The MG no one thought would happen turns out to be one of the best.
Since 2015, we've heard the line "There's never going to be a MG Barbatos. The 1/100 is a pseudo-MG anyway, so we don't need one anyway." The release of the HiRM version at the same scale only drove that home. There was a high and and a low-end 1/100 Barbatos and we didn't need another.
But Bandai surprised us all with the announcement of a proper MG, and definitively proved it's something totally different from the 1/100 kits before it. Not only that, it's one of the most unique Gundam builds ever, and also one of the best.
First and foremost is the pretty heavy redesign, especially by MG standards. While maybe not as "out there" as the HiRM version, it sports some very different proportions, less blocky and more athletic, with a ton of added and reimagined detail. I was never a fan of the Barbatos design in old kits, bit the redesign has made a believer out of me.
Then there is the improved color accuracy, one of the weakest aspects of the old kit. Gone are the big, nasty sticker seals. Now, everything is molded in the correct color, and looks accurate right out of the box. The only foil stickers are an optional pair for the eyes (which are in clear green anyway), and one for the camera in the gun. I do wish the latter could have been a separate piece but it's a small complaint. The metallic pink sticker markings are now separate clear pink parts that peek through the white and look great, especially if you put some chrome paint on the reverse side.
Then there's the inner frame. This was actually one of the best aspects of the original kit, which did feature a full, MG-style frame, but this is on another level. It's incredibly intricate and detailed, with 14 separate working pistons, and fantastic articulation. It's so well done, it's a display-worthy kit in and of itself. There are even decals for parts of the frame that are never exposed, specifically for those who want to do a "naked" build.
I don't have many complaints about the kit, but I do think it's one that invites a bit of extra work, maybe more than most MGs. There's an awful lot of solid white, and the whole frame is a mass of gray. Painting and detailing the separate parts really makes a huge difference. It takes me back to detailing engines in model cars.
It was an involved build and I ended up painting the whole thing. It was a huge project, but the result was the best kit I have sitting on my shelf today. It's just an amazing not of engineering. And it's priced like a baseline MG too.
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