Gaijin Gunpla

All Master Grade Ver. Ka kits are outstanding but over the past few years they have upped their game. The latest, the MG ZZ Gundam Ver.Ka not only brings us the ZZ in a glorious Katoki rendition but does so involving a complex transformation. My history with transforming kits is more miss than hit so I didn’t know what to expect from this kit. Now that I’ve experienced it I have to say…

Overall Look: 10/10

Maybe it is because I’ve been building skinny Gundam kits for the past couple years, or at least it feels that way with all the Barbatos variations out there, but where normally I would think the ZZ too bulky for my taste it now intrigues me and I find myself appreciating how it looks. Of course, a big part of that is the proportions and details that are known as part of a Katoki design. Everywhere you look there are some interesting panels and lines, such as in the waist.

The legs are both form and function with the huge lower legs looking great and a large part of the transformation.

Adding to the appeal are the details such as bits of frame visible in areas of the armour.

And another example of that is found in the lower arms.

And being a large MS it needs enough propulsion to get it moving and it definitely has that, looking great, on the bottom of the super backpack.

And perhaps what is most important to me is that all those parts that feature in the transformation fit together snug and look great.

If you weren’t aware of the ZZ and its transformation you may look at its robot form and think that was all there was, so well hidden are the engineering and gimmicks. Which brings me to say, don’t forget that it also looks like this:

And this!

Anyone else think that looks like a sea turtle? I like sea turtles.

Colors: 10/10

White, red, yellow, blue, and dark blue(!) make up the colour scheme on the ZZ. I’m fine with that. Breaking up areas with grey frame peaking through really adds to it, and the inclusion of the silver parts adds another dimension to it.

I was surprised to see this silver runner but I’m really glad it was part of the kit. It adds quite a lot to it.

More colour, albeit red, is added into the scheme as inserts in the thrusters. This was something I think we first saw with the MG Nu Gundam Ver. Ka. I would have liked more colour in the backpack. It’s so large and hides most of the back of the kit so when you’re looking at the ZZ from behind you see a wall of dark blue.

Weapons: 8/10

Where the ZZ itself is both form and function the weapon seems to be more function than form. I can’t admit to thinking it looks cool when it’s being held like a rifle and it’s so heavy that you can’t do much with it when in that mode. Fortunately, it has another purpose which will be discussed later on in the review. Other than the rifle which may not be used as one, the only other weapons are the beam sabre blades and the handles for those are huge!

Articulation: 9/10

This guy is designed to transform so we know it is going to have joints throughout but the test here is how the natural joints, such as shoulders, elbow, hips, and knees, move and I’m able to report they move quite well. Those big legs seem to have armour everywhere yet the knee joint allows for quite a bit of movement.

The heaviness of the kit and backpack mean you won’t utilize the full extent of the articulation in the knee but if you’re displaying it on an Action Base then you’ll get more out of it and the front armour flap at the bottom of the leg moves out of the way and won’t hinder the knee at all.

The elbows also have a large range of motion.

And the shoulders are designed so those large fins will move out of the way and not inhibit the arm movement at the shoulders.

It can also twist at the waist and bend forward slightly. All that despite having a Core Block in there!

Unfortuntaly, the head can only turn slightly to either side.

And tilt only slightly up or down.

Other areas feature some movement like the small wings on the backpack.

The thruster flaps at the back also move slightly.

Those two wings on the arms move as well as part of the transformation.

Speaking of which…

Build Design: 10/10

The ZZ is able to transform between its robot form and G Fortress form as well as two other modes which I’ll get to after the G Fortress. This transformation is complex and requires many steps a few of which seem unique to this design. I usually save the transformation of a kit for the review photoshoot so I can document it well and give my feelings on the transformation but the ZZ took it to another level. That is why the transformation dominates this review. I spent so long with it I didn’t have a lot of time to get other shots I usually use as well.

The transformation of the Core Fighter into the Core Block, as mentioned in the last WIP post, is rather simple but works very well though those tiny little fins at the end may be a little loose.

They are very important for the various modes this kit has. Speaking of which…

Onto the transformation into the G Fortress!

The first step is to transform the rifle but swinging those barrels around and pivoting them underneath.

Then at the large end you’ll push in the two frame parts that are joined by a hinge as well as tilting the end frame parts down.

Next you’ll replace the hands of the ZZ with the smaller, tight-fisted hands.

Notice how the smaller hands have the ball-joint connection allowing you a little bit more positioning power.

Tilt the arm’s upper wing.

Then pull the shoulder down.

