Free package of random-flavored popsicles with your $30 pre-order (before tax) when you purchase from the new “GI Infinite and More” store, now located in the Sky Land town of the Mushroom Kingdom! :P
This is a review of of the non-grade, 1/144-scaled models of the MRC-F20 SUMO (both “Gold Type” and “Silver Type” variants) from the anime “Turn A Gundam”. Two of eight overall in the Turn A Gundam Gunpla line-up back in the day. As with the FLAT-L06D FLAT, it’s an odd design by Syd Mead and Atsushi Shigeta, but I’ve come to like this among the others. It goes without saying that anyone thinking that has the awesome Harry Ord (and his Gold Type SUMO) to thank for.
Will it stand up against a lowly FLAT in the Turn A Gundam Gunpla line?
Front Box Covers
If you’ve read my review of the 1/144 FLAT, you’ll know why I think “MOBILE [Fill-in-the-Blank]” for the main titles of these covers are pretty much redundant, thus my choosing not to use it when everyone else not wanting much to do with TAG does.
If what you first saw of both models was these covers, then you’ll pretty much see why I’m reviewing both, and will be a recurring theme from box cover to almost everything else.
It goes without typing that the primary difference between the two simple sets of runners happens to be the difference in molded colors. But the molded colors are at its very basic, so if you want any form of detail from either, you’ll have to work for it, even after using the foil stickers (which I didn’t, and you can do without).
And such effort is required for older 1/144s in general, so if you have yet to but want to dabble in these older 1/144s, be prepared for such requirement as the norm.
There’s at least one–maybe two–slight differences between the instructions. One primarily has to do with the most significant differences between the models, which I’ll highlight in the close-ups (but you can see right off the bat, if you paid attention to the previous photos).
MRC-F20 SUMO (Strike Unit for Maneuver Operations)
Front/back views of both models. My effort into the details are even similar; the basics being there, but smaller ones like panel-lining barely show up. In fact, I think the indentations (where panel lines should be marked) seems to show as if the pencil marks were never made. Even worse is my attempt at using actual paint (from a spray can) with the Gold Type’s backpack (and hand beam gun). *sigh* But both models still look good when detailed!
You can really see the crappy job I did on the backpack; I was trying to give it (and the hand beam gun) a similar color to what was on the manual. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the Silver Type model has the very color in question molded into the necessary parts until I opened up the box for that model a long time after I built this. *sigh* But the end result seems like an old or more “ancient” feel; as if it has an aged feel, or if nanomachines were working on it.
Among the added-in details, I also penciled in the main rectangular verniers on both models’ backpacks; when you see the SUMO flying around, they naturally light up without any flames coming out of ’em (ala traditional Gundam verniers), and the penciled-in look gives that illusion of ’em lighting up when viewing the model at certain angles.
Also, note how the hands come from one of the plastic runners in a few pieces (a staple of modern HG Gunpla)–unlike plenty of other older 1/144s (including 1/144 TAG itself; as my screwed-up-by-spray-paint version of it sadly breaks down on me), where the hands are the standard ones from the PC runner.
A significant difference between the two models (apart from different color schemes) is this:
Normally, Harry Ord’s Gold Type SUMO has a similar “faceplate” you see on the Silver Type, but occasionally it retracts in a manner similar to how the glow of mobile suit cameras (Borjarnons/Zakus, Turn A, etc.) light up; an enhancement of sensors or visuals? I forgot why in the case of the SUMO, but I don’t think you ever saw that in the normal model. You can make it the case that it can, though! (If you got both 1/144 models.)
After lamenting of not doing it in prior reviews and blog posts, I finally decided to grab the nearest ruler and measure up both 1/144 SUMO models to a couple of other ones, such as the 1/144 Kapool and HGUC 1/144 Zaku I (with a poor attempt at giving it Gavane Goonny’s Borjarnon colors).
The weak point of either model, sadly…
Starting off a basic parallel to MSIA Leo’s articulation (in my view), I cover the basic movement of the arms and hands here. Continuing it is the worse articulation of the legs:
Despite being double-jointed (due to Mead and Shigeta’s design of the “knee” armor), the leg-bending articulation is average at best, but it feels below that. Especially since the swiveling doesn’t keep the legs straight (again, due to the design), making it close to impossible to pull off decent action poses, let alone replicating any from the TAG anime. At least the limited articulation of the MSiA Leo doesn’t have it swivel to a point where the legs have to touch together. Oh, and you have some ability to twist around the feet, with some limited bending capability.
I recently realized I screwed up in not covering the head and waist articulation (both of which are superior to MSiA Leo’s waist and head articulation, or lack thereof), so I covered it in this photo:
The “pilot accommodation” (as I call it) blocks the waist from pulling a full 360° in articulation. The head pretty much has that, but can’t do much at all in order of looking up and down.
Overall? Sadly awful, even for basic articulation. I can’t say for sure how much (if any) an improvement the 1/100 counterpart will be, but I’m confident a hypothetical (since it’s pretty much a pipe dream right now) Robot Damashii SUMO would work around the limitations of this artistic take on mobile suit design so it has full articulation. They’ve recently done that for Unicorn Gundam’s Destroy Mode (improving on their original figure), and I believe the RD Tallgeese III (and Tamashii Web Shop Limited Tallgeese II) has such improvements.
Both models have the exact same loadout (molded in different colors):
- 1 hand beam pistol
- 1 I-field generator (essentially the SUMO’s shield)
- 1 heat fan (the melee weapon)
The models properly dual-wielding the accessories:
Mobile Suits… In ACTION!!
The promo image, but clearer and without pseudo-dramatic lighting! (Amazing how bi-plane pilots are suddenly kinda-sorta holding their ground against Moonrace mobile suits with some long-lost ones of their own.)
“Gimme Queen Diana, Harry!”
“HAHAHAHA! You expect me to simply hand her over, Poe?”
“No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” :P
Well, Gavane is the CO of Luzianna Militia’s “Suicide Squad”. :)
“What is this weird little cute thing?!”
My Final Two Cents:
In many ways, this rings as deja vu since my thoughts here are similar to my thoughts on the MSiA Leo. Whether you take your popsicle in a gold or silver flavor, this model is a below-average model. Outside of financial and/or availability reasons, people (whether in Gundam fandom or otherwise) would likely reject this model for the following reasons:
- It’s a ’90s non-grade 1/144 model in dire need of detail.
- It has basic articulation at best, and the legs give an even worse impression.
- It’s a Syd Mead & Atsushi Shigeta design from Turn A Gundam, complete with all the quirks unique to Syd Mead’s design style and/or Yoshiyuki Tomino’s direction for the Turn A Gundam anime.
Which is why the reason I would get this would be a matter of taste; despite a minor quirk or two (shared with the Turn A Gundam design), I like the SUMO MS design, and I like the Turn A Gundam anime overall. When I got it last year, it was for around $6-7 at Gundam Store and More, a financial and availability reason that helps favor the decision to get both models. And despite the major downside of limited articulation, I still appreciate having the models (let alone backups after my lousy attempt at using spray paint again).
If you feel similar to my viewpoint and would get the SUMO models regardless of their downsides, you can still get either at GSaM (around $8-9 nowadays). I suspect not many are left over there (as of early-November of ’11), since they are the only 1/144s in the TAG lineup available (and the 1/100 Gold SUMO still being an available option), so hurry about it.
But I feel sure many of you reading this won’t be excited about TAG and will likely pass on it and the other models. Oh, well… *shrug* But I still recommend the 1/144 FLAT to you guys regardless for reasons I’ve already explained in my review of it. You won’t regret it, should you find it out there.