For a man dubbed as the “Red Comet”, Char Aznable’s mobile suits really aren’t all that red. His One Year War suits had a whole lot of pinkish red, but not quite red red. It’s not until Zeta Gundam when Char Quattro Bajeena finally gets a red mobile suit in the form of his custom Rick Dias, but he soon passed that off to the grunts after opting for the blinged-out glory of the Hyakku Shiki. Only after two ideological 180’s does Char (now the leader of the new Neo Zeon faction) finally gets his definitive red machine – the MSN-06 Sazabi.
Though heavily armed and armoured, due to the lightweight material and numerous high-powered thrusters on the Sazabi, the suit is able to achieve a remarkable level of maneuverability. Though between the beam shotrifle and the torso-mounted mega particle gun, the Sazabi has no shortage of way to dispose of its enemies. Its most devastating armament is the 6 funnels carried on its back, which are small, high-powered remote weapons controlled directly through the pilot’s mind. Think the interceptors of a Protoss carrier in StarCraft – they’re like space piranhas that shoot lasers out of their mouths.
As an ardent U.C. Gundam fan, I can’t help but to succumb to Char fever, and the HGUC Sazabi was just what the doctor ordered to this ailing patient. And though the prescription is not without a couple of side effects, the HGUC Sazabi certainly lives up to the legacy of the Red Comet.
When the source of the model’s design comes from a 22-year-old movie, the question of accuracy is a tricky one to tackle. In general, the design for this HGUC kit plays down on the bulkiness of the torso and head while bulking up the legs and feet. By shifting the bulk from the torso, the HGUC Sazabi has a sharper and slimmer appearance than the Master Grade and anime portrayals. I imagine that different people would receive these alterations differently, but personally I am in favour of this revision, as it gives the suit a leaner, speedier feel.
While this may escape the initial observation, the red on Sazabi’s armour actually comes in two tones. The difference between them is minute, but it’s enough to keep this red bruiser from a dull, flat appearance.
The grey parts in this model have a slightly reflective finish. These parts are used for the major limb joints and hands, which lead me to assume that they’re supposed to represent magnetic coating or something to that effect.
Oh, in case you didn’t know, the Sazabi’s huge. As evident in the picture above, it makes the RX-78-2 its bitch with sheer bulk. Though it’s not quite as tall as a regular MG, its width gives it sense of presence that rivals the 1/100 scale kits.
The HGUC Sazabi is very respectable in terms of colour accuracy. I was glad to see that even the small yellow verniers on the shoulders enjoy the colour separation treatment. The only stickers included are for the green mooneye, the Neo Zeon crest on the shield, and the symbol on its front tasset armour that looks like a G-clef. With these stickers, the kit will look fine as it is out of the box, but if you are attentive to small details, there are a number of alterations you can make here and there.
There are a number of parts that did not get the colour separation treatment. These include the black midsection of the beam tomahawk, the red energy cable on the beam shotrifle, the yellow ridge on the bottom half of the shield. These are pretty easy to tackle with rudimentary means such as a gundam marker. If I could manage it, so can you!
In addition to those details, I also painted a few thrusters and vents on Sazabi’s crotch and back tasset yellow. But while these places are painted yellow on the photos in the instruction manual, they are actually red in the movie. So the choice is yours: if you want to be true to the movie, less work for you, but if you want to add a few touches of yellow to break up the big patches of red on the Sazabi for some stylistic flair,
Of course, the biggest colour issue in this kit lies in the various thrusters on the shoulders, hips, and legs. The portions inside the thruster nozzles are supposed to be yellow, but asides from the MG Kampfer, I do not know of any other gunpla kits that feature colour separation between the inner and outer nozzle – not even the pricey MG Sazabi. Due to the sheer number nozzles on the Sazabi, painting the interior of the nozzles would make a significant impact on the appearance of the model as a whole. As you can tell, I’ve skimped on the paint, but since I still have the can of yellow paint I bought for the MG Master Gundam, I just might tackle the Sazabi again in the future.
The beam shotrifle is of a very simple 3-piece construction. The pump grip isn’t articulated, but I doubt you’re expecting it to.
