Tuesday, December 28, 2021

[Kit Insight] Bandai MG 1/100 GN-005 Gundam Virtue - Straight Build

Model Number: GN-005
Designation: Celestial Being Heavy Artillery Mobile Suit

A wonderfully crafted Master Grade that still suffers from the line's inherent issues.

The Bandai MG 1/100 Gundam Virtue is about as good as you expect from a highly anticipated Master Grade model kit. The sheer amount of parts give the Virtue fantastic colour separation, although there is definitely room for more surface detail, especially on the large leg armour sections. The cast-off gimmick is beautifully executed, the armour sections melding seamlessly with the Nadleeh's curves to result in a comfortable, adequate fit.

One great thing about the Virtue is how solid the whole thing holds together, the joints are nice and tight which helps to hold poses. The Nadleeh is rock-solid, able to withstand violent shaking with no limb movement or falling parts. This translates very well to the Virtue: the Nadleeh is essentially the inner frame for the Virtue's parts.

Unfortunately, the Virtue suffers from an issue that plagues all modern MGs: the swappable fingers can't hold on (pun intended) to their intended weaponry and tend to fall off very easily. This is very apparent when trying to wield the GN Bazooka one-handed, which is basically a test of patience. The tight frame however is a nice surprise - the arms do not budge a millimeter even when hoisting up that massively oversized GN Bazooka. This is most evident when the Virtue is striking its signature "fire everything" pose that's on the box art, the GN Bazooka is firmly held in place only by the Virtue's holding strength in both arms and nothing else. 

The core feature of the Bandai MG 1/100 Gundam Virtue model kit has got to be the cast-off mechanic to reveal a fully functional Gundam Nadleeh. In fact, the Nadleeh can be said to be the main build in this kit, since you construct the Nadleeh in its entirety before putting on the heavy armour sections to make it the Virtue.

Conversion between both forms is a breeze, with the Virtue armour components snapping together quite intuitively, a single look-through the manual will commit the conversion process to memory. It is also very satisfying to pop the armour on and off, having the model kit bulk up and then slim down again and again.

If you find that the Virtue's huge leg armours wobble after being sandwiched over the Nadleeh's legs, you can flip up the small little ankle armour found just before the foot. This will go into the rectangular hole on the front half of the Virtue leg armour, which will help to create a much more solid and unshakeable hold.

While the Nadleeh boasts fantastic proportions that comes across as nimble and athletic, it is sadly let down by its hair. The hard red plastic - especially the strands in front - severely restricts the head unit's rotation to only a tiny angle, which is woefully inadequate for use. Removing the hair sections allows the Nadleeh to strike cooler poses, taking full advantage of its tight joinery and solid frame.

The Nadleeh is equipped with the usual beam rifle (with beam blade), shield and dual beam sabers, and can also use all of the Virtue's heavy weaponry, that is, if you can get the basic hands to hold them properly.

Overall, the MG 1/100 Gundam Virtue model kit is quite decent despite its flaws and is sure to give 00 Gundam fans many happy hours just taking the armour off and then putting them back on.


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