The kits above are just some of the 1/144 HGs over the years. Strictly speaking, the 1/144 Spiegel is a HG class 1/144, There is simply no HG 1/144 back then (1994 release). They (the HGs) are mostly reserved for 1/100 scales. But even for 1994 standards till the EW HG 1/144 release. The Spiegel is years ahead in terms of plastic/color separation in its time. Why so? Look at the foot unit, usually they are just mono colored red or whatever the foot color is. Just one color. Spiegel has two colors for its foot unit! (Well Dragon Gundam does too). Anyway, the main objective of this blog entry is to discuss the current HG standard release and how it differs then and how it is done today. Of course there are some kit/designers are just too stubborn to follow standard. Some deviants did well, some are just okay. So let’s get it on so that you’ll know what I’m blabbering about!
So what makes it a Standard release you ask?
The answer is really simple. It uses a standard set of PC sheet! This means it has a pre-determined level of articulation.
Remember the Dreissen post earlier? If you’ve noticed I used the work typical by a LOT. This is because of the reason that Bandai uses a template regarding articulations of a model kit. In this case, High Grade 1/144s.
It’s good for one thing. They’re uniform in articulation details. probably, a more cost-efficient implementation of the HG line. BUT there are times that a certain kit will use the same PC sheet or has some added PC parts thus gives that extra articulation that makes it oh so wonderful. To date, I have identified some of the said kits:
- HG AGE-1 Normal/Titus/Spallow
- HG 00 Raiser
- HG Jesta/Jesta Cannon
- Some more kits that I don’t have yet.
So, let’s start breaking it down by part and compare the standard HG to other HG kits that somewhat is cut above the rest.
But let’s talk about the flow. I’ll be pretty much comparing the old Spiegel ’94 to Unicorn Banshee Norn (our HG Standard base model) and then again to the other iterations of the new HGs today
Section 1: Ball-Joint For The Neck
Well, after all it is a 1994 model, but nothing notable here since the joint is still the standard used for today’s neck but with added articulation. See our HG standard base model, the Unicorn Banshee.
This implementation surely adds some degrees of freedom as seen below.
But it is still affected by the suit’s design. Ideally it can give a long range of up/down movement. Looking at the design of Banshee’s head and the fancy collar accents, some of the freedom is lost.
Notice Banshee’s collar on the back-end near the nape. The design effectively reduced the articulation on the neck.
Onto the other kits, they either use the old one (I don’t know why) and some uses the newer two-point articulation.
Section 2: Shoulder Joint
This the archaic/dated way of doing the said joints. Some early HG units uses the join namely, the 2003 Zeta. Now, let’s take a look at how it’s done today.
But this is sometimes a function of design. We’ll take a look at that now.
I would really like if Bandai will be consistent on this detail. It has been implemented spottily I might say. Some kits have no upwards movement due to lack of the armor separation (Geara Zulu and Jesta) but has extra degrees of freedom traded for it.
It would still be nice if they could incorporate armor separation so that it can move upwards. That’ll bring the shoulder articulation similar to the Master Grade line.
Section 3: Hip & Waist Joints
Before, you’re lucky if the 1/144 kit you can twist on the waist. Spiegel has mono torso-waist. No other articulation.
Currently, the HG standards has four points of interest. Here’s the first three.
Compared to the older design
Now, let’s look on how they could do it better. Some HG kits has that extra articulation on the leg, a part separation that allows twisting on the thighs that results in more dynamic action poses. AGE-1 Normal is a great example of this implementation.
Now let’s get on the ball-joint connection to the torso. This joint as mentioned before should allow a full range of motion but mostly limited by the way the upper body is designed.
As you can see. Some kits doesn’t allow tilting. Unicorn has some movements but it is negligible. In the case of AGE-1, you can tilt it but it would disconnect and the body will pop out.
Section 4: Knee Joint
The older knee-joints are made with one PC part that should allow being double-jointed but as Bandai’s tradition. They are limited by the design of the mobile suit.
In the Banshee, you can see that it is implemented via a peg and Revolute/Hinge joint on the lower leg, the rotation is centered on the lower leg. It is possible to have another joint on the upper leg but by the design (again) it is not permitted.
Regardless, the joints allows an acceptable standard of 90 degrees of movement.
Let’s take a look on a GREAT way of doing the leg design.
Section 5: Ankle Joint
Here it’s rather simple. A ball-joint should suffice so since time and again that what they went for.
Then again due to restrictions by design, some kits can’t rotate the foot as much as we want it to be or tilt it forward/backward.
Here’s the bog-standard way of doing it nowadays to address the issues on the older kits.
But I wish they’d be more consistent on these things. I mean, look at how great they did it with AGE-1. Same implementation of having a connector for the legs and foot to give a much needed articulation details.
Now for the movements.
In contrast with the other kits in High Grade Universal Century.
Section 6: Elbow & Arm Joints
Almost missed this part. Almost forgettable. They basically just separated the articulation.
Here’s how they pretty much done nowadays. Even with AGE-1.
Then again they’re victims of function by design. The elbow is not double jointed but rather two-connections and one point of articulation. This limits movements to just 90 degrees.
Now for comparison.
So basically, it boils down to these typical implementation with regards on the articulation of the typical 1/144 High Grade line. This should be the base standards, anything below would be a not-good. Anything better is of course great!
- Ball joint + Revolute joint on NECK: Allows head rotation and tiling up/down.
- Ball joint on TORSO: Should allow tilting forward/backward and 360 rotation, but acceptable if limited by armor details. but just not to the point that it is useless.
- Two-point Revolute joint on SHOULDER: Should allow full rotation of the arm, allows movement for forward/backward and upward.
- Revolute joint on UPPER ARM: Allows full 360 rotation, unless restricted by armor.
- Hinge joint on ELBOW: Allows 90 degrees of movement.
- Ball joint on the LEGS: Allows typical human movements.
- Ball-joints and/or Cylindrical Joints on the SKIRTS: Just to keep it moving.
- Hinge joint on the KNEE: That should allow at least 90 degrees of movement
- Combination of Ball and Cylindrical joint on ANKLES: to allow as much as movement it can considering armor design.
Now, I lost my manuscript for this post, so some ideas might be in disarray. I set this post to ground future post on High Grade classification. Weapon packs are judged separately and should be seen as gimmick unique to each kit.
It should also be noted that the upcoming revision and release of older units will follow this new standard. I’d be happy to see an F91 and Wing Gundam in the new High Grade standard.
As for the MG they are measured more on inner-frame details than just articulations.