When the term SD Gundam comes to mind, thoughts are immediately sent hurtling towards memories of the 1980s OVA series or the much more recent SD Gundam Force. My original encounter with SD Gundam some 10 years ago was through much smaller than I was expecting model kits. The super deformed characters took my favorite Gundams and gave them a look that really intrigued me. Out of the 30 years of Gundam model kits, the SD line has produced the most kits out of any series. To date, there have been over 400 releases, which are more than HGUC and MG combined. The line recently went through a makeover of sorts, with the new-found popularity resulting in a new anime series, SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors. The series is a retelling of the classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms, just with pint-sized Gundams. This review takes on one of my favorite suits, the EZ-8, who is based off Gongsun Zan.
As you can tell from the box, this EZ-8 is not like the one that we saw from 08th MS Team. While the aesthetics of the original suit are still evident, it feels completely new in its musha styling.It’s a weird balance to keep from the original EZ-8 to the Sangokuden version, but it doesn’t surprisingly doesn’t feel too tacky.
Each of the SD Sangokuden kits have two modes. As each of the mobile suits play a different character, so their base form is an unarmored mobile suit. The samurai-inspired Gundam head is instead a helmet, and its armor is well, removable armor. Oddly, there were no pictures of how this form is supposed to look, let alone painted, in the instruction booklet. You can also put on another set of eyes, so it can stand there and look rather cute. Well, for a Gundam at least.
With all of its armor attached, we get the EZ-8 all ready for battle. The armor gives off a chainmail vibe, and the effect is done really well by the molding. The helmet fits on nicely and has a blue headdress atop it. You can still tell its the EZ-8 by the helmet, as it still has its the antenna and the chin guard. Also added to the armor is the chest and arms. The EZ-8 also gets a cape. Are there things that don’t look better with a cape? Yes, but thankfully this EZ-8 isn’t one of them.
The main weapon of the EZ-8 is a sword. There’s not much to it, but it serves its purpose. Also included is another weapon, but to be honest, I’m not really sure what this weapon is supposed to be. My best guess is that it’s a flag of some form, but I’ll imagine it as a torch.
The biggest difference that many will notice about SD kits is that they are easy. Ridiculously easy. They are meant for younger modelers in mind, but their designs and details can still appeal to older builders. In all, building the actual kit took me maybe 30 minutes, and even then that’s stretching it. The fun with these kits come in the details. There are a lot of minute details that can really demand your attention. The parts are all single color, so you will have to fill in all of the detail. I used the set of Sangokuden Gundam Markers, which work well for filling in small details like those on this kit, but not full paint jobs. Once all of it is done though, you get a pretty impressive little kit.
The SD Sangokuden EZ-8 is a nice little kit that can appeal to a wide audience. If you’re looking for a starting point to begin your foray into Gunpla, the SD series is a great start. As I stated before, the kit is ridiculously easy but offers enough extras to be enticing to advanced modelers. They also offer a great way to test your skill for detail. Best part of all, they are as cheap as they are easy. The SD Sangokuden EZ-8 goes for just 600 yen and is currently available from Hobby Link Japan. While they may not be as big as their counterparts in the HG and MG lines, but they offer something for every type of modeler.
– Andres Cerrato