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Review: HGUC Nu Gundam

To complete strangers, the Gundam franchise must be a very confounding beast. There have been so many entries to the lineup over the last 32 years that it’s pretty hard to know what’s what. I’ve had people tell me that they aren’t watching Gundam 00 because they haven’t watched the old school series, not knowing that there’s no story continuity between 00 and, say, the original Mobile Suit Gundam. To be honest, I can’t blame them, because as far as the designs for the main Gundams go, they’re pretty similar. More often than not, they all have little yellow and/or white pointy things on their heads, a red chin, blue torso, white legs, red feet and waist, and to someone who isn’t familiar with Gundam, those similarities are often enough to obscure whatever distinction that remain.

Needless to say, with a franchise as long-running as Gundam, it’s hard to stand out. However, this isn’t to say that it’s impossible. Asides from the original RX-78-2 (which has become a culture icon of sorts), there are a few others that has earned special mentions. The RX-93 Nu Gundam constitutes as one of those.

The Nu Gundam represents the culmination of early Universal Century MS technology before miniaturization trend started later on in the timeline. As the result, the Nu Gundam is one of the largest Gundam (not counting Psycho Gundam series, of course) in the Gundam franchise. However, the Nu Gundam’s mighty size is not its main distinguishing point; rather, much of its fame derives from its pilot Amuro Ray, the protagonist of the original series, as well as the film Char’s Counterattack in which the Nu Gundam appears. The film marked the end of the long-standing rivalry between Amuro and the fan-favourite antagonist Char Aznable. It also had remarkable production value, and thus it boasts animation quality that is still revered by fans to this day, 23 years after the film’s release.

Numerous models and toys of the Nu Gundam exist, and the HGUC version was released in 2008. Back then I had been eyeing the MG Nu Gundam for quite some time, and news of a newer and cheaper model of the iconic suit very much pleased me. The HGUC Nu Gundam certainly had a lot to live up to, and given the constraints of the HGUC kits in general, it’s a pretty good offering.

One of my favourite things about the Nu Gundam is its colour scheme, which departs from the parade colours that are virtually the universal standard for main gundams in the franchise. While its predominantly white & black colour scheme is hardly low-key, it’s certainly a more sensible choice than a mishmash of red, white and blue.

The Nu Gudam has a lot of details on its design, and as such, not all of them could be reproduced by the way of colour-separated parts. Thankfully, the details are all present in the mould of the individual parts, so it’s pretty easy to make up for that with a little know-how. With that said, my hands are as steady as a jackhammer, so it you’re like me, you might have a bit of trouble with the leg vents, the inner black portions of which do require a bit of prevision to look perfect.

Another thing that will notice immediately about the Nu Gundam is its size. At 15 cm tall, it already towers over most other kits of the same scale, but with the funnels attached, the HGUC Nu gundam measures in at a whopping 22 cm – taller than most 1/100 scale models!

Accessories

As per the norm, the Nu Gundam sports a beam rifle. It has a nice long, slender design, and it looks exactly as it should.

The hyper bazooka, on the other hand, it a lot more interesting. Not only are the individual rounds visible at the back end of the weapon, but it is actually stored on a jointed clip located on the back of the suit’s torso. The folding grip gives considerable flexibility when it comes to putting the weapon in the Nu Gundam’s hands. The weapon does require some tricky painting on the square-ish things on at the tip and middle of the weapon for accuracy, which took me ages to get right.

The shield features a long and narrow shape. Not content with being just a tool of defense, the underside of the shield is armed with a beam cannon and 4 small missiles. It is attached to either the side or the back of the forearm via a clip.

The Nu Gundam comes with two different beam sabers. One is stored behind his right shoulder, and it features a folding hand guard and a beam pommel. Similar to the case of the HGUC Sazabi, the beam blade part is given a slightly jagged edge – a considerably more realistic look than usual.

The backup beam saber is stored in the Nu Gundam’s left forearm, which slides and pops out when needed. The actual hilt is tiny, and the beam blade part is the usual size and shape for 1/144 kits (8cm long as opposed to the main beam saber, which is 10cm long).

The most interesting accessory of the Nu Gundam is its Fin Funnels — a set of deployable remote weapons controlled through the newtype pilot’s mind. When stored on its back, it takes a strange shape that vaguely resembles the letter A, supposedly for the purpose of intimidating enemies with the fearsome reputation of pilot. While each of the 6 funnels may look identical, they are actually divided into 3 different types as indicated by small markings on the back. For the funnels to look right on the Nu Gundam’s back, there is actually a very specific order in which the funnels are assembled together. If you look closely, the funnels in some of these shots are actually slightly misassembled because I misread the instructions. Complicated stuff!

When put together, the giant A weights a significant amount. Because of this, for the Nu Gundam to stand upright, you must shift its feet backwards in order to compensate for the skewed center of gravity, and even then the HGUC Nu Gundam is still sort of unsteady. This was less of an issue with the MG Nu Gundam because that kit included diecast ankles to stabilize the kit, but I think it would be unreasonable to expect that kind of stuff for a humble HGUC kit.

