BLOG: HG 1/144 Gundam Barbatos – Bandai Hobby Preview
|Still a couple of months away before the next Gundam series Mobile Suit Gundam IRON-BLOODED ORPHANS premieres, and the Gunpla are released. As the marketing for the series is in full swing, Bandai Hobby decided to give the Gunpla enthusiasts a treat as they’ve started to stream a 5-minute preview for the HG Gundam Barbatos.
Compared to previous High Grades, they took a different approach with Gundam Barbatos in terms of aesthetics, engineering, and functionality. Now these ain’t just model kit gimmicks like those from the HGBF/HGBC lines as these are actually integrated to the plot. This in turn adds another layer of depth and play pattern to otherwise simple model kits.
Technically the video is unavailable outside Japan but was able to view it after some fiddling. So here are screen captures to make better sense of what this new kit has to offer.
|So here’s the big reveal, at least to this collector. Bandai has been clear from the start that the 1/100 version will be having a Master Grade-esque inner frame despite not being branded as an MG. What Bandai didn’t mention is that the HG kit will also have an inner frame.
Here’s the runner breakdown for HG Gundam Barbatos. It will contain seven runners — two for the inner frame and weapons (A1 & A2), one for the outer armor (B), three for the accent colors (C, D, E), and one for polycaps. Oh and there’s always the High Grade staple of foil stickers.
Just based on the color distribution across runners, it looks like there will be good parts separation. That said, the foil sticker sheet also tells that aside from the obvious red markings, some parts that would’ve been easily done in plastic will also utilize these. More of those in the actual assembled kit.
|When the modern High Grades line started in early 2000s, nobody was expecting for these kits to have Master Grade like inner frames, to which the latter was just starting to have. It’s a different story fifteen years later though as mentioned, the concept of inner frames is really integrated to the plot that the kit at this scale must have one.
This inner frame is quite detailed for a 1/144 scale non-RG kit, granted the base configuration of Gundam Barbatos has a lot of exposed inner frame so such details are mandatory. This also departs from the usual construction of High Grades, even the modern ones.
For example, torso construction of typical HGs are achieved via the armor pieces themselves and connected through polycap ball joints. This kit has actual working torso hinges that don’t depend on polycaps.
|As previously mentioned, the initial configuration of Gundam Barbatos is barely armored and this kit truly reflects that. However, this also says that the sparse number armor pieces makes for a good opportunity for great parts separation to which this kit does to a considerable extent.
Much of the yellow vents spread all over its body are molded in correct colors, including those in the head unit but not those in the shoulder armor — which is a nice compromise as compared to if it were the other way around.
Now of course those red markings are expected to be stickers but the leg panels aren’t, this is probably where the budget went out. So the key areas that would need paint are the shoulder vents and side leg panels. There are also those miscellaneous gray parts but those are already given.
|The last point of discussion would be articulation. Moden High Grade kits have set the standard balancing articulation and poseability to detail and proportions. As with any other kit with an inner frame, the frame itself is fully articulated and will only be limited once the build is complete due to the outer armor.
Overall, the HG 1/144 Gundam Barbatos looks to be a very promising kit and a great way to kick off this new High Grade line. Here’s hoping that many of the engineering quirks introduced in this kit will eventually bleed out to future High Grade releases.