If it’s one thing Bandai knows, it’s how to make and market model kits from Gundam’s various incarnations. Despite their long history of doing just that, however, I can’t think of any series to date that has put the injection moulders at Bandai’s Gundam plant into more overdrive than Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. Unicorn is a Universal Century (UC) storyline, and as such it is targeted squarely at hardcore fans and long-time devotees of the franchise and its styrene offspring.
With Unicorn, Bandai was almost shamefully brilliant in the marketing department. They created an OVA series with excellent animation and a good mix of character angst, high-idealism and knock down-drag out robot fights. The anime pulled out all the stops when it came to the fight scenes, but more than just the fights themselves made the combat interesting. It was WHAT was fighting that was actually the brilliant part; Bandai found a way to work in all kinds of obscure and, in numerous cases never-before-well-kitted, Mobile Suits into Unicorn’s melees.
This meant that Bandai now had a hungry market of people who would love to have a kit of these obscurities and variants, where they didn’t have such a thing before. If you’d asked a Gundam fan if the wanted an HGUC Juaggu before Unicorn, most wouldn’t have even known what it was (including me)! However, after seeing it on screen, everyone wanted one. In this way, Bandai was able to greenlight the production of many interesting and obscure mecha, and to make the most of moulds original to Unicorn.
What Flavour ReZel?
An example of the latter is the ReZel. The ReZel is yet another take on “we gotta clone the Zeta”, just like the ReGz from Char’s Counterattack. I still have no idea what makes the Zeta such a darned great mech in the first place, but in the Gundam Universe it’s pretty much a given that it’s the greatest suit ever and there has to be a way to reproduce it’s awesomeness. I guess it’s okay as long as they don’t reproduce its whiny-arsed pilot…
The ReZel is the Unicorn’s Zeta Clone. It is a transformable suit that comes in numerous flavours. The first two seen are the normal and commander-types. Both are in a striking dark teal colour with white. They have a gun on an articulated mount over one shoulder. Of course, you show me a mech with a shoulder cannon, and I’ll buy it; that means I have a Command ReZel in my stash. However, getting people to buy one or two HGUC kits (and an MG, actually) didn’t seem to be enough, and Bandai figured out a way to sell EVEN MORE ReZels!
That way is the ReZel Type C (Defenser b-Unit) (GR), henceforth referred to as the Defenser ReZel. This is a Commander-type with TWO shoulder cannons, big winged shoulder engine/cannon pods and even more engines on the hips in new binders. Painted in the concrete-beige and orange of the Federation carrier General Revil (hence the “GR” in the name) , this particular mech is only onscreen for a short time. Of course, that didn’t stop Bandai from reusing their existing ReZel moulds and adding to it to create this monstrous mech; nor did it stop me from buying it!
There’s really not a lot to say about the kit, and I didn’t take pictures of the box or its contents. Suffice to say it is typical Unicorn fare; lots and lots of well-moulded pieces with excellent colour separation, full-colour moulding and a good mix of panel line detail and blank space. The model comes moulded in a beige colour, as well as orange, blackish, white and there’s a clear yellow visor too. The kit is transformable, but not like the old Valkyries. In order to transform the ReZel, you disassemble it, and reassemble the arms, legs and weapons onto a new, separate “core”. This is kind of cheating, I know, but it sure makes the MS mode kit stronger and simpler.
The only drawback to the kit is that there are a lot of pieces, which means a lot of sanding after getting them cut off of the rack. The kit isn’t overly complicated, though, just piecey. Some of the pieces are small (there are a few small verniers and vents) but most are easy to handle and the model is not like some old Super Robot Wars kits from Kotobukiya, that had waaaay too many small parts that didn’t need to be separate pieces.
Building and Painting:
The kit goes together like a charm, and there’s very little buildaround in the kit. Where there is some build around is on the shoulder binders. These large wing/gun/engine packs are not (thankfully) split right down the middle, but down one side of the central bulge. This makes life very easy; I simply etched the seam line during dry fitting, and then markered it in during paiting. To balance it out, I used Dymo tape to etch another “seam” on the other side of the central bulge, and VOILA! The end result is a couple of new panel lines that look like they belong there while allowing the whole unit to be assembled, without sanding any seams, once the paint is done. If you look at the box art for the Defenser ReZel, you’ll see that the shoulder binders don’t have the two long seams that mine does. This is why.
The only other workaround is on the waist. For some reason, Bandai wants you to put on the black waist pieces first. This is dumb. Because then you can’t join the upper body’s orange pieces if you do it this way, you’re looking at masking and a lot of work if you do this. However, if you just chop off the mounting posts, the black pieces will slide up inside the upper body perfectly. It should be noted here that I never intended to transform the mech, so I glued the upper body pieces together. This is something that adds strength but nullifies the transformation, so if you do it, make sure you don’t ever want to transform this machine!
The mecha from the General Revil are painted in a bizarre greyish beige with orange and white, and while it sounds lame, it’s actually very pleasing. It has the right amount of blandness for cannon-fodder mecha while still looking businesslike and intimidating. I started the beige by using Model Master Acrylic RLM 77 Hellgrau, to which I added some Olive Drab and Light Ghost Grey. (Note: If you leave out the grey, you get a colour very close to “hemp”, pefect for all your Canberra and Victor needs!) A bit of distilled water and Tamiya Flat Base finished the paint off nicely.
I used MMA Light Grey instead of white on the few trim areas that got it, and I used a mixture of various oranges I had around (themselves mixes) to get the orange colour. The dark colour is Virsago Black, made of MMA Aircraft Interior Black and Gunship Grey. All the colours were hand painted on, sanded and glossed before final coating.
If it’s one thing the Defenser ReZel has in spades, it’s engines. This is sensible, since the mech is carrying a lot of weight around. As is my custom, I picked out all the engines in MMA Jet Exhaust with International orange inside, and a wash of Baddab Black and Devlan Mud from Citadel to dirty them up and bring out the detail. There are numerous small thrusters on the legs and shoulders that were moulded in white. However, I think that engine nozzles should always be metal shades, so I changed that up. The effect is surprising; the amount of white/light grey on my Defenser ReZel is a lot less than what’s called for but to me, it looks a lot more realistic this way. I also did the various hoses up the backs of the legs in metal shades; these were done in MMA Steel and the washed like the engine nozzles to bring up the detail and make them look more metallic.
I flat coated the entire mech with Delta Ceramcoat Matte Indoor/Outdoor Urethane Varnish. Once this was on and dry, I assembled the various subassemblies. However, like a lot of newer MG kits, the HGUC Unicorn kits don’t fit together easily once paint is applied. This is important to consider, and I had to do a lot of hole-reaming and paint-scraping to get the thing to fit together.
Overall, the Defeser ReZel is a really cool kit of a very powerful-looking mech. It has a lot of great detail that, when picked out properly, really make the mech look complete. The paint scheme is quite subdued and prevents the model from looking like a collection of odd fins, projections and guns.
It’s not as simple a model as some other HGUC Unicorn kits, but for anyone who has built a Gundam before, this won’t pose a problem. It’s a good kit for junior builders too; even if they don’t paint it, it will still look largely like the box, and it will help build patience with cutting, sanding and other basic skills. However, it will reward experienced modellers who want to go the extra mile, too.
I love the kit and am very pleased with how it turned out. Even though it was the third round for some of the moulds used, everything was crisp and clean, fit was exemplary and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. All that and a boatload of engines and guns! What more do you want in a mech?