HG Gundam G-Self

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I have to confess now that I, like many other Gundam fans, never made it all the way through Reconguista in G. To be fair I gave it a chance – five episodes in I just couldn’t bear the narrative anymore – the animation style was also pretty jarring. But alas, this isn’t an anime series review, we’re here to talk about that ill-fated series’ lead mech – the Gundam G-Self. Like the series it starred in, this suit got plenty of controversy when it was first announced.

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So. Many. Stickers. I had heard about the super colorful forehead being all one sticker that Bandai expects you to plaster on there, but seeing it lost in the sea of seals makes it all the more depressing.

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The G-Self is pretty unique in that its particular shade of Gundam blue is closer to a very light cyan – even lighter than the RX-78-2’s blue. In the interests of keeping my All Gundam Project uniform though, I decided to just use the same shade of blue I used for the RX-78-2 – appropriate since the G-Self is supposed to be a love letter to the grandaddy anyway.

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Nice clear blue runner included for all the fancy supposed-to-be-lit parts of the suit. The problem is that there’s a bit of inconsistency here – the light-up blue parts seen all over the mecha in-series are supposed to be photon batteries, but because this is a HG we only get clear blue for sections large enough to warrant the plastic – the rest is filled in with cyan blue stickers.

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The white is furthermore not even totally white. It has that retro model kit feel of having a slightly greenish tint – modelers who’ve built older RX-78-2 kits will know what I’m talking about.

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First thing I noticed when I was getting pieces out of the runners was the head. Bandai seems to have forsaken the usual safety flags because the G-Self has such an unusual v-fin design. Instead they just made the fins themselves blunt enough to beat a Zaku to death with.

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It obviously wouldn’t do, even though the manual and boxart both show the completed sample model with blunt fins. I overcompensated to the point of making them sharp enough to actually draw blood if handled incorrectly.

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The beam rifle actually has a more intricate design than most, but is kind of wasted if straight-built because it comes in all gray. Masking will be needed to bring out the rest of the colors.

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I absolutely hate these designs that force you to cement pieces together over joints – I had to paint the innards gunmetal first, mask them, assemble the armor around them, and fill in the armor seams on top. Then everything would be painted white, though the tough part is always pulling the masking tape out from under the armor where they served to protect the pre-painted joints.

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Bandai really hits me hard with these pods that attach to the sides of the calves. They’re of simple construction – three pieces – two white armor plates that sandwich a clear blue piece in between for a nice clear effect. The problem is, the two white pieces create some nasty seams on the tops and bottoms. Okay, we need to seal those. But after we seal them we need to paint everything white. But how do we do that without painting the clear piece sandwiched inside white? Mask the clear piece right? I stuck masking tape over the clear pieces and sealed the seams – a few coats of paint later I tried to remove the tape – bad idea.

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The fitment was so tight that a good amount of tape was caught inside the white pieces and I had to slice the edges out – this damaged the clear pieces in the process so they were now straight-up unsightly. I went with the emergency back-up plan and just painted over the clear blue with the cyan blue that would be used for the rest of the non-clear parts of the suit. Sad, but the never-ending quest for seamless kits and clean paintjobs sometimes calls for compromises.

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Back of the shield comes in all white – manual sample shots showed it to be gray, so an easy masking job was in order to get some gunmetal in there.

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For some reason as I was painting this kit I kept getting a crap-ton of dust stuck under my coats. This has never happened before – I’m pretty sure it has something to do with my new apartment, it might just be extra dusty here.

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Feet came in all blue so after the initial RX-78-2 coat of blue was on I had to mask the toes for that dab of white that the suit design calls for.

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Rifle after peeling back the masking tape for the white. This is what it looks like before clean-up – very rarely do I ever get lines this clean, especially on surfaces this complex and not just straight-up flat.

P1190886Getting in deep and dirty with some more color correction for the yellow bits on the cheeks.

P1190892Lots of miscellaneous parts needed extra gray/gunmetal like the back plate and feet.

P1190894Big ‘ol SD-esque eyes made for easy painting.

P1190896The yellow chest vents went right over the entirely blue central torso part, so the insides of the vents would be blue if left alone. I found it amusing that Bandai even went out of their way to include a set of black stickers to remedy this, though of course it was easier just dabbing some paint in the center instead.

