(Note: This is an older review of mine from February 4th of this year that was originally posted on DeviantArt in segmented parts. You can view the original review through this blog entry. Any additional two cents made beyond the original February 2011 review will be in this gray text.)
This is a review of the 1/144-scaled model of the AMX-109 Kapool from the anime “Turn A Gundam”. One of eight overall in the Turn A Gundam line of Gunpla from 1999.
As you can tell, it’s a basic 1/144-scale non-grade of the mid-to-late 1990s, from the most basic of color schemes, severe lack of details, to the basic PC runner every model gets, even if said model doesn’t need the hands from the runner.
I should also note the surprising lack of amount of runners to make up the model; as I recently got a 1/100-scaled (non-MG) model not long ago, and my first MG a while back. I haven’t seriously probed my 1/100 model yet, but the MG I have yet to build has a serious amount of runners and I remember comments about how that particular MG has the amount of runners usually used for a more elaborate MG.
Because I like to take my time rather than try learning how to speed-build, and because I like to fill in the basic details of the model, even this NG 1/144 model takes a few hours for me to complete, and even then I might’ve overlooked something that I come back to and fix (which I did for the Kapool not long after I took photos for this review). I can’t imagine what an MG would take until I come around to my first sooner or later… *shrug*
The instruction manual is pretty typical of a model like this; the “outer side” providing the cover and details of the model’s basic color scheme and information about the mobile suit/mechanical doll it represents, and the “inner side” providing the instructions on how to build this model and a couple of the model’s features.
This basically shows what the model looks like when completed and basically detailed. Also shows my crappy skills at doing just that. :) I will mention that the way the photos here were taken are inspired by the way a Gunpla builder by the name of Dalong does it. He also shows them exactly straight-built (no touch-ups) at the end of his reviews, which I usually don’t. However, someone did just straight-build the Kapool with no touch-ups, and you can see it by clicking here.
Interesting to note is the additional details this model brings to the Kapool design. This is because the AMX-109 Kapool (used by the Inglessa Militia) was originally the “Capule” from the ZZ Gundam anime (built and used by the Neo Zeon), and sported the additional details seen in this model, as well as a blue color scheme. Yeah, I haven’t seen much of anything ZZ Gundam-related (I’ve now seen a little bit of it, including the Capule’s only appearance in ZZ Gundam.), but the Mecha & Anime HQ website is wonderful. :) The Capule has recently appeared in the Gundam Unicorn novels as well. (And it will appear in the upcoming fourth episode.)
Accessories and Features
There’s actually not much to the weapon accessories of the 1/144 Kapool (as apparent in the collage), so I titled it “accessories and features” and showed off how opening the outer armor reveals the missile launchers in the torso of the MS, and the opening of the top of the outer armor to show what’s inside, which isn’t much. It’s a bit inconsistent to the design of the Kapool since I don’t think you can open the top armor that much, and if you can you’ll reveal the guts of the MS right down to the cockpit (the hatch of which is the front “dome” of the top armor).
Having just one of the cannons rather than two seems a bit lacking, even if there is a bit of a problem using them when posing the model (which I’ll address later). It seems lacking to the point where I wonder why it was included, but I guess I should be grateful of that. I stuck in the smaller picture showing the vulcan cannon attached the hand at almost the last minute, which is why it looks that way. Better if I rearranged the photos and started over again, but since I’ve come this far, I might as well nudge it in somewhere here.
And yes, I know I wasn’t accurate about what the inside (past the outer armor) looks like, and not long after taking the photos for the review, I fixed it with a more accurate color scheme (with minor screw-ups around the blue “borders” of the launchers).
These articulation-related photos contain multiple red arrows showing where the articulation is and how it works, though the preset for the longer arrows I used from Paint Shop Pro I have to work on, since only a couple of the parts I used it on can twist around or can work in a 3D sense. From top to bottom:
- If you just nudge out the back of the top armor hatch, you can pull it up quite a bit. It’s not supposed to pull up that wide in the mobile suit design (only the cockpit hatch can pop out), but that’s not really much of a problem beyond just noting it.
