Review: HGGO Gundam RX-78-02 (Gundam The Origin Ver.)

Despite Gundam’s 40th anniversary falling in 2019, the festivities are continuing into 2020! Following the release of the redesigned G40 Gundam, the HGGO RX-78-02 Gundam (Gundam The Origin Ver.) is a High Grade version of the MG RX-78-02 Gundam The Origin. How well does this kit stand against the other Gundams? Contributor Marc Rivera recounts his encounter with the White Devil.

First Impressions

Like its great-great-grandson the Unicorn Gundam, the RX-78-2 has had a staggering number of Gunpla releases. Unlike the Unicorn though, the original Gundam is typically better received, with the rapid-fire release of 2 other High Grades (and a new Entry Grade) eliciting far more excitement than the new MGEX Unicorn Gundam. As for me, I’m a fan of both Gundams, but as I prefer my model kits at 1/144 scale, the new RX-78s are far more interesting to me.

After all the excellent releases in the High Grade Gundam: The Origin line and the wonderful Gundam G40, I had some high hopes for this redesign of the Gundam. After spotting this kit in the Gunpla aisle of my hobby shop, I immediately knew I had to get it. So with Gunpla in hand, I happily walked out of the store, completely forgetting to buy the can of top coat I was there for! I may have had to wait an extra 30 minutes to get back in (due to my hobby shop’s current COVID-19 restrictions), but looking at the Gundam on the box, I knew the wait would be worth it!

Color and Design

Like the HG Char Zaku II that kickstarted the Origin line, the HG RX-78-02 sports a slightly different set of colors than its Mobile Suit Gundam equivalent, with candy-bright colors darkened to look more realistic here. Beyond this slight change, the colors are exactly what you’d expect: white body, blue torso, red and yellow accents.

These colors are a far cry from the light blues and pinks of 1979.

When it comes to design, things get a little complicated. Early on when building this kit, you’re faced with a choice: Early-Type of Middle-Type. While I haven’t read the Gundam: The Origin manga, I now realize these are the different designs the Gundam took throughout the span of its deployment. The Early-Type has far more mounted weaponry than the Gundam is normally portrayed with, featuring a slew of Gatling guns, vulcans, and beam cannons attached to the torso, arms, and backpack respectively. The Middle-Type is far closer to the original anime appearance with far less mounted weaponry, though it sports some additional armor on the shoulders, resembling the Gundam Ground-Types from 08th Team. Regardless of what you choose, this Gundam has noticeably more detail than the HGUC RX-78 or the HGUC Revive, so you’ll want to keep a panel-line marker nearby.

Even unarmed, this Gundam is never truly defenseless.

When it comes to color accuracy, the color separation and saturation are of the high level of quality that’s become typical of modern High Grade Gundams. There are foil stickers for the head sensors and the V-fin, plus stickers for each circular joint piece. I opted against using these since I believe it looks just fine with a bit of panel lining (you can look at my photos and decide for yourself what to do). There aren’t stickers for the lenses on the shoulder cannon or the two sensors on the Gundam’s yellow collar, so for full accuracy, you’ll need to paint those.

Height comparison between the HG G40, HG Gundam The Origin, and HGUC Gundam.

There is some considerable improvement in color separation though, as the head is now nearly entirely color accurate, save for the eyes and a sensor on the back of the head. The front lens and vulcans are both in their correct colors, thanks to some upgrades in the head assembly.

Regardless of your choice between Early-Type and Middle-Type, this Gunpla will have an insane amount of detail and color, which paired with the marking stickers that come with the kit can result in a kit that can almost rival a Real Grade in appearance.

Difficulty

This kit stands out as being a little bit more difficult than the other HG Gundams, thanks to its slight redesign and increased detail.

In particular, the head, whose color separation I praised in the previous section, took far longer to build than any other part of the model. The yellow vulcans didn’t seem to want to fit inside the white outer armor no matter how many times I tried, and despite shaving the nubs flat, the pieces seemed to never fit together quite properly. Given how small the vulcans were, the pieces would need to be put together perfectly, lest you break them. Despite this, after a period of time longer than I’d like to admit, I finally managed to get the pieces in just right, and the rest of the build was smooth sailing.

Rather than trimming, I moved the decals to different spots that fit them.

