Review: HGBD:R Nu Zeon Gundam

A hero for justice and good manners, Captain Zeon crushes all who oppose etiquette! He may be a force to be reckoned with in GBN, but what about his trusty mecha partner? Does the HGBDRR Nu Zeon Gundam do the Nu Gundam and Sazabi justice, or is this hero just washed up? Contributor Marc Rivera delivers swift judgment upon the model.

First Impressions

Just like the Gundam Seltsam, the Nu Zeon Gundam is a kit I’ve wanted since I first laid eyes on it. With Char’s Counterattack being the first Gundam animation I had ever seen, and the Nu Gundam and Sazabi being two of my favorite mecha, seeing them fused together was a dream come true. On top of that, the massive Zeonic Sword—which doubled as a massive beam gun—was ridiculous and beautiful.

I had no idea what was happening when I saw this, but it was cool.

When I found it at the store during Christmas shopping, I was super excited to finally build this bad boy—until I realized that it cost a bit more than what I had to spend on model kits at the time. Thankfully, I was able to get the kit a week later, as a Christmas gift from my brother! Thanks, man!

Color and Design

While the true identity of Captain Zeon may remain a mystery, it’s clear from one look at his Gunpla that he’s a big fan of Char Aznable. The Nu Zeon is three colors: red, dark red, and gold. These colors are all great, and even the non-plated gold looked a bit better than the usual “mustard gold” that other gold Gunpla like the HG Hyaku Shiki Revive and HGUC Phenex had. While it mostly remains color accurate, there are color-correcting stickers for part of the chest above the Z and for the inside portions of the Zeon emblem on the sword.

Be sure to really secure the stickers, otherwise it’ll peel!

As for the design of the kit, it’s exactly as the name implies. A large portion of the runners are recycled from the HGUC Nu Gundam, with extra runners for the Sazabi-esque parts. I had my doubts with this method, but the build deviated pretty significantly from the base Gunpla, and the result is something that only barely resembles the old kit.

The limbs are still clearly a Gundam’s, with a familiar blocky design, but attached are the rounded ends of a Sazabi’s arms and legs. The chest is completely unique, as it’s a smaller version of the Sazabi’s made to fit the smaller body of the Nu, and the big gold Z on the chest.

The head uses the front and back half of the original Nu, but attaches several new pieces to give everything a Zeonic twist. The chin is now the tubing and “mouth” of a Zaku II, and the top of the head has Sazabi antennae and Zaku mono-eye. While it’s still a sticker, the forehead piece has an indent where the mono-eye would go, allowing you to paint it yourself very easily. Along with this, the indent also makes the reflective foil of the eyes shine nicely!

Difficulty

The Nu Zeon Gundam lacks any extremely difficult parts, though if you don’t have a steady hand and tweezers, you may have a hard time applying a lot of the stickers on the Zeonic Sword, as the surface is not flat.

Builders should also note that the plastic used in the antennas is a lot more brittle than the plastic used in most model kits, and if you’re looking to remove safety nubs then you should proceed with care.

Beyond this, the only other thing to worry about is the length of the build. Normally, I can finish an HG in a single sitting if I’m really motivated and I’ve got a couple of hours to spare. When making the Nu Zeon Gundam, it took me two sittings to completely finish snapping the Gunpla together and panel line it.

Articulation

These joints aren’t just for show!

Being based on a kit from more than a decade ago, I didn’t expect this kit to be particularly articulated, but it seems I misremembered, as both the Nu Gundam and Nu Zeon Gundam are both quite poseable! The kit has a 90° bend at the knees and elbows, allowing for the same poseability as the Nu Gundam. As with its predecessor, the limited articulation compared to newer Gunpla was no real issue, as the bulkier armor would have restricted movement anyway, and the Zeonic Sword making most poses impossible.

Extras (Weapons, Effect Parts, Stand)

At first glance, the Nu Zeon looks like it has far less than both of its bases. The shield, beam rifle, and bazooka of the Nu Gundam are gone, and none of the Sazabi’s weapons remain.

The only remaining armament from the Nu Gundam is the Terrible Funnels. The funnels are modified versions of the Nu’s, with twelve instead of six. The increased number means that they can’t transform from wing to funnel, since each funnel has been cut in half. There are also only four separate sets of three connected funnels, as opposed to six independent, transforming pieces. These funnels make up for this by combining to form the Cape Thrusters, which increase the bulk of the kit and help it balance.

To compensate for the loss of almost all its weapons, the Nu Zeon Gundam has the Zeonic Sword. It’s massive, nearly as tall as the Gunpla, and almost half as heavy, requiring a stand to be held at all times. It attaches to the backpack, though this shifts the balance completely, making it impossible to stand without leaning it against a wall or using a display stand.

The sword also has two transformations, the Hi Mega Bowgun and Hi Mega Saber. The Nu Zeon’s only gun, the Hi Mega Bowgun is just the sword split open, shaped like a crossbow, with the stand allowing the Gunpla to hold up the monstrous weapon.

The Hi Mega Saber is similarly just the sword split open, though this time it opens more compactly. Both transformations expose a large hole in the center of the sword, which the ridiculously huge beam effect attaches to.

Final Verdict

Regardless of your stance on Build Divers, it’s without a doubt that this Gunpla did justice to the HGUC Nu Gundam. The Nu Zeon Gundam is a great kit for fans of Char’s Counterattack, red Gunpla, or just cool robots with huge weapons. A mixture of different aspects from two of the most iconic mobile suits in Gundam history, it strikes a balance between homage and Gundam Build series’ flair, this caped crimson kit looks great on any shelf.

With a sizable build that’ll take you a while to finish, it’s perfect for long days when you’ve got nothing else to do. Having built the kit, I can’t think of a single thing that really bothered me during the process, from the fanservice design to the massive Zeonic Sword. As with the Gundam Seltsam, you’ll probably need a display stand, as this kit is incredibly heavy, even without the weapon. With the theatrical screening of Char’s Counterattack back in February, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway on the horizon, and the new season of Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise back in April, it seems that we won’t be forgetting Char and Amuro’s final battle any time soon.

These two really are beyond the time.


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 occasionally posting pictures of model kits and café drinks on Twitter @official_marc_r.

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