Gaijin Gunpla

The MG Full Armor Gundam Ver. Ka Thunderbolt kit blew my mind but my head nearly exploded when I saw what Bandai had planned for the next Thunderbolt Master Grade. As soon as it was announced speculation ran rampant. At long last a new MG Zaku kit? A 3.0 perhaps? No one really knew what to expect and learning my lesson from the last one I kept my mind open.

This review may be slightly different than my usual format. This kit doesn’t quite work the same way as the others.

Overall Look: 10/10

I’ve got just the bare bones kit to talk about first and that alone is pretty exceptional. I’ve already written about my love for the Zaku II design in my MG Zaku 2.0 Definitive Review but this is like those kits with extra goodness. You’ve got thrusters everywhere for starters.

A redesigned elbow armour.

All those frame covers on the joints and piping.

And you can add extra armour parts to the legs if you want an even crazier look than this kit already has.

Oh and then you have the boosters.

That’s just nuts.

Colors: 10/10

The three-colour combination of red, orange, and dark blue works really well here and then they add white and gold trim.

I especially like the addition of those white and gold colours in the shoulder.

It really draw attention there and rather than being one armour piece with three spikes you’re instead using two armour pieces, four white pieces, eight gold parts, and two parts for each of the three spikes. There is a lot of colour in just that one area!

Weapons: 10/10

I gave the Zaku II 2.0 kit a 10 in this category so I need to give this one an 10 plus a bunch more. Let’s run through the list here:

Beam Bazooka x 1

Giant Bazooka x 3

Zaku Machine Gun x 2

Sturm Faust x 3

Extra magazines x 4 and Heat Hawk x 2.

That’s a lot of stuff and almost all of it mounts on the Boosters. I will mention that in an upcoming section.

The weapon that doesn’t fit anywhere on the booster is the Beam Bazooka which is so big that our hero has problems holding it up.

You can put it in his hand and raise his arm and then it is like watching slow motion video as it drops lower and lower. You almost need a third stand just for this weapon.

Articulation: 9/10

This kit features much the same frame, notably in the joints, as the Zaku II 2.0 so it goes without saying it will receive the same review score. Movement in the knees and elbows isn’t hampered by the frame covers at all.

Fortunately, you’re provided a stand (though it works only when the booster is attached) which will allow you to reach the more elaborate poses.

Even the arms can move quite well thanks to the 2.0 joints implemented in the construction of the shoulders.

If you do intend to have it in crazy wide action poses you will run into another issue which I’ll talk about in the next section.

When it comes to the backpack/booster combo you have some excellent articulation there designed into those extra space arms. The ring on which they connect can rotate allowing you to change the base position of the arm.

Then the arm unfolds thanks to a series of joints.

Theyばc can also rotate 360 degrees.

And while this doesn’t affect anything in any way those white vents on the backpack can move slightly.

It’s the little things.

Build Design: 9/10

There is a lot of stuff to talk about in this section so let’s start with something I mentioned above, the extra parts for the legs.

These easily go into place with the only adjustment needed is to pull out the tubing prior to putting the parts on.

Bandai uses the same spring in the tubing as it did in the 2.0 but the end piece and the connection at the frame part is much more user-friendly. You simply pull it out, add the armour piece, and plug it back in. You’ll need to put the front piece in place first, though.

At the same time add the part for the inside of the leg. Then, with a little bit of force, push the rear piece into the frame part that is back there.

This actually moves quite a bit.

You’ve got a similar gimmick to the 2.0 with the lever on the back of the torso frame.

On the 2.0 that moved the pilot chair from one side of the torso to the other but on the Psycho Zaku it opens a door so you can see the pilot inside. You open the main chest hatch and then the door to see inside

I’ll admit that it is difficult to see in side there, however. On the 2.0 it was often difficult to remove the backpack in order access that lever but on the Psycho Zaku it’s not a problem to pull the backpack off.

Let’s talk about some minor frustrations I have with the Psycho Zaku. The first is that sometimes it feels like the gold parts don’t stay in very well.

That is from the side of the extra armour piece for the leg. When I assembled it I thought, ‘Oh, that’s not going to stay in for long’ and when I pulled out those armour pieces to finally put them on the Zaku that small thruster wasn’t where it was supposed to be. No real harm done here.

The one area I’m most disappointed in was one I was really excited about when I first saw it and that is the side skirts. Instead of just one armour piece like the 2.0 Zaku kits have you’re given three separate, multi-coloured panels. They look great. And they fall apart.

