Review: 1/144 HGUC RX-0 Unicorn Gundam. Unicorn Mode and NewType-Destroyer

The first kit out of the Gundam Unicorn series, the eponymous Gundam Unicorn was certainly delayed from DABAN’s queue, but here it is.

For some fans of GunPla a series’ story and characters can make and break the appeal of its franchise. Gundam Unicorn was initially released as a Manga series in Japan written by Harutoshi Fukui. Its story and character posed as non-issues in attracting audience, thanks to Hajime Katoki taking point of the mechanical designs. Bandai marketing betted big on the model kits as they launched the Gundam Unicorn line long before the commencement of the OVA in March 12, 2010.

Manufacturer: DABAN MODEL
Scale: 1/144
Grade: High Grade – Universal Century
Origin: Gundam Unicorn
Price: 300php (as of posting).
Please click here to see  our list for the latest pricing and availability.

The MG Unicorn Ver. Ka was released a bit earlier, attracted a lot of attention brought about the attention to detail it gave (aside from the sheer amount of decals) and its unconventional transformation gimmick. Even though these gimmicks was traded for the limitation of articulation.

Well some of those limitation won’t be felt much in the kit, after all this is just a HGUC release that uses the 2009 HGUC standard. So let’s get it going then.

Part 1A: Gundam Unicorn [Unicorn Mode] Runners & Stickers

Surprisingly, I find the kit’s runners are so few for the level of detail it provides. You should take notice that the Unicorn Mode only contains the Hyper Bazooka as a weapon.

Part 1B: Gundam Unicorn [Destroy Mode] Runners & Stickers

As you have noticed as well, the kit only has the Beam Magnum as a weapon and no beam sabers. Good thing we’ll be planning to bundle them.

Part 1C: Gundam Unicorn Head Base & Gatling Gun Runners

The head base looks great but no other decals was provided, same case with what Bandai packaged their kit with. The Gatling Guns is a nice add-on exclusive to DABAN releases. Bandai did not add this as a freebie in their original release.

First Look

In the Unicorn mode, it resembles nowhere near a Gundam. It’s like from another Mecha Franchise. No Gundam design cues anywhere can be found. No defining V-Fin, no human like-eyes, mouth vents, and that iconic red chin. You will find a visor-type eye common with GMs, a GM like face, and a signle white horn cue ‘Unicorn’ protruding from its forehead. The model looks solid and formidable almost Lamborghini like design cue with defined sharp edges.

Quite divergent of the traditional Gundam color schemes (White, Red, and Blue) and opts for a predominantly white, with an accent of gray and a little of dark blue to break things up. Not the flashiest model but it does draw you to it’s details.

On the NewType-Destroyer mode (Destroy Mode from here on), is the where the shocker is all about. ‘Split-horn‘ as the unofficial code name of the Unicorn as called by the crew of the Zeon Remnants, Sleeves, and Neo Zeon is the very antithesis of it’s Unicorn mode. Bands of glowing red, due to the fact of the activated Psycho Frame throughout the armor (well it is the frame underneath!) breaking the neutral white of the model kit. The kit also a height boost due to the transformation on the feet and thigh height expansion. This transforms the Unicorn from a bulky white to a relatively tall, lean, red machine. The transformation now gives us the Gundam design, yellow V-Fin, vents, red chin, and two-eyes. Also, the beam sabers on the backpack is now point upwards in typical Gundam fashion.
Proportion wise, the HGUC version features slightly wider shoulders comparing it to the MG iteration. This brings the kit much closer to KA’s original concept drawings.

Both suits are considerably taller than the average Universal Century kit. The Unicorn mode stands tall at 19.7 meters and 21.7 meters at Destroy mode. That’s far from the typical 17-18 meters billed height of mobile suits in Universal Century.

On the Deets.

The design engineers over at Bandai really did well under the design supervision of Hajime Katoki. You can see their effort paid big on the amount of details present on the kit. Daban did well to give justice to the details as well. In the earlier HGUC releases, Bandai usually took shortcuts and opted for foil stickers for the smaller detrails (and if they’re feeling extra lazy, they’ll forego it totally). Yet even with the complex details, the kits are almost entirely molded in the correct colors (aka great color separation) and looks great out of the box with little or even no necessity of painting it. The kit surely showed that extra effort in order to rejuvenate the interest in the HGUC line. After all this is a milestone event in the time line. It ends the conflict that Gundam revolves around.

As seen on Part 1A/B, the only foil stickers you will find are for the visors and gun sight/cameras. The remainder of the kit relies on the color separation of the kit itself. This might not look like a big deal given that the Unicorn is rather conservative of color. The designers definitely did the extra mile to make the kit look great even if you did a straight build. By this I refer to the boosters on its legs and skirt armor. There are four small boosters on each leg and two on each of the side skirt plates (on the Destroy Mode). While these have been usually ignored on previous HGUC kits and left for the builder himself to add the paint needed to achieve accuracy, these twelve boosters were not. Together, these small details help to prevent the lower half of unicorn mode from looking flat, as well as granting the perfectionist the peace of mind and relief to their wallets.

