Gaijin Gunpla

A review? A real Gaijin Gunpla review. When was the last one?

March 21, 2020 to answer that question. A full year and a half ago. A lot of things have happened since then. I’ve written previously about how the pandemic and lockdown has affected me, not only in getting certain kits but also in having the time and energy to build them. To review them takes even more of those things.

I’ve missed reviewing the MG Wing Gundam Ver Ka (fantastic kit) and the MGEX Unicorn Ver Ka (Mind-blowing!) as well as the RG Force Impulse. Heck, I haven’t even started assembly on the previous RG, the Wing (the assembling the Hi-Nu has made me want to get on it soon).

So why a review of this RG Hi-Nu Gundam? Well, it was such an experience, as you can tell by that score, that I wanted to share my thoughts on it and let everyone know it is amazing. But there is something else I want to write about and I need a place to share that as well.

I want to write about my dad.

To make a long story short, without going into detail, I will share that almost one month ago my father fell. He fainted in the kitchen of his home in Canada and while falling hit his head on the counter. He’s been in a coma ever since. I have a lot of difficult emotions to deal with right now and, being so far away, no one in my circle has even met my father. But I want to write about him as a way to help me cope with what has become an incredibly difficult situation.

If this isn’t the kind of review you were hoping to read I can totally understand that and if you were stop reading now I would understand (and I also would not know). But as the assembly of this kit took place during my family tragedy, and my coming to terms with what it all means, this kit and my father are intertwined for me.

Overall Look: 10/10

Triumphant. I love the Hi-Nu and thought the MG Hi-Nu Ver Ka couldn’t be topped but this Real Grade version exceeds even that. It’s perfectly proportioned with an amazing amount of detail packed into that 1/144 scale size. I’ve got him up on my shelf next to the MGEX and the PG Unleashed and he holds my attention just as much as those.

When I think about my dad my memory conjures up the image of him with his baseball cap and his facial hair. He always had a cap of some kind with him. I think the only time I saw him go out without one was when he was going to work or when he was taking us to church. He always wore a cap but more recently, in what ironically seems to correspond to my gradual loss of the hair on my head, my dad can be seen without it. During our most recent video call, back in August (?) where I shared the news about his upcoming newest grandson, he started out wearing the cap but during the call slyly removed it and ran his fingers through his hair. He still has a full head of it. In fact, once he retired, he grew it out. Longer than I’ve ever seen it. It’s since been cut off but my old man does (did?) enjoy his hair.

I think throughout my entire childhood he’s had some form of facial hair be it sideburns, a mustache, goatie, or full beard. I remember him having his beard/mustache scissors in the bathroom drawer which none of us kids were allowed to touch. He did relinquish the use of his electric razor to me somewhat when I started to need to shave towards the end of high school. I’ve had the sideburns and goatie as well but have been mostly clean-shaven since my thirties. He on the other hand keeps it on and keeps it trim.

Colours: 9/10

This version of the Hi-Nu wins when it comes to colours with the gold and silver joining the white and various blues but probably what puts it over the top is the use of different colour parts in the Fin Funnels which is something not even the MG Ver Ka had. For that kit you had to apply decals the full length of the funnel to add colours. Here it’s part of the plastic design.

In sticking to the theme of colour I really have only one memory of my dad that involves colour. It, amusingly, involves a teddy bear. One day when my twin-sister and I must have been four years old or so my father sat us down and asked us what we would like him to buy us that day. He was going out and offered to pick up something for us. What an exciting day!

“A basketball,” I immediately replied. My sister had to think about it for a bit but then answered, “A teddy bear”.

And so, what seems like hours and hours later, my dad returned with some shopping bags and out of one came a basketball, just like I had asked, while from another came an orange teddy bear with white belly, hands, and feet and black eyes, nose, and mouth. My sister didn’t share the same excitement towards her bear that I did towards the ball. It turned out that she had wanted a black and white one. She wanted one like that so much that she took a magic marker to the bear’s orange soon after getting it. Well, my parents weren’t too pleased about that but my sister couldn’t change her feelings about the bear and because of these things that little orange bear ended up with me. I’ve kept that little orange guy from the age of four. It’s been around. It’s older than my wife!

