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.
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.
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