This build sets itself up perfectly for a nice neat set of posts. Today we’ll build and photograph the Core Gundam, after which we’ll look at the armor, and finally the Earthree Gundam.
But as always, we’ll start with the runners:
I don’t have much to say here, as this is pretty much what I expected. The Core Gundam is small, so there’s naturally a lot of really tiny parts. I’m also seeing all the typical parts used to build joints on modern High Grades. It all checks out.
Core Spray Gun
I really like the look of this:
The Core Spray Gun is inspired by the Beam Spray Gun used by the GM, and even looks a bit like it:
But only a little bit. The Core Spray Gun is bigger and a bit meaner looking, and I think that’s all for the better. If you want to convince people that the Core Gundam is strong on its own, without any Planet armor, you need to make sure it’s primary weapons look strong.
And in that regard, they got things half right …
There have been lots of times where I’ve felt that a mobile suit looks better in model kit form than on the TV screen. This is the opposite.
It looks perfectly fine in the show, but in real life this looks like only half a shield:
It’s not the size that’s the problem, but the shape. Having the white trim along the top half, and nothing along the bottom, is distracting. It looks like there should be something there, but that it was cut off.
Making things worse is the fact that the shield doesn’t connect to the Core Gundam using a typical wrist mount. My guess is that a wrist mount would mess up the transformation gimmick, but in any case, what this means is that instead it has to grip the shield using a long, awkwardly positioned handle:
I can see this looking awkward from certain angles and with certain poses.
Earthree Gundam has a bigger gun than Core Gundam. And it has a bigger shield than Core Gundam.
But as for the beam sabers? They share the same pair of beam sabers.
Now, they have different sized beam saber blades:
But still. I can see those large handles looking a bit awkward in Core Gundam’s hands.
General Notes about the BuildThe Core Gundam may be small, but it builds like any other High Grade. Its pieces are just a lot smaller.
That being said, there are a few noteworthy changes, some due to its size, and some due to accomodating the transformation gimmick.
This is the first example of Core Gundam having to make accommodations for the Planet armor. Each set of armor has an additional bit of plating that goes above the V-Fin, so there needs to be a way for that armor to plug in. Unfortunately, the answer was to create a really massive empty space behind the V-Fin.
You’re supposed to paint this empty space black to make it less noticeable, and at first I was skeptical that it would ake a difference, But it turns out to be quite effective:
See? You can’t even tell.
There are a lot of tiny parts here, but everything fits together tightly. I don’t think there’s any risk of anything falling off.
Visually, it’s a typical Gundam chest, only shrunk down in size.
There’s not a lot of space for a fancy backpack, so this one sticks to the essentials. The beam saber handles are oriented down for Core Gundam, but flip up when wearing the Earth armor.
This is where things start to fall off the rails.
The lower torso is also extremely simple. Perhaps too simple.
It has no side skirts (or rear skirts), and the front skirts are extremely small, so the entire leg is going to be exposed.
There is no ball joint, meaning this model has no ab crunch.
And then there’s the fact that there’s a lot of empty space between the two sections of the torso:
It looks like the chest is resting on top of a wide platform. This is not the first gunpla I’ve built that has this problem, and it always irks me.
These are interesting. As you can see, the feet are extremely short and stumpy. This is by design, as the feet have to get out of the way during the transformation. They have to be small enough to able to tuck away easily, and they can’t be encumbered with any armor that would limit their range of movement:
Without a doubt, the legs are the weirdest looking part of the body, but that’s what I like about them.
The arms themselves are pretty standard stuff. The shoulder armor is smaller than usual, but that’s about it.
As for the hands, they’re very clearly oversized. I don’t think this will be super noticeable when the Core Gundam is carrying its weapons, but when it’s not, it is going to look weird.
I feel like there was an easy solution to this problem: include a set of smaller closed fist hands to only use with the Core Gundam. But that’s the kind of “extra” that Bandai often avoids including when they have to, and that’s clearly the case here.
On TopcoatingAs I am writing this, I still don't know what will happen if I topcoat this model. I decided to play it safe by doing all the photoshoots while the model is still "unsprayed". After that, I'll probably try to topcoat it; worst case scenario, if it doesn't go well, I'll at least have some photos of it when it was still in a good state.
