It’s SD Week! This week at Gunpla 101, we’re be giving Gunpla’s littlest kit size a lot of love with a review every weekday. Review #4 comes from Mario Lebel, reviewing the SD 365 MSN-06S Sinanju. If you liked Nanochi’s Neo Zeong review, you won’t want to miss this one!
Is there anybody who doesn’t like this model? The Sinanju seems to belong to the elite class of mobile suits that everybody loves. It’s got really distinctive design elements that help it stand out, but it never strays too far from your average mobile suit. It’s got similarities with the Zaku and it’s essentially a redesigned Sazabi, but that kind of lazy description doesn’t do it justice. There is a lot to love about the Sinanju and some of that is captured in the SD while some other elements simply don’t transition so well to this little kit.
Color and Design
There is a lot to like here. For starters, that rich red color works really well and it’s in large part due to the use of the gold and black which help to make it pop. Those colors accent the red while also breaking it up and adding details to parts of the Sinanju that would otherwise be lost in all that red. Single out a section of this model, like the shield, and you can easily demonstrate the effective use of the colors on the Sinanju. The overall shape of the shield is nice, but it’s detrimental to the kit’s overall visual effect to have it be a single color. It would go unnoticed and the nice contours would get lost. Adding the black and gold helps to redefine the shape while also providing complimentary and contrasting colors to the model. The black compliments the dark red but adding the gold separates the darker colors. It works really, really well.
I mentioned above that the Sinanju seems derived of two other famous designs and I’d like to elaborate on that a bit. The most obviously is that single eye taken from the classic Zaku. There aren’t too many changes here but those that exist are important. If we look at just the head, the Sinanju combines the more evil look of the Zaku (eye, head spike, and absence of a distinctive mouth) and the helmet look of true Gundams. The effect is pretty close to having the best of both worlds.
Most of the other key design elements are taken from the Sazabi, but they include sufficient tweaks to make them distinctive. The shield and the white propellant tanks are obvious. The feet are from the Sazabi too, but they’re not as heavily armored. You can still see the similarities with the pointed toes. The bulky shoulder armor is also very similar but the Sinanju goes for more spikes. The only thing I can’t really place is the model that served as the basis for the backpack and the very stylish boosters. I love those, but I’m not sure if they’re original to the Sazabi or derived from another model.
The Sinanju doesn’t simply look good. It also gives off some serious vibes. I like how aggressive it looks. There is something gladiatorial about its design. It plays up the militaristic angle by linking the accent colors to the Neo Zeon insignia. The absence of human facial features combined with the helmet also makes it look more aggressive, like a combatant who has put on armor for battle. It almost looks too bulky (the original design avoids this but the SD is definitively bulky). A few design elements help to reduce the bulky look and even go so far as to instill a look of speed. Those elements include the pointed feet, the shield which thins down to a point, the large fin on the top of the helmet and the very large booster on the backpack. Yes, this is heavily armor mobile suit, but it also looks like it can move damn fast.
For the most part the commentary above can be applied to the SD as well as the overall design of the Sinanju, regardless of grade or scale. Now is as good a time as any to say that the SD is thankfully recognizable as the Sinanju. Some kits don’t have enough distinctive design features to survive the transition from regular kit to Super Deformed, but that’s not an issue for this model. The proportions admittedly don’t work well, but it remains an imposing and striking design even when squished to a smaller size. It avoids one the main pitfalls of SD kits which is to look goofy or cute. The big issue I have with proportions is that that fin looks huge in comparison to the whole body, but it does work well if you look at just the head. I can’t complain too much as the key feature of SD kits is the oversized head.
Regular readers at Gunpla 101 will know this section as the “Mario complains about sticker application” section. Ok, yes, that’s usually what I do, but not with this kit. The stickers provided with this model play a crucial role in its design. Not only do they add color, but they help to add a lot of detail. Best of all, they weren’t all that difficult to apply. I took my time and I had fun with it. Most of them are relatively small and that helps you with proper sticker alignment. Really, the only difficulty here was applying the larger stickers on the shield. The rest is well within the means of novice Gunpla builders.
As a whole, there isn’t really anything difficult about this kit other that the stickers on the shield. That’s what I expect from the SD line and it’s nice to see the SD philosophy of being Gunpla for beginners or young enthusiasts applied here.
So far I’ve been full of praise for the Sinanju and that ends here. I have nothing positive to say about the articulation. Honestly, I should simply state that it sucks and move on, but as a reviewer it’s my duty to elaborate and provide some sort of explanation as to why the articulation sucks.
For starters, all of the other SD kits I built for SD Week have a few key points of articulation. For example, the arms bend at the elbow. That’s not the case for the Sinanju. The rest of the kit has the kind of articular I’ve come to expect, but overall movement tends to be hindered by cumbersome armor. This is the downside of the Super Deformed line. Kits that are slightly-to-very bulky in their usual scale are even bulkier when squished down to this size. The result is a kit that looks good when you finish assembly, but difficult to pose. It was so challenging to achieve a good action pose that I gave up more often than I succeeded. What’s more, the awful articulation makes it difficult to use the weapons and extras in any satisfying way. They’re too big for the size of the model and your action poses either end up looking goofy or simply don’t work at all. That’s a shame because this kit comes with a nice assortment of extras.
Extras (weapons, hands, effect parts)
The Sinanju has plenty of extras, specifically tons of weapons. There is a beam saber, a beam rifle, a wicked cool shield, and beam axes. The beam axes are quite versatile and they can be attached with the shield and rifle in various combinations. It’s a little gimmicky but considering Sinanju kits in other grades also include all of these weapons makes it less so. It’s just part of the mobile suit’s appeal, rather than something specific to the SD model.
However, likes the SD Strike Build Gundam, the Sinanju is designed to allow you to combine the weapons into various super-weapons. You can even detach and reassemble parts of the mobile suit and connect them to the weapons. Unfortunately, the results tend to be underwhelming and aren’t really worth the effort.
While there are plenty of weapons, which means opportunity for cool poses and playtime, I’m actually disappointed with the selection. Not on their own, but when you use them with your Sinanju they look too big for the little SD kit. Their size makes it difficult to achieve any truly cool poses. I think Bandai foresaw this problem and so a little stand was included, but even with the help of the stand it’s difficult to pose your Sinanju.
For me, the main reason the Sinanju works so well is that is successfully combines many strong visual elements from the Gundam franchise without making the kit feel too busy or too bulky. Looking at the MG kit you can really see just how lean this mobile suit is despite all the crazy shoulder armor, big backpack, fuel tanks, etc. I think the use of a single color to anchor the look of the model helps a lot. Because of this, the Sinanju is striking upon first glance, but when you take the time to look more closely, there are plenty of smaller details for you to admire. Unfortunately, shrinking down the kit to the SD scale squishes a lot of those design elements together in a way that isn’t nearly as appealing as it is in the MG or even HG scale.
Still, you can’t deny the overall appeal of the Sinanju, even when Super Deformed. This little kit looks real good, but if you want to impress your friends with cool action shots, you better prepare yourself. Poor articulation and cumbersome weapons make for a real challenge when posing your kit and you might just give up and leave your Sinanju standing on the shelf in a generic stance.