I think I just met my Toy of the Year.
And the funny thing is, it isn't even a toy.
Man, I love Bandai's Jumbo Grade series. I loved the
Gundam when it came out late last year. I love this
"standard" Zaku even more. Just as with its
predecessor, the Zaku's an attention-getter in any
room. At 20 inches tall, how could it not be?
The "Char" version of the Jumbo Grade Zaku has been
out for nearly as long as Gundam, so there aren't a
whole lot of surprises about the design. But I've
never been a huge fan of Char's girly-girl pink color
scheme. So I sat and waited. I'm glad I did. At this
size, the military drab of this Zaku makes it look
like an ambulatory tank. Which is, of course,
befitting a manly-man collector such as myself.
Unfortunately, I don't have my Jumbo Grade Gundam
handy to show you a side-by-side comparison. I don't
even have a suitable backdrop for photography, so
you'll have to "enjoy" these thrilling close-ups
instead. As you can see, the big green guy's as
beautifully airbrush-weathered as the previous
releases. It's also just as "modern-looking" (as
opposed to the portly yet sexy "anime" sculpt of the
Kado Senshi Zaku toys.) Unlike Char's peashooter,
however, the jolly green giant sports an
ominous-looking bazooka that's almost as long as the
robot is tall. Just as with Gundam's beam rifle, it
comes as a mini do-it-yourself project, mounted on
sprues. (Don't worry, though -- it's snap-fit.)
There's even a nifty l'il translucent pink lens for
the scope. Pinch me.
Actually, don't. Where were we, again?
Vinyl fetishism. Zaku's all vinyl, save for the hard
plastic used for the (cleverly hinged!) shoulder armor
parts and the bazooka. Don't let that fool ya, though.
It may be hollow, but the parts are thick enough to
give it a serious weight problem. Not a problem for
itself, of course. For you, when you order the thing
and have it shipped from Japan. Good luck, gaijin.
As with previous Jumbo Grade releases, articulation's
limited to the shoulders, arms, and neck. Oh, yeah,
and the legs can rotate at the thighs. But c'mon --
it's a display model, not a toy, so cut it some slack.
This time, it even comes with a sticker sheet you can
use to create your favorite batallion markings. (Too
bad the "pinstripes" on the sheet aren't pre-cut --
have fun cutting those tiny half-millimeter thick
ribbons out by eye.)
Also once again, this Jumbo Grade's relatively at home
with old-school Jumbo Machinders. Or at least, it is
with the only one I've got handy: Clover's Aura
Battler Dunbine, which isn't really an "official"
Machinder anyway. (Scale be damned! They're both
"real" robots. Sort of.) Actually, it's not all that
old-school-compatible, to tell the truth. I just take
these photos to torture Machinder collectors. $uckaz!
Ahem. At any rate, the real Achilles heel is the
price: at ¥16,000 a pop retail, I can't afford the
Zaku SWAT team I so desperately want to dispatch in my
home office. (Which is probably for the best, as any
more than one of these in my house would pretty much
guarantee my sleeping on the sofa for the short
duration of the marriage.)
But who's kidding who? If you're a jumbo-robot maniac,
this Zaku's the kind of item you'll happily mortgage
the kids into slavery for. And when the divorce papers
come, send 'em back with "it's the Zaku I've been
wanting ever since I first saw a Zaku when I was
twelve years old" scrawled on the bottom. Cheers!