This being my first full review of my site I want this review to serve as a template for future reviews of kits. While it may not serve the full purpose for kits I have already built, it will be as such for future kits I purchase and construct.
That said, I start with the Real Grade Char’s Z’Gok. I don’t hear much about this kit, nor do I see many opinions about it on youtube. Perhaps it’s the least popular RG kit out there. If not, someone please correct me.
As an overview, the kit stands about 5 1/4″ tall. It comes in eight runners (two are duplicates) with construction manual and sticker sheet.
As typical of Real Grade there is more detail than a High Grade. However of particular note in this kit’s case is the four different shades of red plastic used and the two dark blues. You get a touch of off-white for the cockpit and just plain white for the claws.
In all, I only compare it to the Real Grade Char’s Zaku II, however in this case I prefer the color pallet of the Z’Gok to the Zaku II as it works together better. The only stark point is the white plastic of the claws. This could have looked somewhat more interesting if the claws were chromed (A rare case of where I might approve of chromed parts).
The inner frame is Advanced MS Joint 8 and as far I know is only used on the Z’Gok. It has some minor details on the frame, slightly more than I what I see on Gundam frames. Some detail parts in a warm grey plastic make up the inner torso and insides of the backpack. Of note is that gray plastic which a warm, almost olive drab color that is matte in finish. It looks especially nice and I wish Bandai would use it more often.
As a nice touch, you get some propeller rotors for the feet and backpack molded in silver plastic. You get an opening cockpit hatch right in the middle of the torso. It’s simple to open just by pressing on the lower half and revealing an empty cockpit inside.
Everything is molded in color as per Real Grade standard so no need to paint, but there are spots where you can add details if you wish.
Lining for the most part is crisp and easy to distinguish. There are a few detail divots on the back of the feet that are not so well formed that will require additional work if you want them to stand out.
In terms of accuracy, this a up-designed retro mech. In which I mean the original art was a rather plain drawing designed for easy animation, not for a detailed model kit. Since Real Grade aims to add more detail than a kit previously had, this is about as accurate as a “Real” Z’Gok would get.
9 out of 10
Being a bit of a unique frame design with it’s multi-segmented look the inner frame used is made to reflect use. While the Advanced MS Joint frame made for this kit holds up in regards to keeping the kit together, I feel it’s not quite up to the job in giving the Z’Gok the full posing ability as depicted in the animated show. Though arguably it should do a better job then the HGUC version.
First off, while you can get a 90 degree bend at the knee, the elbow can only really do about 80 degrees. Now you can make up the rest of the bend with the segmented sections however they are not as flexible as might appear. They only add a bit to the overall arm/leg bend. As an important note, the joint tension in the elbow/knee bends is tighter than in the segmented parts so you will have to take care in bending these parts as I fear the thinner and weaker segmented joints may get stressed and be prone to breakage.
In addition to the segmented joints there are rotation joints on the limbs. One for the upper arm and claw part on the arms. Two on the upper legs and the foot can swivel as needed.
The arms do have a bit of shoulder joint that comes out of the chest to help swing the arms forward. It’s not much but it is there.
The feet barely have any articulation. You get a slight toe joint of upward motion only.
The torso itself has some slight back and forth motion and can rotate at the hip a full 90 degrees in either direction. The upper body can tilt side to side.
In the hips you get an adjustable hip joint; either higher up or lower down for more range of motion. The two front panels act as separate pieces of skirt armor and can flip up to provide clearance for the legs. It can do the splits if need be.
Other points of articulation include an adjustable monoeye and the pair of backpack turbines.
Overall articulation is decent considering the unusual design of this kit. It’s not quite as stable as other kits as the multi-segmented limbs lends itself to the wobbles and I have noticed arm droop. There are some parts with loose connections to watch out for; the elbow and knee parts have loose connections and tend to loosen up and jiggle off during posing. Of more annoyance is the “toe” pieces on the feet which don’t have a secure connection and fall off constantly and are a real risk of becoming lost.
If you pose the arms and legs too much, it’s possible to loosen up the armor pieces covering the segments and they may come off.
7 out of 10
Being an aquatic MS there isn’t much it the Z’Gok can do in terms of holding weapons. In fact, it has no hands. Only claws.
The only real extra option you get is a choice of either outfitting it with the standard three-claw configuration or opting for the four-claw configuration. At least Bandai tried to give us an extra.
The provided decals are the matte sticker variety with chrome accents. Following the recommended layout it doesn’t seem to over-do it with the decals however the larger stickers such as the pin strips are more noticeable against the darker colors than the smaller ones. Chrome accents are fine mostly. I found the ones on the claws somewhat tricky to line up and I don’t think they were cut to fit perfectly as they always left gaps no matter how I put them on. The chrome accent on the back knee joint you will need to apply BEFORE you assemble the leg. It’s not mentioned in the manual so I’m telling you here.
Perhaps the most bothersome decal is the one chrome accent on the sides of the arm as it’s two tiny chrome indents with a large swath of matte sticker between over a seam line. It just looks terrible. The chrome “dots” on the chest are actually too big and you’d be better off painting these in.
I can’t fault the kit too much for a lack of extras as the Z’Gok never really had any. Having an option of claws is nice touch that wasn’t even necessary. Though some improvement on the decals could be desired. You also get a tiny Char Aznable figure and an action base connector.
7 out of 10
The Real Grade Char’s Z’Gok retails for 2500 yen which is the base-line price for the kits in the grade. This is just under $25 US Dollars by the rates the time of this was written.
Is it worth $25? Maybe. If you like the Z’Gok, especially Char’s unit then it might be worth it despite have little extras and some stability issues. Otherwise if you just want a Z’Gok and don’t feel strongly about it you might be satisfied with just the HGUC version which is only 700 yen (about $7). Keep in mind the HGUC version is a much older kit and is more faithful to the original art. The Real Grade, well, is far more detailed looking.
If you find it for less than $25, consider it a good deal. Close to $20 would feel ideal to me for what you’re getting. I got through this kit rather quickly compared to other RGs, only two days of typical off and on building. Other RGs take me three or more days. That should give you an idea of just how much you have to work with here.
6 out of 10
Score updated to 8 out of 10
At current prices as I update this, 2500 yen is close to $21 which makes this kit a much fairer deal now than before. Rarely will update these things like this but I felt the score a bit low upon re-reading this.
The Real Grade 1/144 Char’s Z’Gok gets a score of
29/40. Now, 31/40. An good, above average kit.
I hope you found my review informative and helpful. I plan on doing reviews for many of my older kits in the near future so stay tuned.
*Review updated 1/11/2017