GFF Zenography #3011 KAMPFER

Ever since I came back from Japan, my fondness for Gundams have been re-ignited. I couldn’t help it, everywhere I went (so it seems) there were Gundams and I finally understood why it was so popular in Japan. Most toy shops in Japan have a dedicated section just for Gundams, and most of these dedicated sections are huge compared to other toys. So I came back, went through my collection and decided it was time to take a look at a Gundam toy I’ve had hiding in the pile for a while.

Background:

Zenography series is an off-shoot of the main Gundam Fix Figuration line that showcases mobile suits from the Zeon forces. These figures are based on the Gundam mechanical designs of Hajime Katoki, with interchangeable parts for variant models, heaps of accessories, great articulation and fine modelling, paint and print detail.

The MS-18E Kämpfer (“Kämpfer” means “fighter” in German) was a prototype mobile suit built by the Principality of Zeon in the series Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in Pocket. Based on the YMS-18 Prototype Kämpfer,Kämpfer Face the MS-18E was developed for specific missions as a fast assault unit, hence the barrage of weapons and number of thrusters and verniers. Its high power consumption rate from the thrusters means it could rival the Federation RX series in speed but could only operate for a short period of time, so the designers had to minimize the armour plating and reducing weight by going as far as removing the hip mounted skirt plate found on most other mobile suits. The choice of conventional explosives and weapons over beam weapons were also done to minimize power drain on its powerplant. The unit was intended to be operated by Special Forces, but due to its late introduction to the war, only a few units were ever produced.

Name: #3011 MS-18E Kämpfer
Manufacturer: Bandai
Line: Zenography Expanded Edition of Gundam Fix Figuration
Sculptor: Sato Naoki, Akaba Kazuhiro
Designer: Hajime Katoki
Scale: 1/144
Material: ABS, PVC, POM
Release: Nov 2006
Original Price: ¥3,680 (approx. $48AUD / $43USD)
Secondary Market Price: N/A
Height: 130mm / 5.11inches (to top of head no including spike)

Packaging:

Pretty much the same same as with all GFF line figures, looks great on shelves but damn hard to unpack the contents. I’m really not a fan of the twisty wires, especially when there are so many, seems like a bit of overkill in some places. Graphics wise, it is nice and clean, with very concise information about the figure which makes for great light reading. All parts are laid out clearly so you can see exactly what you get, which is nice.

  • Zenography Kämpfer packaging front
  • Zenography Kämpfer packaging inside
  • Kämpfer trapped by twisty wires
  • Zenography Kämpfer packaging bottom layer

Accessories:

The first thing you’ll notice is the shear number of extra armour parts included, they’re for transforming the MS-18E Kämpfer to the menacing looking YMS-18 Prototype Kämpfer variant, shown further below. The transformation was relatively simple as parts were quite easy to snap on and off. The next thing you’ll notice is the huge array of weapons this guy comes with, simply awesome. He has two 42mm pump action shotguns, one with stock and one without, two 360mm Bazookas, two Sturm Faust rocket propelled grenades, two beam sabers and a chain mine. There is also a massive Vulcan machine gun included for use with the YMS-18 Prototype Kämpfer, but looks just as deadly in the hands of the MS-18E Kämpfer. Unfortunately the tripod on the machine gun is fixed and cannot be unfolded out. Display base also included.

  • Interchangeable parts for YMS-18 Prototype Kämpfer
  • Kämpfer's 42mm pump action shotguns
  • Pair of bazookas for the Kämpfer
  • Kämpfer with chain mine and Sturm Faust RPG
  • Kämpfer wielding beam sabers
  • Kämpfer with Vulcan Machinegun and stand

Form/Sculpt:

MS-18E Kämpfer: This is one of my favourite Zeon mobile suits, I used to have a 1/144 scale model kit of this mobile suit so when I saw there was a GFF offering, I snapped it up quick smart and boy he does not disappoint one bit. Unfortunately I no longer have the model kit figure to compare against but every detail is just as I remember it, if not better. Katoki has done a brilliant job with the design, and the sculpture really captures the formidability of this deadly assault mobile suit.

MS-18E Kämpfer

YMS-18 Kämpfer: I have to be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever seen the prototype Kämpfer, but the longer I look at it, the more I like it and can appreciate the slightly more angular and bulkier design of this mobile suit compared to the MS-18E. The only problem I found with this toy is that after swapping back to the MS-18E variant from the YMS-18, some of the interchangeable parts became loose.

YMS-18 Kämpfer

Articulation/Action:

Articulation is not too bad with this toy, but it does leave a bit to be desired. The biggest let down was the fact the arms couldn’t be raised side ways horizontally, although this may be due to a limitation of the actual mobile suit design rather than a fault with the joint design on Bandai’s part. I would also have liked to see more movement in the knee joints, it is such a crucial joint on any figure and it wouldn’t have taken much to rectify this problem, a simple cut out or double joint would have solved the problem. I do clearly remember my model kit version having a bit more articulation than this – so it’s not impossible.

  • YMS-18 Kämpfer with the Vulcan machine gun
  • YMS-18 Kämpfer whipping with the chain mine!
  • YMS-18 Kämpfer armed and ready for war
  • MS-18E Kämpfer is armed to the teeth
  • MS-18E Kämpfer going for a kick
  • MS-18E Kämpfer with a stripped down Vulcan machine gun

Paint/Print:

Now we come to the part where the GFF series toys really shine – the paint and print department. So much printing on this toy, and done to a really good quality too. Very clear and precise, what more can you ask for? The paint job is also pretty good, although in some of the smaller areas it can get a bit wobbly, especially on a few of the yellow vent parts.

  • YMS-18 Kämpfer upper body paint / print detail
  • Nice vernier and lens paint detail
  • Kämpfer leg paint / print detail
  • Kämpfer weapons also has print detail
  • MS-18E Kämpfer paint / print detail
  • MS-18E Kämpfer shoulder armour paint / print detail

Detail/Features:

Bazookas can be mounted on the back of the Kämpfer in both variants, as well as storing a shotgun on the waist. The bonus to this is that all the clips can be taken off for a clean and sleek look. There is also a lifting “neck” joint which was a pleasant surprise as it adds one more dimension to the movement of the head.

  • Weapons can be clipped onto the back of the Kämpfer
  • Tilting neck joint on the Kämpfer

Overall:

I’ve only got one word to sum up this review, “more”. That’s right. I want more of these toys, more of the GFF series, more Zenography, more Gundams! Ok, maybe I’ve been slightly brainwashed since my trip to Japan but who can say no to a toy that has fantastic paint job, heaps of print detail, huge array of accessories, realistic and sharp modelling, especially for this price!

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