About the Mobile Suit
The Earthree is, of course, the Core Gundam combined with the Earth armor.
I’m 99% sure this is the first armor Hiroto created. Fittingly enough, it is also the one armor in the Planets System that doesn’t really have a specialty. It’s essentially the “main” armor, with the standard set of Gundam weapons (Beam Sabers, Beam Rifle, and shield).
It can also attach the shield to the Beam Rifle to function as an additional power supply:
In this mode, the rifle can act as a makeshift sniper rifle (though one that isn’t quite as good as the Uraven’s specialty rifle).
Appearances in the Show
Due to in-universe reasons, Hiroto can only go into battle with two sets of Planet armor. More often than not, the Earthree is one of those two. It is by far the armor that we see most frequently.
So much so, in fact, that we sometimes see it using the weapons from other armors, such as the Veetwo:
And the Uraven’s sniper rifle:
And the Uraven’s sniper rifle again:
This makes a certain amount of sense, in more ways than one. On an in-universe level, being an “all purpose” mobile suit means it should be able to adapt to using the widest variety of weapons.
On real-world level, as much as the Planet armor gimmick is cool - and as much as it might have created more opportunities to sell merch - it makes sense for any given show to have at least one “main” Gundam to center on (for promotional material, storytelling, etc). The Earthree is the obvious choice.
About the Model Kit
As I’ve said before, this is a complete kit. It comes with a Core Gundam, the Earthree armor, and all the weapons and accessories. It even comes with a small pedestal upon which you can display the armor. Seems like a pretty solid little package.
How does this Work in Real Life?
One of the great things about animation is that it more easily lets you do things that would be physically impossible in real life. In some cases that means doing something really crazy - like giving a character stretchy noodly arms. But it can also mean doing something a bit more subtle.
For example, in any given mecha anime, you don’t need to animate a mecha’s transformation sequence in painstaking detail. As long as it looks plausible enough, you can fudge the specifics.
But if you’re going to make a real life model kit or figurine of that mecha, suddenly you’re not allowed to fudge. Now you have to figure out how to make the gimmick work within the framework of real life physics.
The Core Gundam is a perfect example of this phenomenon. In the anime, it combines with the Planet armors so simply and easily. At face value it looks like it should be a cinch to replicate in real life.
But that’s not really the case. There are a number of questions that have to be answered, such as:
- Do you need to create extra space between some of the Core Gundam’s body parts in order to accommodate the Planet armor? Space that doesn’t exist on the animated Core Gundam, because the animators can fudge the details?
- Will the small size of the Core Gundam compromise its articulation (and by extension its articulation when wearing an armor set)?
- Will you have to get rid of certain common features (such as a special wrist mount for a shield) in order to accommodate the transformation gimmick?
After having watched a bunch of reviews of this kit, I can tell you the answer to all of these questions is “yes”. The only thing I’m not yet certain about is just how much any of these compromises will effect the overall quality of the model. And then there’s a fourth question which I do not at all know the answer to:
- Will topcoating this model make it difficult to apply the armor - and will applying/removing the armor scratch the surface of the matte coat?
But hey, I guess we’ll figure it all out soon!