Bandai Spirits lowkey announced their Hobby Next Phase 2023 Spring online reveals of upcoming kits. And they decided to keep things streamlined by putting everything in one day, instead of padding out several days. This also makes one heck of a day for reveals, especially if the kits are really good. Which brings us to the first kit I’ll cover for this set of upcoming releases.
Coming out of completing the HGAC kits of the first five Gundams from Gundam Wing with HGAC Shenlong Gundam and having already released an HGAC Wing Gundam Zero kit, the next logical step is doing a Gundam Epyon kit. While I am already satisfied if they announced an HGAC Gundam Epyon, they decided to take things up a notch and make it an RG Gundam Epyon instead. And this is a more satisfying reveal than when they announced the RG Wing Gundam a couple of years back.
Real Grade kits can sometimes be overloaded with panel lines or details, but they got it perfect with Gundam Epyon here. It’s almost like the Master Grade, just smaller and not EW. The reds have two tones while the rest have the same color palette as the original design. And no, they didn’t add a ridiculous third mode like that chicken-like deal with RG Wing Gundam. But they did add a feature unique to this kit, which we’ll check out below.
Epyon’s signature weapon is its beam sword, and it is very well executed in this kit thanks to that ridiculously large beam effect part. But the sword is only half of the business end, and the other is the actual wielder of this sword. To maximize being able to utilize this large weapon, several joints are integrated in the arms and shoulders, with the latter even employing a movable panel specific to this function.
The RG-original feature I was alluding to earlier is this, and it’s a much subtle yet more effective one in my opinion. First, the RG version introduces several sub-wings hidden within the main wing binders that are locked to each other and will move in conjunction with the larger wings. Second is giving the wyvern heads in mobile armor mode opening mouths. For one, it does look more menacing, and moreover, its inclusion makes more sense. I just hope that the additional movement for the latter gimmick doesn’t cause ankle stability issues in mobile suit mode.
Lastly, and this demonstrates how Bandai Spirits is getting more creative, is how they’re integrating the Advanced MS Joint parts in this kit. To those unfamiliar, earlier Real Grade kits have these pre-assembled runners of complex joint assemblies, as a primary selling point. And while it initially worked, the cons have gradually outweighed the pros, and Bandai Spirits is aware of this. As such, the Advanced MS Joints have seen less and less usage as more Real Grade are released.
For RG Gundam Epyon, they’re not even in the mobile suit itself. Instead, and this is another point that makes total sense, these pre-assembled parts are used for the Heat Rod. Those who’ve built the Master Grade version would be jealous of this, as building the individual segments proved to be repetitive and a borderline hassle. So, having this weapon as a pre-assembled part would, I think, add more benefits to the build process of this kit.
Following the much-lauded RG God Gundam, it looks like Bandai Spirits has another hit with RG Gundam Epyon over here. I admit to being not the greatest fan of the design when it appeared in Gundam Wing, but you can’t deny how awesome this kit looks. So yes, day one pre-order done.
RG 1/144 Gundam Epyon
September 2023 / ¥4,200
Order via HobbyLink Japan