Gaijin Gunpla

Out of nowhere came the RG Sazabi and most of use were very much excited if not a little tentative. We knew we wanted it but we weren’t sure we wanted it similar to previous RG releases. The RG Sinanju, for example, is an amazing looking kit but is not without its flaws. How would Bandai design the even larger RG Sazabi? Speaking of the Sinanju, here’s a couple of size comparisons.

And together with the newest MG, the Jegan.

That’s a good way to kick off a review this size!

Overall Look: 10/10

In the review for the MG Sazabi Ver. Ka I was gushing in my praise for this giant beast. That kit was much better looking than the original MG Sazabi from 2000, it goes without saying, but I actually think I prefer the look of the Real Grade version of this beast.

I find the RG’s shoulder more appealing.

Who can’t love dat ass.

And that huge backpack that actually doesn’t look huge when mounted on this MS.

Even the bell-bottoms look better proportioned, in my opinion.

And the beam saber handle piece in the cuff is a nice touch.

And considering we are working with RG. There are a lot of nice details found in various places throughout the kit.

The differences may be minor but, all in all, the RG may be the best looking Sazabi out there and the Sazabi may now be my favourite Mobile Suit overall.

Colors: 10/10

Sinanju’s glossy red worked great against that plated gold Bandai decided to implement in that kit but I find that normal red tones work well for the large surface area the Sazabi has. I’ve just mentioned the many details on the kit’s frame so seeing the gray in those areas isn’t a negative. During construction you’re adding foil stickers to put even more details there. I expect, though, people good with markers or paint to bring those details out even more.

The yellow in the waist is good dividing line separating the top and the bottom of the kit, and that yellow also appears on the rear skirt. I do notice, however, that the manual image has silver zeon emblems on the collar. While that silver isn’t found on any of the Sazabi runners, really how could it?, it is there thanks to stickers which are plentiful and add to the red monster.

Weapons: 10/10

Just like the Mobile Suit the weapons for the Sazabi are huge.

Here’s the Beam Shot Rifle.

The ammo mag detaches.

While the other gray part slides front and back like pumping a shotgun.

The handle features a design with a slot for the tab found in the hand.

With those big cuffs, Sazabi would have a hard time gripping the handle but Bandai has implemented a few things to make it easier. For now I’ll mention the tilting handle.

Lock and load!

Sure it looks regular sized when held by this guy but don’t be fooled. That’s one big weapon.

The Beam saber handle also features the space for the tab on the hand.

And the Tomohawk handle works the same as well.

You get to mount the beam effect parts onto that.

I like this look.

He will cut you down.

Then there is the shield. It’s a big boy. Onto the underside you can mount the Tomohawk if you wish.

I’ve decided to mount the long beam effect parts making the long shield even longer.

Mounting the shield to the Sazabi involved this simple frame joint and the corresponding holes in the back of Sazabi’s arms.

The fit is very tight so I don’t have to worry about it coming off.

That connection also features some articulation of its own to make posing with the shield quite easy.

Loving this huge kit and its huge weapons.

Articulation: 10/10

In then review for the MG Sazabi Ver. Ka it was this category in which he fell down (pun intended) and I knew with the RG version it would be this category that could force a drop in overall score.

But that isn’t the case.

The Real Grade Sazabi does not suffer from the issues its larger Ver. Ka brother did. Areas of concern in the Ver. Ka, and in many kits in general, have been addressed wonderfully here. For example, those bulky shoulders which can restrict movement of the arm.

However, thanks to a great redesign by Bandai now the shoulders allow much more movement in the arms.

Flaps on both the front and back of the shoulder swing outwards connected at two points.

Additionally to that, they pivot as well.

This means that they can be moved to, and stay in, a position of need and then returned into their proper place with ease.

The entire shoulder units and their accompanying thrusters can also swing up and out of the way.

If you want more bend in your arm, Bandai has engineered a way to make it longer.

Open up the upper arm armour.

Pull down on the lower arm to extend it.

Then put the armour back in place locking the arm into its new position.

Here’s a comparison of the bend at the elbow .

It’s tough to see what this means for the Sazabi but I’ll show a shot of the back of the arms so you can see the difference in the amount of piston frame that is exposed.

Unextended arm.

Extended arm.

If you need more movement from the arm when using weapons or for any other reason the wrist also extends. Like the upper arm it involves a few steps.

First, pull back on the armour on the back of the lower arm so it unlocks.

Then pull the RG Advanced Joint B frame wrist part out.

Pushing the armour part back in its original place locks the joint in its position.

I actually like keeping the wrist in but the armour part unlocked.

That goes more with the open look it has when you start playing with the Sazabi’s gimmicks.

The ankles feature a surprisingly good amount of roll which allow the Sazabi to keep its feet flat on the floor as you widen its stance.

But the moveable armour at the front of the leg also moves to allow a bit more bend in the knee before the armour hits the floor.

The waist skirts swivel and tilt but thanks to the design of the Advanced MS Joint (B) frame piece that is the core of the waist’s frame whole sides of the waist can be moved.

