HGUC ZII Review

Intro

The 1/144 HGUC Z II Gundam is number 186 of the modern HG line-up and came out in September of 2014. It retails for 2400 yen which is close to $24 US Dollars. It’s from the Zeta Gundam Mobile Suit Variation line. It stands about 5 1/2″ to head height, but including the beam cannon on the back pushes it up to 7 1/2″ tall.

Technically this suit should be the successor to the Zeta Gundam but due to post Z-MSV “plot” reasons the ZZ Gundam is the official successor. As a simplified version of the Zeta, it uses a transformation system based off the Methuss, but arguably much more robust. Parts of its design and lineage would later live on in the mass produced ReZEL units seen in Gundam Unicorn.

This is a kit I’ve already built. Many of my upcoming reviews will be of kits I’ve already built as I have far more of those than kits I have yet to purchase. Yet I wanted to take a closer look look at this kit because it’s one of the more interesting looking Gundams out there and it’s Build Fighters variant is coming out very soon. Besides, let’s be honest, with the way the Japan’s economy is affecting kit production choices, an obscure suit like this would probably not get made today. Yet I’m glad Bandai made it. It’s different from the norm.

Out of the box you get twelve runners total including a duplicate B plate, Beam saber set and a polycap set.

 

Detail

Basic colors of the ZII are a bold blue and light grey with red and yellow accents. The given plastic runners do a decent job of provided accurate color, however I would say that the provided Blue is a perhaps a bit too bold and could use some toning down. Besides that, standard gray for the structure parts and beam rifle. The mega beam launcher and sabers use a slightly lighter shade of grey.

Being a High Grade kit in smaller scale, it’s somewhat sparse with panel lines. Most of your lining areas will be on the back thrusters, torso and weapons. Just a few lines elsewhere.

Some yellow parts do cover the thruster areas through the body but not all. There are ones on the legs and in the shoulders that require painting if you want to be semi-accurate. The back vent on the rear waist should be gray but it is a hardly noticeable area.

For other spot details you are given a set of stickers. For the most part they work well enough. However there is one spot of yellow on the end of the beam cannon that overhangs the head that really should had been a separate part as the sticker for this is lousy.

The mega beam rifle is huge but composed of only color and this is quite dull. While the barrel is the slightly darker gray it is hardly noticeable. For such a large item, there really should had been more color variation or at least more of a contrast with the grays.

But all together and up a stand, this is still a good looking suit.

7 out of 10

 

Articulation

The ZII has all the basic points of moving and posing down but there are issues. Big issues.

Starting from the top; the head can move decently up and down but has some limits in side to side motion. The torso itself is somewhat locked in position; even though it can move slightly it just can’t really rotate far enough to matter. The shoulders do have a extra joint inside the torso that lets the arms move up and down a bit more, just a bit more.

The arms themselves are actually pretty good for a HG kit. They have good range of motion when not holding anything (yes, when NOT holding anything). The arm can rotate, bend more than 90 degrees and the hands some degree of free range in their polycap socket.

The waist armor is very basic. Standard front flaps, split to make them move independently. The side skirts are attached to the upper legs via a polycap balljoint and can move around quite freely.

In the legs you have a rotation joint in the upper leg and the knees can bend more than 90 degrees. The feet have some range motion but it is limited by the overhanging armor along the sides.

Lastly, the pair of large verniers on the back are on a ball joint so they can be positioned a bit.

On the ground the ZII is fine as long it’s not attempting any dynamic poses. It is a slightly top heavy kit and while the feet are larger than normal they are also much narrower with a smaller foot-print. Combined with the limited ankle movement this makes posing the ZII on the ground a bit of a chore.

Well, this machine was designed only for space use anyway, so let’s just get it up on an action base and fix that. Easy fix for one issue. The other is not so fixable.

The weapons. I’m mainly talking about its gun weapons. The beam sabers are fine, but trying to get this kit to hold it’s ranged weapons in any interesting poses is an incredible challenge. The crux of the problem is that these weapons are just not designed right for this mobile suit and that unfortunately translated over to the kit. The standard Zeta’s beam rifle has always had this connector hump on the rear of it that interferes with holding it straight, plus being extended due to the E-Cap. With the way the hands are made the ZII can ONLY hold it’s weapons out at an awkward angle. That and the back of the rifle is always colliding with the torso so posing options get limited.

