With the arrival of the its newest series Iron-Blooded Orphans and a new Blu-ray collection for the original series, the Gundam franchise has experienced a fresh breath of popularity for the end 2015. It is no coincidence then that Bandai revisited their popular line of SD (Super Deformed aka “Chibi”) models and updated them to coincide with their HGUC models. In lieu of this update, I procured Bandai’s most iconic model – RX-78-2 – in its new and improved SD EX-Standard format to see if the line should truly be the new [EX]Standard.
First things first, SD models are known for being easier to put together, as well as having less complexity (taking about 2-3 hours to build). Upon unboxing this specific model, I discovered that this it only came in three colors of plastic: red, white, blue. Now, those who are familiar with the RX-78-2 might be a bit confused by this due to its lack of yellow parts, a color that “pops” on older figures, but do not fret, I’ll be getting to that later.
One major improvement that I noticed with this new line is the thinness of the plastic attaching the parts to the frame. Typically, there is a small line of plastic which connects the plastic to the frame it comes in, but this new line has made the lines even thinner to make taking it out even easier. This also minimizes the damage parts take when shaving excess plastic off of the part. Not only does this make the build easier, it helps remove some of the fuss of having to sand down parts to make the final product look better.
Bandai promised to reduce head size and increase limb length on these models, and they certainly delivered. While the size of the head is a bit smaller, it still retains the “big head” feel of chibi models. A product of this actually allows the head more mobility (a problem I’ve had with older SD models). The limbs are also longer and accommodate action poses better. This makes displaying your models in a rad manner even easier.
The plastic itself is very high quality and snaps together easily. The lines are well defined and easy to trace with Gundam markers for extra detail. Without stickers and a marker, the model may seem very dull, so I highly recommend the use of both. Rather than contain another frame for yellow pieces, this model actually supplements those smaller parts for stickers. Typically, I am not a fan of stickers, but the new EX SD stickers are high quality, with precise cuts that fit the contours of the model. This cuts down on plastic used (and thus limits the bits covering my desk) while also adding to the detail of the model.
Upon completion I found the model to be very satisfying in terms of looks and posability. It is comparable to the Burning Gundam SD model from Gundam Build Fighters, but you can definitely see where Bandai revisited the lab for this line. The weapons it comes with are great, although (as per usual), the sword is unpainted, which is a bit disappointing, but nothing ultimately heartbreaking. One of the gimmicks of this new line is that their weapons are compatible with the larger 1/144 HGUC models, allowing for crossover customization. By taking off the horns and attaching it to the gun, or fitting the gun to the shield, builders can create new weapons for both lines. This idea, brought in recently by the Gundam Build Fighters series, allows builds of different grades to improve upon each other. I prefer to keep the right parts with the right models, but at least the option is there!
In sum, if you’re busy pinning away over the new Mobile Suit Gundam Blu-ray collection, or twiddling your thumbs waiting on the Iron-Blooded Orphans dub, then the new SD EX-Standard line is perfect for getting your Gundam fix. With its new high quality frames, stickers, HGUC crossover capabilities, and sub-$10 price tag, these little guys are perfect for your shelf at home or at work. You can even expect two new models every month!
Bottom Line: This new line of SD Gundam Models is worth the price for anyone interested in the world of Gundam.
Recommendation: Its overall difficulty is ideal for newcomers to the series, while the nostalgia factor is value enough for Gunpla vets.