Originally, when I first considered building the Sazabi, I figured I'd build the normal kit. At the time the idea of a metallic coating model held no appeal, and didn't strike me as worth any consideration. Ben insisted that the coating version of this red behemoth was totally sweet, and that contrary to my objections ultimately there existed no two ways about it.

Even now I know not how it began, where was the place and when was the day my opinion began to turn. (Building the Hyaku Shiki, king of metallic Gunpla, might have something to do with it.) In any case, before long I began to be struck by the stunning depth the metallic coating lent the Sazabi, how the shining, ruby redness emphasized this tremendous mecha's grand stature. By now the normal version of the kit appears flat and unappealing, and I wonder why anyone would choose that iteration of this impressive model.

While the Hyaku Shiki's gold parts came specially molded so as to almost completely eliminate clip marks, the metallo-Sazabi is identical to the original kit, aside from the special coloration. As such, there is no saving grace from marring the red parts' special paint when clipping them. I hear that the major unsightly ones are supposed to be covered by decals, but as I don't go in for any but the most essential decals, I'll have to take the time to clean and touch up the clipping points with a suitably matched red. I am also going to begin using a more time-consuming painting/assembly method with this kit: clipping, cleaning, and painting each part before assembly and detailing. While the models I've built thus far have turned out decently enough, I hope that by putting in the time with this one, the Red Comet's last mobile suit will be a real beauty.

Gunpla building tools

The Work begins…

Sazabi torso

The fruits of the first day's labors. Unfortunately the paints I got to touch up the metallic red don't do much to hide the clip marks. Fortunately, however, the clipping points so far have ended up in fairly unobtrusive places.

Sazabi funnel closeup

Funnel fun. The first completed of the six.

Sazabi funnel racks

The finished funnels, happily nested in their bays. They're a bit (ha!) of a pain to assemble, but they are rather adorable, for some reason.

Sazabi backpack closeup

Backpack detail.

Sazabi hand closeup 1

Celer manvs Dei.

Sazabi hand closeup 2

Each separate finger is comprised of two parts which hinge at the knee joint. The hip joint connects to the palm via ball-and-socket. The fingers' sockets are offset in the palm such that, although all four fingers are identical parts, the hand ends up being correctly proportioned. The thumb is a single piece, similarly socketed. Note that the palm features a rectangular socket in the middle. This receives a peg on the handle of the Sazabi's considerably large beam shot rifle, no doubt doing a good deal to support the weapon's weight. This little trick, of course, is a forerunner of the tabbed-palm hands and socketed weapon grips used in recent MG kits.

This is how it's done.

Sazabi birdie closeup

Sazabi is eminently birdie-capable. For my little sister.

Sazabi shoulder verniers

Shoulder-mounted booster array. Took this photo later in the evening than usual, so the daylight wasn't around to counteract our yellowish "romance lighting."

Sazabi torso with arms 1

Sazabi's massive arm-span, perfect for bear-hugging asteroids… Then hurling them at stupid Earthnoids. Hey, who said that?

That's one of the propellant tanks from the backpack he's holding.

Sazabi torso with arms 2

The torso, head-on. Well, no, the head isn't done yet, but you know what I mean.

Sazabi leg internals

Leg internals. Nothing too complicated in there, but the joints still move nicely, especially the double-jointed knee. I'm hoping that doesn't end up being limited too much by the skirt armor.

Sazabi leg verniers

Fancy array of boosters. Each one can pivot up and down, as well as rotate side to side.

Sazabi leg complete side view

The leg, armored. It's really big.

The armor doesn't change the range of the knee at all, but the ankle is somewhat limited, inevitably. You can just make out the working pistons at the front of the ankle, under the armor.

Sazabi leg verniers armored

Those lovely boosters end up largely invisible. (Unless you're a low-angler.) I wonder how Sazabi manages not to burn his heels.

Sazabi leg complete front view

While there are a few clip points in somewhat obtrusive places (particularly on the foot), for the most part they're out of the way. Furthermore, the armor is constructed from big, beautiful plates which leave no unwanted seams. (In fact, such extra seams have only occurred so far on the shoulders and, to a lesser extent, the forearms.)

While not gymnastic nor extremely internally detailed like a certain other mobile suit piloted by Char, these legs are very well-constructed.

Sazabi upskirt view

Mecha low-angler strikes again. Note the vents on the underside of the large rear skirt panel, and the pair of golden boosters in the nether regions, as well as the pair protruding forward.

I'm quite fond of the decal on the left skirt plate. Adds just the right flair.

Sazabi side skirt verniers

More rocket boosters. Sazabi's big, but sure can move.

Some more nice detail on the underside of the rear skirt may be seen.

Sazabi rear view

Looking up at the sizable rear skirt panel and the backpack above. From here one can also see the pistons in the upper arms.

Sazabi cockpit

Faceplate and forehead slide open to reveal the internals behind the main monoeye camera and the cockpit, which I realize should be painted red for accuracy. Oh well. Not like that escape pod did Char much good anyhow.

