The MG Delta Plus was an instant day one purchase. Another in the line of fantastic designs from Gundam Unicorn, the Delta Plus is a worthy descendant of Kazumi Fujita's famous Zeta Gundam. Like him, or hate him, I think Hajime Katoki's Delta is fantastic. Design wise it's hard to argue against the aesthetics, but how would it fare as a Master Grade kit? As any Gundam modeler will tell you Bandai doesn't have the greatest of track record when it comes to transforming kits, both within and outside of the Zeta inspired lineage. So how well does this newest addition hold up? Let's take a look...
((From this point on, you can click on any of the images to enlarge them))
When you first get this kit you're likely to be taken a back as to how small the box is. Though it features more pieces than the MG ReZEL most are smaller, slimmer, and take up less room. As you'll see in a comparison shot later in this review the Delta Plus isn't as bulky as its relatives and definitely feels as though it were a high speed fighter. I prefer to think of the ReZEL as a robot which transforms into a plane, while the Delta Plus is a plane that transforms into a robot.
When the kit was first announced there was quite a bit of debate/concern about the colors. Lots of photos released of the kit featured various blue hues ranging from subdued to exaggerated. As I hold the kit before me I see that the color is really dependent on your lighting. It's really a nice, mostly neutral gray, with some blue mixed in. If you're viewing it under warm light (reds) you see the gray. If you're viewing it under cooler light (blue) the blue pops out more. You'll notice that the lighting setup for my photos tends to bring out the blue. Either way, I really like the colors despite earlier reservations. As is, without any paint, the kit looks pretty good. However here and there throughout the kit some nubs were stubborn white compressed nub marks. To those not looking to paint, I suggest using a hobby knife to remove nubs instead of your snippers. Luckily for me, I have a pretty nifty scheme already planned out...
For the most part the articulation is pretty good. Most issues are related to the transformation gimmick. Take for instance the shoulder/arms. Unlike traditional kits which use a torso mounted rod joint the Delta Plus uses a smaller assembly that clips onto the torso. This allows the shoulder to move forward nicely but not backward...
On the left, how far forward it can swing. On the right, how far backward it can swing. If you move the shoulder too far forward it will disconnect from the torso. You can see the point where it clips on below...
The arms can curl up just short of touching the shoulder armor. What's great is that the arm is constructed in such a way that you don't see any of the pollycap joints, they've all be cleverly covered by the armor pieces. It's the same pretty much everywhere else on the kit.
The leg articulation is pretty crazy and all of the joints are surprisingly strong. You will notice the usual droppage when the kit is held up and the legs and splayed outward. The forward/upward of the kit's right leg in the above photo actually exceeds the normal range. This is a result of unique two-piece hip armor.
There armor is made up of a ball joint backing and armor piece that attaches to the cod piece, with a second ball jointed piece attached to that. Without that first overlaying armor bit the second bit can swing up considerably further. Even with all the pieces in place the height achieved is still very respectable...
The front of the legs feature a large piston which is attached to the foils (for lack of a better word) on the rear. During transformation they the outter foil moves down, allowing the center piece to come though, pulled backward when the leg is moved into location.
There's enough weight in the legs to effectively lower the center of gravity such that the wings, shield, and rifle doesn't cause undue burden (unlike most 00 kits). There is one issue though, a big one, the feet. Like most kits the forward part can swing up and down. Unfortunately this mechanism isn't maintained by a pollycap joint and is instead more of a rail system of regular plastic. While the large feet should normally not have an issue supporting forward weight of the kit, the joints do not, causing the kit to lean forward and topple over.
You'll notice that in the majority of my pictures I'm supporting the kit with an action base to prevent Delta from toppling forward. I'm hoping that this can be fixed utilizing the ol' super glue trick. Update - I did a quite guide on how to sort out the issue, take a look.
The torso and hip are joined by a simple ball joint but movement of the torso is limited by the waist's armor pieces...
Delta's wings are very impressive and, somewhat surprisingly, very sturdy. Each wing has a point to mount the kit's rifle (same runner as used with the MG ReZEL) and has a pretty decent amount of articulation.
Also very interesting, you can swap the wings, which increases their range of motion just that little bit more...
Delta comes with a shield rifle like the ReZEL although this one is a lot more streamlined and curvy. In addition to a gun it also has what I think were missiles and two beam saber hilts. Annoyingly the shield is attached to the arm by fixed piece with only one axis of movement. While it can pivot slightly back and forth it's limited to being parallel to the forearm.
It's easy to remove the hilts and they do a good job of staying in place. Additionally they can be pointed outward and displayed with the beam effect pieces in place.
There are only a couple seam lines on the kit, most noticeably on the wing binders and the shield. Most of the shield isn't too bad but it comes really obvious near the center where the two pieces that make up the larger end thin out. The connection there just isn't strong enough and the pieces often separate on their own...