Just like with the HG G-Else, the stickers that come with this kit will definitely pose a challenge for the inexperienced or the tweezerless. While the end result is certainly worth it, I would recommend taking breaks when applying the decals. Beyond the normal difficulty one may find in applying these tiny single-use stickers, there are some stickers that are too small to fit in the right spot, requiring the use of additional cutting if you want all the stickers fitting in the right place. In particular, the stickers near the head vulcans and on the sides of both beam rifles will require some trimming to fit in their spots.

Articulation

While the HG Gundam The Origin is no G40, it definitely has the articulation one would come to expect from a modern High Grade. 

Its arms, which can completely bend with double-jointed elbows, are attached to the body by ball joints, which can swivel both upward and forward. This makes it a definite improvement over the HG Gundam Revive, which can only swivel upwards.

While its articulation is no match for the G40, this Gundam’s still got some impressive bends!

The legs are the same as any other HG, double-jointed and attached to the waist by a peg that can swivel forward for increased range of motion. The only change from its predecessors is the ankle armor, which attaches to the bottom of the leg by a ball joint rather than wrapping around the top of the foot. This allows for a greater range of motion for the armor, as it’s no longer tied to the position of the foot.

Extras (Weapons, Hands, Effect Parts, Alternate Parts)

Like the other HG RX-78s, the HGGO Gundam has the standard loadout, but it comes with a few extras for its Early-Type. With all the runners, you have the following:

  • 2 Beam Sabers
  • 2 Beam Saber Effect Parts
  • 2 Trigger Finger Hands
  • 2 Holding Hands
  • Left Open Hand
  • Early-Type Beam Rifle
  • Middle-Type Beam Rifle
  • Hyper Bazooka
  • Shoulder Cannon
  • Shield
  • Leftover Early/Middle-Type Parts

This Gundam reuses much of its base design from the HGGO GMs that preceded it, making the real-life model an inverse of the anime, which had the GM created based on the designs of the Gundam—and the extras follow suit. The beam sabers are composed of the hilt and crossguard, which can take almost any HG beam effect part that has a circular peg. The hands are all two pieces, consisting of the fingers/ball joint and the back of the hand.

Both beam rifles are identical in purpose, with a swiveling targeting lens, handle, and 3mm peg, which allow for ambidextrous aiming, two-handing, and attachment respectively. The Early-Type Beam Rifle is noticeably bulkier, but either gun can be held up straight without sagging.

The Hyper Bazooka, while perhaps not as often used as the Beam Rifle, is a standout of this Gundam’s arsenal as it’s the first version of the RX-78’s rocket launcher that has the white coloring characteristic of most of its modern depictions. Beyond the change in color, this weapon remains the same as the extra that comes with the HG Gundam Revive, with a handle that can fold into the gun and a swiveling targeting lens. As with every Hyper Bazooka that precedes this one, it can attach to the back of the waist by a clip.

The Mounted Beam Cannon makes this Early-Type look distinct from the Middle-Type. It’s two pieces pressed together that attach to the backpack in place of one beam saber. It can swivel up to not block the Gundam’s head in pictures with its bulk.

The shield, while mostly the same as any other Earth Federation Gunpla’s shield, has a handle that can slide up and down like a Master Grade shield.

While it would require a little bit of effort, you can disassemble the shoulders and wrists of the Gunpla and replace them with the other versions for the Early or Middle-Type. While making these changes is possible if you’re careful, replacing the chest armor is quite tricky without damaging the kit or making the seam line more visible, so be sure you won’t change your mind when you’re finished building!

Final Verdict

A solid improvement on its predecessors, the HGGO RX-78 Gundam (Gundam The Origin Ver. is an excellent kit that miniaturizes the surface detail seen in its MG equivalent. While making this Gunpla look just like it does on the box may require a bit of effort, a straight build is certainly possible for a beginner. This kit is a perfect build for anyone interested in building a modern version of the Gundam that doesn’t stray too far from its original design.

While I won’t be holding my breath, I can only hope that we get an anime adaptation of the rest of the Gundam The Origin manga, so we can see this version of the White Devil with a fresh coat of paint.


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 posting pictures of model kits and other Gundam-related stuff on Twitter @official_marc_r.

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