Days ahead of their Hobby Next Phase 2021 Autumn event, Bandai Spirits suddenly dropped a kit announcement no one expected, but soon after, everyone got excited.
Sort of following in the same vein with the HG Sirbine and HG L-Gaim Mk-II kits, Bandai Spirits is bringing another 80s mecha series into modern High Grade standards. Except that this one never got any contemporary kit since its initial release unlike the two I mentioned. We’re talking about the HG Dragonar-1 [Lifter-1 Equipment Type] the first Dragonar kit Bandai Spirits has released ever since the original line when it premiered in the 80s. Yes, we got several figure releases from Tamashii Nations, but not a new model kit, not even from the dead Real Robot Revolution (R3) line. And that’s the reason everyone was caught off guard with this announcement.
To those unfamiliar, Metal Armor Dragonar was a 1988 series premiering after Gundam ZZ and was intended to be the next Gundam franchise with its take on the real robot genre. The series got good ratings, but it never reached the same popularity as Gundam, much more to replace it. Hence, they only released a single series in what I would’ve imagined to be a longer story.
Before I go into the details of this kit, I wanted to explain something first. While I mentioned earlier the HG Sirbine and L-Gaim Mk-II kits, I decided from the get go to skip on them since I already have the Robot Sprits versions. Both kits and figures look identical with just a few minor differences. And I also have the Robot Spirits version of the Dragonar-1 as seen above, but you can clearly notice the design liberties they took with this figure, going with a more stylized aesthetic. Yes, it looks good, but it’s not accurate to its anime counterpart. It’s like the total opposite of what they’re doing with the Ver. A.N.I.M.E. subline. Thus, at least for me, it would still make sense to get this new High Grade, especially after seeing what they have in store.
EDIT: Technically the Robot Spirits figure is the Dragonar-1 Custom, but the aesthetics are still different as already mentioned.
You can’t be more faithful with the anime version than this kit over here. From the proportions to the details and colors, this is the Dragonar-1 kit many are hoping for. For starters, all the colored stripes you see on the legs and shoulders are plastic pieces, not color-correcting stickers. The kit also features a complete internal frame, which is something you’d often see in Real Grades or larger High Grades in this scale, and further blurring the line between these grades. They also highlight how the honeycomb pattern in the torso vents are produced in detail, using multiple parts even. The rear thrusters prominently seen being deployed in the opening of the anime are also replicated.
The other major highlight of this kit is the inclusion of the Lifter-1 flight unit, like how the Aile Striker pack works for the Strike Gundam. It can be displayed in both deployed and folded when not in use. Two 5-unit missile pods are also included and can be attached to the wings.
Besides the Lifter-1 unit, the kit also comes with even more plethora of accessories. These include the 75mm LSP9 hand railgun, 105mm hand railcannon, 2x throwing bombs, 2x shoulder bombs, hybrid shield, assault knives, combat laser swords as separate and combined, and their effect parts. It also comes with additional forehead parts to replicate how the Dragonar-1 appears in the anime opening.
I am hoping that this won’t be a one-off thing and they’d also release the Dragonar-2 and Dragonar-3 units. There’s also the Dragonar-1 Custom which is slightly different from the vanilla Dragonar-1. Despite being a Premium Bandai release, the first print run of this kit is already sold out, clearly indicating the interest with this kit. I’m still waiting for my local Premium Bandai distributor to confirm this kit but regardless, I am definitely getting one.
HG 1/144 Dragonar-1 [Lifter-1 Equipment Type]
February 2022 / ¥3,500