Originally created as the Gundam F97 before being renamed to the much cooler-sounding Crossbone Gundam X1, this swashbuckling, mobile suit is well-known for its appearance in video games like the upcoming Gundam Extreme Versus: Maxi Boost ON, and its absence in any anime. As prolific as this pirate is, is its Real Grade Gunpla up to par, or as the Crossbone Vanguard Space Pirates might say, parrrrrrrrrrr? Contributor Marc Rivera is here to share whether his experience with the kit was smooth sailing.
Since it’s often considered one of the best Real Grade Gunpla (after only RG Sazabi and Nu Gundam, in my opinion), I’ve always had my eye on the RG Crossbone Gundam since it came out in summer 2019. With a distinctive silhouette due to the X-shaped thrusters on its back and an arsenal of pirate-themed weaponry, it seemed really interesting, but I had been burned before. After failing with the RG Char’s Zaku II and barely surviving my encounter with the RG Sinanju with my sanity intact, I was hesitant to pick up an RG, especially one so small. After thoroughly enjoying the RG Sazabi, I was reminded of how great the X1 was, and decided enough was enough. I stopped putting it off and got myself the Crossbone Gundam.
I proceeded to put it off for nearly half a year. For the next 5 months, I kept pushing it to the back of my backlog, until finally, with nothing better to do in quarantine, I decided to build it.
Color and Design
Unlike other Gunpla I’ve reviewed, the Crossbone Gundam’s colors more closely resemble what one would expect a protagonist Gundam to look like. It’s mostly white with a dark blue torso, and plenty of red and yellow accents. Noticeably absent anywhere in the pictures is the insignia of the Crossbone Vanguard that is prominently displayed in nearly all pictures depicting the X1. It is available as a sticker on the decal sheet, but it began to peel after a couple of days so I removed it. If you’d like the insignia and you’re not a fan of stickers like me, I’d recommend using some waterslide decals.
Its design also sticks closely to the image of the original Gundam. Notable differences include its head and Core Fighter, which differ significantly from previous Gundams.
Like the Gundam F91’s, the Crossbone Gundam’s head has a “mouth”, which functions as a vent for heat. In line with the pirate theme, it sports a skull and crossbones on its forehead, and also has the option during assembly to swap out the normal set of two eye-sensors for a single eye with an eyepatch, making this the first RG Monoeye Gundam!
Jokes aside, the Crossbone Gundam’s Core Fighter is quite distinct from that of other Gundams. Rather than merely functioning as a way of keeping the pilot and combat data safe in the event of defeat, this Core Fighter houses the X1’s chest-mounted beam guns and the moveable thrusters, and can dock in and out of the Gundam easily.
Another surprisingly great addition to the kit’s design is its cloak, which functions both as camouflage and protection from beam weaponry. Rather than the limp vinyl sheet of the HG Crossbone Gundam, the RG counterpart has a hard plastic cloak, which can be fitted over the top of the Gunpla. It’s appropriately modeled like a cloak, flowing over covered parts, and the ends of the cloak are even tattered to complete the edgy look of this pirate.
This Gunpla is quite small, both in stature and in bulk. The RG Crossbone is about one head shorter than the HG RX-78, due in part to slightly shorter legs and a significantly smaller head and torso. While not as small as the Core Gundam, it’s still the smallest Real Grade Gunpla yet.
While one may think that putting “Real Grade” and “small” in the same sentence is a recipe for sore fingers, they’d be sorely mistaken! While it maintains the complexity of a Real Grade Gunpla, the RG Crossbone Gundam has very few tiny parts (all of which have very small nubs), which significantly decreases finger pain when removing those tricky bits of plastic.
When it comes to color-correcting stickers, the Crossbone requires at least four for the red scars on the face and at least three more for the sensors at the eyes, back of the head, and on the beam gun. If you want to paint these, you’ll need an especially steady hand, as they are quite small and the recesses for the scars are shallow.
The X1 is comparatively easier than older RGs due to the lack of a preassembled inner-frame to fiddle with, and easier than newer RGs due to its smaller form. The only difficulty a relatively experienced builder may have is the issue with painting the tiny marks on the head. As for overall difficulty, it’s a moderately challenging kit due to the number of parts and relative complexity compared to a High Grade Gunpla. Still, it makes for a great first Real Grade and completely doable first Gunpla!
When it comes to the articulation, the Crossbone isn’t something to scoff at. It’s got a full bend for the legs, possibly due to a double-joint at the knees and the lack of any bulky armor. The arms are no different, and its forearms can also twist to allow for more natural poses. Each limb is attached to the body by pegs, which—obstructions by parts like the skirt aside—allow each limb to point any direction you desire. Speaking of the skirt armor, each piece is not only fully articulated, but the front skirt can unfold into claws (more on this in the next section).
