The third mobile suit design produced under the Federation's V Project, the Gundam was designed for high-performance close combat. It was also one of the first mobile suits capable of wielding beam weaponry and could out-perform any mass produced suit until the Gelgoog hit the front lines in the final weeks of the war. The first combat-ready Gundams were to be picked up at Side 7 by the new mobile suit carrier, White Base, in September of UC0079. Unfortunately, White Base was followed by Zeon's Lt Cmd Char Aznable. Out of the three Gundams two were destroyed in the initial attack. A young resident of Side 7, Amuro Rey, jumped into the pilot's seat of the remaining Gundam and engaged in the first suit to suit battle in history, in which two Zaku II units were destroyed. Amuro Rey would go on to become one of the top aces (with 142 mobile suit and 9 ship kills, second most number of kills on the Federation side, sixth most overall) of the One Year War, piloting the RX-78-2 Gundam until the end of the war.
It just wouldn't be right if I didn't have at least one version of the original Gundam in my collection. There are actually three Master Grade kits of this design (four if you count the special 'glossy' one, which I don't), the original (which was the first Master Grade), version 1.5 (a complete overhaul of the original version) and version Ka (Katoki's take on the Gundam design, which isn't incredibly different, just different decals, a bit more detail and some proportion tweaking). I choose version 1.5 because it offers the benefit of being a modern Master Grade (earlier Master Grades were less flex able and didn't do as well a job hiding plate lines) but it was still the classic Gundam design. Plus, it comes with more accessories than the others, including the Gundam Hammer! The core block system is very cool and works just as it was seen in the show. You get a core fighter that can be folded up into the core block and another, solid core. It comes with every weapon the Gundam ever used including a beam rifle, two beam sabers, a Hyper Bazooka, a Gundam Hammer and a beam javelin. Building it was pretty straightforward, in fact, the legs came pre-built, all you had to do was slap on the white outer layer. I wasn't enthusiastic about it being that simple, but the legs are awfully well done. There really isn't much in the way of panel lines on this kit, but I think I could probably touch up some stuff around the legs. I really like the vents on the chest area, they didn't cheap out on them, the three 'leaves' in each are separate and movable, rather than just one solid piece. There's also very little to paint on this suit, the solid core block is all dark grey, when it should match the red, white and blue of the core fighter, but since it's intended to be inside the suit it's not really that big a deal. The beam javelin's beam point was molded in clear white plastic, rather than the same translucent pink as the beam saber blades, which is intensely annoying because there doesn't seem to be an easy way to fix it short of just painting a solid layer of pink over it. Ah well, I never liked the beam javelin anyway. Over all this is one of the most solid and fool-proof kits you can buy.