Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Completed] MG 1/100 Crossbone Gundam Full-Cloth

It comes with so many accessories that one couldn’t help but play with it but remember kids this is a model kit.  A bit of touch-up paint and this kit is a shining example of excellent design.  A recommended buy for fans.
My second written review on the blog, bear with me as I try to find a good structure for constructing these.  While there are many things I want to cover, there are also many things I may overlook.
EDIT: MG Crossbone X-2 announced (Online-Shop Exclusive).  Get that one if you want a non-resin cast Shot-Lancer.   HORY SHET Bandai limited items are EXPENSIVE!  The X-2 goes for nearly DOUBLE that of the MG Crossbone ver ka  . . . .   Seriously, you are probably going to paint over it anyway because dark plastic == super bad nub marks . . . just buy the regular Crossbone + make your own custom V-fin antenna.  Then buy a resin cast of the Shot-Lancer if you really want it.  (You save at least $20-30 USD this way)

...well, unless you don't build model kits other than straight-out-of-the-box . . . you may be encouraging 'bad' marketing practices =(

EDIT2: 2015/11 - a resin conversion for the Crossbone X-2kai is readily available from China . . . I may just do that since I have obtained a 2nd MG Crossbone from a friend (best deals).  The price is like buying another MG Crossbone though . . . still Bandai has yet to release an official X-2kai so I might go ahead with this idea.

Introduction


The Crossbone Gundam to my knowledge has not existed in any broadcast of Gundam to my knowledge; it has appeared as a playable unit in Gundam Extreme VS as the X-1, X-2 and Full-Cloth versions.  I didn’t know about its existence until the reveal of this model kit, actually.
I purchased this kit at an anime convention in 2007, iirc.  I remember this was the period I was transitioning from preferring big guns to swords—Crossbone seemed to offer a bit of everything =) 
Without further adieu, let’s get to the review.

Build Impressions

I like to run CHKDSK on my computer (out of paranoia) while I build kits
Very straight-forward gunpla sans the few very small parts for areas like the head and chest.  This is perhaps the epitome of great Gundam design; the design is filled with subtle details but without the pointless panel lines, and jam-packed with features. 

Decals



Ah yes, totally worth the effort.  I like the ver. Katoki look with all the red warning markings.  This kit’s strengths are definitely in the fine details rather than overall appearance. 
  The process I use for applying waterslides:
1. topcoat the surface
2. apply dab of Decal Setter
3. soak decal in water and apply onto surface
4. roll a cotton swab over decal to get rid of air bubbles
5. apply Decal Softer a few minutes later
What this entire process does is make the decal appear less-like a sticker and more like it’s actually painted on!  I don’t have a pictorial up for this process so please refer to your nearest search engine or the other awesome sites on the right-side of my blog for resources. 
notice the Bandai tramp-stamp
There are actually very few panel lines—I reckon that’s a good thing for this kit.  Obligatory Bandai tramp-stamp.

Articulation
The articulation and poseability of this kit is fantastic, no complaints in that regard.  However, Bandai went for a polycap-less inner skeleton design so the joints are held together with pegs.  A major exception would be one area of the leg which feels flimsy . . .




“What are your orders, my master?”
My main woe of this kit is the TERRIBLE TERRIBLE knee-to-hip joint, it feels very fragile and it’s prone to sideways twisting. (See diagraph of instruction booklet Courtesy of Dalong.net).  I SNAPPED the right-leg trying to recreate some poses.  It’s a big reminder that these are model kits--not toys.  A bit of Mr. Cement overnight fixed this right up.  Otherwise it’s nice to have incredible articulation.

Avoid any twisting motions of the leg, but if you do make sure to rotate the leg by gripping the hips section (D17 + D18 on diagram). 

Face Gimmick

(*Left: Ordinary Gundam – *Right: Pirate Gundam)
 If it wasn’t already spoiled in the packaging and my previous pictures, the the Crossbone takes after the F91 Gundam (because it’s model F97-ish, iirc) in having a similar vent-feature.  While I’m not entirely sure how functional this is I really dig the look.
Speaking of looks, the kit comes with some extra stuff to change the appearance a bit:

In the previous picture I actually have the Ver. Ka head and chest.  But to recreate the Crossbone Full Cloth the kit provides you with 2 skulls for the chest, 2 skull ornaments for the forehead, and 2 crossbones (lawl) for the lower chest.  Oh, and there’s a separate head assembly too that I’ll have displayed in the upcoming pictures. 
The Full Cloth’s head assembly is a tad less menacing-like, if you ask me.  Again I must mention that this kit’s strengths are in the smaller details and it ultimately comes down to builder preference.  The kit offers you choices, man, that’s a big plus.  Also the default skulls are a big no-no.
Core Lander


The backpack also doubles as a core fighter/lander.  There are 2 wing-flaps, one above and one below.  The fighter’s nose folds downward when attached to the rest of the unit. 
I also have to mention from looking at the second picture again that’s a crapton of decals I put back there on the ‘wings’.  I reckon at least 11x decals per ‘wing’.  Oh, and the thrusters have 1 point of articulation.  It’s a nice change from the original core fighter, which was essentially a folding brick.