Here now is the finished Core Gundam:
I have some things to say about how it looks, but first let’s test out the articulation. Remember that the articulation of the Core Gundam is the best possible articulation that the Earthree Gundam (or any of the armors) is going to have, so it’s gotta make it count.
The neck has a nice double joint with plenty of range:
The torso can easily rotate:
On the other hand, as we observed earlier, it has no ab crunch whatsoever. The silver lining is that because there’s almost no skirt armor to speak of, the entire upper body easily pivots forward and backward along the hip joint:
It’s not quite the same effect, but I guess it’s close enough.
Moving on, the arms are double jointed, and you can get a perfect flex:
The arm lift is also great:
The leg lift is pretty good, though I find it ironic that the skirt armor still gets in the way despite being so tiny:
The knee bend has no issues whatsoever:
I expected a better split given how unobstructed the hips are:
Lastly, because the ankles are unobstructed ball joints, you can pretty much guarantee the feet will always be planted flat on the ground:
I’m never sure how to grade articulation like this. When it’s good, it’s very good, but when it’s bad it’s very bad/nonexistent. The natural inclination is to say that it all averages out to something in the middle, but that’s not really how it works. If certain points of articulation are bad, that is going to impede some number of poses.
There’s something else to consider. I said earlier that the articulation of the Core Gundam is the best possible articulation that the Earthree will have. I say that because it’s possible that the Earthree armor further impede the range of some of the joints.
For now, I’ll say that the articulation is good enough for the Core Gundam, but the jury is still out as to whether this will suffice for the Earthree Gundam.
In case you’re curious as to just how small the Core Gundam is, here it is next to a standard sized SD Gundam:
I guess the V-Fin on the SD gives it a slight height advantage, but overall I’d say they’re about the same.
The thing about Core Gundam is that it’s not supposed to just look like a Speed Grade Gunpla - that is, it’s not merely a regular Gunpla scaled down even further.
It’s supposed to look a little weird. Some of the proportions are supposed to look a little off, and some of the body parts are supposed to look a bit different than usual.
I think it’s a clever idea, and I like it, but I can easily see why others may disagree. It’s the Gunpla equivalent of the Uncanny Valley. You can recognize what it’s supposed to be, while also knowing that something just feels off.
But that’s just talking about the visual design in general, without discussing any of the specific quirks of this real life model kit. In that regard, I have some problems. I’ve already mentioned them earlier, but to reiterate:
- The holding hands are too big
- There is too much empty space around the hips. It’s too obvious that it’s not supposed to look that way, but has to in order to accommodate the Planet Armor. It kills the model’s silhouette
- The shield grip looks goofy any time it’s visible
The good news is that all of these problems are fixable - you just have to find the right poses that minimize these flaws.
This pose is still a little too stiff, but the shield grip is hidden, the hands are occupied, and the space around the hips is (mostly) concealed. But we can do better:
We can still see some of the space around the hips, but only on one side. And the dynamic nature of the pose serves as a distraction.
This is perfect. It’s dynamic, and all the problems are hidden away.
So yeah, you just have to get a little clever.
One thing I will say in the Core Gundam’s favor is that it is extremely sturdy. Not a single part popped off during poses, and because it is so small, I never had to worry about it getting off balance while on an Action Base.
It may sound like a small thing, but the easier it is to land poses and take photos, the more willing I am to do it. And since that’s been a problem for me on and off, it matters quite a lot.
When the Core Gundam is in a simple standing pose, I have to admit that it looks kind of … cute. But when you put it into an action pose, it starts looking pretty badass. A pintsized powerhouse if you will.
Okay, so may not all standing poses look cute. Case in point:
It even looks pretty touch bare handed:
I had a lot of fun taking all these photos, and by the time I was done I had pretty much forgotten about the space around the hips, and the size of the hands. It’s hard to pay attention to that when there are more interesting things to focus on.
(Still, it would have been nice if we got a smaller pair of holding hands at the very least. Just saying)
Core Gundam may have some visual flaws, but it’s sturdy as hell and it has a ton of character. I’d say that makes up for its problems.
And the best part is we’re not even close to being done. We still have an Earth armor and and Earthree Gundam to cover. Stay tuned.