The size of the fin funnel array also gets in the way of Nu Gundam’s shield really easily. I wonder what went through the mind of Yutaka Izubuchi when he designed the Nu Gundam. Did he not realized that the large elongated shield would butt heads with the fin funnels? Or did he not care? In any case, this quirk is no fault of the kit itself. Interestingly, an additional fin funnel mount part is included in the box, which means that if you remove the beam saber component behind the right shoulder, you can attach the mount there for some double-funnel action!

Each fin funnel is detachable and can be folded into a U shape, which is the attack configuration for the fin funnels. Thanks to the way the double-jointed hinges are designed, the fin funnels are able to hold the shape pretty well. The only problem is that there are no ways to mount them to anything. An option to mount the funnels to action bases or a solution like the MG Hi-Nu Gundam would’ve been nice, but once again, I suppose that would be asking too much out of a HGUC kit. For these shots I used sticky tack and figma stands to hold up the funnels, which worked marginally well, though without some basic doctoring of the photos, the bright blue wads of sticky tack clumped on the back end of the fin funnels are pretty damn ugly, to say the least.

For hands, The Nu Gundam comes with a pair of closed fists, a sword-holding right hand, a gun/bazooka-holding right hand, and a sprayed left hand. The lack of a sword-holding left hand effectively prevents any dual-wielding possibilities, but since that never happened in the movie, I guess it’s not a big deal.

Articulation

The range of movement on the HGUC Nu Gundam is pretty standard. As usual I’ll let the pictures do the talking and raise a few highlights:

  • Like the HGUC Sazabi, the neck rests on a very generous hinge and ball joint combo.
  • Also like the HGUC Sazabi the waist articulation is also noticeably limited.
  • The knees can bend around 90 degrees and the thighs can be lifted forward and sideways to a significant degree. However, because of the bulky design of the Nu’s upper thighs, the legs are very limited when it comes to doing both at the same time. This is a pretty frustrating shortcoming, as it interferes with a lot of potential poses.
  • The thruster covers on the back of the calves open up.

Final Say

On paper, the HGUC Nu Gundam has a lot of things going against it: there are a lot of places that require paint touch-up for accuracy, the fin funnels make the suit very back-heavy, the upper thighs needlessly impede articulation, and there’s no easy way to display the funnels in action. Still, one must not undervalue the fact that the HGUC Nu gundam looks fantastic. It’s got a nice and clean feel, yet there’s no shortage of small mechanical details (like the individual bazooka rounds, the underside of the shield and the various small verniers) to be found all over the model. Even if it’s lacking in some areas, at the end of the day the HGUC Nu Gundam’s great looks and immense size simply dominates the shelf – not a bad deal for a 2,500 yen kit, I’d say!

Pros

  • Well-proportioned and well-detailed
  • It’s huge!

Cons

  • Requires a good deal of tricky painting to achieve colour accuracy
  • Very back-heavy when the fin funnel array is attached
  • Bulky upper thighs limit leg articulation
  • No way to display the funnels in-flight

21 replies on “Review: HGUC Nu Gundam”

Ah Nu gundam…The suit that made me love funnels! So lovely to see how much Nanoha came to resemble this beast in Strikers! Mmm blaster bits.

I had forgotten that this suit was bigger in size then the earlier ones…Must not have been paying enough attention while watching the movie…I blame the mecha porn!

!!!Someone should grab a HGUC Nu and paint it StrikerS Nanoha colours with giant gold blinged-out funnels. It would be ugly as sin, but it would still be awesome. The Ace of Ace would be proud.

I love the Nu Gundam, such a a cool mobile suit. I always been a fan of the asymmetrical funnel setup giving a unique distinct look. It’s a shame about the tiny bits you had to mess with, I don’t have a steady hand nor the patience to do small precise tasks like. Which is exactly why I’m not into building models.

Still, pretty cool work you did with the kit, looks cool.

The more I invest into a model’s construction, the more I am attached to that model. So in that respect, I actually don’t mind the painting too much as the process did allow me to appreciate the model to a greater extent. Of course, everyone has their limits. If someone threw a cheapo HG kit from the mid 90s at me and told me to make it look picture-accurate to the mockups, I’m pretty sure I’d tell them to screw themselves. XD

“Nu!” “No, it’s ‘Ni’!”

Having the funnels vaguely resemble an ‘A’ to intimidate enemies sounds like one of the worst justifications for a strange design, ever.  It’s like, “Hey, here’s a big flat, visible surface to aim your guns at!”

Nu doesn’t really catch my interest all that much.  Though it did have a weird and ridiculously powerful/exploitable attack in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 where it made an energy pyramid out of the funnels.  That was neat.

If I’m not so mistaken, the Funnel set-up on the nu Gundam was not for intimidation, but rather that’s the only way they could put them at that time.

Really? Was the configuration the only way to mount the fin funnels onto the Nu Gundam? I’ve always assumed that the distinct “A” shape is for stylistic purposes as opposed to practical.