Weapons

This is a legitimate reason to get this model kit.  Reading down even further, we can see that the Crossbone can imitate some key Gundams from my favorite series—Mobile Fighter G Gundam!  Or rather—it pirates themes from previous franchises. 

(From left to right: Peacock Smasher, Beam Rifle/Zanbar, Heat Daggerx2, Scissor Anchor x2, Screw Whip x2, Muramasa Blaster, Knuckle x2)
Beam Effect Parts

(From Left to Right: Beam Shield, Beam Saber x2, Beam Zanber, Muramasa Blaster, Brand Marker x2)
Combination Beam Rifle

A good-looking beam-rifle if you ask me.  This isn’t your standard put-two-pieces-of-plastic-together gun.  I painted with flat yellow and gunmetal.  Then a dab of silver for the stylish ring.
There’s a good reason I refer to it as a ‘combination’ beam rifle . . .

. . .  No I didn’t break it, it’s really two weapons in one!  I wonder why I did the Lancer reference in the first place because that gimmick neither breaks the gun nor is honorable.  For those who don’t get the pun, I recommend Fate/Zero anime.  It’s quite a good watch, unlike Fate Stay/Night (totally not the same anime).
Beam Pistol

The tip becomes a portable beam pistol, also pirate-themed, while the handle-half becomes the . . .
Beam Zanbar (sp?)

Have to rotate the top piece of plastic first.  Careful when playing with this because I accidently chipped a bit of the tube off if you look closely.

Oh yes, I love two-for-one deals.  And before I forget—Notice I have the full-cloth’s head and chest parts on this time for comparison.

If this doesn’t scream “I’m a pirate” then I’m not sure what will.
But that’s not even my favorite part
Muramasa Blaster



It’s a gun AND a sword 0.o  Painted the handle and tip flat-yellow for aesthetic reasons.  I should mention that the gun-mode only has the ‘stub’ for gripping with the right-hand and none for the left . . . but the sword can be gripped on both hands.

Delicious solid-blades.  You know what’s funny?  When I started gunpla I was more into big guns but growing up and becoming more familiar I definitely prefer swords now =D

Beam Effect parts included!


“Delicious death awaits”
Beam Saber

Well, I mean Gundams ought to have them right?

The beam sabers are stored on the sides disguised as chest vulcans.  They are actually part of the core fighter and are quite small . . . I mistook them for cigarettes!

PEWWWW
Heat Knife


These are cleverly stored on the back-side of the legs.  I think the idea is the knives retract but they don’t offer that gimmick here so you’d have to attached the knife part separately onto these handles.

Armor Schneider . . . what?  Oh, they can also be attached under the feet.

INAZU---I mean, GRANDPA FRITOOO KICK!

Peacock Smasher (what?)



I’m not sure what to make of this . . . a multi-spray beam crossbow.  It’s very front-heavy so making firing poses without a stand or something to prop it up would be near necessity (or stiffen up that shoulder joint).  And try not to mind my terrible paintbrush skills.
Grapple Hook

The front skirts rotate into what appears to be a grapple.  I painted the chain piece silver.  They hold on well and don’t appear to sag or anything.  I actually snapped one of the cables and had to cement it back together =P
Screw Whip (not shown)
Conversely, the rear skirts house the handles for the screw whips . . . which are pathetic so I didn’t bother to shoot any photos
Full Cloth
Review just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the namesake for this kit—the Full Cloth!



I didn’t get many shots of the Full Cloth in action since it’s simply 4 bulky plastic pieces mounted to the shoulders.  Honestly, I thought I would like it more but having it on the Crossbone really limits what you can do with the otherwise amazing articulation. 



Aside from the 4 main pieces mounted to the shoulders, 2 smaller cloth pieces are mounted on the chest via the cockpit hatch.  The 2 latch pieces on the sides of the hatch door will have to be removed (very small pieces careful not to lose them).  I glued the individual assemblies together since they kept falling apart.  They are also fairly loose when mounted onto the two ‘stubs’ and the cockpit hatch itself is also very loose. Looking back at this it's not a huge problem and can be fixed by topcoat/dabbing in Future polish.

Overall, I am disappointed in the execution of this—but the rest of the kit is just simply fantastic. 
Now for some more fun . . .
Skull Gauntlet
I actually don’t know what they are called, but they are like boxing gloves.  They also make up the shoulder portion of the Full Cloth accessory.

