Bandai did a few crafty things with this kit that they haven’t done before. The first is really hard to see in most pictures of the kit. All of the green circles have letters and lines molded on the inside which match the stickers underneath. It’s a nice little detail that is best appreciated up close. This is also the first, and probably last kit, to have rubber strips coated in a rainbow reflective surface. To my knowledge this is the only suit from Gundam 00 to have this design feature, hence why we won’t be seeing it again. Over all it’s a nice feature, but under most lighting conditions you don’t see any of the reflective goodness.
A huge word of warning about these pieces.
The rubbery plastic isn’t actually modeled with the reflective surface. It’s some sort of thin plastic covering, probably attached with a bit of heat. I had masked off some of these parts with masking tape for coating, only to remove them and find the coating going with the tape. You can glue them back on but won’t achieve the same smoothness.
In my opinion this is certainly not one of Bandai’s best MG kits. There are lots of cool moving bits, and some slick details, but the overall construction isn’t as strong as others. Unlike the Sinanju which performs exceptionally without polly cap joints the majority of plastic on plastic Exia joints are far too weak. All but one of the hip covers flop around. Without a bit of intervention the one shoulder mounted hilt only falls down. Same for the two covers on the front of the feet. At the very least all of the leg, arm, and hip joints are solid.
There have been a fair amount of complaints about the shoulder joints. Mostly that it takes too much force to attach the arms, but I haven’t heard of anything busting up their kit as a result. I think it’s annoying how the arm is directly tied into the location of the shoulder cover, but that’s a fault of the design, not the model itself.
The worst part, and its Achilles’ Heel, is the how top heavy the kit is. Without its shields and swords the thing maintains its balance in most poses, barely. While trying to take photos I spent more time fixing the poses as it continually tumbled over, then I did posing him in the first place.
Part of this issue is most likely due to the weight of the Ignition Mode GN drive. It moves the center of gravity up further than it normally would be.
This is more troubling when you consider how 00’s second season designs feature slimmer and smaller feet. Even if they add extra weight to the feet I can’t see Arios/Cherudim/00/Arche being able to stand up, let alone strike a proper pose. And this isn’t without the late season upgrades…
Between the Exia and the Sinanju I came upon a weakness with Bandai’s new method of attaching the kits to the action bases. The loosen up with just a little usage. My Sinanju was so heavy that it leaned strongly to the side. It was a quick fix with a bit of glue but they really should come up with something a bit sturdier.
To Ignition Mode or Not?
Ignition mode features a light up GN drive, some silver plated parts (swords & gun barrel), and the ability to make Exia Repair. All this for roughly $13 more. So is it worth it? Probably not, but I do live my light up gizmos.
The shiny bits make a nice addition, but you’ll have to touch up where the parts connect to the runners. Why they couldn’t have placed the connections on a non-visible area is beyond me. Personally I think Exia repair is a waste. Only a few parts are actually different, most are just removed, leaving exposed connectors. The cape is pretty silly looking. Unfortunately you have to part swap the head when it would have been easier to just have provided enough pieces to make a whole separate one.
I do enjoy the light up GN drive, even if it has the tendency for the who halves to separate. If you do opt for Ignition Mode make sure you buy some of the batteries ahead of time off the net. The drive takes four LR41 392 button batteries. Otherwise you’ll shell out $20 to pick them all up at a local RadioShack or pharmacy.
Here's hoping future 00 Gundam MG's come with light up GN drives.
I couldn't think of an interesting color scheme so I left the design alone. However, I did give it 10 additional horses with some racing stripes. Instead of painting I used some "SIG Super Stripe" rubbery tape designed for striping on RC cars. I'll have a proper review of it up sometime soon for the Guide.
Until then, please let me know how you like your Exia. Hopefully your experiance was more pleasant than mine. Also let me know if you see some great recolors out there. Questions & comments always appreciated (unless you're a cock).