The mega beam launcher is unfortunately tens times worse. It huge size just collides with the back and sides of the ZII meaning you can never get the arm out at full extension. Due to it’s odd design of being held underhanded it puts more stress on the hand and trying to doing anything often pops the hand out of the arm socket. That the weirdly tall sensor on it is always colliding with the torso. Unfortunately,  that’s just the way this weapon was originally envisioned and it a case of something that looks good in the art  doesn’t necessarily translate well over to the real world.

The clay bazookas aren’t much better. They have the same problem of having too much behind the handle that is colliding with everything on the back of the ZII.

What this Gundam really needs is… pistols. Yeah, beam pistols. Handguns. Just something that has nothing behind the trigger handles. Either that or have the MBL have it’s handle offset to the side like the Tallgeese III Mega Launcher.

In general, good luck posing it with the weapons.

4 out of 10

 

Extras

Armaments for the ZII include a set of beam sabers with blades, a Z Gundam Beam Rifle, a pair of Clay Bazookas, the MBL(Mega Beam Launcher), a swap part for “closing” the MBL, a set of holding fists and a set of trigger handle hands.

Weirdly enough there is no slot or storage location on the ZII for it’s beam sabers so you’ll have to keep those with the other loose parts. The beam sabers themselves can be fitted to the MBL and the rifle for a beam lance effect just like with the Zeta Gundam.

I already mentioned the MBL’s lack of color variation so I won’t go over it again. The Z Gundam Beam Rifle has some nice detail and some yellow sticker apps to liven it up.

Lastly we get to the important business of being a Z suit. Transformation.

Or in this case, a part swapper.

You get a nice base part for the ZII’s waverider mode and an action base connector for it (Important note! You have to use the peg adapter on the action base for this as it fits inside of this adapter. This adapter by itself won’t attach to the action base.)

The part is pretty simple and straightforward in the manual. You’ll need the blue torso part, both arms with shoulders, the back pair of verniers, the clay bazookas, the beam cannon unit, the side skirts, the back “butt” thruster and the lower half of the legs. All of these parts will attach to the waverider base and give you the ZII’s waverider form.

The MBL can be attached to the underside to finish out this form. Though it would had been nice to see an option with the Z Gundam beam rifle attached as well.

It looks good in this form and studying it closely I really want to envision what this suit would be like in a fully transformable Master Grade from.

 

8 out 10

 

Value

This is kit is about $24 and that cost will vary depending on where you find it. It’s a higher than average price for a HGUC. However it has several runners, plenty of weapons and a unique look, not to mention being a variable suit.

I can really only compare it to it’s HGUC brethren, the Zeta Gundam and the ReZEL.

The Zeta is a much older kit and while I don’t have it, from the photos I’ve seen it’s articulation is somewhat on par with the ZII but it lacks actual beam blades and can’t really hold it’s MBL at all(wouldn’t expect it to). The Zeta is 1600 yen (~$16).

The ReZEL is not as old but has a closer transformation. Looking at it’s photos I can already tell it has better articulation than the ZII as it’s not hampered by unusually long weapons or armor extensions. It goes for 2000 yen (~$20).

Compared to those, the ZII has better overall quality than the Zeta but appears to be somewhat inferior to the ReZEL in terms of posing options. Yet the ZII does have more armaments than both.

Does it justify the price? Maybe. If you want a good variable HGUC kit, the ReZEL and it’s variations might actually be a better option.

I do love this odd little Gundam, but it is hard to get past the weapon issues and I wish Bandai could had done something different with the MBL.

In the end, for 2400 yen it’s probably about right for all you are getting. Just be ready with lots of patience.

8 out 10

Conclusion

The HGUC ZII is a decent kit. Despite it’s flaws, I still like it. It’s nice to have another Zeta suit and not another RX-78 variation. The Build Fighters version of this kit comes out soon as the upgraded ZZII and I’m looking forward to getting one and comparing it to this. Will it have the same issues or will Bandai have taken some liberty and corrected some of the ZII’s flaws?

27/40 – Slightly above average kit.

-DZMaven

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