Tuesday, May 19, 2015

[Unboxing] MC Model 1/144 RX-104FF Penelope "Gundoom"

Unboxing Time!

This will be my first unboxing that I ever documented.
What I have this time is a non-bandai, 3rd party kit.  It is actually the first kit that I ever got from this company/brand but its other earlier release had good reviews so I decided to get its second release from the series it is based on.

皆様、I present you Model Comprehend (MC) RX-104FF Penelope Gundoom.  Please note, Model Comprehend is entirely a third party, meaning it is not affiliated with Bandai and so it uses the 'Gundoom' instead of Gundam to avoid copyright infringements as basically the term Gundam is copyrighted only to Bandai and Sunrise (and other affiliates I may not know of).

Short History:

MC 1/144 RX-105 Xi Gundam box art
As far as I know, MC is a Chinese company that produces plastic model kits and a lot of their products are from the Gundam universe and most of it from the Universal Century series (UC).  As far as I know, they only make kits in the 1/144 scale line and like Bandai they grade the scale in HG (High Grade).  MC is known to improve details of the mobile suits when they produce the kits.  They primarily bootleg the kits but instead of just re-casting the kits, they add their own touch to it.  But recently, MC is already making kits that Bandai does not seem to want to make plamo kits for and the recent release they made really made a name for them - the RX-105 Xi Gundoom.  Still in 1/144 scale, it featured an inner frame, custom action base, detailed parts and comes with a water-slide decal sheet by default.  Now, following the 'Hathaway's Flash' story, they made another kit and this time the Xi's predecessor, the Penelope.  Released around late April 2015, I became curious and now decided to finally get one (May 19, 2015).  I was also interested in getting Mechanicore's (another 3rd party) 1/100 Penelope originally, but I managed to fight off temptation and decided that I don't need an expensive kit.  Probably will just save money to get a Perfect Grade Zeta instead.

People who already built MC kits always say "It's larger than a normal Bandai HG" - but let me just inform everyone that even if MC slightly fixes proportions, those customizations doesn't really change the fact that the kits they make are based on tall/huge mobile suits in the first place.  Nu, Qubeley, Xi and now Penelope - these are all relatively huge mobile suits and so they will seem bigger in 1/144 scale (Xi in 1/144 is as big as an MG Zaku II).  To put things in perspective, the Xi's overall height is 28 meters, in 1/144 scale that would translate to 19.4cm in height and that means it's already as tall as a normal Universal Century mobile suit in MG 1/100 scale.

Pricing/Cost: By the time of this writing, which is actually the same day I got this kit, its cost is Php 1550 or roughly US$35.  That was basically the price it was originally posted before.  I was surprised it didn't cost as much as I thought it would have (which you will know later why it should've) but judging from the fact that the Philippines is not that far from China, I should say the factor of shipping might've been minimized even if I bought this from a re-seller.  If you're buying from non-Asian countries expect for the price to be higher.
By the way, I got this from sir Dale Chua of Neo System Hobby or Neo Hobs.  They have a brick-n-mortar shop (not just an online shop) which you can visit to buy things personally.
Check their shop thru their Facebook page/s:
Neo Hobs
Neo System Hobby

The Box

* Just click the pics to see it in higher res

Here it is, the damn, big-ass box.
As you can see in this first pic, there seems to be already something wrong even if there is no size reference.
Let's see first the 360-deg shots:
Front design (or at least the first large face I took a pic of)

Side shot 1: This features the detachable Minovsky craft flight unit
 *In the story, the base mobile suit is named the Odysseus Gundam.  When fully docked with the Minovsky Craft Flight System, it becomes the Penelope
Other main display of the box

Side shot 2
Now, here is a size comparison.  I also just got the new Char's Zaku II from the The Origin series (OVA).   I would say that this kit's box is 3-4 times as big as a normal HG packaging and probably as large as the HG 1/144 GP03 Dendrobium.  This actually came as a shock when MC revealed the first pictures of the actual packaging over the net.  Their Xi Gundoom's packaging was as only as big as the MG RX-78-2 Ver 3.0 and not really that strange for a 1/144 but the Penelope took it to another level.
Normal Bandai HG box for comparison

Okay, why did the box became that freakin' big?  Well, we all actually figured out with the pics released in the net.  Somehow, MC decided to use styrofoam (expanded styrene) to separate parts runners but not all.  The big parts, specially the parts for the minovsky craft, were secured by the styrofoam and other minor parts were packaged in normal plastic packs as we all are familiar with.

Note that there are 3 layers of styrofoam trays
 By the way, here's the manual's cover:
The manual features 14 leaves, including the cover pages (at least 28 pages for the instructions)

1st tray contains the parts packaged in plastic packs like what is normally done
 Now what you see here in the next 3 pics are the contents of the tray layers:
1st tray
2nd Tray
3rd, Bottom Tray: Also includes sticker seals/decals and the huge water-slide decal sheet
 One thing I noticed about some parts is that there are evident residue of the mold release agent or probably remnants after the runner cleanup they did (zoom in to see).  Nothing major because I always wash my runners every time I build plamo.

My thoughts: I actually commend Model Comprehend for thinking ahead in terms of packaging.  They most likely have in mind that their products will be spending a lot of time in shipment.  And so, they really ensured that the parts will not be deformed and/or damaged while in transit.  But somehow, I still cannot change my initial opinion that they could've used other ways of protecting the parts without resulting to big-ass box.  Others will of course disagree with me in this, but the main alternative I can think of is to separate the parts more into smaller divisions.  As you can see, the kit has good color separation but if you divided these parts into smaller sections, you won't have to worry about them snapping off or getting broken.  This will result you to more runners but less protection needed since the parts are now smaller (like what they do for big mobile suits like the MG Sazabi Ver Ka).  But given that this is supposed to be an HG, this is already a step above what we're used to in normal HG kits.  In the end, I got a kit with all parts intact and everything how it's supposed to be.  Also, that box and styro-trays will have other uses in the future.

By the way, I initially planned to do an Advance Of Zeta build series.  I actually already have cleaned the parts off the runners for my HGUC RX-121 TR-1 Hazel Custom and will probably just add new panel lines but they're basically ready for painting.  But I want to build this while it's fresh from the oven.  I kinda don't trust MC yet and the plastic might change negatively if I let it sit in my backlog LOL.  It's summer right now in my place and unwanted things might happen to plastics.  That, and I am actually excited building a Penelope.

That's all I have right now, so please just watch out for WIP logs of this build.
Thanks for taking time to view this log :D
'Til next time, cheers!

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