It’s pretty ragged now and is even missing its eyes due to some time spent with my little niece when I first moved abroad but I did get it back and took it with me when I came to Australia. His name is Jake and is something from my dad that I’ll cherish.

Weapons: 10/10

Hi-Nu’s score here is higher than that of the Nu’s and that’s mostly down to the shield with its great use of colour and more details, though that connector there.. Ick!

I also prefer the look of the Nu’s Beam Rifle over that of the NU Gundam.

The Hi-Nu doesn’t have one unique Beam Saber handle but he makes up for that by simply having more of them. He’s got one in each of the wings on his backpack as well as one hidden inside his arm.

Weird context to be thinking about my father. He’s rather a mild individual. He does have a short temper, which is something I’ve taken after him, but it usually was directed at objects or situations rather than people. Yes, he would mumble under his breath when someone cut him off on the highway and similar types of things but I don’t recall him lashing out when becoming angry. He’s even become more mellow with age and seems very laid back, moreso than I remember.

However I do remember, quite vividly, some punishments that would be handed out when my sister or I stepped way over the line. I am not a fan of the wooden spoon. Times have changed and I don’t use corporal punishment on my children and I don’t blame my father for using it in any way. It was very rare and only when my sister and myself were really pushing hard against the boundaries we needed to learn. I also recall it lasted a very short span of time which I think was his way of breaking away from how he was disciplined by his own father.

Articulation: 10/10

The Nu Gundam had some great articulation and the Hi-Nu does as well just in different areas. New design of the shoulders means that they can move up a lot to allow the arms to move but won’t sag down if you keep the arms hanging low.

The rear-most Fin Funnel also has a design which sees the vent back there on the backpack move as the Fin Funnel moves.

The other two funnels can move independently.

Was my dad an articulate guy? If you had asked me that even a month ago I would have probably said not so much. But since the incident I’ve been doing a lot of remembering. I remember that he was just a quiet guy who didn’t tend to speak until he was spoken to. It was usually my mom doing the majority of the talking during our video calls. My dad would chime in occasionally, almost always asking me about the current gas prices in my area (It’s record-high here right now, Dad!) or asking about the weather. I would get the sense that he wasn’t particularly interested in the details of my life but found satisfaction in knowing that I was doing well in it. I am the same way. Dad was always dad and always was doing fine and that meant I didn’t have to worry. While lost in my memories these last couple of weeks I’ve been recalling more and more about the times where he did talk or did share with me.

One of those times involved the only time I’ve ever received a letter from him and it wasn’t the usual type of letter that most people send to others. I had been having a really difficult time with my life in Japan and everything was up in the air. I couldn’t tell anyone if I would be staying or going and had only worrying things to say. It was tough for me and was tough for my parents to hear being so far away and unable to help. My dad didn’t have email, or didn’t even bother to use computers but he wanted to tell me something. So he wrote it out on a piece of paper and had my mother scan and email it to me. I’ve gone back through my emails from those years ago looking for it and finally succeeded in finding it. When reading it again after so long I was struck by how well written it was. How articulate my dad was in putting his thoughts and advice down on a piece of paper. He had really neat handwriting that I definitely did not inherit.

Build Design: 9/10

Everything about the design of this kit is fantastic except for one thing which I will get to shortly.

Bandai have made various armour parts of the kit open up such as the shoulder.

But the leg has so much going on when it comes to the engineering.

What I dubbed the ‘scorpion tail’ on the backpack has an interesting locking mechanism on this RG version.

Open up the armour hatch on the top.

Extend the tail out.

Then lock it in place by putting the hatch back down.

Finally, turn up the end of the tail making it form one line.

The Fin Funnels themselves have a solid connection to the backpack wings and won’t fall out. As well, they feature a joint that is easily bent but retains its position firmly.

Now for my only real gripe with the kit… the backpack is heavy and it has problems standing upright. It will lean back until the fuel tanks at the back act as a prop to hold it up.