"Today’s match will be between Neo-America’s Gundam Fighter, Gundam Maxter and . ."


. .

. . . Neo-Holland’s Nether Gundam! (Hurricane Gundam in english version)

Chibodee: GUNDAM-FIGHT, READY G---!!!

NETHER TYPHOOOOON!~

Chibodee: UGHHHHHHHHHHHH *flies out off stage*
. . . .
. . . .

WINNER! Nether Gundam by ring out!

*Next Match*

George de Sand: This one plays dirty, but nothing will beat my devotion to Princess Annemarie.

I’m so fast I can stop bulle--- !!!

NETHER TYPHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!~~~

George: OK, that’s it! 
All right, windmill!
You cheated into the tournament,
defeated Chibodee with some stupid technicality,
and you just got dirt on my beautiful cape?  It’s go time!  No honorable death for you!

this cape is not just for show

BLADE KICK

*repeatedly shoots* 
Oh wait, it gets cheesier . . . .

"This Hand of Mine glows with an awesome power!"
 *woosh*
*wuuurrrrr*


 "Its loud roar tells me to GRASP VICTORY!"



BAKUNETSU!  GODDDDDOOHHH FIIIINNNNGAAAAAHHH!!!

!!!



Sai Saici: I don’t think so, Domon Kasshu! HISSATSU FUNCTION!
“…” (totally butchers pronounciation)


Domon: =O  . . . my Burning Fing—actually, my arm!


Domon: But I’m not done yet, HISSATSU FUNCTION!



To Be Continued.

Bonus Pics:




Closing Thoughts

The Full-Cloth to me is fairly gimmicky—meaning there’s nothing terribly aesthetic about having it since much of the articulation is prohibited with it equipped.  It’s difficult for me to not make a comparison to the Ver. Ka version of this kit (without the Full-Cloth accessories) because this kit comes with everything Ver. Ka does minus the dry-transfer decals.  The Waterslides added another $5 to this purchase. 
TLDR; it’s a better value than the Ver. Ka.  But for the most part the kit is very much enjoyable without the Full-Cloth gimmick.  To me, having the Muramasa Blaster is worth the ~$10 price difference xP  As for the decal set, it’s down to modeler preference but IMO all the small decals via waterslides was a hellish experience.   
The kit comes with a few smart parts such as the face-plate and the hinges on the chest.  Caution when handling those, it’s always nice to have a small container to store these in =)
Pros
+Comes with all Ver. Ka’s parts minus decals, rag cloth, and modified lower leg (see Dalong’s review)
+Many accessories to play with
+The epitome of good Gundam design; aesthetically appealing, simple in execution, without excess, and so on.

Cons
-Loose cockpit hatch, backpack joints (fixed by topcoating to create friction)
-Poor connection of thigh to rest of leg; prone to twisting
-Full-Cloth is un-inspiring, bulky, and something I could live without.
Verdict

Is this kit worth buying? YES

     It's a fantastic kit.  With everything it comes with it's easy to forget this is a model kit.
I remember purchasing this kit for roughly $43 USD at an anime convention back in 2007-8.  With the Yen inflation in the U.S. it’s difficult to find a total cost of <$50 now.  It’s priced roughly $10 higher than the Ver. Ka.—and for me the only real loss would be the Muramasa Blaster.  Plus, the dry-decals the Ver. Ka comes with would probably be easier to apply than the waterslides.
The Crossbone is an amazing kit but I could live without many of the extras; the ver. Ka is $10~ cheaper but I DO LIKE the Muramasa Blaster a lot. (full-cloth not so much)
 EDIT 2013: Bandai is doing an online-exclusive MG Crossbone ver X-2 (Black/Purple)!  It comes with the shot-lancer!  This is one of those kits where I wouldn't mind having a second in a different color-scheme and setup.  BUT!  I will not indulge Bandai's business practice via buying their super expensive limited items--I would buy the MG Crossbone X1 ver. ka and paint over it.

to further my point:
MG Crossbone X-1 ver Ka = ~$40 USD
MG Crossbone Full Cloth (this kit I reviewed) = ~$50 USD

MG Crossbone X-2 limited  = $70 - $100 USD

Other Review:


Misc.
Price Paid: ~$45 USD, Fanime Expo in CA around 2007 + $5 sheet of waterslides for Full-Cloth
Time Spent: 2 days assembling, 1+ week to apply paint/waterslides
Finishing Tools Used: Paint (Yellow, Metallic Green, Black, Gunmetal, Chrome Silver), Topcoat Flat, Sanding paper 300+ grit

Welp, time to get this baby back home where I can [hopefully] find some display shelf space for it.  Hope you all enjoyed the review as much as I enjoyed building the Crossbone.  Stay tuned for more updates in the future.