the psychoframe pieces in so they would be a darker orange – I feared that the regular pieces would be too pale and not defined enough, as they were on the Unicorn. When everything was assembled though, the deep orange on the against the black ended up looking too dark, almost red.
By this time the entire Banshee had been put together, and I realized that I messed up big time. I was originally going to just leave it the way it was, and tried consoling myself that it didn’t look that bad, but ultimately found that I’m not as proficient at lying to myself as I am to others.
So I went back and disassembled all the psycoframe areas tot take the deep orange pieces out and cleaned them up with some rubbing alcohol, and reassembled everything with the clear orange back to stock colors. Ironically, in the end it looks like the best course of action was to just leave the damn things alone.
Showing off the Armed Armor VN (Vibration Nails). I personally find this to be such a cool weapon – how many suits do we see with giant claws for arms nowadays?
Admittedly, I thought it was pretty impractical at first because well, why use such a physical and almost primitive weapon when you can load out with beam magnum packs?
But then this happened to Rhidde and I’ve long since learned to run as fast as you can when the Banshee has its claws out and to never let it get near you.
Showing off the Armed Armor BS (haha insert crude BS joke here) next.
The Beam Smart gun isn’t your average beam rifle – the thing is apparently has monstrous output (doubtful that it’s as kickass as the Beam Magnum, but nothing kicks more ass than a Beam Magnum) but its specialty comes from the fact that it’s pretty much the Metroid franchise’s wave beam inducted into Gundam.
I went ahead and painted the emitter purple since it shoots a purple beam in-series; would’ve been so boring to leave it black. Nothing gimmicky or crazy about it other than the fact that it covers the entire right hand when in use.
And of course, just as in Unicorn mode, the Banshee can also use a beam saber in Destroy mode. Having it wield one in its left hand is a bit difficult given the giant claw there, but come on with what it has already who needs beam sabers.
I’ll also mention that this kit did come with all the pieces necessary to build one of Unicorn’s traditional shields, though the actual Banshee doesn’t officially have it as part of its armament since well…it can’t really use it given all the asskickery on its arms already.
I went ahead and built/painted/decal’d it anyway though, if for no other reason than to have a place to put that awesome gold AE decal that I really wanted to use.
It can actually be attached to the Banshee’s back though, so more often than not I just have it tacked on there.
And of course, juxtaposed next to its significantly brighter and lighter sister unit, the actual RX-0 Unicorn itself. The contrast is real.
So what can I say – black is sexy, so by extension the Banshee is a sexy beast (of possibility, har har).
I still hold true to midnight blue simply not doing it justice, no matter how show-accurate it may be. There aren’t many changes at all from the original Unicorn Gundam, so I suppose this purchase really comes from whether you like a darker or lighter suit better. I personally think the Armed Armors add a unique flair to this iteration of the Banshee, especially when the only other alternative (the MG Norn) is painfully overpriced as a P-Bandai exclusive.