If you’re using a slippery surface it causes more problems because the end of the fuel tanks are rounded and they will just slide away from the body of the Hi-Nu. You’ll end up wi the the toes of the kit coming off the surface.

This heaviness was to be expected so I’m a little disappointed that only the fuel tanks seem to be used to combat this. If they had designed the fuel tanks to be in a fixed position then it would have worked out a lot better. As it is now, the ball-joint connection at the ends of the fuel tanks means the fuel tanks will move due to the weight put on them. They’ll droop to some extent with the kit on the stand as well.

My father was an average looking guy but underneath it I remember him being quite strong. He worked 12 hour shifts at a lumber mill throwing wooden planks around. He’d also walk to and from work everyday. When the sawmill shut down in that little town of ours and almost all workers there had to move away to find new employment he found himself in another province working in a tyre yard. He went from throwing wood to throwing tyres. I can’t imagine either of those jobs were easy. Even after he retired he still kept up his walking routine and his daily walks would take up a good portion of his day. For these reasons, I’m rather dumbfounded (and really angry!) as to why he had a fainting spell and ended up in a coma. He was a strong and healthy guy. Life is strange.

Fun Factor: 10/10

This kit came along at the perfect time for me. I’d just received the news of my father and couldn’t do anything at that moment due to international flight and quarantine restrictions. So instead of chewing my finger nails and fretting with worry I set about assembling the RG Hi-Nu (while fretting with worry). Even with my state of mind it was a magnificent build and a fun experience and I’ll be getting a lot more enjoyment of this kit having it up on display with my Perfect Grades.

My dad was fun in his own way. He had an excellent selection of dad jokes always at the ready and I find myself using them now with my own young children. He had a dry and sarcastic sense of humour as well which is something I’ve inherited but use in a more extreme way (often to the chagrin of my wife). I used to think my dad and I didn’t have much in common and we could have shared more things together and had more fun but when it came to things I did and do enjoy, he enjoyed them albeit in a different fashion. As this site is evidence of, I love building models and often modding or making them my own. My father, he loved model trains. I remember sitting down at the kitchen table with him, watching as he cut little strips of wood. He was building a hand-made trestle for his model train layout and it took quite a while but I remember when he showed me his finished version complete with weathering. It looked real. I gained a lot of respect for my father’s abilities even at the young age I was at the time. He also liked Rock N Roll music quite a bit. I took it further and became a big fan of Heavy Metal but still remember the classic rock we listened to at home.

Extras: 10/10

All those markings and the hands are pretty standard for RG kits. The Hi-Nu also comes with a very unique adapter for the action base but I am going to say that the ‘extra’ I appreciate most is the use of plastic parts to make the colours on the Fin Funnels. It really raises the level of quality on this kit.

When we think of our fathers what is an extra that they provided for us or brought to the table? These kinds of thoughts aren’t often conceived until the loss of the person you’re thinking about. My father, as I knew him, has been lost to us. The doctor was pretty clear that he’s not likely to leave the hospital even if he does at some point wake up, a possibility that decreases with each passing day. I’m grieving that loss now and know that I need to be prepared for the eventual physical loss and this has me thinking more about my father than I may have ever before at any one time.

Those extra things?

My father couldn’t swim and disliked water for that reason but still took us to the lake to launch us high into the air so we could crash back down into the water.

He didn’t particularly like sports and was a little clumsy when it came to such but I do remember him taking up a bat at our church picnics so that he could join me in the softball game.

He sacrificed his enjoyment for that of our family. My mom loved dogs so that’s where a lot of our money went even though it meant that he had to stop his progress on his model train layout, only picking it back up years later when the kids were mostly finished with school.

He sold his ’65 Mustang Fastback, what I’m sure was his pride and joy at the time, to buy a station wagon because he was having twins. That’s a sacrifice I wasn’t around to experience but am pretty impressed by. Dad did what was necessary for us to be comfortable and happy.

The RG Hi-Nu Gundam is now one of the go-to kits in the Real Grade line. It feels like assembling an MG/PG combination in HG scale. It’s Bandai’s latest blockbuster kit!

