Gundam Build Divers RE:RISE has plenty of mold-breaking mecha designs, but the star of the show is the Core Gundam and its variation, the Earthree Gundam. With a short stature and an armor-swapping gimmick inspired by the Core Block System of the original RX-78-2, this Gundam certainly has big shoes to fill. Contributor Marc Rivera is here to see how this kit sizes up against the competition.
When I first laid my eyes on the Core Gundam in promotional images for Gundam Build Divers RE:RISE, I had a bit of a chuckle. “What a cute design! But after all the fancy mecha from the rest of the Build series, surely the main character wouldn’t get something so plain and small?” Then I saw the Earthree Gundam and the rest of its variants, and I began to think of something else—and worry about the consequences of dealing with a kit with so many interchangeable parts. Flashbacks of loose armor on Iron Blooded Orphans kits and frustrating moments attaching accessories on tricky connections were in the back of my mind from the moment I bought the kit to the minute I laid it down on my desk to start building. Thankfully, the Earthree Gundam shattered all of my concerns! With excellent articulation, a great build, and a solid gimmick, this kit is a wonderful start to the alphabet soup that is the HGBDR line.
Color and Design
Unlike the Veetwo and Marsfour kits, who sport color variants of the Core Gundam, the Earthree is completely accurate to the Gunpla’s appearance in the anime. Like the 00 Diver from Build Divers, this kit has a lot of blue and white, but otherwise has the classic red and yellow of a protagonist’s Gundam. Unlike its predecessor though, this kit has no color correcting stickers for the body. Rather, the sticker sheet consists only of green foil for the eyes and sensors.
As for the design, this Gundam certainly stands out. Inspired by the original Gundam’s Core Block System, RE:RISE protagonist Hiroto Kuga designed a Gunpla that could switch between different forms through the use of various sets of armor attached to flying support mecha, dubbed the PLANETS System.
The Core Gundam, which is the name of the Gunpla when not adorned with any armor, is adorable. Standing at about half the size of the original HG Gundam with a pretty similar, simple design, it’s likely to be the smallest HG you can find! Thanks to its size, it can balance on the Earth Armor quite easily, making for some neat posing opportunities.
While the other armors are typically specialized for different scenarios and fighting styles, the Earthree is the standard form, which is reflected in its standard design. It has sleek limbs, large shoulders, and very triangular armor, making it reminiscent of many Gundams in the alternate timelines of the series.
Like with many other modern HGs, the Earthree should be an easy build for builders of any skill level. Almost every single piece’s connection to the runner is very thin, making for easy nub removal. Thanks to the slim connections, I’m certain that someone could even pop out the pieces without the use of a nipper at all, as I accidentally did a couple of times. As mentioned earlier, there is no color correcting stickers, and many nubs are actually on the inside of pieces, or where two bits of armor connect, so you can achieve a clean look with pretty minimal effort.
As for difficult moments, I found a lot of the smaller pieces that made up the Core Gundam to be hard to handle for my slightly larger hands. This may be no big deal for kids or people with smaller hands, but I personally found myself worrying that I’d accidentally leave stress marks or break thin parts like the chest vents and the clear chest sensor.
Beyond the issues with its small scale, this kit is a nice and easy build, perfect to get someone into Gunpla. If that someone is a kid, they’ll likely have an even easier time! For experienced builders, this is a relaxing build with some neat gimmicks to set it apart from other Gundam-types.
Surprisingly, the Core Gundam possesses almost the same level of poseability as its armored form. As with most modern HG Gunpla, the kit has double-jointed arms, a ball-jointed head, and swiveling legs attached to the hips by a peg and polycap connection. Unlike most kits, the Core Gundam is very short, and such lacks the lower half of its legs. Instead, it has feet at the end of where the knee joint is, which fold up in Earthree form and lack any articulation beyond this, limiting poseability.
As the Earthree Gundam, the kit has superb poseability, able to strike a pose like the Astaroth and other kits from Iron-Blooded Orphans. Thanks to the minuscule size of its feet, this Gundam can twist them almost completely sideways, which gives it a wonderful balance in the event you want your Gunpla doing the splits on your shelf.
Unfortunately, there is a major downgrade in terms of articulation for both the Earthree and Core Gundam. Perhaps to make the Core Gundam compact enough to transform into a normal-sized Gunpla, there is no articulation in the torso. While it has a swivel at the waist, there is no ab crunch, as the stomach is just two pieces connected by a set of two pegs. This model’s body is always perpetually upright, although with a very wide range of movement for every other part of the body, it’s easy to put this Gundam into a pose that hides this flaw.
Extras (Weapons, Effect Parts, Gimmicks)
When it comes to accessories, this model has standard Gundam fare. With two beam sabers, a Core Spray Gun, a shield, and four effect parts for the beam saber (two long and short blades), this little lad can certainly put up a fight. It should be noted that the shield for the Core Gundam cannot attach to the arm. Instead, the Gunpla awkwardly holds it via a straight handle on the other side of the shield, which looks fine in pictures if you cover the hand, but can be a bit strange to see standing on your desk. Beyond the Gundam’s armaments, the Earth Armor comes with a stand, which just suspends the fighter about an inch off any table or shelf.
A gimmick does not often make the kit, but for the Earthree, it is perhaps what makes this model so amazing. Though you build the kit as the Core Gundam and the Earth Armor support mech, you can follow the instructions in the manual to strip the Earth Armor and create the Earthree. This transformation doubles the height of the model, and the armor—surprisingly—holds tight. Unlike some kits from the HGIBO line, which hold pieces onto the frame with friction to mixed results, the Earthree Gundam has pieces of armor secured to the body by other bits of armor, which wraps the Core Gundam up snugly. Every bit of light blue on the kit comes from the Earth Armor, which by the end of this transformation is just a plain black fighter.
Beyond changes to the Gundam itself, its armaments also switch up. The Core Spray Gun is upgraded to a huge beam rifle and the shield doubles in size. Along with the size change, it can now connect to the beam rifle to allow for more powerful shots, and perhaps most importantly, can connect to a hole on the arm with a peg.
The Earthree Gundam is a wonderful kit, especially given the ambition of its size and gimmicks. Despite the great detail and gimmicks this kit sports, it still remains an easy build, which is perfect considering that RE:RISE is likely to get somebody into model making.
All in all, whether you’ve been into Gunpla since before the HG line existed, or you’re picking up one of those robot model kits to see what all the fuss is about, the Earthree Gundam has something for you!
Marc first got into Gunpla with the HG Zaku II, which he thought had a really cool looking box. He knew nothing about Gundam back then, but since that kit, he’s gotten very familiar with the series. You can find him entering giveaways and posting pictures of model kits on Twitter @official_marc_r.