P1190897I realized after just about all the painting had been finished that I screwed up…the blue pieces weren’t quite coated all the way with paint. Because the blue paint I used was slightly darker than the plastic’s blue, if I didn’t get a solid coat on then the plastic color would show through the paint. You can see the sort of faded splotchy effect on the shoulder on the left above.

P1190898Another good example on the backpack. I noticed this when I was first painting the pieces, but dismissed it as the paint behaving strangely because of temperature – I thought the gloss and flat coats would fix the finish. Turned out no amount of clear coat can make up for sheer lack of paint.

P1190895As a result I had to go back and pull a bunch of stuff back apart and hit it all with another thorough coat of blue. This undid a lot of my work, especially on parts like the shoulders where I had already detailed in the yellow bits.

P1190899These were the shoulders before I realized they needed to be repainted. Notice the big ugly seam running through the middle. I actually totally overlooked it during the prepping stage, and I was ready to just accept it and move on but since I was repainting the blue anyway I decided to go back and fix it.

P1190903I have a very strict no-sticker policy with my kits. I haven’t used any in ages – even back when I was straight-building Master Grades I’d paint the eyes in and forsake any shiny foil sticks.

That being said, the G-Self has some unique designs that are supposed to be sandwiched beneath its clear pieces and of course come in the form of stickers. It doesn’t make much practical sense not to use them – it’d be quick, easy, and accurate. You wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between paint and stickers in this case because it goes under a clear blue piece.

P1190904But because I’m stubborn I still decide to do it manually, just so I can say my All Gundam Project is fully painted and uses no stickers. The designs in the legs are supposed to be these blue v-like shapes – the design isn’t carved in the plastic at all so I basically had to free-hand it. The base plastic was painted flat black, then I drew out the general shape with thin Gundam Marker. From there I filled the shape in with paint.

P1190905And finally I touched it up a bit with some more black paint to get the shape right. Looks pretty close right? Honestly it’ll be barely visible underneath the clear blue, but at least the sticker sheet is unmolested now.

P1190906Rinse and repeat for the rest of the shiny blue bits.

g selfVery RX-78-2 like, though I suppose that was deliberate. Quite a bit flashier with all the clear blue and cyan bits though.

P1190977Something I noticed very quickly with this kit is how oudated it feels. I’m kind of shocked that such a modern kit (it was released in 2014) has articulation on par with stuff from 2003. The above is its maximum movement range for its elbows and knees.

P1190978The most jarring part of it all is the fact that the ankles are so stiff. The feet are all static so there’s no toe movement, but the ankles don’t allow the feet to bend downwards much at all thanks to the guard design. This essentially makes it feel like the G-Self has blocks for feet, and severely hinders how it looks in the air.

P1190979Beyond the limb stuff everything else is par the course – the same ‘ol polycap ball joints are employed for the shoulders, waist, and head.

P1190954Aile Strik– I mean, Atmospheric Pack equipped.

P1190955I’ll give Bandai kudos here for actually making the Atmospheric Pack completely color-accurate – as we’ve seen on the Aile Strike and Force Impulse, backpacks usually don’t get the most attention to detail.

It’s so hard to pose thanks to the blocky articulation I mentioned earlier. It can’t even really pull off the box art or classic Aile Strike pose because its range of movement simply isn’t dynamic enough.

P1190981Couldn’t get more standard Gundam than this. Overly colorful beam rifle, off-blue shield, and beam sabers.

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Backpack wings can fold down hooray!

Even the beam saber beams themselves are extra skinny to reflect how thin they are in the show. I find it amusing that G-Self never got a 1/100 kit or a Master Grade – that means it’s probably never going to get a functioning beam saber rack, since they’re supposed to be stored underneath the collar pieces.

P1190963This is such an underwhelming kit that I almost feel like Bandai decided to cut a whole bunch of corners with it to spite Tomino and his new show that failed to appeal to general audiences. Must be tough when almost everyone spites G-Reco.

All the same I actually really dig the suit design – it was highly controversial when it was first revealed thanks to its unique head design and bubbly proportions but I think those charms help it stand out a bit in the crowd while still obviously being an idolization of the original Gundam.

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