The Sazabi comes with three melee beam weapons: a pair of beam sabers and a beam tomahawk, the latter of which comes with effect parts for both the beam saber configuration and the tomahawk configuration. Unlike the MG, the HGUC Sazabi stays true to the movie by with clear yellow effect parts as opposed to clear green. Another great thing about the beam parts is that instead of being perfectly smooth, the base of the blades actually have little “teeth”, which makes them actually look like the powerful energy weapons instead of coloured glass.
Because the ends of the beam sabers are moulded into the arm itself, there is no way to store the beam sabers hilts in Sazabi’s wrists. The beam tomahawk’s retractable handle is also lost in translation to a smaller scale. Thankfully, neither of these two changes are all that glaring.
Sazabi’s oversized shield is able to store the beam tomahawk at its centre, as well as three missiles at its tip. However, its massive weight and bulk do present a number of problems.
The shield is attached to the arm via the mounting component. It can either be attached to the back or the side of the arm. But because of the largeness of Sazabi’s shoulders, the shield would inevitably bump into them, especially if mounted to the side of the arms. As such, it may be frustrating, if not impossible, to reproduce some poses.
Further compounding the problem is the shield’s weight, which is enough to drag the entire arm down after some play. Though these are more of an issue against the original design of the suit rather than the design of the kit itself the HGUC Sazabi nevertheless suffers from it.
Finally, the HGUC Sazabi comes with twelve funnels. Half of these are in the storage configuration. These come in 2 sets of 3 and are stored in Sazabi’s backpack. The other half are in the open deployed configuration. However, unlike the HGUC Jagd Doga kits that came before it, the HGUC Sazabi does not come with the clear plastic pipes design to display the deployed funnels. Knowing Bandai, this is a completely intentional bitch move trying to make me buy the Jagd Doga kits. But as much as I love the Sazabi, my hatred for Quess and Gyunei supersedes it. Tough luck, Bandai~
As a chunky mobile suit, the HGUC Sazabi does not boast amazing articulation by any stretch of the imagination. But then again, it doesn’t need to. The Sazabi is designed solely for space combat, so it doesn’t need run or walk. Ever. If not for Char’s love of kicking people, I would have questioned the point of having legs in the first place. As such, the articulation in this kit should be sufficient for all of your needs, but here are a couple of highlight that you may find interesting.
The mono-eye of the HGUC Sazabi is articulated. To change its position, simply pop off the top and manually turn the wheel to which the tiny eye is attached.
The HGUC Sazabi features a double-jointed neck. The top joint is your standard ball joint, but the bottom is a very generous pivot joint that allows the neck to be swung pretty far back for those in-flight poses.
The funnel brackets and propellant tanks on the backpack of the Sazabi are also completely articulate. The brackets can be tilted up and down as well as side to side, and the tanks are attached via ballpoints, so they can wiggle all over the place.
On a negative note, the legs pop off from the hips wayyyy too easily. Because of how shallow the ball joints are, there is no definitive “pop” when you attach the leg onto the hips, and hence they will come loose when you fiddle with the legs, eventually detaching from the hips completely. You can easily pop them back on, but be prepare to do so many, many times if you ever plan to play around with the completed model.
As I took the photos for this review, I was subject to a conflict of emotions. During the process I have recalled the reasons why I loved this kit. It’s a handsome redesign of an iconic suit, packed with very decent articulation and detailed beam effect parts. With its intimidating red colour scheme and considerable bulk, the HGUC Sazabi looks great in virtually any pose you put it in. Sure, it could’ve used a more secure set of hips and a set of clear bendy tubes for the funnels, but those issues are but minor kink to the best plamo rendition of the red giant out there. If you love the Sazabi, then this HGUC kit should be a no-brainer.
At the same time, putting my badly top-coated Sazabi under a macro lens truly made my heart bleed. Want to know what happens when you skimp too much on the top coat? Well, here it is. Because the coating is barely there, not only is the plastic sheen still visible on the surface of the plastic, but there’s also tiny specks all over the place. Now that the Sazabi has seen at least a year’s worth of dust, I wonder if it’d be a good idea to add another layer of top coat at this point in time. Well, I’ll find out soon enough – look forward to an update on this in my Real Grade RX-78-2 review!
- It’s big, it’s red, and it’s mean-looking
- Accurate and detailed beam effect parts
- Impressive amount of colour separation – looks great right out of the box
- Decent articulation
- Shield is heavy and cumbersome
- No display parts for the funnels
- Legs pop off too easily