Review: RG Nu Gundam Fin Funnel Effect Version

One of the most advanced mobile suits in the Char’s Counterattack movie, the Nu Gundam was one of only two kits to join the Real Grade line in 2019. Since it was first revealed in 1988, this Gundam has become a fan favorite due in part to its elaborate fin funnel system. How do those funnels come across in its Real Grade form? Peter gives the new Nu a review.

First Impressions

One of the most popular kits of 2019, the RG Nu Gundam came onto my radar shortly after I got back into the hobby thanks to the quarantine. I shared some photos of my RG Sazabi (my first finished kit after a 5-year hiatus) on my Insta story when a friend messaged me that I should get the RG Nu, too. I initially dismissed this thought since I already had an HGUC Nu Gundam with some sentimental value (it was a gift from my cousin) back at my parent’s place in Canada. However, after some back-and-forth deliberation (and consuming many other reviews), I bit the bullet and bought one off of Amazon.

When the RG Nu was released last year, it came out in two versions. There was the standard RG Nu and the Fin Funnel Effect Version. I got the latter, as I figured I could get some good duo poses with the Sazabi. For about $20 extra, the effect pack comes with an Action Base 4 for posing the Nu and the deployed funnels and two sets of the yellow Figure-Rise Jet Effect parts to show the funnels flying off, which is a very solid deal. 

Color and Design

Personally, I think the latest Real Grades are some of the best-looking versions of their respective designs right out of the box, and the RG Nu Gundam is no different. The designers have added a ton of color separation through the plastic molds, meaning there’s a lot of color variation. They’ve also refined the shape and proportions of the Nu to give it a lean and athletic build: a great contrast versus the bulkiness of the Sazabi.

Since all of the main colors are molded (thanks to the aforementioned detailed color separation), there isn’t any painting required to get it close to an “anime” look. The Nu Gundam is dominated by white and dark blue, with classic yellow and red accents. In typical RG fashion, the primary white color is molded in two tones—a pure white and a very light gray—across the main armor pieces to provide additional color separation and visual interest. Stickers are provided for the markings, metal foil effect, and sensors only: no stickers are needed for body colors!

Bandai has tweaked the proportions of this version significantly versus previous Nu Gundams. They’ve made the RG Nu’s legs longer with less “bell-bottomy” lower armor parts, slimmed down the torso section, split up the bicep armor, and made the faceplate shorter and more compact compared to earlier kits. While these changes make the design deviate a bit from the original anime line art, I think it sharpens up the Nu Gundam’s look considerably and makes the tie-in to the Narrative Gundam and Unicorn Gundam (its in-universe predecessor and successor) much stronger. 

There is also a good amount of surface detailing on the RG, blowing the HGUC Nu Gundam out of the water and being really close to the MG Nu Gundam Ver. Ka in this category. The inner frame is insanely detailed (one of the most complex frames I’ve seen yet: a wash and some brush painting would really serve to bring that to life)! However, a lot of the main body parts (e.g. legs, chest, and forearms) are pretty clean and light in design and details. You can keep them as is or use them as a canvas for your own scribing work. The only real issue I have with the design is that the neck is slightly too long, but that isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be. 

All in all, the RG Nu is an absolutely epic-looking kit, with good colors and proportions to make it look cool even with minimal effort. At the same time, you have some really good bones in terms of all of the molded details to make the kit absolutely pop with further detail painting.

Difficulty

As a newer RG, this kit builds up like a mini-MG, with a full inner frame and the traditional RG joints used only in assembling the funnels. This means that there are a TON of parts in this build, with a lot of small parts for the inner frame and funnels. There’s something like 10 runners in total for just the Gundam itself molded in various colors, so it’s a ton of plastic for the money.

With that in mind, I found the kit not overly difficult to clean up and put together, although the high parts count meant that a majority of my build time was spent cleaning up nubs. This was pretty straightforward as a majority of the parts are either undergated or have pretty slim connections to the sprue, so nub marks were not too bad. Bandai also designed the parts well so that there are no seam lines that need to be cleaned and all gaps are cleverly disguised as panel lining opportunities. The only other part cleanup I did was sanding down a mold line on the ankle armor to make that a bit smoother.

When putting the Gundam together, you definitely want to pay careful attention to how the parts are oriented in the instructions. There are a couple of steps in building the shoulders and legs where this mattered. If you do put something in the wrong orientation, you can take it off without much effort and try again. All the parts on this kit are friction fit and I didn’t find any strong snapping or locking mechanism. With it being this easy to disassemble, it’s as if Bandai made the RG Nu as ready for painting as it could have been. It’s a testament to the quality of their molds and tolerances that everything still feels as sturdy as it does.