Sazabi complete front view

The front view. Majestic.

Sazabi complete rear view

The rear view. Funnel bays, external auxiliary fuel tanks, that huge rear skirt panel — what's Sazabi gonna do with all that junk?

Sazabi and Char's Zaku II

Big.

Both models are in the same scale.

Sazabi with shield

This pose looked rather more badass in person, but the photo makes Sazabi look pretty jovial, if not downright jolly. Guess he's happy about getting his five-story-tall shield. Eat your heart out, Telamonian Ajax.

Sazabi fencing with beam saber

"My name is Casval Rem Deikun. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Sazabi's beam saber thrust

En garde!

You might not think so, but Sazabi is quite a nimble fencer. (Needs to work on his grip, though.)

Sazabi action 1

"To the pain!"

Sazabi wrist-stored beam saber

Sazabi's twin beam sabers are handily stored in the wrists for a quick draw.

I was almost too embarrassed to post this photo on account of those clip marks, but I figured it was worth showing off the saber storage gimmick.

Sazabi with beam sword

Now that's a beam sword. Guess we know where Gundam Epyon got the idea.

I thought Sazabi's beams were pretty clearly yellow on-screen, but I suppose the green contrasts better with the red.

Sazabi come at me bro

Yeah, I'm talking to you.

Sazabi beam sword dash

Does this pose look familiar?

Sazabi action 2

Maybe about as action-packed a pose as this model is able to assume. I'm going to get him a base so he can fly a little more free of gravity's pull.

Sazabi shield storage

The beam tomahawk telescopes for convenient stowage in the shield.

Sazabi with beam shotgun

Over there! A loudspeaker cart!

Sazabi with beam shotgun 2

The hunt is on.

Sazabi with beam shotgun 3

While the beam tomahawk has a big rectangular peg in the handle which fits snugly into the slot on Sazabi's palm, giving him a secure hold, the beam shot rifle only has a skinny peg which, while it helps seat the gun in the hand, doesn't do much to fix it in his grip. As such, this pose is a little tenuous, but worth the necessary finagling.

Sazabi takes flight

The Red Comet takes flight.

Thoughts

While I didn't actively dislike the Sazabi at first, I did think it's design was a bit too bell-bottomed for my taste. But, no surprise, it too has grown on me, and I believe finds its ultimate iteration in this metallic coating model. This mobile suit was not made to be painted in flat color. No, this thing was meant to shine, and shine it does.

I don't have many complaints about the model itself. In fact, considering how old the kit is (the original MG Sazabi was released in 2000, and aside from the superlative shiny, this kit is the same), I'm pretty impressed with the engineering. By nature, it is not the most poseable model, but it has fair flexibility for its bulk. Once Hi-Nu Gundam comes along, we'll see just how it does for action poses.

Really my only substantial gripe with this kit is that the top armor panels on the shoulders are comprised of two pieces, leaving an extra seam. It seems like it wouldn't have been that difficult to mold that part of the armor as a single piece. To a lesser extent the same goes for the main part of the crest. The band of armor on the inner forearm also has an extra seam, but that one probably just couldn't be helped. Other than those spots, however, there are no unwanted seams from joining parts, which contributes vastly to the model's good looks. It appears very integrated.

Of course, there's the matter of clip marks. Despite my resolution to make a greater effort to eliminate this eternal annoyance, I quickly found that there's pretty much nothing for it when it comes to the red pieces. On one hand, as mentioned above the paints I used to touch up the clip points didn't match the armor, both in terms of hue and shine. Conceivably, however, I could have found a more suitable paint. The real problem is that I didn't dare try to sand down the flash, for fear of ruining the special coating, which is kind of the point of this kit. Even with better paints, I imagine any modeler (let alone an amateur like myself) would be hard pressed to cover cleaned-up clip marks without leaving visible flaws in the paint. The same would be problematic if one wanted to hide the seams in the shoulder armor or the forearms or the crest.

In fact, the paint is already not entirely without flaw, as in a few places the coating was slightly uneven, or didn't reach into a tiny corner or crevice. Perhaps the best (or at least easiest) way to get a flawless metallo-Sazabi would be to buy the original kit and use your own paints to give it the shiny treatment.

But ultimately, I must admit none of this matters much, and ultimately, while this Sazabi may not be flawless, it nonetheless feels perfect. In light of how gorgeous the metallic coating is, all its shortcomings are easily forgiven. While doing the paint oneself over a normal Sazabi kit might produce a finer result, and, given sufficient knowledge of painting and its subtleties, maybe even achieve the same beautiful effect as this kit's coating, such is certainly beyond my means, to say the least.

As the spoiled youngest child of my Gunpla collection, Sazabi gets away with a lot.

One additional note: The major ball and socket joints, namely the hips, shoulders, and wrists, all have a fair range of motion, but tend to pop loose if you try to pose the model too dramatically. The shoulders especially are prone to coming right out of the torso, so pose with care.