And I’ll add the the head rotates and pivots quite well thanks to the ball joint/cockpit connection.

All of this articulation combines to allow me to pose the Sazabi in a way I couldn’t have imagined when I started the build.

…but I’m saving that sweet shot for later.

Build Design: 10/10

We all wondered if the Sazabi would be similar to the RG Sinanju and use an already existing Advanced MS Joint frame with frame additional frame parts holding it all together. That thought scared a few people because the RG Sinanju isn’t the most stable RG out there. In fact, when I was posing the Sinanju with the Sazabi, I could feel how fragile the Sinanju was while the Sazabi was robust and solid.

Bandai designed this kit to use the RG style frame parts only where it counted and where they wouldn’t weaken the overall stability of the kit. The rest is all new frame parts which produced an almost MG like frame and build experience.

I’ll talk about the frame a bit more shortly but right now I want to take you through the checklist of gimmicks that this kit comes with.

Opening shoulder to reveal the frame underneath.

Opening cockpit hatch.

Opening armour on the lower leg to reveal thrusters.

Tilting center front skirt core block.

Opening flaps on rear skirt which reveal foil stickers underneath.

Extendable side skirts.

Tilting armour section in underside of the skit.

I was going to write ‘pivoting perineum’ but decided against it (but still snuck it in there).

And when you’ve got all that stuff open a lot of more of that great frame can be seen.

And now let’s talk about the backpack design. The manual explains how this is supposed to work.

You are to pull on a specific area of the black in order to extend it. It is important to keep in mind that you should hold the bottom of the unit, below that sliding piece, in order to get it working. Holding onto the section above it, which actually moved when you slide that part, can cause some problems. Here is the best way I can show how it works.

This is how the upper segment of that unit sits when everything is closed up. Note the hollow areas where the little hinges on the black parts sit. You can see that both that area and the hinge have an angle to them.

When you slide that small piece outwards.

The hinges travel along that upward angle and that caused the black flaps to elevate slightly.

Now that explanation is out of the way let’s show it when completely assembled.

Having the flaps elevated means they open up even further fully revealing the inside.

And the Funnels open with ease.

But that’s not all!

You can open the center of the backpack which extends the thruster outwards slightly.

And you can slightly open the sides to reveal more of the frame.

So with all that stuff opened and extended I can finally show my favourite pose.

I call this pose the Yokozuna.

Maybe they aren’t exactly the same pose but having watched as much Sumo as I have the similarities were unmistakable.

And it’s so stable!

Fun Factor: 10/10

This is the most fun I’ve had with an RG so far and that’s saying something. I enjoyed all of them, some more than others admittedly, but the Sazabi is something else. It’s like building a miniature Master Grade but with the looks of an RG. It is a longer process than most RGs, as evidenced by my seven WIP posts but worth it once you’re done and you get this amazing result. I want to build another one right now and may do so just to have one unarmoured Sazabi so I can enjoy the frame on its own. While I debate that course of action I’ll probably be starting on the stickers and panel lining on this bad boy so I can mark it complete in the RG Complete Project. And I think this guy may just end up being the one kit I take to work and have sit on my desk. My new workplace is quiet and conservative but I want Sazabi’s companionship as much as possible. Could this be love?

Extras: 10/10

There’s some good stuff here, probably the best of which is the extra hands that include a jointed wrist.

These really help to get the most out of posing your Sazabi. I hope this becomes a new standard with RG hands. We’ve already moved from the Advanced MS Joint frame runner hands, which were very fragile, to the fixed post hands we first saw with RG #4, the MS-06F Zaku II and now we’re seeing this type of hand. Remember when we (I) complained about the hands with the RG Sinanju? It looks like Bandai made sure not to make that mistake again.

You also get a very small looking pilot figure and a very robust action base adapter.

And then you get a large sticker sheet.

Like with other Real Grade kits some of these stickers will go on during the build. The difference with the Sazabi, though, is that many of the stickers you put on during construction aren’t visible until you start opening up the gimmicks on the Sazabi thus giving you an extra reason to do so.

So there it is.

For years now I have pondered which kit would be the first to receive a perfect review score and it turns out that it is this beautiful Real Grade Sazabi. I absolutely love it and can’t find anything to complain about.

For those lucky enough to be able to build a larger number of kits you’ll know that there are those kits that stick with you. My list of those would see the likes of the MG Sinanju Ver. Ka, the PG Unicorn, the RG GP01 Full Burnern and other included and yet the Real Grade Sazabi is the kit that seems to surpass those.

But where do I go from here? The next Real Grade kit will likely pale compared to this massive beast and I may suffer post-Sazabi depression.

What? The next RG is the RG Full Armor Unicorn Gundam?!

That helps.

Until then, all hail the Grand Champion!

23 Responses so far.

  1. Ferdinand Gunawan says:

    Nice! But, too bad that the RG Sazabi didn’t have that long rifle as in it’s MG counterpart. I might consider building this kit after I finish the MG one~

    • Bocalt says:

      Yeah but that gun is optional and “non-canon” in a way.

