Armor Girls Project: Mobile Suit Girl Wing Gundam (EW Version) by Bandai Tamashii Nations

“Mobile Suit Meets Girl!” That pithy little catch phrase on the package pretty much sums up the topic of today’s Feature. Armor Girl Project is what you get when you take a cute anime style gal and fit her with armor stylized after the iconic Mobile Suits of Gundam fame. Or in this case, it’s when you take a roughly Figuarts-style figure and bundle it with a dozen or so pieces of armor. It’s an interesting concept that I probably never would have experienced if I hadn’t stumbled upon an online retailer unloading a couple of these sets for half off. Bandai produced several of these sets and the one we’re looking at today is the Wing Gundam Endless Waltz Version.

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I love the packaging because it’s so damn busy! I mean it’s a veritable visual explosion. The front shows a great picture of the figure all armored up and has a number of hexagonal windows giving you a peak at what’s inside. Flip the box over and you get a little taste of what you’re in for. Holy shit, I can’t wait!

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Inside the box you get a multi-layered clear plastic tray with the figure surrounded by all those armor parts, weapons, extra hands, extra head, a base with a multi hinged stand, and a folded instruction sheet. Let’s start off with a look at the basic figure…

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The figure definitely has a Figuarts feel to it only not quite as refined. She’s wearing what reminds me of a typical plugsuit-type outfit that a lot of these young gals piloting mechs seem to wear these days. The figure features some nice paintwork and detailing, and is quite solid with stiff joints and the ability to stand beautifully on her own. The head sculpt is typical cutesy fare with purple hair and a cowlick blowing up on the top of her head. While there are two heads included (one armored up and one regular), you can use either portrait with either head. I tend to go with the happier one for the base figure and keep the other portrait in the armored up head. The face and hair swap is handled much the same way as any Figuarts or Figma figure, although I’m not crazy about the way the head uses an angled peg to secure it as it leads to some floppy head syndrome.

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The figure definitely goes for a more cutesy look than overly sexualized. I realize the two things can be synonymous when it comes to Japanese figures, but not so much in this case. The figure includes some slots and sockets required to attach the armor pieces, but there’s nothing there that’s so unsightly that it wrecks the aesthetics should you want to display her on her own. But what’s the point of that, eh? Let’s get her armored up. We’ll start with the feet and work our way up…

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The feet un-peg and are replaced with the booted mech-style feet. The lower leg armor consists of a front piece that pegs on, a back sleeve that slides onto the leg and a rather complex assembly that pegs on the back and wraps around. It includes three ball jointed armor plates, that I like to think are intended as some kind of air brakes for when she’s flying. These leg assemblies look amazingly complex on the figure and while the plates have a habit of popping off the ball joints from time to time, they are quite well engineered. Next comes the belt assembly…

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This assembly pegs into the back of her waist and wraps around to the front. These plates are all either hinged or ball jointed to allow for a decent amount of articulation in the hips. It’s a solid fit and works really well. And that brings us to the arms…

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These are the only pieces in the set that I have an issue with. You un-peg the hands and slide them on and they’re just supposed to stay in place based on a snug fit as you push them up the arm. They work OK, but they tend to slide down when I’m handling the figure and cause some other issues with the weapons, which I’ll get to in a bit. The blade pieces are removable and the longer blades angled back toward the elbows are hinged. I should point out that this figure comes with a lot more hands then I’m bothering with. I’m settling for a fist on her left arm and a weapon holding hand on her right. Next comes the chest harness and shoulders…

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This assembly pegs into her back and connects around her front with a ball joint. The shoulders than hinge forward and rest in place. Because they levitate over the actual shoulders, they don’t inhibit arm movement at all, although I do find myself having to re-position them a lot when posing her. Now it’s time to swap heads…

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The alternate head features the iconic forehead crest and additional side pieces to drive the Mobile Suit homage home. Again, I prefer to use the more somber face for the armored up version, but you can swap out either one that suits your fancy. I wish the eyes were facing forward, as both faces have them looking off to the side and it can make getting the desired look when posing them a bit awkward. With the armored head attached, we’re just about done. The only thing left to do is attach the wings…

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The wing assembly pegs in like a backpack with a “T” shaped tab and a hole in the back to accommodate the arm for the stand, and here’s where the stand really comes into play because the wings can make her a little back heavy and difficult to stand. They’re also absolutely magnificent and with them finally attached I can’t help but be in awe of how beautiful this figure looks. The iconic white, red, blue, and yellow coloring is so crisp and gorgeous and it’s made all the more spectacular from knowing I built this up from the base figure. The impressive wing assembly features hinges to allow them to be angled back and each individual wing plate is also hinged so that you can spread them out into a formidable plumage of cutesy mechanized death. And speaking of death, let’s talk weapons…

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The figure includes the Buster Rifle and Shield. The shield attaches via a swivel arm that tabs into the forearm armor and it works fairly well. This piece adds some more brilliant red to the already fabulous color scheme and there’s some crisp writing tampo’d onto it.

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The Buster Rifle can be a bitch to get on. It attaches in two places, with the grip going into the figure’s hand and the stock tabbing into the top of the arm armor. I’ve found it best to un-peg the hand, wrap it around the grip, then re-peg it and tab the stock. The real pain is getting the hand to peg back in again, but once it’s in it stays put pretty well. Before wrapping it up, let’s take a look at the stand and one extra weapon accessory…

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The base is a giant white hexagon with three sockets to accommodate stand arms, although the set only comes with one. It’s a clear plastic piece with hinges at the base, midway up and at the point where it pegs into the figure. The middle hinge can be a little weak, but the top and bottom are more than enough to support the figure when she’s all armored up. As for the extra weapon, it’s a Beam Saber, which is a fun accessory for the base figure to wield.

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These sets generally run in the $50-60 range and while they’ve been out of production for a little bit, they still seem to be plentiful on various online retailers. I picked up mine on clearance for $25 and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve had this box lying around for months and it’s crazy to me that it took this long for me to sit down and put it together, especially when the end result is such an awe inspiring display piece. I mean, I look at this thing and all I can say is… Wow! The coloring is just so beautiful and the mix of curvy girl and angular armor works splendidly. I have one more of these sets to build, which is the Custom Angelic Version, and I’m going to try not to wait so long to get to it.

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