The Unicorn mode’s armor is finely molded and relatively easy to put in panel line details via the Gundam Panel Line Marker GRY. The shoulder armor feature a deeper groove. The panel line marker still could fit into, just remember that you may need to wash it a little with thinner so that you won’t end up having the detail too dark/heavily lined. While on the topic of detailing, I would highly recommend using the grey maker for detailing this particular model over a black marker. There are a lot of panel lines on this kit, and a large amount of black lines on the white surface of the model is going to have way too much contrast and end up looking very distracting.

Not much panel line problems can be found on the destroy mode, as most of the panel line in the Unicorn mode marks the armor split. Now those gaps marks the psycho frame and is molded in clear red.

I’m really impressed with this particular HGUC. It is almost comparable to the quality that the MG has, just without the transformation gimmick. It’s like they just went scaling it down (literally) and worked it that the inner frame can be do without. They did a 1/144 model with zero compromise with great success.

For the color accuracy, the HGUC Destroy mode went in total opposite of the MG model. It has a full yellow V-fin as opposed to the white V-fin and gold sticker of the MG and the white plastic on the shoulder vulcans. All very minor and forgettable.

The kits are packaged with very specific weapons as seen on their cover boxes which will be discussed over the next section. As for the kit, everything else are spot-on, including the boosters and additional thrusters that are revealed in the Destroy mode’s backpack and legs. You can also notice the psycho frame in between the armors. Props for doing the extra mile for that.

Accessories

Both models include four beam saber handles that are stored on its forearms and backpack. BUT the beam saber effect parts can only be obtained on the Unicorn mode kit. The sabers is molded with a lighter clear pink plastic than usual, these blades are produced with the standard beam saber mold that has been used for other kits.

To newcomers, the blades may be of acceptable length, but veterans will notice that it is somewhat shorter than the normal.

The Unicorn mode comes with a Hyper Bazooka, untransformed shield, and beam sabers. The shield can be attached to the side of the arms in two different ways thanks to two pegs supplied by Bandai. One allows you to attach it as in the photo above and also into the backpack. The other one allows you to mount it the same way the Destroy mode can, see picture below.

The Hyper Bazooka is faithfully replicated as seen on the OVA. It’s entirely gray, so that’s easy! The only thing is that it isn’t retractable like in the MG, but the HGUC can be shortened by swapping out the extender tube. They didn’t forget about the fold-out handle on the side.

The Destroy mode comes with, of course a transformed shield . There are no real problems with the shield though the manual references photos that the back side of the shield body should be gray.

The beam magnum is similar to the hyper bazooka in its loss of the sliding mechanism used to secure the magazine. In this case, the magazine is integrated into the mold of the rifle itself, thus its dark blue color is lost in the process.

Like the bazooka, the beam magnum features a folding handle and a fold-out clip. In addition to this, another clip is molded onto the opposite side of the handle, which is meant to be attached to the backside of the suit’s forearms.

Despite the lack of complexity and sacrificing the color separation for the sake of  simplicity, the rifle’s design still deserves some praise. Unlike most other standard Gundam beam rifles, the Unicorn’s beam magnum has appeal to it. It is long, thick barrel and heavy-looking design really make the weapon seem like it packs a mean punch. It’s a shame that the clip is not molded separately in the correct colors, still it is very impressive.

Articulation

Both kits have standard HGUC articulation for the model year 2009. Of course if you’re building 2013 HGUCs, you’ll be a bit disappointed in the Unicorn. Still, thanks to the All Gundam Project that the HGUC line will progress with better articulation.

In terms of model year 2009, the neck joint is a major improvement. In addition to the standard ball joint, the neck is able to swing backwards, allowing for a much greater degree of movement. The hips also is able  to position one leg slightly in front of the other. The biggest improvement lie in the knee joints, which are able to bend backwards around 90 degrees! (this is 2009 guys!), unlike the laughable knee articulation of the MG version. 90 Degrees isn’t going to allow Unicorn Gundam to squat, but it’s still sufficient for most posing demands.

The forearm beam sabers, or the “beam tonfas”. The beam saber holders are merely fitted onto the forearms, which means there are no joints that would allow them to swing out completely. They don’t have a swing out joint as seen in the MG version. They just clip on the arms in order to put them in a forward position. This method is not mentioned in the instruction manual, nor does it feel very secure, since all that’s keeping the component from falling off is surface friction. From what I can tell, the beam tonfas are a major feature to the design of the suit. It is rather disappointing in this regard. Well Bandai put it there, Daban merely copied it as is.

Day of the Unicorn

The Unicorn retails for 300php a piece (as of posting) for both Unicorn Mode and Destroy Mode that is without the Head Base and Gatling guns. With the added extras, it will set you 500php (as of posting). When the size and detail of these models are taken into consideration, these two kits are fabulous bargains. 

If you are plan to start painting your models, then the HGUC Unicorn Gundam (Unicorn Mode) and HGUC Unicorn Gundam (Destroy Mode) are recommended as try outs since they have nothing much to color with and is basically a white canvas you can try painting on. Even if you aren’t big on painting you kits, the minor color inaccuracies are not likely to bother anyone but the die-hard perfectionist, especially given the great engineering of both kits.

HGUC Unicorn Bundle!

Now that the kit is out, we are now offering discounts for those who will be buying the both of the kits!

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