The red piece just slides up into the orange piece and relies on friction to just hold it in place while it fights gravity. It seems the middle piece is quite prone to coming off.

And then when you try to put it back on…

To try and get as secure a connection as possible I need to hold the orange piece in place pushing down with my thumb from above while I pushed up on the red part. To do that I had to manoeuvre the kit a certain way.

I’m scared to touch the kit in that area.

Something similar happens with the spikes.

The connection is quite shallow so if nudged the wrong way you may find yourself missing a spike or two.

The implementation of the frame covers in this kit was quite simple and easy to handle which is a bit of a contrast to some of the areas on the FA Gundam Thunderbolt kit. I remember on that kit working hard to get the look right but on the Psych Zaku so much of the frame cover is hidden under frame or armour the area you have to focus your attention on is much smaller. While I felt I wanted to redo the frame covers on the FA Gundam I am satisfied with the look of the Psycho Zaku for the most part.

I’ll gripe a bit about the hands while I’m here.

Bandai opted to move away from the 2.0 Zaku style hands and instead go with finger part swapping.

I can understand that from one aspects because the hands seem not only bigger but they’ve got a much cooler look so using the old hands wouldn’t work here. Unfortunately, other than pushing the hand parts together around the handle you’ve got no way to secure those large weapons in the hand of the Zaku. The huge Beam Bazooka is heavy and you’ll find yourself fighting with the hand.

Like the FA Thunderbolt Gundam the Psycho Zaku has an interesting way to connect the backpack to the MS. On each side of the backpack are openings where you can plug the pegs in the backpack into the Zaku.

Once you’ve plugged them in there is a lever on either side you flip to lock them in place.

And you kind of want your Zaku plugged on there because even though Bandai has provided a base for your kit it’s almost not strong enough to hold up the Boosters on their own. It will by quite wobbly and you’ll see the bottom of the base coming off the floor.

And that’s before putting all the weapons back there!

So let’s talk about how everything goes on there. The extra ammo magazines go in at the front.

The instructions have you place them there before plugging the boosters into the backpack. That aspect comes into the build frequently.

The machine-guns mount on either side by sliding into a little plastic mount attached to the sides.

The connection between mount and side of the booster isn’t very deep at all so you’ll often find your Machine Guns have come unattached from the booster and it’s not that the Machine Guns are detaching from the mount but that the mount is coming off the booster.

The Sturm Fausts attach to their mounts on the bottom booster.

The three Giant Bazookas have their own mount on the top booster

Make sure you’ve moved the scope and handle into the proper position for this.

You are meant to place the middle bazooka onto the mount before attaching the support arms between the top booster and large main one.

I didn’t do that because, hey, those are bazookas and meant to be used so should come off and go on without needing to move anything, right? Wrong. I ended up having to remove one of the support arms.

There isn’t a lot of room to work there so I also decided to remove the mount altogether to get the bazooka on.

I could then place the bazooka in it’s spot but be careful to put the end in the holder in just the right place otherwise you won’t be able to connect the support arms because the bazooka handle gets in the way.

Follow the instructions careful to know exactly how to line up that bazooka.

I guess that means this bazooka is never intended to come out or be used. Hmm.

The two side bazookas can be put on and taken off easily, fortunately.

Now it’s ridiculously heavy at the back.

That is a sexy back end, though.

I dig the use of white parts on the boosters.

Just like with the FA Gundam I’m grateful for the use of plastic over stickers in areas such as this.

Luckily the Zaku and Beam Bazooka work as an appropriate counterweight.

It’s just so over the top.

Fun Factor: 8/10

I love the frame of the 2.0 Zaku but that kit is now getting old so it was a little disappointing to see the internal workings of this Zaku be much like that kit. However, that frame is so solid, and because you’re working with Frame Covers it needed to be adapted and it can be forgiven for the most part. The Zaku part of the build, frame covers and all, is enjoyable even if you’ve already experienced the greatness of the MG Zaku II 2.0.

Then you get to the backpack and boosters.

It’s all just so over the top crazy what with the hundreds of thrusters everywhere.

Are there hundreds? It certainly felt that way.

Then the weapons on there!

At this point the enjoyment kind of dropped down somewhat. Despite the size of the thing you’re working on here, there’s not a lot going on in the build and the weapon building can grow a little monotonous.

Extras: 10/10

In that shot you’ve got an Action Base adaptor, the parts used to fill the holes on the booster when they’re not combined, the parts to mount the Heat Hawks to the side skirts because surprisingly they don’t go on that booster, and the extra hand parts but the big bonuses here are the two stands. The large base has already been shown and the adaptor for that has two setting so you can have your Zaku going straight or going downwards.

