1/144 RG Zeta Gundam Detailed Look

Here’s a close look at the RG 1/144 Zeta Gundam. There are some very technically impressive features about this 1/144 kit. The biggest feature I would say about this kit is the fact that it’s a transformable model. On top of that, it also includes all the details that’s common to RG kits. Tons of color, lots of detail lines. Unfortunately there are also a lot of annoyance to this kit.

From the front, it’s looks great even without the decals. The yellow on the chest, shoulder, and lower leg thruster ports are yellow. You’ll even see that the eye is using a clear blue plastic piece. Vulcan on the head is separate and not molded in. In general, it looks like a very solid model.

Here it is again, from a different answer with different lighting. As you can see lots of detail in the panels. As this point I might as well list the first annoyance. The yellow plastic on the chest are not held on very tightly. They fall out very easily, and will happen when you transform the kit.

Now we turn the kit more and view it from the side. Here is where we start seeing the compromises that the designer had to put into the kit cause of the transformation.if you look at the waist and chest from this angle, there is a pretty massive empty void. The reason behind this will be much clearer when we look at how it transforms. You’ll also noticed that there is some pretty big gaps between the side and front skirts that reveals the hinges in the kit. A bit of the void that is in the back of wave rider is also slightly visible. It’s not very visually pleasing, but it’s not too big of an issue. The purpose of the void will also become very obvious later on.

Now we peek into what starts differentiating this kit from all the other RGs.

In order to do the transformation, the Zeta is designed to swing the chest up and then pull the head down into the cavity. In order to help get the chest piece over the head, the antennae also folds inward. That particular piece is actually made from two individual pieces. It has a stopper so that you can also spread the antennae out so far. Other things of interest here is the sliders that the arms are on that allows the arm to slide in and out and that the torso is made of two pieces on hinges as well. Now remember the void that was visible from the side. If you look at the armpit area, you’ll see that there are these white plates that’s suppose to help cover it up.

Here we have the skirt plates detached as well as the pelvis. This is where the kit starts getting even more impressive. The legs are attached to the frame via ‘S’ hinges and are very much secured to the frame. We’ll see how this is done in just a bit. But back to the ‘S’ hinges. These hinge allows the legs to be pulled outward and then up. You can also see the torso plates pulled up. Other thing to note here is that right above the top of the leg, the frame plastic you see is where the skirts attach

Now onto the back. So there are two reason why the legs are so securely attached to the frame. First if you look at the pelvis at the top of the leg, you’ll notice that there’s a C clip. This ‘C’ clip prevents the peg from sliding out. The other part that’s not very obvious is the center latch that’s between the two rear skirt plates. This latch slides up and down and actually locks the legs together so that you can’t spread the legs out. Gundam mode, you slide is down to lock. To transform into wave rider, you flick it up and pull the legs apart. Now the actual back plate. You can see the blue plate with 4 gray rectangles. These 4 gray spots are actually part of the inner frame, and when you attach to the back plate on to the frame, it actually clips on to the frame via tension. This makes it very secure, but can cause problems during disassembly for painting. Right under the back plate, you’ll see that additional blue plate. This blue plate is where the wave rider is secured to the back of the Zeta. One last thing important thing to note here is the back of the knees. Along the piping are two thin plates. They’re a bit flimsy to be honest, but not a big distraction.

Now we look at the articulation in the leg. You’ll noticed that it’s not one solid frame piece. You can think of it as 3 pieces actually. We have the upper leg, then a square box frame at the knee and then the foot. The box frame that we have at the knee is 4 pieces. We have the black piping, the piece that goes to the upper leg, the front of the knee, and then a black triangle piece that’s actually hidden behind the blue. The middle box frame is held together by the blue plates that form the lower leg frame, and then the lower leg frame is held together by the ankle thruster plates and the plate that covers the front of the foot. It looks really fragile, but I’ve found it to be probably the most solid piece of the kit. The only thing that worry about with the leg frame is the box frame around the knee area. Because of the thin plates that’s around the black piping, if you bend it to aggressively, it can potentially fall apart.

Here you can see more of the hip joint. TONS of movable parts.

So onto the wave rider. The wave rider itself is constructed of 4 sections. The 2 wings, shield, and the central spine.

On the underside, you’ll see the voids that I mentioned before. The purpose of those voids are so that the arms and skirt plates can recess into the wings itself. Each wing plate is constructed of 3 movable elements that allows the blades to expand. You can also see that on each of the wing plates, there are 3 sets of tabs that are used to secure the wings to the spline. There is also the ball point and hinge that allows the wings to be securely mounted to the frame of the body.

Top of the wings and spline. nothing special, but lots of detail.

And here the shield. Nothing special. Lot of detail, can be extended, and a hinge on the underside that flips the connector depending if you’re using it as a shield of as the top of the wave rider.

Great review! I’ve got this kit in my backlog…really need to put it together sometime this year.

I underestimated how many moving parts that thing has. It’s reminding me of Bandai’s 1/72 VF-1 kit, which was super finicky to the point where it wasn’t worth transforming.

I’m probably not going to transform mine. I like the robot mode better.

That is a crazy amount of moving parts on a RG kit. I can see why a few people say that it’s super fragile.

When I get back tonight, I’ll follow the detail looked with the transformation process and how things snap together. Was up until 2am last night and then had to wake up at 6am for a meeting… ugh.

On to the transformation.

First we lift the chest up as that forms the top of the wave rider. Then we pull the head down and fold the arms in. You’ll see that the skirts have been rotated off to the sides to help position the arms. It’s very important that you get the arms tucked in and as flat as possible. If you don’t get in just nice and clean, it becomes a problem when you try to attach the wings.

The shield gets extended and covers the head by 2 attachment points. One is a swing out hook that’s right under the head and the other is hidden under the red section of the torso where the shield is now pegged in.

On each side of the shield, there’s 2 tab holes that the wing is later clipped into.

When we lay the wings behind the Zeta, you’ll see that the cut out I mentioned before is the exact contour of the arm and the front skirt. This is why it’s so important to make sure you have the arms tucked in as tightly as possible. If it isn’t, the arms and skirts will interfere with the wing itself. The legs are also pulled out via the ‘S’ hinges. Side skirts swings upward and helps cover up the sides of the exposed body.

When attaching the wings, it’s much easier if you pop out the side skirts and pull out the hinge on the wing that attaches to the back. This allows you to better move the arms and leg around if you need to so that you can get them into the wing. It’s a very exact fit, and it has to be sunked into the wing or else you won’t be able to clip the wing into the shield. Once you get the wing positioned, then reattach the hinge back onto the body. Unfortunately, you’ll also see there’s a lot of exposed frame and joints in the waist area.

With everything secured, the last thing that’s left is to bend the legs and attached the rifle. I’m not quite sure why, but I can’t get the leg to bend fully to the position that it needs to be in. I may have to take the legs apart to see what’s happening.

From the bottom, everything looks great. It’s clean with no frames showing. There’s also the sleds that you can swap in.

And of course from the tail end, you can see everything exposed.

So what do I think of the kit. Technically it’s very impressive. Unfortunately putting in the transformation ended up sacrificing some of the refinement. I guess you can think of it as those lego technics kit. Do I regret buying it? Nope. I think everyone should get one. The level of design into the RG Zeta is just a marvel as to how complex Gunpla has gottened.

Count me in as someone who will eventually get to buying one of these, though I’m probably not going to take advantage of the transformation at all even if I keep the kit OOB. Still, it is amazing how they put in the transformation for such a small scale.

Ill also be geting one of these. I like the zeta gundam. But i agree it could do without the wave rider mode.