    • Stephen says:

      Unfortunately it’s a Gundam ACE magazine pack-in, so it’ll be around for sale…at a high price for a runner or two. The rifle looks real nice though, with pump action gimmick!

  2. Alberto from Italy says:

    Great model, great review, great everything. Really nothing to add to what you’ve explained, Mr Syd. Just a couple of considerations, if I’m allowed and even if I’m still unsure whether getting it or not (trouble with room where putting it, nothing else…):

    1) as I never cared of the subtile colours sepatarions, am I the only guy thinking of a metal finish on all the red parts (compare old MG titanium finish)?

    2) the RG Sinanju was the harbinger of the Unicorn/Banshee’s coming: therefore, is the RG Nu Gundam bound to show up soon? In this case, no way out: I’ll get Sazabi and Nu, for a diorama of course…

    A MG in RG size, therefore… Interesting, really interesting.

    • NovaP87 says:

      1. Sinanju Metallic Ver. Is bound to happen soon, especially when they strike gold and want it shiny, so even if you decide not to custom, you’ll still get one.
      2. Oh yes, if an antagonist suit is released into the RG, a protagonist suit is soon to follow, so yes there will be a Nu. Thank god.

    • Nibras says:

      I got my hands on the RG Nu Gundam a week back, it took me around 9 hours to build (its my first kit ever), and then I got interested in the movie (char’s counterattack). I can officially say that my Nu Gundam will have a nemesis very soon xD.

  3. Dan says:

    Excellent Review!! Based on the pictures it looks like Bandai did not go nuts with different shades of red. The color is mostly uniform except for a few pieces on the calf.

    I am debating whether to paint the kit or leave it as is. With the gimmicks and articulation it is meant to be posed and played with but that can damage the paint. I use an airbrush so the paint would not inhibit any of the movement.

    I am also wondering what variants Bandai will release. A metallic finish makes sense because the nub marks are well hidden. There are only two other suits that use this design and both are from the Moon Gundam manga. We might see an RG Moon Gundam next year.

    We also need effect parts for the funnels, similar to what was released for the Ver Ka, and waterslide decals. The decals would look so much better with waterslides.

  4. Dizz says:

    I don’t know how you gave mark for this, but based on your previous review i think 10/10 on articulation is too generous for what the kit capable of.
    I saw a video that show the part connecting the shoulder and the body is fragile and pron to breaking, what do you think about this? Do you have similar issue?

    • Manpig says:

      It’s not. Breaking the shoulder part is only due to user error by forcing, the video I assume you’re talking about said this as well. It’s not really fragile on it’s own unless you mishandle it while building.

      • Iki says:

        One youtube gunpla reviewer who shall not be named, rushes all his builds.
        Breaking the waist on kits, sholders, etc.
        In his videos he shakes the kit around and pulls so much that it breaks in his hands.

    • S2 says:

      I don’t have a similar issue and considering how articulate this big bulky kit is, it is very impressive.

  5. With the design of the MS, I wouldn’t have minded if the articulation ranges weren’t that great but for Bandai to pull this off (seemingly without sacrificing stability – not sure as I’ve yet to build mine), that’s some feat.

  6. Alberto from Italy says:

    After thinking over a bit more, there’s just one real fault in this kit (I can’t consider a fault the possible repainting of the tomahawk handle): there’s nothing to display the six funnels opened and flying around… I guess (ok, I was about to write Quess… stupid pun) we’ll have to use our imagination to find a way…

  7. Stephen says:

    100%, wow. Based on everything you wrote though, it isn’t wrong – and that sumo pose looks amazing. While I won’t be picking it up, I’m glad to know Bandai knocked it out of the park.

    Not a fan of how much smaller the torso is compared to the ver Ka, but everything else (including the mechanisms in the arm! That articulation!) is just…wow.

  8. aruya says:

    wow 100% score!! well as for me is 99% because of lack of stand effect for funnels

  9. Lun Chok says:

    Wait, the green beam parts are so less opaque!

  10. João says:

    Hi! Do you recommend top coat Gloss or Flat/Matt ? and about panel lining, better the classic GM03 (brown) in the red plastic ?

    • Sater says:

      IMHO I think that GM01 will be better, since it define the parts quite well on dark red (and the “cartoony” effect is present only on white or very bright kits). I fear GM03 will only add a “rusty” effect during panelining.

  11. Zuhri says:

    Hooray for Char to join the like of Kira & Setsuna with 3 MS with normal release RG. And he still has more MS to his name. Sad that Amuro still has only one. Hopefully Kou & his GP03 will join the rank too.
    Never like the movie Char’s Counterattack. But thanks to its anniversary we get this awesome kit, that’ll be one reason for me to like it. Nu Gundam, don’t keep Amuro sad for long.

  12. Hi! What about the stickers? Or are you getting waterslide decals? Where would I go about finding those in Tokyo do you think? I’m in town for a few months 😀

    • S2 says:

      I don’t know if they make waterslides for the RG Sazabi yet. If you want waterslides though, check out yodabashi camera in Akihabara. Asobit City there has them as well, if I recall correctly.

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