And that’s my dad, summed up. A good dude who kept to himself and raised us the best he could. Who, in his own simple way, taught me how to be a dad myself. Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts and memories of him here. Now that restrictions have eased I’ll be flying to Canada in a few days to see him, and his condition, for myself. I’ve made peace with myself over the reality of his situation but I’m still very anxious about everything. Writing this has made me more ready to face what I’m going to be confronted with.

16 Responses so far.

  1. D. says:


    Long time lurker but wanted to take the time to thank you, both for the wonderful review but even moreso for sharing about your father, he seems like a great man. I’m glad this hobby has provided some space for you to reflect through what I’m sure has been a difficult past month. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.

  2. Willy Wang says:

    Hey Sid,

    Thank you for the review of the Hi-Nu and for your willingness to share your feelings regarding your father. Wishing you and your family the best, and I hope you continue to find the strength to move forward each day. Take care.

  3. riccardo says:

    Thank you Sid for sharing about your father.

  4. Alberto from Italy says:

    Tank you for everything you wrote here, Mr Syd. Take care.

  5. lupes says:

    Sorry to hear about your father, Syd. He sounds like a wonderful dad and friend to you and I’m wishing you and him the best. What you’re going through isn’t easy, but it sounds like you’re facing it the way his son would. Proud of you.

  6. Alejandro d says:

    Great review, but really, thank you for sharing about your dad, thank you for having the courage to do so. All the love and support for y’all.

  7. Limerick says:

    So sorry to hear about your dad’s condition and thank you for sharing, Mr.S. Our thoughts and prayers to you and him.

  8. S. C. says:


    I’ve been reading your reviews for a while – I’m a old friend of your friend, American Salaryman (ASM). Followed the link from his page long ago, when he stopped posting. I only dabble in Gunpla, and only RG, so I was enjoying your Hi-Nu writeup.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your father. When I was an ALT in Tohoku, my father passed away in a motorcycle accident (in the US). I experienced many similar emotions as I tried to sift through the memories and cope with the fact that I was going home temporarily, but then leaving my family to deal with the reality. I hope the best for your father. He sounds like he was a good dad to have.

  9. Joew says:

    Stay strong Sid! No matter what happen, you could always come back to this site of yours and express your feeling. We would be more than happy to listen and occasionally make a small comment.. Keep on Keeping on~

  10. Nibras says:

    Hey Gaijin! (Sorry I don’t know your actual name)
    Hearing about your father is really sad by at the same time, I’m glad you shared about it. I’m sure a lot of weight was taken off of your shoulders. You have a large loving community that is here for you when going through tough times. I wish all the best for your health and well-being and especially your father’s.

  11. Stephen says:

    Great review Syd and great way to integrate your father and the gunpla together. Hoping for the best for…everything.

  12. Paul Emical* says:

    Hello Syd,
    I’m sorry to hear about what happened to your father and I know (believe me, I do) what you and your family must be going through.
    Just know that, for as little as it may count, we as a community are here to support you.

  13. Chall Acustica says:

    Syd best of luck with the situation, could tell this was written very lovingly. Thank you for the reviews over the years and this one as well

  14. SECT says:

    Holy, it’s a Gaijin Review! I didn’t think this day would ever come!

  15. Josue says:

    Hey Syd, thanks for the excellent review as always. I’ve been lurking on your site for what must be at least two years now, and your reviews played a big part in my experience within the hobby. I just wanted to offer a few words back for somebody who has been a reliable voice, and I think, in some way, the way your father influenced your life in how he raised you has passed on to how you have written on this site. In that way, I like to think that he’s touched the readers and commenters in some form, and I hope that will be a small bit of legacy that will continue for a while to come. Take care, and I hope your visit is a positive one.

  16. John says:

    As a fellow dad this post have resonated with me. I have been following your blog reading review and such but this post will be very special. No matter what happens Syd, always be strong, as such hardships happen for us to grow in life. Regards to you and your family. And stay safe.

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