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Review: Raiden [DNA Side] by Kotobukiya


User Content (UC): Raiden [DNA Side] by Kotobukiya
Submitted By:
Raymond Chen

Kotobukiya. If you are like me, you would have never heard of their name before until a few years ago when they started their Super Robot War 1/144 model kit series; in another word; into the articulated injection model kit world of Gunpla. OK, not exactly. Bandai owns the Gundam franchise, so Kotobukiya looks into other franchises. One of which that they are co-sharing with Hasegawa, is the “Cyber Trooper Virtual-On” series from SEGA.

Don’t worry if you don’t konow what that is. You don’t need to know that to know our focus here: NBV-502-H8 Raiden [DNA side]

Why not purchase the large intimidating Raiden and save 20% off at HobbyLink Japan!

Based on the design Hajime Katoki-sensei made for the Arcade/Dreamcast game “Virtual-On: Oratario Tangram”, Raiden is recreated in 1/100 scale by Kotobukiya using the original CG data from SEGA. It is just above standard size, about half a head taller than MG RX-78-2 Gundam. But its shear bulk on the legs, feet and shoulder simply makes it feel so much bigger and more powerful. the trademark light panels designs of the Virtual-On mech series are reproduced here in the from of clear green panels. Raiden does look blocky. All Virturoids (the terms for mechs in the world of Virtual-On) does. It is a simple matter of taste, and I love it.

One of Kotobukiya models’ trademark is the part separation via color. Whenever there is a color change on a component of Raiden, 9 out of 10 it is achieved using 2 plastic parts. It seems like the good man of Kotobukiya is determined to keep its customers from having to use stickers. The end result straight build requires very little painting, with only a few black detail missing on the shoulder armors, and some silver paint behind the light panels to make them shine.

Kotobykiya’s models are usually considered to be fragile, but in this case the design of Raiden proves to be very solid, nothing is falling out in a hurry. Except for the thumbs. But then again the instruction did told me to glue them, but I ignored it.

By the way, don’t expect any internal frame though. Despite the above Master Grade price, Kotobukiya has never been keen on adding details to places you will never see. To compensate however there are a number of mechanical details at all the joints, with clever part separation to ease their painting process if one choose to do so.


This is one region that Bandai, in recent years, has been continue to improve on, and has remain as one of the best in model articulation engineering. Kotobukiya, on the other hand, progress has been somewhat lagging. The early days kits of  the 1/144 SRW series has almost no knee or ankle movement, and the legs and shoulders are hardly any better.

Raiden here is several leagues above that. with full range rotation on the head, shoulders, below the shoulders, wrist and legs, generous rotation and tilt for the waist, double jointed knees for 90degrees of bend and a 2-ball-jointed system for the ankles.

There are also 2 gimmicks for articulation. First, the elbows normally can only bend to 45degrees, but the elbow joints can be extended out of the lower arms to increase it to…. 90degree. Second, the black armor piece in front of the ankle and shift up to allow more movement…. until the side armor of the legs get in the way. Not anything to brag about in the lights of modern day Gunpla, but really, it’s more or less enough for what Raiden needs to do…

….. and that is posing with his awesome set of weapons. Raiden comes with his standard Bazooka, 2 alternative shoulder armor to show Raiden with his signature Laser Emitters deployed. There is also a spare right hand to hold the bazooka, and a open left palm to support the bazooka and for dynamic poses.

Salvaged from one of 16 retired battleships according to the background stories, the Laser Emitters are undisputed in long-ranged firepower, and are shown here in its full glory. It’s big, it’s cumbersome, it’s highly detailed from the front AND from the back, and looking at them I can still see the trails of destruction and broken polygons Raiden left behind the virtual battlefield.

I want my Dreamcast back.

At the end. should you buy it? Well, it depends. It is very expensive. for Raiden’s pricetags you can get one and a half standard size Master Grade Gunpla model kits. But in the end, it was a great build experience. It is a character that will probably not going to get another model kit depiction (except for the retooled Raiden II [RNA Side] released afterward) To me, I loved Raiden, so it was well worth it.

That, and I got it on sale with free EMS shipping. Thanks HLJ!

View the time lapse builds on YouTube!

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  1. Bulky and mean, the way mecha are suppose to look like 🙂

  2. this is pretty awesome. Maybe this company could do some model kits from the game vanguard bandits. i would buy every single one


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