Delta Plus also comes with the same rifle as the MG ReZEL. Unfortunately they didn't design the Delta to work too well with ReZEL's rifle. As you probably know already guns and hands come with long little peg connectors to keep them in place. The slot on the rifle's handle is about 1/32 of an inch longer than the peg on Delta's hand and just a little bit thicker. This discrepancy means, that for the life of me, I can not get my Delta Plus to properly hold the rifle without any modifications. It just falls right out.
The MG Delta Plus is a bit taller than the MG Unicorn, while a bit shorter than the MG ReZEL. The size comparison there might be a bit off as it had to keep the ReZEL up on an action base, seeing as it's missing a leg and all. While I wouldn't call the ReZEL a bulky kit the slimmer Delta definitely gives that impression...
As for its brethren, the Delta is a bit taller than the MG Zeta (Plus C1 seen here) and about the same height as the Re-Gz.
Wave Rider Mode & Transformation
How the form looks without the shield and wings...
So, the transformation gimmick, how does it fare? Having transformed the kit a few times I'd say things turned out better than expected. Once you go through it you'll realize that the it's pretty simple with a definite pay off (damn that thing looks sexy). First time through, however, you'll probably be scratching your head wondering what the hell is going on in the guide. Personally, that's probably the worst part of the kit. There are steps that are made to seem more difficult than they really are while other steps lack important details.
When transforming the kit I found it considerably easier to just remove the arms and wings. That's four less components to get in your way. With them gone it'll be a lot easier to mess around with the legs and hip joint, the most complicated aspect. Some may say that's cheating, as you should be able to transform a transformable kit without removing pieces. While that ideal is tarnished by the fact you have to remove and reattach the shield, it's thrown in the trash all together because you actually have to add two additional pieces during the process.
There are two little pieces that get attached to the hip to help steady the legs in relation to the rest of the kit. While it's certainly cheating in the class of transformable kits, the pay off from these little parts is immense, perhaps saving the kit from what may have been another MG Zeta 1.0. Before you add those parts, the kit feels like a sloppy, loose mess in your hands. Once they're properly in place the whole thing becomes incredibly sturdy. Shoring up the hip, and proving a connection point for the legs, they might as well be made of magic. After they're in place you can attach the wings and arms in peace.
(( I am currently working on a guide to help those who might run into trouble transforming the kit ))
Other Tidbits & Issues
One of the most appreciated developments for the Delta Plus is the new action base attachment mechanism... I call it the reach-around...
Unlike the flimsy clip-on attachments seen with previous MG Unicorn kits, this actually does a fantastic job of supporting the kit's weight while on an action base. No glue required!
It's worth noteing that the eye sticker actually applies behind the clear piece that makes up the visor. They also include a silver sticker that can be placed, presumably, as a reflective backdrop if you were to paint he eyes themselves (which are also on the inside of the clear piece). In addition I recommend not picking the kit up by the waist/stomach area. You're likely to press too hard and cause the sides to collapse. While it won't damage the kit, it's just a pain to fix.
There are two other issues with the hands I would also like to mention. The first is that the four fingers don't close fully to touch the hand's palm. Because of this I feel like the kit looks silly when the hands are clenched. The thumb joint is also waaay to lose and the thumb easily detaches. While messing around with my kit the right thumb popped off several times until one time it flew off, presumable lost forever. Since then I found it and have placed it aside to prevent that from happening again. You may have noticed this missing digit in my photos.
The tips of the shoulder are made of two pieces, an outer armor and inner white piece. These don't have a tight connection to the shoulder's inner frame and often pop off. The white piece sits loosely inside so when the outer piece comes off the white part falls out with it. The odd little protecting piece that protrudes under the shoulder just sort of pops in place the same way. Luckily it's a tighter fit but be aware that it could come off.
- The biggest issue with the kit? The loose feet
- The best thing about this kit? The design
- The most surprising element? Just how solid this kit is (relative to a transformable, one at least)
Issues aside I think the kit is fantastic. For such a complicated kit full of fragile components I've been nothing but impressed and surprised along the way. It may not be as rock steady as the MG ReZEL but it's considerably better than either of the MG Unicorn releases.
Where this kit is going to make an impact is in the hands of crafty gunpla modelers around the world. There are so many details and well designed aspects of this kit that there's going to a large variety of original color schemes floating around before you know it. There are just so many areas of potential color separation that the options are almost endless.
While Bandai has a few announcements left to make this year, thus far, the MG Delta Plus has been their most impressive release. And yes, even more impressive than the PG Strike Freedom.
The open nature of the waist-torso connection gives quite a bit of room for the torso to lean to the right or left. Unfortunately that becomes an issue with the lopsided weight of the shield...
A few seconds later...
Not a huge problem, but something to be aware of. It's easy to deflect if you bring the center of mass back toward the center, either by adding something to the other hand or pulling the shield closer to the chest. Moderate to advanced builders should be able to carve up some plaplate support washers to shore up the kit on the inside.
In response to questions regarding for the forward-toppling leg issue I put together a quick guide with a couple of fixes to help keep your Delta standing straight.