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Holy crap, it's been a long time since the last one, huh? (My last review was from, what, late March?) It's definitely been a hectic two months, but I'm back for good! I have the RG Destiny coming up right after this one, and the new MG Aile Strike after that. With a bit more free time on my hands, I can definitely write a lot more now! With the updates out of the way, let's get to the kit. As usual, this kit came from Model Grade!
TL;DR: Cheap and clever, definite buy! (Unless you hate plain.)
Interestingly, almost none of the armour pieces have any panel lines on them—the few panel lines there are on the outside are concentrated at the head. Take this how you will; some modellers may not like the "lack of detail," but I don't mind it. All the pieces are actually separated along where the panel lines would be, so the final construction turns outs to be much more realistic, compared to older MGs that rely on panel lines to achieve a detailed look.
Unfortunately, the dark colour scheme doesn't make this interesting design quirk very apparent, so it's a bit difficult to appreciate, unless you build the kit yourself. It doesn't help that the stock decal layout is really sparse. This doesn't make for an impressive exterior, frankly—you may actually be hard-pressed to find many differences between this and the HGUC from just the outside. All the real goodies you'll find on the inside.
Just like most MGs coming along nowadays, this kit sports a polystyrene body. Some joints, like the knees and elbows, are plastic-on-plastic, but the others are built with polycaps. Everything is silky smooth. All of the detailed moulding is also in the frame. The mechanisms in this kit aren't anything new, but they're still pretty cool: the elbows are identical to Nu Ver. Ka's and chest-side shoulder joints are similar to the ones on Marasai. The real innovations are in the joint designs.
The head lights up, but I don't have the appropriately coloured LED unit to show it off this time.
Before I get to the good bits, let me confirm that the usual stuff is all good. The waist actually surprised me a bit. It uses the same double-ball-joint construction that we've seen in the GAT-X frame, so it's pretty flexible—definitely not something I expected to see on a UC kit. Everything else moves quite freely, as you can expect. The neck only has one joint, and this worried me a little bit, but it doesn't actually hamper mobility much at all.
The real treats here are the knees and ankles. To compensate for the bulky calves, the entire knee section actually extends out of the leg to increase the range of the lower knee joint. This clever design choice allows the this kit to achieve a much deeper leg bend than its HGUC counterpart. The new triple-jointed ankle design is quite clever, too: it can lift out of the foot to greatly improve side-to-side motion, and it doesn't sacrifice any stability, because only one joint is vertical. With these two features, this kit can do a lot.
The extras here are pretty standard: you get a gun, a beam sabre, a shield, and an Action Base 1 adapter.
The gun comes with four interchangeable magazines, three of which can store in the right forearm. When not in use, the gun itself can store on a hook that folds out from the back of the waist.
The left forearm houses the beam sabre hilt. The hands are MP-1 manipulators, by the way. They actually work quite well for the accessories in this kit, which are all fairly light. My favourite part is the fingers allow for some very realistic reloading poses with the gun and magazines.
As you can expect, the shield's arm is multiply jointed. This allows the shield to move around quite well, but trying to manoeuvre it for the manipulators to grip the handle is a huge hassle. It doesn't help that the few shield gripping poses there are don't look very good, so it's really not worth the trouble. It attaches surprisingly securely to the backpack—don't remove it too often, though, because the teeth keeping it in places are very small.
The only thing I can fault this kit for is the rather bland exterior. I really wish Bandai would have included a denser decal layout, but I suppose you can fix that with aftermarket decal sets. If you're unlucky and receive a kit with loose polycaps, you may the find the shield dragging the torso to left. Fortunately, the shield isn't heavy enough to really be a problem, especially not if you tighten up the waist joints a bit.
For a ¥4000 kit, this may seem a bit plain compared to other recent offerings in the same price range, like the GAT-X kits or Tallgeese, for example. To be fair, though, this kit is much larger and chunkier than the examples I've mentioned. I'd argue that it's also mechanically more interesting, and the finished kit is really good at pulling off some very demanding poses. This kit isn't flashy, and that makes it a pretty good change-of-pace from other recent MGs, if you're in the mood for something different.
If the normal Jesta is just too plain for you, but you still want in on the action, there's no need to worry. A few tells on the kit suggest than an MG Jesta Cannon may be right around the corner: the front skirts have fold-out slots to equip additional armour; the backpack has a polycap slot to receive the Cannon's extra weapons; and the plates are all gated for the normal Jesta parts to be easily removable. Don't quote me on this, but I wouldn't be surprised if we saw an announcement before the end of the year.
Anyway, for its box price, this kit packs plenty. It's a great follow-up to its GM brother from 2009: this package is a great frame wrapped up in a clean and simple aesthetic. I can't recommend this kit to people who love flashy and extravagant mobile suits, but no fan of boxy, Feddie grunts will want to pass this up. It's even more impressive that Bandai put so much effort into a new body that doesn't seem to have much reprint potential (aside from the Jesta Cannon), so it's definitely worth checking out.
As always, thanks for reading! I hope this was entertaining and insightful to you in some way. Feel free to share your thoughts on this kit and my comments! Sit tight and check back soon for my next review!