As mentioned earlier, the X-shaped thrusters on the back are fully articulated, allowing them to close and open, and the verniers can also be angled separately from each of the four “arms”. The Core Fighter itself also folds to fit into the torso of the Gundam and is even visible while docked thanks to a hatch on the top of the chest.
The cloak, similar to the mantle of the RG Exia Repair, has 4 separate pieces, attached with ball joints to the main cloak, which fits snug on the torso and shoulders of the Crossbone Gundam.
As for the parts of the kit that you definitely don’t want to flex, the shoulders aren’t as great as those of other Real Grade Gunpla. Due to the smaller size and the desire to make this kit nice and sturdy, the Crossbone Gundam lacks the flaps present in many other Master Grade and Real Grade kits. Instead, the shoulder armor is one larger block that covers the shoulder joint, meaning to bring the whole arm up, the shoulders will need to be turned entirely, even for minute changes. This is hardly an issue for an otherwise amazingly articulated Gunpla, but this is less than when paired with its cloak. As you can see, the cloak is specifically molded as if it was draped over the shoulders completely level, meaning that if you wanted to turn the shoulders for an action pose, the cloak isn’t going to be part of the picture. While the cloak can cover the arms quite well, the restriction is a tad disappointing, if understandable.
Extras (Weapons, Effect Parts, Hands)
While the RG Crossbone Gundam is small, the Gunpla packs quite a punch for its size, and the extras are a flurry of blows all their own. To just list them off, the kit has:
- 8 Hands (2 clenched fists, 2 open “grasping” hands, 2 hands for holding weapons, 2 hands for holding the Buster Gun)
- 1 Buster Gun
- 1 Beam Zamber
- 1 Muzzle/Grenade (?)
- 2 Beam Sabers
- 2 Scissor Anchor Chains
- 2 Heat Daggers
When it comes to beam effects, the kit has:
- 2 Beam Sabers
- 1 Beam Zamber
- 2 Brand Markers
- 1 Beam Shield
At the top of the list are the Buster Gun and Beam Zamber. The Buster Gun is a beam pistol shaped like a flintlock pistol from what the people in Universal Century would probably call prehistoric times. Equally ancient-looking is the Beam Zamber, a large cutlass shaped beam saber that cuts through enemies easier than a normal beam saber. These two weapons can be combined to create the Zambuster, a powerful beam rifle. You can also attach a part to the muzzle-like tip to the barrel of the gun, though due to a lack of naming in the manual, it could possibly be a grenade, as a grenade can be attached to the front of the Zambuster to use as a grenade launcher.
The rest of the extra weapons come in pairs. The pair of beam sabers is just like every other set of beam sabers, only slightly smaller to fit the size of the Crossbone Gundam. By attaching the skirt armor to the chains and unfurling them, they become Scissor Anchors. The less edgy cousin of Code Geass’s Slash Harkens, these grappling hooks can be used to grab and pull enemies into melee range. One such weapon useful in this situation is the Heat Dagger, which attaches either to the bottom of the Gunpla’s feet or to handles which are found at the back of the legs.
Beyond the swords of the Crossbone Vanguard’s finest, the beam effect parts form their own weapon. By moving a piece of armor on the back of the arm over its fists in a manner not unlike the Unicorn Gundam’s beam sabers, the Crossbone Gundam can use the Brand Markers, beam blades that function like spiked knuckles, leaving an X-shaped scorch mark into enemies. While these beam effects can’t do anything like that in real life, they still look just as dangerous thanks to some wonderful sculpting. Along with these pointed parts, the beam shield also attaches to the same part of the arm. Similar to the previous beam effects, this shield looks great, with nice pulsating waves of energy visible in the part.
Overall, the Crossbone Gundam X1 is an excellent Real Grade. While it hardly keeps its promise of a pre-assembled frame written on the box, it’s nothing to be cross about (pardon the pun). The box’s description may be inaccurate, but the kit inside gives you everything you need to create a sturdy, easy to build Gunpla—a concept only improved upon by the Sazabi and Nu Gundam.
As a kit, this is well worth every cent you spend. With a well-articulated, well-designed model and a huge array of extras, you’ll have a great time not only assembling this kit, but posing it with its assortment of weapons. I’ve said this in nearly every review I’ve written, but a stand is absolutely necessary for the Crossbone Gundam, as it looks amazing with the cloak in an action pose.
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 Animal Crossing New Horizons on Twitter @official_marc_r.