We haven’t really reviewed Gundam models before but since this is a fairly recent model, I figured I’d make a start. This is the 1/144 scale HG GN001/hs-A01 Gundam Avalanche Exia. The original GN001 Exia is from the series Gundam 00 but the Avalanche version is actually from a side novel Gundam 00V so there was really no anime for it… yet. Would have loved to see this guy in action as it sounds really cool and the model kit is pretty awesome.
Taken from the Gundam Wikia: Although the GN particle propulsion system native to the Exia allows for relatively high speed and acceleration, the unit is actually incapable of matching or exceeding certain aircrafts and spacecrafts in flight. To eliminate this issue, the high mobility equipment hs-A01 Avalanche was created. The optional equipment consists of a series of large-capacity GN particle condenser attachments, which act to store the particle production of the GN Drive for release in a single 10-minute burst of ultra-high speed. Higher output is possible, but the strain it places on the body of the pilot becomes severe. As the condensers require a full hour to charge, repeated use of the burst function is impossible. The standard Seven Swords armaments can be mounted behind the Avalanche equipment and can be quickly deployed for use.
So basically, this was one of those Gundams that hits a lot of the right buttons for me. I LOVE bulky, overpowered mechs with lots of thrusters and oversized weapons. Gundams like the GP02 and EX-S are some of my favorites and you can see how Avalanche Exia fits in with them. The armor is pretty bulky to the point of restricting movement, which is fine by me, he doesn’t need extreme poseability if he can just stand there and look cool. In fact, he has SO much armor, they pretty much had to include a stand since he can’t stand on his own.
As you can see, there is a fair bit of articulating parts, not only in the limbs, but all the armor panels. The shoulders alone have 5 joint points on them! A lot of the extra articulation is to expose and hide the ridiculous amount of boosters Avalanche Exia has and I do appreciate this. The leg armor is interesting in that they can fold up behind his calves or extend out to become like… some sort of crazy skis with changeable claws that I suppose grab things and shoot lasers. The skis even have ‘pedals’ that make sure Exia still stepping on something. Now if you don’t like the leg armor and want Avalanche Exia to actually stand, he comes with parts to convert it back to the regular Exia’s legs. Personally, I think thats boring and gives him a kinda of football player look that the Gundam 00 Raiser and Seven Swords version had. So I didn’t even bother with trying to build those parts, sorry! In addition, there are also parts to convert him to plain ol Exia like the original shoulder armor, shield, etc. But if I wanted regular Exia, I would have just gotten that kit, its much cheaper. If you are interested in doing the conversions though, be warned that there are no instructions for it, you’ll have to just wing it.
Avalanche Exia has the Seven Swords loadout that the original Exia has that includes: a GN Sword, 2 GN daggers (one longer than the other), and 4 GN Beam Saber handles. But only 1 actual beam for the sabers. The sword can also fold back to reveal some tiny pathetic looking SMG or pistol thing you can see below kind of. You can clip all of his swords onto his shoulders and back so he can be zipping around hands free with lots of spiky things bristling from his back. As mentioned before, he does include a stand and swappable claws for his ‘skis’. There are 7 risers in this kit, pretty good for an HG. If you’re like me and don’t paint your Gundams, the kit comes with enough colors and stickers to make him pretty faithful to the actual colors. The only place where I’m really missing out is the yellow on his face. You can kind of see my crappy lining job, he looks good without it but the lining gives him that extra little pop, particularly on his face and arms. I’d been using an Artliner .4mm pen that I shaved down a little to do most of the lining but after it broke, I had to wait to get a Copic 0.03mm from Manifest
All in all, this is a pretty awesome kit, especially for an HG. Out of all the HG kits I have (and well, the only kits I have are HGs, lol), it definitely takes the cake in articulation and lots of, ‘what the heck does this do’ when putting it together followed by ‘WHOAH, thats AWESOME’. Buildwise, when just snapped together, its decently solid. The boosters in the shoulders come off sometimes when trying to articulate them and the sword is a bitch to plug into his forearm (the GN Sword fits in his hand and plugs into his forearm for increased stability) but other than that, as long as I’m careful, nothing else has fallen off. If you’re into it, he has different options for his legs and shoulders due to the normal Exia conversion, great for customizing and whatnot. As for me, more armor = better. We got ours from AmiAmi for 1450 yen (backordered though) but you can still get the HG Avalanche Exia from Hobby Search for 1600 yen and Hobby Japan for 2000 yen. There is a normal 1/100 variation available as well at all three stores but from looking at reviews it doesn’t have the ‘skis’ on the leg armor (but it does look like it has more beams for the beam saber/daggers).