Bandai Real Grade 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam Review

Monday, July 21, 2014

The iconic Gundam RX-78-2 in a super detailed small package - quite possibly the best 1/144 scaled

Inspired by the 1:1 life scale Gundam RX-78-2 that now stands in Diver City Tokyo Plaza, Odaiba, Japan, the Real Grade attempts to capture the color separation and life-like appearance in a small 1/144 scale.  Here you'll face ultra small pieces and details you'll normally find on larger scaled model kits.

This time I'm not wiggling loose pieces from the plastic runners. I picked up a Tamiya basic tool kit off eBay which includes the plastic side cutter (this is my main tool), a plastic file (it's okay but doesn't smooth plastic out like buying real sandpaper), a craft knife (great for slicing off left over sprue on your piece, angled tweezers (pick up small pieces or put stickers on), and two screwdrivers (flat and cross - which I've never used).
You can pick one up for under $20 USD off eBay and Amazon.

I also picked up some markers for panel lining my Gundams.  I tested them on my older HG and non-line Gundams and they turned out well.  I'll update those old posts with post panel lining later this week.  I picked up a grey Gundam marker GM02, a Pigma Micron 005 (I'd rather have a Gundam marker but they were just too fat. But this doesn't rub off as easily if you screw up), a metalllic gold Sharpie, and a metallic silver Sharpie.  Get the metallic ones because the water based ones will just rub off the plastic.
The Tamiya TS-84 metallic gold stray paint is for my other Gundam purchase. Each marker costs $2-4. They're worth the price.

On a trip to Vancouver, Canada, I picked up a 1/144 scaled Real Grade Gundam RX-78-2 and a Real Grade Gundam Strike Freedom.  I wanted a RS-78-2 because it's the original. Real grades are a big detail improvement over the HG line and I didn't want to spend so much money to buy a 1/100 Master Grade.

Underneath each Real Grade Gundam is a small plastic skeleton - like a simplified 1/100 scaled Master Grade

The skeleton isn't made of many pieces.  In this case it's 7 pieces but varies slightly for other models. I also built the foot on my first day.

Although the arms and legs are just 1 piece on the plastic runner, they have small moving parts.  Bend them slowly so you don't break the plastic.  It's pretty awesome seeing the small sliding pieces.

After a few hours I got the lower part of it done.  I recommend painting (I used the metallic gold Sharpie) piece A16 prior to attaching it to the chest.
You'll already see the color separation in the legs because the pieces come from 3 different runners of slightly different shades of grey/white.

Here it is without the paint which I had to pull apart later
The two piece light saber was the easiest thing to build in this kit.

Here I paint the back of the knees which can be done after assembly.
The two booster nozzles are small and easily fall off so be careful not to lose them when posing. The beam saber handles keep falling off his backpack.

With the arm assembled, you can still paint piece G10.  There's no metallic bronze Sharpie so I just used gold.  Be careful not to paint the armor pieces.
The vents have been painted gold in this photo so they're darker than the earlier photo.

The head is made up of 14 pieces.  As mentioned in the instructions, I would recommend sticking the eyes to piece A12 before assembly.  But I would also recommend painting the Vulcan guns (yellow circles beside the head crest) metallic bronze on piece A18 before assembly because it's difficult to pull off piece E1-17 without breaking off the guns.
It's a beautiful head sculpt.  Bandai provides two different sticker sets for the eyes: a one piece and a 3 pieces where you stick the gold eyes to a black sticker.  I went with the 1 sticker because I would have a hard time properly aligning the eyes on the black sticker.  For the advanced builders, you can paint the clear piece. 

A few more hours, Gundam RS-78-2 is fully built
As you can see behind Bandai has included a lot of detailed stickers which I'll stick later.

Here is Bandai's Real Grade 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam standing beside a can of Coke.

It's small.  The pieces are even smaller so building him was quite an exercise.


His bazooka can attach to his back but I have yet to build it.


His beam saber is ridiculously long

Here you see how panels sliding up and out when you bend his arms and legs.  The arm and legs are double jointed and shoulders and skirts will move so you have a wide range of motion.  The only problem is that moving him causes many small pieces to pop off like his lower knee and pieces separate like his upper leg armor.  For the gun, I recommend lining piece A13 before assembly.

Everything else that's included:
Includes the 1/144 RX-78-2, rifle (in his right hand), shield (in his left hand), bazooka, 2 light sabres, 2 closed fists, 2 articulated hands (attached), and the core fighter.  Also included and not pictured is a 1/144 figure (Amuro Ray) that's unpainted white.

Core fighter:
The core fighter is very small and doesn't fit the 1/144 figurine

Collapsed core fighter:
The collapsed core fighter can fit inside the torso of the RX-78-2 but it limits torso crunch and rotation.  I haven't put it in because there are 2 small pins that hold his top and lower half which I'm really scared of breaking.on piece B4 section B.  Those landing gears are small and need to be removed going into the collapsed form.

But he looks just so awesome

Bandai Real Grade 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam with its box:

Bandai has done an incredible job creating the Real Grade 1/144 RX-78-2 Gundam.  It looks exceptionally detailed and they included lots of accessories like a transformable core fighter and bazooka.  It was a real challenge putting it together which such small pieces.  I have yet to sticker him up and top coat him (I'll update this post once I do that)  Posing him is also challenging with pieces frequently falling off too.  This is a model and not a toy.  If you want a cheap introduction to advanced Gundam model building then the Real Grade line is a great start.  And the RX-78-2 is a fabulous model design that's universally recognized and loved.

Manufacturer: Bandai
Year:  2010
MSRP: 2,500 Yen


No update with stickers? its been almost a year!

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