Here at Gunpla 101, we’ve recently started working with fellow Gunpla fan Mario Lebel to provide thoughtful, detailed reviews on some of the newest, most beginner friendly Gunpla models on the market. Today, Mario is reviewing HG 1/144 Gundam Portent.
I wasn’t expecting much with this kit because the box art and the anime didn’t do much to get me excited about it. My initial reaction was that it looked weird. However, as has happened with every kit I’ve built so far, I gained a better appreciation for the model and the design after having built it. I quite like it now that it’s fully assembled.
Color and Design
This kit immediately stands out from other models because of the colors. Portent is primarily white with green details and just a tiny bit of yellow pieces for highlights. Putting the Portent next to more traditional looking Gundams immediately provides a color contrast.
The unusual but stylish design of this kit also helps the Portent stand out significantly. You can see influences from Gundam Exia in the circular green parts on the legs, the chest, and even on the head. But where the Exia is angular and sharp, the Portent has soft edges. The result is that the Portent looks elegant. The humanoid shape combined with the bright green and the six fins also give this kit the look of a fairy—a fierce looking fairy, I think!
The lasting impact of this kit has to be the stylish and effective use of its clear green parts. Since the colors are one of this kit’s strength, it makes sense to push it one step further and make the brightest pieces clear pieces. Every clear piece is assembled with a plain silver sticker placed beneath it. The sticker has a metallic finish and the combined use of a shiny sticker and the clear part gives the illusion that those pieces are illuminated. Under the right lighting, those parts appear to glow and it looks really good.
Usually Gunpla kits come with some sort of graphic or other visual adornment to include on the armour pieces. This is most often done with stickers on HG kits but the Portent doesn’t have any sticker detailing to be done on the armour pieces. It’s very plain in that regard and I think it works. This particular model was designed by a character using it specifically for Gunpla battle. It’s not a model of a Gundam that belong to a soldier. It’s not affiliated with a military organization or world government. Because of this lack of adornment, the majority of the stickers in this kit are the shiny silver once used in combination with the green pieces.
Building this kit presented me with only a single challenge. There are two very large stickers that are meant to be placed on the Pierce Sword. That’s the large white and green energy blade. It’s a terrific design and if the stickers are applied expertly and without any flaws, your Pierce Sword will look phenomenal. Mine certainly doesn’t and that’s because sticker application can be unforgiving. Unlike waterslide decals or even dry transfer decals, stickers can’t be repositioned before their final application. You can see the stress and the wrinkles on the sticker in some of the images below. Make sure to take your time working on the Pierce Sword if you choose to build this kit.
Overall the kit doesn’t have much range of movement. For starters, the legs don’t offer much movement if you’re simply lifting or lowering the leg. The Portent can’t do a good squat to save its life but it does allow for a huge amount of flexibility if you’re widening the stance. This model can do the splits like it’s nobody’s business.
The torso, particularly the lower abdomen, doesn’t allow for any bending. The arms have a pretty good range of movement and there is a lot of twisting that you can do. You don’t have much room at the shoulder because the armour piece on the ball joint collides with the torso and prevents you from lifting the arms any higher. The other problem you have here is that the arms pop out of their polycaps quite easily. I mostly had problems with the left arm but given that the design is identical for both arms, I won’t be surprised if the right arm has the same problem in the future. The head has a tremendous amount of movement. It’s on a double ball joint and it honestly seems like overkill to be able to move the head from and back, side to side, and up and slightly up and down.
That leaves the fins. Thankfully they all rotate, otherwise they might further hinder this kit’s movement. Because there are so many fins, it can get a little frustrating when posing your kit. It means you’ve got six fins to move every time you pose. The upside is that when you have found a good pose, slightly adjusting the fins can give your Portent a stylized and unique look when compared to more traditional looking kits. I was half expecting the fins to throw off the kits balance but the reverse might be closer to the truth. They don’t aid in articulation but when properly positioned, the fins contribute to the kits graceful look and can help disperse the weight more evenly actually improving the balance. The Portent passes the one leg test with ease.
Extras (weapons, hands, effect parts)
There are plenty of extras in this kit. My favourites are the Pierce Sword and the Smash Rifle. Both represent a new design of standard Gundam weaponry. The Pierce Sword is a beam saber with a more triangular shape, widening significantly at the base and connecting to an atypical handle. Similarly, the Smash Rifle is a beam rifle with a fresh look. It’s essentially a large beam rifle, but the use of white parts makes it stand out considerably. I can’t think of another kit that includes such nice designs for a saber and rifle.
The rest of the extras are additional beam sabers, a couple of closed fists, two holding hands, and one open hand. There are a total of four beam sabers, two short and two long. They attach to the handles which are stored on the Portent’s lower back. The handles actually move up and down when attached to the back. When posing with the beam sabers, I like to use one short and one long, because I think it looks better than using two sabers of equal length.
This kit also comes with its own stand. Not only is it made of clear green plastic to match the Portent’s colors, it’s my very first stand! I couldn’t get over how exciting and different it was to pose a kit using a stand. It really opens up a new world of possibilities. Not being stuck to standing or kneeling, I was able to put my Portent into poses that suggested movement and flight, rather than have them in a static (yet stable) pose on the ground.
You might be asking where the Portent Flyer is. I’m a little sad to report that it’s not included in this kit. I don’t think I’ll get one myself because it’s incredibly plain looking. It’s meant to be used a flyer and worn as a backpack when not in use. I think that would add too much weight to the model and negatively affect the balance.
Gunpla Fan Tip
I tried something new when building this kit. I like to get rid of nubs as much as possible. With my first few kits I used my hobby knife to try and shave off as much as the nub as possible without causing too much stress to the plastic. It works better with some colors than others, but it’s not an ideal way of doing this. I also tried using the file that was included in my Tamiya Basic Tool Kit but I found this did way too much damage to the plastic surface. I think files, even small ones like that one I used, are probably best use for when you want to make significant changes to a piece, possibly with the intent of customizing one of your models.
With this kit, I wanted to try something new. I’ve heard of some Gunpla builders using sandpaper to get rid of nubs. The idea is to use progressively finer sandpaper to first reduce the nub and then to smooth it out and give the pieces an even finish. I haven’t tried this yet because I found something else that I thought worked pretty well. I purchased a six-sided nail file at my local pharmacy. Each side had a progressively smaller grit. One of the sides was actually for buffing rather than filing or sanding. I had quite a bit of success with this and I’d encourage you to try it out as an alternative to metal files or sandpaper. Make sure to pay careful attention when sanding or filing clear pieces. They can get scratched up really easily.
Gundam Portent’s clear parts are definitely the highlight of its uniqueness and design. I love how effective they are at giving the illusion that the kit is glowing. The colors are what sold me to this unusual Gundam. The fins are nice to look at, but a pain to pose. However, if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded with a kit that easily conveys graceful movement with suggestions of strength and power. It’s a balanced kit and probably the second favorite in my small collection.
That’s it for today. Let us know your requests for the next Gunpla Kit Review!