I dunno dude, the legend of the white devil has been around for 14 years at this point in the UC time line. If I were in a mono-eyed suit and saw a very white and very gundam-like look bearing the initial of the white devil himself, I’m sure I’d turn around and move as far away as possible. =P

Sure, might run away, but just long enough to be, “Hey, there’s Amuro!  EVERYONE SHOOT HIM.”

At least Char just used different colors!

Bah, sometimes Gundam can be annoying since sometimes they adhere to realistic combat design principles and sometimes they just do something goofy, even within the same series.

I feel like a failure as a Gundam fan for not watching Char’s Counterattack, Zeta Gundam, and some others. Looking at figures of Zeta Gundam, Sazabi, Nu Gundam, Hyakku Shiki, etc, etc, remind me of that failure and thus I’m predisposed to like them less because of it. I should really fix this someday. Soon.

Anyways, damn, that’s a lot of detailing needed! I suppose it IS an HG kit but me being a cheap and lazy bastard tend to go for kits that require less touch-ups. I thought you did a really nice job though, I only notice it’s painted on when I view at full res. It’s impressive how many neat details Nu Gundam has and all those weapons! Sucks about the limits in posing though. Btw, have you seen the Chinese sort-of knock-off Hi-Nu Gundoom? (Not a spelling error)

You should fix this someday! I don’t hold Zeta and CCA where near the same height as the original movie trilogy, but I think they’re enjoyable in their own right. Zeta takes the newtype theme of the original and places a lot of emphasis on that, and Char’s Counterattack has fantastic animation, even though the writing was a bit rubbish. Besides, it’s clear that the gunpla division at Bandai has a massive hard-on for the early UC stuff, so you might as well get acquainted with it, because they’ll NEVER stop making models of these guys.

The thing about this is is that I actually didn’t expect to do so much touch-up. I saw the review on Dalong.net and it looked just fine with there with no extra paint. It wasn’t until I looked really closely at the photos in the instruction manual when I realized how many leftover details there were. So the point of this story is that if you’re lazy (like me), I don’t think the missing little colour details would detract much from the kit. But sadly, I am an anal-retentive man, so I gotta nail all those tiny little bits. Argh!

I have heard about that kit! It seems to be all the rage with plamo bloggers. I plan on taking a closer look at it to see how much painting it would require to look accurate, but it looks like a hell of a kit! (Those wing effect parts are cheesy as hell, though =P)

Never really followed Gundam as much, all the different designs and designation is pretty daunting if you’re not in the know.  I’m a Macross boy.  ^_^’  Nevertheless, there are the symbolic icon Gundams that we all come to recognize, there’s no doubt about Gundamn’s influence on pop culture and anime fans around the world. 

While the A design is rather odd, I kind of like the asymetrical design of it.  Probably not the best practical mecha design, but it does look kinda spiffy.

The Gundam franchise is like one big conga line. It’s very fun, but it’s come to a point where the conga line has grown to such a length that you don’t even know it’s a conga line anymore. This is why I’m glad they’re adapting the manga adaptation of the original anime into a new anime (lol). You should totally watch it when it comes out! I’ll definitely bother you (as well as everyone else) about it when it comes out.

Mhh I watched Char’s Counterattack but I can’t really remember that there was this Gundam :pAnyway this is a cool looking mech I like the color sheme and the whole armament this Nu Gundam comes with especially the big bazooka, when looking at these oversized funnels its no surprise thats this Gundam becomes unbalanced when these things are attached.

Hey,this will be like waking up the dead but do you think yellow and black gundam markers would be fit for the painting part? I have no painting skill/knowledge whatsoever but panel lined some gundam models (both hg and mg) and honestly this looks a lot better with correct colors.

THE DEAD AWAKENS.

I actually used gundam markers to touch up the Nu here, and boy it was not pleasant.

1) Don’t use the actual marker to paint the model — instead, squeeze some point out and use a fine paintbrush. The tip is too thick and the flow is too inconsistent for it to be practical otherwise.

2) Use multiple coats. Painting yellow on black is a pain in the ass because black is by far the darker colour, so it would be visible even underneath a coat of yellow. The solution, of course, it to add more coats of yellow, but that is easier said than done, as the gundam marker paint takes ages to dry.

3) Painting over an already painted surface is yet another difficult affair. I had to do this for the leg vents. The thick layers of yellow would obscure the mould details that indicated the outlines of the vent, and making a mistake would often mean ruining the yellow underneath as well.

I honestly can’t give you any good advice on doing it correctly, as the leg vents on my model look terrible up close and I was only able to pull it off after a lot of trial and error. The best advice I can give you is to NOT use gundam marker — mask the part, spray primer then yellow on the vent areas. After that I think a smooth gloss coat should be applied to protect the yellow, allow you to lay on the black, but I’d suggest asking around on hobby forums for this.

Hope this helps!

Wow.Thanks a LOT for the detailed answer.Will definitely look into those suggestions(except spray.No time or space to do that)

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