Monday, April 28, 2014

Kit Insight: HGBF 1/144 XM-X9999 Crossbone Gundam Maoh (Straight Build)

Shiver me timbers!
The Crossbone Gundam has always been one of my favourite MS designs: the pirate theme, the sleek shapes, organic curves and aesthetically-appealing design have been etched into my memory ever since reading them from the pages of the manga so many years ago. When I bought the HGUC F91 Gundam F91 [Harrison Martin Custom], I spotted the telltale image of a Crossbone Gundam X-1 in the background, having being surprised by the F91's VSBRs, a ten-year-old weapon that could still rip apart its anti-beam cloth with a single shot. 

As part of Bandai's HG All Gundam Project, I waited with bated breath for the release schedule of the Crossbone series to come along (I'm still waiting).

Gunplanerd's impression of F91 Box Art.
Then came the HGBF Crossbone Gundam Maoh.




Overview

Here comes the star machine!
The Crossbone Gundam Maoh is a variant of the original XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1, custom-built by Mao Yasaka after his Gundam X Maoh was totaled (read: ripped apart) by the Gundam F91 Imagine during a free battle. Under the implied supervision of Master Chinan, Mao created a new machine that carried over features from the X Maoh, primarily the Enhanced Satelline Cannon, now stored internally in the chest rather than as a separate weapon.

"Dude, you're puny."
"Says the one who has a long-ass sword."
"Dude, what are you so happy about, we are tiny!"
Being a MS from the F91 era of miniaturised mobile suits, the Crossbone Maoh kit (and presumably its HGUC counterparts) is tiny, standing shoulder to shoulder with its F91 contemporary. This doesn't mean that Bandai is scrimping on material and parts, it's just how the kit is supposed to be. In F91 lore, miniaturised kits are more energy-efficient, cost lesser to mass-produce and are harder targets to hit, hence the paradigm shift of MS manufacturing from large RX-78-era units to smaller, more agile machines.

Really? We gonna do this now?
The Crossbone Maoh is even smaller than Mao's previous MS, the X Maoh, and that kit is already small enough to begin with. Comparing it with traditional HGUC kits, the Crossbone is really lacking in stature. However, what the Crossbone Maoh lacks in size, it more than makes up for it with its armaments and overall look.

Construction

So many parts for a tiny kit.
Modern HG kits are far more detailed than their first ancestors have ever been. The HGUC F91 featured engravings and mechanical details in the parts that will be covered with armor, reminiscent of RG or MG style kits. Carrying forward this theme, the Crossbone Maoh's parts have significantly more detail than older kits, allowing detailing buffs to add dashes of colour or mechnical components to its many nooks and crannies.

How do you like my rear X?
As the kit is smaller than traditional HGs, the individual parts are tinier, but I don't foresee any issue with the construction. This kit is also generously molded in multiple colours: white for the Crossbone Gun & Sword, Skull Emblem and Large Beam Saber, red for the feet, front waist armor and mouthpiece, grey for the majority of its armor, dark grey for the inner frame parts, yellow for the V-Fin and exhaust vents (no stickers for this!) and a nice shade of blue for the chest and head piece. In the end, the kit has a wealth of parts despite the fact that it is packed into a standard HG-sized box.

Detail

Kira Yamato, Freedom, launc- Opps wrong show.
In the anime, the Crossbone Maoh appears at the final battle with a burst of its chest-mounted satellite cannon, eliminating scores of enemies while looking all glowy and bright. The satellite strips all over its frame are achieved by foil stickers, which catch and reflect light reasonably well enough.There are also panel lines all over its tiny frame for your black markers to go over, and one good thing about this kit are that the chest exhaust vents and leg vents are pieces molded in yellow, and not achieved with a sticker.

Come get some head!
The most striking feature of the Crossbone Maoh has to be the large skull affixed on its chest that conceals the satellite cannon. An anatomically-correct skull, it adds a sense of creepiness and dread to this kit, but it has a nasty habit of covering the lower half of the Crossbone Maoh's face in "firing" mode.

Articulation

Dead or alive, you are coming with me.
The Crossbone Maoh can really strike and hold a variety of poses. The joint systems allow for a whole range of dynamic motion: kicks, gun-kata poses, dual-wielding poses, etc. 

Who's up for some GINN toast!
Although it is more than capable of standing poses, an Action Base will allow the Crossbone Maoh to do more kickass poses.

I have a big gun and I won't hesitate to use it.
Extras

I have a big sword too.
Canonically, Crossbone Gundams are armed to the teeth: vulcans, heat daggers, beam sabers, beam shields, slash harkens scissor anchors, Beam Zanber, Buster Gun, etc. The Crossbone Maoh, being a MS from another universe, is however no exception to this rule. The kit comes with two heat daggers, two feet heat daggers, two normal beam sabers, two large beam sabers, the beam zanber, buster gun and the Crossbone Gun & Swords. Even though more than half the weapons didn't appear in the anime, that didn't stop Bandai from bundling them with the Crossbone Maoh. My take is that the HGUC Crossbone X-1 kit has already been cast, the Maoh is simply riding on the pre-molded parts, which is good news for Crossbone fans everywhere.

Slash and burn!
If a weapon has to be chosen to characterise the Crossbone Maoh, it has to be the Beam Zanber. It is a huge beam saber with a blade in the shape of a pirate's cutlass, with a matching handguard and hilt. The Zanber also combines with the Buster Gun to create the Zanbuster, a high-powered beam rifle able to dish out substantial damage. The Zanbuster is held with a specially-molded hand, while the Buster Gun is held with custom hands that look way more kickass that traditional trigger hands.

My gun is bigger than my arm!
The Crossbone Gun & Swords are rather large affairs, each being the length of the Crossbone Maoh's shin. With the beam blades deployed, the entire weapon almost exceeds the Crossbone Maoh in height. Although they are designed to be used as rifles and sabers, their saber-modes allow for more awesome poses.

Show me what you got!

Conclusion

If only we could see the outcome of this epic fight.
Although the Crossbone Gundam Maoh is smaller than its HGBF contemporaries, it is the closest to a HG Crossbone kit you can get (for now).