Gunpla,  High Grade

HG Gundam G40 (Industrial Sonico Design Ver.)

I haven’t properly built and finished a Gunpla model in…probably over three or four years? Cars have taken over and ruined my life. I’ve started lots of Gunpla projects and have failed to follow through on any of them in that time…until now.

This was an impulse buy just for the heck of it from Bandai’s pop-up booth in LA that’s running this season. I never really knew what the G40 was going in, but the salesman in the pop-up shop sold me when he told me these were reselling for way more than retail.

I did originally only purchase the kit with the intent to flip it, but heck – I committed myself to actually finishing this kit since it was just a HG and should be fairly easy to knock out.

The box and packaging is slick, which I do like. Apparently the G40 is some special edition RX-78-2 redesign made to commemorate Gundam’s 40th anniversary. As RX-78-2 redesigns go, this is definitely one of the less conservative ones.

Bandai really went out of their way to make sure you knew this was a special model kit, with its own dedicated full-color brochure talking about the design process for the model.

I didn’t really know what the hype was about with this collab, but it looks like Bandai really wants you to know this is from KEN OKUYAMA DESIGN.

Wow, this is awkward. So apparently this guy Okuyama-san is literally the mastermind behind the NSX (NA1) design, along with the Enzo Ferrari and a host of other iconic Pininfarina cars. I guess of any Gundam I’m going to build nowadays it’s fitting that it’s one designed by a renowned auto designer.

I love how the brochure book has all the design sketches for the mobile suit design and captions translated in English. They really wanted to drive home that everything is industrially designed.

I think I remember when this kit came out the hubub was about how Bandai engineered the fuck out of the hip joints because for whatever reason the waist armor was prohibited from moving. Well now we know – non-articulated waist armor was simply Ken Okuyama policy (presumably a standard in industrial design of course).

All the white plastic in this kit is actually an off-white – it’s that classic Gundam green-tint that Bandai likes to use for throwback kits.

The only stickers included, with your choice for pink or classic yellow eyes. Of course we’re going with neither.

There’s a surprising amount of movable parts for a HG here – the forearms are even built with a bit of rotation built in.

Unfortunately that build design means you get some very apparent seams in very obvious places. The lower arm is pretty much entirely composed of halves, so they were sealed with cement and sanded before paint.

Amused that even the manual photos have the seam lines showing on the arms.

All the off-white parts are painted pearl pure white with an off-white used for areas like the skirt and abdominal areas.

Pink is manly and so am I.

The infamous waist unit with like 4 pivots, pegs, and sliders all to allow the legs to swing down past the immovable skirts.

The only way any Gundam kit I build today is going to fit into my current collection is if it’s decked out in some gross itasha design, and we’ve already done a Racing Miku RX-78-2. Thankfully I had this spare Super Sonico GSR decal sheet lying around – it’s actually the leftover decals from a Sonico GT-R project that I never finished (it’s still collecting dust unbuilt).

This was a lot easier on the 1/100 MG GSR Miku RX-78-2 I built before since the Gunpla was larger with more surface area. This being a 1/144 scale kit, I could only make do with a limited amount of Sonico, since the decals are larger and meant for 1/24 scale cars.

I didn’t really think the shield decal placement through when I was working on it, so now we’re left with crosshair tiddy.

Kind of a lighter design compared to my previous Itasha Gundam, but I don’t mind it.

Adding details in with the feet thrusters.

I decided to go with flat gray for the inner frame and joint parts since gunmetal is played out at this point. A lot of the “frame” parts on this kit are actually meant to be white, but I decided to do them in the traditional gray to break up the suit a bit more.

Complete. I forgot about the seam lines on the back of the feet oops.

I was going to do a flat finish on the armor at the very end but after putting it together I actually really liked the car-like glossy finish.

I had initially only glossed everything in order to blend the water slide decals in better (you get less decal silvering over a gloss surface than a matte surface) but ended up enjoying the look so much I just kept it.

It’s a very mobile kit, true to the early reviews. The redesigned look of the G40 looks a bit strange just standing still, but the industrial design actually looks really good in action.

My biggest peev with this kit is the torso/abdomen design. The middle white piece right below the chest vents isn’t connected to anything – it just floats between the upper torso and the lower torso that connects to the waist.

I get why – having that piece be free-moving gives the torso more movement and articulation, but it constantly feels loose as you handle the kit, and the multi-joint system inside the torso is very weak, meaning the Gundam is constantly splitting in half.

I was also not a fan of Okuyama’s decision to have the classic beam sabers be flipped down on the backpack when not in use. I think the hilts being pointed up over the shoulders is an iconic look. Thankfully the kit gives us the option to keep it that way, by just keeping the holsters rotated up.

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