Mobile Suit in Action!! (MSiA)
Title: ZGMF-X88S Gaia Gundam
Release Date: 10/2004
Suggested Price: ¥ 1500
No. of Parts: 1 Gaia Gundam figure + 12 parts Plastic colors: black, dark gray, gray, red, yellow Gimmicks: transformation
Date: August 28, 2005
Stellar Loussier's jet black ride, the Gaia Gundam, has the honor (?) of being the longest-lived of the stolen Armory 1 Gundams. When I first pulled this thing out of the box, I was expecting something that would collapse at any given moment and refuse to be put into any pose other than "standing at attention," but I was pleasantly surprised.
Much like other DESTINY MSiA heads, the Gaia has about twenty degrees of vertical motion and 360 degrees of horizontal motion. It does its job, there's not much to tell about it. Like the Chaos, it looks absolutely mean, but that's part of the Gaia's design, so kudos to the modeler for capturing the meanness of the Gaia's face, I guess.
The Gaia's torso does its job, and more- it's got the best articulation of any MSiA torso I've ever tried to twist into exceedingly complicated poses. The Gaia's torso has managed to take all the punishment I could dish out on it, so kudos again to the folks at Bandai for making the Gaia so durable. Unfortunately, the Gaia's enormous rear skirt armor gets in the way of some things, but it's nothing unbearable. And the Gaia's wings are lightweight, making posing much easier. Unfortunately, the Gaia's back-mounted beam cannons don't move, and I seem to recall them doing so in the show, so that's rather disappointing.
The arms, as always, just do their job and aren't terribly special. There's no slots to insert a shield, because the Gaia's shield doesn't have a peg for that purpose, and just has the handle. The Gaia's beam rifle can be attached to either shoulder. Unfortunately, like its Armory One brethren, the Gaia's arms don't seem capable of supporting the beam rifle on their own. The Gaia comes with six hands: two closed fists, two open hands for the saber, and two gun hands.
The Gaia's legs are double jointed, unhindered by skirt armor, have highly articulated feet, and lack knee armor to facilitate its quadruped mode. The lack of skirt armor means you can make the Gaia kneel, which is insufferably cool. The feet take some jockeying to get them in a flat, stable position, but once you do, they're easily able to support the Gaia's weight in most any pose you choose.
Beam rifle- What's there to say? It's a beam rifle. It looks cool and it clips to the Gaia's shoulder in quadruped mode. The hands hold the rifle with okay firmness, but the beam rifle seems to be too heavy for the Gaia's arms alone to support.
Beam saber- Like all other beam sabers, it does its job. The sabers fit snugly into the slots on the Gaia's waist armor, and in the Gaia's hands, though the Gaia's arm design means some beam saber poses will be awfully difficult. The beams are molded in almost purple translucent plastic, and are longer than I would like, but whatever.
Beam blade wings- One of the Gaia's niftier weapons, the wings are lightweight enough to not interfere with the Gaia's ability to stand. The beam blades fit snugly into holes on either end of the wing, and look pretty good when in place, but other than that, there's not much to say.
Shield- The Gaia's shield lacks a peg to insert into the arm, so it carries the shield about on a small ball-joint-mounted handle. The handle comes out pretty easily, but this is probably the only shield on an MSiA I've ever had that can be held forward vertically without tipping over, so that's cool. It has pegs to insert onto the Gaia's chest for its quadruped mode.
Quadruped mode- The transformation to get to this thing is confusing and frightening, but the fine folks at Bandai mercifully provided instructions, with pictures for us Gaijin who look at all the Japanese and go "Huh?", so I won't describe how to transform this thing here. The only problem I've encountered with the Gaia's mobile armor mode is that the shield easily falls off the Gaia's chest. Personally, I think the Gaia looks better without it anyway, but it's still something of a nuisance. Other than that, though, I've got no complaints.
Another solid figure, the Gaia Gundam is something I was expecting to be flimsy and horribly fragile. However, this one has been both the most poseable and the most durable of the Armory One Gundams, so more kudos to Bandai.