You then lay the shoulder wing down along the arm.

Follow that up by swinging it 180 degrees.

Back to the lower arm! separate it from the body to give yourself some room.

Open up both the outside armour and inside armour.

Remember this cool frame detail in there?

Now rotate the frame of the lower arm 180 degrees so the hand is inside the arm and the thruster that was hidden there is now out.

It’s easier to get it into place with the hand in this postion.

Close up the armour sides and you can move on.

To the torso!

Pull out the front of the chest.

Before you can do anything with that you have to do something with the head.

Pull the red part outwards.

This allows you to move the V fins down.

Wait. What?! Moving the V fins down and not up?

Yes, indeed. The V fins have to sit in a specific position at the collar.

With those out of the way it allows you to swing the chest up and over the head.

It sits up there in preparation for the next step which involves connecting something to the now exposed frame of the chest.

That something is the rifle which you prepared right at the start.

Those tabs slot in.

And the front hatch clips into the chest section nicely.

At this point you have something that looks rather odd.

It is still standing on its own up until this point but that ends here as the next step in the transformation is the legs. I flipped up that large wing on the arm to give myself room to work.

Pull out on the front of the foot.

Tuck in the little stabiliser on the heel.

Then bend the front of the foot down.

Now open up the side armour at on the lower leg.

Unlock those little flaps on each side of the knee.

Grip the bottom of the leg at the front and back and pull.

Things are getting a little crazy.

Bend the legs at the knees.

Then slide the lower leg forwards towards the knee.

How do I hold this thing?!

Rotate the side skirts up and out of the way.

Reposition the lower portion of the legs so it lays flat against the back of the upper leg.

When I did the right leg this seemed to click into place but I didn’t get that at first with the left leg. I had to spend more time repositioning the left leg to match the right.

Those latches that you unlocked at the knee? They now close up securing the end of the leg.

To secure those heavy legs in position you need to open up one of the latch sets on a leg.

Those will slot into the other leg.

I need to point out that before you do this you should have rotated both legs 180 degrees. Otherwise your legs will be orientated upside down. Oops. Live and learn.

If it looks like this, you haven’t rotated the legs.

Rotate the skirts into position.

You’ll now be told to reposition the beam sabre handles by rotating the base slightly and tilting them at the ball joint.

You can now unplug the backpack, if you haven’t done so already, and close that sliding door to conceal the connection.

The backpack needs to swing all the way down to the end of the kit but you’ll need to position the wings in their new place as you do so.

Pull out the missile launchers (that’s what they are, right?).

On the other side of the backpack, near the thrusters, are hidden two flaps.

Pop those out.

And position the backpack at the end with those flaps plugging into what used to be the back of the knee.

You’re almost there!

You’ll need to slide the frame part inside of the large red portion of the skirt.

It can be tricky to line up but it should slide in.

You can now mount your G Fortress on an Action Base using the included adapter but I’m going to have it sitting on the ground in order to show off the landing gear gimmicks.

The nose has a landing great that pulls out.

In order for it to hold the weight it needs to have one frame part plugged into a slot on the underside of the Fortress.

In the knees are more landing gears.

It sags a bit in the middle.

But that’s because you’ve got one more landing gear. This one in the center of the front skirt.

That’s better.

The weight is also helped by the support of the side skirts and knee area of the legs.

This thing is a monster!

All those thrusters which were hidden are now visible.

If you were to turn it over…

But there’s more!

If the G Fortress isn’t your thing… turn it into two other things! First, the Core Top!

Lift the latch found at the base of the back.

Pull off the upper body and take out the Core Block.

Let’s do the top first.

Reposition the rifle barrels.

Place the Core Fighter back inside.

You’ll now need to pull up on the blue parts of the lower torso.

Turn out tiny frame parts that act as landing gears.

These hold the weight decently.

And there it is.

For the giant Core Base you first reposition the giant Beam Sabre handles into their original position.

Reposition the side skirts.

Take your extra Core Fighter and make sure the back end of it is tucked in.

Plug it on there and close the latch.

It’s just huge!

Bask in its hugeness!

I’ll just add mention of a couple other gimmicks to close out this section. Such as the missile launchers!

They extend out and open up to reveal the weaponry inside.

There really wasn’t any problems with this kit and the transformation though I did lose one of the thruster parts for the Core Block when I was movings things around.