Articulation

Articulation-wise, this thing is absolutely epic! Bandai really engineered the heck out of the RG Nu; it’s able to pull off poses that the MG and HG versions of this could only dream of. It’s really impressive how much more flexibility Bandai’s made with the 1/144 kits since the ones I’ve built years ago, and the lack of polycaps means that it will hold its stiffness even with extended handling. I will break down the articulation across key sections below:

Head, Shoulders, and Torso

This is the portion that impressed me the most. Through a double-hinge mechanism in the torso, the Nu Gundam is able to pull off crazy ab extensions and crunches to get some really dynamic aerial poses—it’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen yet out of a Gunpla. There’s limited side-to-side in the torso, but the waist design helps make up for it (more on that later). 

The head can rotate 360 degrees but has limited up/down movement. This makes sense and isn’t a problem given the ab crunch available. The shoulders are also on these extendable swivel joints that are common in current RGs, which allow for really dynamic extended arm poses and the Gundam to extend its arms fully upwards. The armor parts also can flip upwards to showcase the shoulder joints and give the Gundam a more mechanical feel.

Arms and Hands

This part is a bit more traditional Gunpla fare, with double-jointed elbows allowing for a really deep arm bend. The hands are on standard ball joints with rotation, but there is a cool swivel part on the waist to allow the hands to bend inward. Great for reaching poses or getting a generally tougher look for the classic standing pose.

Waist, Hip, Legs, and Feet

The RG Nu has a peg at the waist that connects to the midsection for full 360-degree rotation while being fairly sturdy. The waist has fully articulated armor flaps which allow for more dynamic movement while posing. There is also a bit of swivel built into the waist to allow for that side-to-side bend. However, the bend is not slight, so the Nu Gundam can’t really flex and do side stretches that well, unfortunately (bit of a stiff boi in that regard). As for its hips, the RG Nu has a swivel mechanic for both the left and right legs so you can stretch one further down than the other to unlock an additional range of motion for action poses. This is something commonly seen in MG kits, so I was happy to see it also in the RG line. 

The legs have your standard RG gimmicks such as a double-jointed knee for additional RoM and the sliding armor as you bend the leg. It’s got good articulation but nothing overly mind-blowing. Lastly, the feet are on big double-pegged ball joints for sturdiness and have generally good articulation overall. The toes have a bit of a forward bend but are unfortunately not double-jointed for that extra bit of dynamism. Having said that, Nu Gundam’s design has big blocky feet so I don’t think it could have been designed for double-jointed toes anyways.

Extras (weapons, hands, effect parts)

Now here’s where the fun of this specific RG Nu iteration really comes in, as you are definitely spending a bit of extra cash for the extras. By itself, the Nu Gundam is pretty well loaded up and comes with the following weapons, hands, and effect parts:

Weapons Hands Effect Parts
Beam rifle Two closed fists Long curved beam saber
Beam bazooka Two open palm hands Short stubby beam saber
Shield Two beam-saber holding hands Two normal beam sabers
Two beam sabers One trigger hand
Six fin funnels

All of the weapons are pretty well done and color-accurate to the anime. There’s a lot of molded details in them (bolts, frame details) that would be really brought to life through some detail painting. My favorite “handheld” weapon is probably the beam bazooka: the bazooka barrel was actually molded as one whole piece so there’s no seam line to clean up. The only gripe I have here is that the shield connector is super loose and will fall off if you even look at it.

However, you can’t talk about the Nu Gundam without talking about the fin funnels, and they are super well done on the RG. Everything is color-separated and the MS Joint frame (that “B” frame that comes in all RGs) works really well here as the structural basis for each funnel. They all clip on to each other really nicely and the RG is able to stand still with them on, which is something that the MG couldn’t claim.

Moving onto the extras provided in the fin funnel effect set, you get an Action Base 5 (with two more base plates) and two yellow jet effect sets. The price increase is basically the same as if you buy these things separately, but you do get a few more stand parts to have the funnels deployed in motion. This effect set really adds a lot to enabling your Nu Gundam to do more dynamic poses; but if you’re a “set and forget” kind of modeler where you just put the Nu in a cool standing pose and leave it at that, then it’s not totally necessary. 

Final Verdict

As a whole, the RG Nu Gundam is a rockin’ little kit. The poseability is top-notch and personally, I really enjoy the updated proportions that really help align its look to its Unicorn successor. The inner frame detailing is among the most intricate I’ve seen on any Gunpla. While the RG Nu looks great out of the box, I’m excited for how much more potential there is in the model with a bit more time, effort, and paint. If you’re looking for an all-around representation of the Nu Gundam, this one definitely feels like the best of the bunch as it has way more detailing and poseability potential than the HG, without some of the weight issues of the MGs. Fully recommended!


Ever since watching Gundam SEED on YTV’s late-night Bionix segment, Peter has been hooked on Gundam and all things mecha. His favorite Gundam series are SEED and Unicorn, and he has a soft spot for Full Metal Panic! (Fumoffu is still one of the best comedy animes of all time). As far as Gunpla goes, Peter built some vintage HG Wing, SEED, and 00 kits along with a MG Zeta Plus C1 years back before getting back into the hobby with the RG Sazabi. You can find Peter’s gunpla (and other geeky) escapades on Instagram at @kore.wa.gunpla.desu.

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