- The shoulder armor can be pulled up and down, and to some small degree, it can twist a bit, too! That’s actually required if you want to pull the outer armor open to show the Kapool in a “firing missiles” pose (such as in my “Sochie’s Battle” promo photo that I’ll post again below).
- From the shoulders themselves, you can swivel the arm around vertically until the claws hit something the Kapool is on or until it hits the shoulder armor. You can stretch the arms out, too. The articulation lacks here, though; you can’t twist the arm around for a natural action pose (such as swiping at another mobile suit or firing off the hand vulcan cannons).
- The arms themselves can bend to a degree, but not to the degree most 1/144-scaled Gunpla can, even though it might not look that natural (given the Kapool’s design compared to a standard MS). You can have the Kapool hug itself, or maybe hold another MS similarly or just have it in a pose akin to picking up something to be thrown.
- You can bend the “hands” at the “wrist” up and down to a degree, and move the claws up and down pretty well, but not individually. You can if you want to customize the Gunpla (I’ve thought about it). If you have the vulcan cannon on the hand, you can’t move the claws upward so much.
- Although I don’t show it, I think you can barely twist the upper torso around to some small degree, but it’s actually not much to matter, and it might interfere with opening the outer armor.
- The side skirt armor can naturally be pulled up or down all the way, or be left somewhere in-between.
- The legs are attached traditionally so they have basic vertical movement, but they can come outward to a degree. And although there are no true “knees”, you can bend where a knee would be to a degree.
- The feet are attached traditionally (ball point to PC joint). but the opening of the lower leg armor allows the feet to be twisted around in a clockwise or counter-clockwise way to a degree, and there is some ability to move the legs forward/backward/sideways.
Overall, given the nature of the Mobile Suit design this model is based on, there are a couple of interesting points about articulation, but as with 1/144-scaled models (whether non-grade or high-grade), the articulation is average. It’s lacking in another way: the Kapool (and Capule in ZZ Gundam) can transform to a closer-to-ball-like mobile armor, and yet this model can’t even part-swap to do that. Neither can the Robot Damashii figure out there, though, and that figure has superior articulation.
(I took this photo before the Febuary 25th review, and looking at it in early-November is somewhat nostalgic; you can see a couple of models in the background that eventually broke down to the point of being out of commission! Sad that it became that way, but oh, well.)
I got this and the other 1/144 models from the TAG lineup of Gunpla after falling in love with the Turn A Gundam anime, which is enough for me to get this. But whether you like TAG or not, whether you like ZZ Gundam or not, I think this is a cute amphibious Mobile Suit design comparable in cuteness to the Acguy (since the Kapool sorta looks like a Haro), and is the best feature of this model. I recommend getting it.
Of course, the articulation may be limited to basic (and therefore can’t transform to it’s mobile armor mode), the fact that it’s non-grade requiring you to accurize the color scheme and details with touch-ups (which is part of the fun in model-building, I guess), and the accessories/features being a bit more lacking than the 1/144 TAG or FLAT (yes, the FLAT just has a beam rifle, but it can be used more effectively than the Kapool’s hand vulcan cannon)… But even if you don’t like either anime this MS design came from, I think it’s a cute/neat little amphibious MS design, and it should be enough to get it. For those who dislike the MS designs in TAG enough to overlook the anime, I think they may be still drawn to this more traditional design. Unfortunately, because it’s from TAG and it’s an NG (sporting basics and lacking details), it might be overlooked more than a more-expensive HGUC model with similar (articulation-limitations) might.
As far as more technical nitpicks go, the size may be a bit big compared to it’s anime counterpart, and that’s about the only technical nitpick I know that I’m certain of. It’s still not enough to dissuade me from getting another of this model or the Robot Damashii Kapool figure, and I won’t bother looking for more nitpicks.