I didn’t get a chance to put it back until I pulled the Core Block out at the last stages of the transformation into the…/

Fun Factor: 10/10

This kit continues the trend of amazingly designed, comples, and fun to build Katoki Master Grades. There were times during the build where I had no idea what the final result would be for the parts I was snapping together. Watching it all come together at the end when you have its Robot form complete and then working through the transformations between G Fortress, G Top, and G Base. All that craziness you went through to get this kit together has a purpose and many times those revelations were pleasantly surprising.

I’m not one to play with my kits too much once they are assembled but the ZZ may be an exception. At least until I get all those water slides on. Speaking of which…

Extras: 8/10

Ooh, tiny pilot figure.

Extra hands, including the close-fisted ones that aren’t really necessary when you think about it. I guess that makes them an exra.

Two adaptors to get the various forms onto an Action Base.

And a lot of waterslide decals.

Normally, waterslides are considered a bonus and they are included in all Ver. Ka kits now to make those releases even more special, but part of me wishes they would give me regular stickers, dry transfers, or the new RG style stickers. I won’t get into that as I’ve already made my case here. If you’re lucky to have picked up the initial release you’ll have even more waterslides and more choice but that isn’t included in this score as it’s a one-time thing.

I guess I could complain that it is heavy and could use a stand however it doesn’t suffer from balance issues like the Justice Gundam does but getting one would have been nice. If you want to display both of your G Top and G Base in flight you’ll need two bases so having one would make things easier.

This kit is a marvel and may have just changed my opinion on transforming MGs. I enjoyed every step of the build and am continuing to enjoy it. It looks magnificent just standing on my little table (which is all the space I currently have to display Gundams as I’ve just moved to my new place and am still trying to organize space.)

Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

13 Responses so far.

  1. Frankon says:

    That V-fin is making X Gundam blush with embarrassment ^^

  2. Harold says:

    If my memory is correct, the downward fin was the case even in the first ZZ that came out in the 80s.

    While this kit exceeded all expectations, my memory of the original still give me pause about getting this one.

  3. Albert says:

    Thank you so much for this Syd! This is the one MG Kit I have to wait for your review before I get to start mine. 😀 BIG HELP!

  4. Dawson Lee says:

    There has been a lot of reviews made about this kit but I still look forward to Gaijin’s review the most, and I finally got to read it.

  5. QUANTA says:

    Yay! A new gg reveiw! Is it possible to just have the frame, and if not how much armor can be removed without compromising the integrity of the kit? Will you be building the pg exia next month? All the opening gimmicks on it have me excited, and the legs look like a whole new take on exias legs.

  6. Charlo says:

    Thanks for another great review Syd! Hopefully mine should arrive soon, all that inner frame poking through the armour will be beautiful painted in steel.

  7. S2 says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys. I’m glad people are enjoying the review and I apologize for it taking a while to come out. With the move to a new country and recently starting a new job I don’t have the free time I’d like in order to build and put reviews together but I’ll keep going because I truly enjoy the hobby and the group of people who enjoy this site.

  8. Paul Emical* says:

    Hello Syd,

    mine arrived some time ago but I can’t seem to find the time to build it. My backlog is actually growing bigger and bigger. Oh well, guess I’m stocking up for when I’ll retire! 😀

  9. Adrindrata says:

    Great review as usual!

    Also, thoughts on possible MG G-Self ver.Ka next year? Since G?Self won the polls quite some time ago

  10. Aaqib says:

    Great review syd
    The design did nothing for me but seeing the way it all comes together so beautifully i am totally sold on this KIT.
    Loved the build and all of the pictures along the way good stuff.

  11. Noah says:

    I’m glad to see you’re back! Your reviews are always the first place I check when I’m looking at a new Gunpla. I’ve built over 40 kits over the past year and most of them I got based partly on your reviews. It’s really great having these reviews to help indecisive people like me choose new kits. I’m planning on getting the ZZ Ver Ka next so I’m glad it’s as good as I hoped.

  12. An Animus says:

    I like how you completely omit the fact that it can’t raise/rotate it’s entire arm straight forward. It’s like you deliberately didn’t post any pics of it doing that because it actually STILL can’t despite being a complete design overhaul/renewal/whatever.
    Despite all the unnecessary busy details it’s been given, they still haven’t fixed that one (censored) thing. Be it HGUC & the old MG, they both had that exact same problem. It’s 2-(censored)-thousand-17 and they still haven’t fixed it even thought they can make a fully transformable 1/144 Unicorn Gundam WITH LED lights.

    At least they gave it waist articulation now right?

    Articulation 9/10 my (censored). And to think I almost bought this (censored).

  13. Rekkoha says:

    No review for the XN Raiser yet? That kit is so cool 🙂

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