The second stand is a lot smaller and prevents the booster from tipping over when you choose to not have your Psycho Zaku flying.

I was a little gun-shy here after seeing how wobbly the large base was so I didn’t take the Zaku off.

You’re also given a large sheet of water-slide decals.

And if you pick up the kit now at initial release you’ll be given an extra, bonus, set of water-slides.


However, there is no pilot figure. Sad face.

Well, we didn’t get a Zaku 3.0 but we did get a pretty awesome Master Grade Zaku. I’ll admit that most my admiration for this kit comes from the Psycho Zaku portion of the build but you can’t deny that the addition of the booster just puts it over the top on the ‘Holy Crap‘ scale.

16 Responses so far.

  1. Frankon says:

    Nice review Syd. To be honest i cannot imagine those golden thruster being more annoying than of the HG version when they would go balistic if you ever wanted to pose the kit (luckly M.S.G mini thrusters work as a replacment).
    Now on some of my own thoughts on the design. Kit is based on the animation design which was heavily influenced by Bandai (the guys that design the models ;P) and Sunrise (the guys who did animation :P). Lets start from the top ^^. I think to save on some animations the bazooka mounts were switch from over the fuel tanks to below the tanks (lazy Sunrise) and the Bazookas were changed from the Thunderbolt design to basic 2.0 bazookas (Bandai and their reuse all policy). The kit is missing the spare bazookas clips that it used in the animation and in the HG.
    Overall kit looks great but its missing that Thunderbolt feel – Bandai could have put more effort and give us proper Thunderbolt weapons.
    PS. Syd maybe a few comparison shots between the MG and HG?

  2. Amuro says:

    I’m afraid the connection of the big booster on the middle will break in near looks so fragile

  3. Charlo says:

    Thanks for this great review Syd!

    I was not sure about this kit but after reading this and seeing your photos I have to agree that this is an awesome piece of machinery and engineering, though I’m not sure if I will ever get it, considering it’s huge and won’t fit on my shelf, plus it is a bit expensive, not including shipping and non-EU tax, customs would kill me, this thing won’t go unnoticed 🙁 Maybe one day.

    In the meantime, I would like to wish you Syd, all at HLJ and all the readers of this blog a Happy New Year!

    • Frankon says:

      Well all we have to wait for is the completion of Japan – EU Economic partnership agreement… Sadly its being a bit stalled at the moment…. Stupid brits and their brexit 😛

      • Charlo says:

        Yeah, I’m not even sure if the agreement is still in the EU agenda. Hopefully things start moving again once the brexit discussions are over. Our Prime Minister mentioned that this is one of his priorities next year when we will be holding the EU Presidency.

  4. Ryan says:

    Mines arrived yesterday, haven’t started work on it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Have a bunch of IBO kits I’m working on at the moment

  5. Io Lorenz Flaming says:

    HAHA ! Nice review syd, i’m so glad when i read this review, a huge MS with so many add and weapon and very huge booster. But, what make happu is… this MS still can’t defeat the gundam FA 78 score, yeah 😀 But still when i look up this kit, this MG kit is termendous great kit ever i uave ever seen 🙂

  6. Milky kou says:

    I am a bit dissapointed they decided to with the swappable hands instead of making a new set of 3.0 or even 2.0 type hands for the kit. Any advice on how to keep the hands in there tightly since the swap hands are known to have issue on MG type kits? I cant wait to look forward to this kit when I eventually get it. It was one of my favorite HG kits and to see it in MG is like a dream come true, even with some of the changes.

  7. Nick1 says:

    Great review on this tremendous kit. You forgot to add the normal Zaku Bazooka you can build from the extra parts, only you don’t get a clear scope.

    • Troy Buttke says:

      I was just going to ask about that. If the only part missing from the regular Zaku Bazookas is the clear piece, could one, theoretically, just recast a lens piece to put in there and paint? I might just make some lenses out of green stuff and put them in the bazookas to make two bazookas to give to some of my other kits (like a Gouf 2.0 or my Efreet Custom).

  8. axeven says:

    It may be a good thing that there is no pilot figure. The pilot, Daryl Lorenz, has prostheses on all of his 4 limbs. Kind of sad.

  9. Gunpla Play says:

    This one is really nice.

  10. vince says:

    Hi Syd,

    Could you give me the dimensions of the model with the big tank attached to it? Height, width and depth

    Super thanks

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