Much as I like my G Gundam Mobile Suit in Action figure collection, I'm really starting to dig the Battle Scarred versions even more.
Set in Future Century 60, it is the year of the
13th Gundam Fight! Each country has sent their Gundam to Earth in hopes of winning power and glory for their homeland. Which Gundam will rule the universe? Gundam fight ready, go!
I started my collection with the weirder figures, such as Mummy Gundam, before finally breaking down and getting into the show's main characters. Each Gundam on the show is designed to represent its country. Or, more accurately, what Japanese animators think of its country. Neo-America's Gundam Maxter, run by a pilot with pink-streaked hair and a support team of bikini girls, combines football, boxing, surfing and cowboys. God, Japan hates us. Of course, it could be worse; Neo-Nepal's Mandala Gundam is a giant bell.
Neo-France's Gundam Rose may have a weak name, but the design is fairly good. Patterned vaguely after a Musketeer, Gundam Rose wears a Napoleon hat and has a large metal "cape" draped over his shoulder. Even his main weapon, a huge epee, speaks of the suit's Dumasian origins.
Gundam Rose's secondary weapon suits his name more than his design: dubbed "Rose Bits," the sections of his cape fold upward to
release tiny flying rosebud bombs, capable of swarming around an enemy and attacking from all sides. The figure comes with interchangeable hands that allow it to hold the sword or simply punch its enemies, though that's not very dignified. Though it looks like the sword fits in its sheathe, it's really a clever trick - the hilt unplugs from the blade and can then be fitted into the top of the scabbard;
you'll have to be careful not to lose the sword.
George de Sand, pilot of the Gundam Rose, considers himself a classic chevalier and views the Gundam Fight as a modern-day joust. He is extremely chivalrous and adored by Neo-France's young Princess Maria Louise. He is aided by his family butler, Raymond, who attempts to help his master train for the battle ahead.
This figure also includes a transformable core lander. Sort of a stylized flying car, the core lander is part simple transportation and part control module. The lander
folds in half and plugs into the back of the Gundam, providing a cockpit and rocket boosters.
Though the five main characters have visually distinct Gundams, none of them really have the sort of inspired insanity of their international foes. I wasn't inspired to pick up the Shuffle Alliance (as they are known) until the Battle Scarred versions came along.
With new decos and sculpts that reflect the suits in the aftermath of battle, the "Battle Scarred" line draws from all of Gundam's various incarnations for its inspiration. In the case of the Battle Scarred G Gundam figures, that damage often represents what we see on the cartoon.
Near the end of the series, when Gundam Rose battled the mysteriously reactivated Royal Gundam, he ended up being speared through the shoulder. This figure has the punctures that Rose received in that battle, which shows an attention to detail and is a nice nod to fans of the cartoon.
Most of the "Battle Scarred" G Gundam figures have some sort of a bonus to help justify their slightly higher pricepoint - usually a character-specific display base. Gundam Rose, however, comes with something a little different: a second Gundam.
As said above, George's butler Raymond helps his master
hone his fencing skills. To that end, Raymond has his own Gundam with which to face off against his lord. In English, this suit is called "Butler Gundam," a fair and straightforward name; in Japanese, however, he's バトラーベンスンマム - Batorābensunmamu - meaning this may be the only toy to ever reference Murder by Death, the farcical murder mystery spoof in which Sir Alec Guinness played the blind butler, Bensonmum.
Steam-powered and featuring a big steering wheel, Butler Gundam looks like something Henry Ford would have built. It's got a skinny little body and bears a passing resemblance a giant metal manservant. If only its color scheme was black and grey instead of brown and blue, the look would be complete.
Since it's only an accessory, Butler Gundam isn't as detailed or articulated as Rose is; the paint job and sculpt, however, do match up nicely with the normal G Gundam toys (though he's missing the blue, white and red stripes on his shoulders), so he'll still fit right in.
At 4¼" tall, Gundam Rose is seen here in 1/144th scale. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles. His cape is hinged for attack purposes. Butler Gundam moves at the Springfield Four. Together they make a great pair.