MSN-04 Sazabi

When Char Aznable formed the second Neo Zeon movement some time after the conclusion of the first Neo Zeon War of 0088 and 0089 U.C., Anaheim Electronics was contracted to build a high-performance mobile suit to take advantage of Char's advanced Newtype abilities. The MSN-04 Sazabi would be one of the most powerful mobile suits of its day, extremely fast and maneuverable despite its large size and durable armor. It was equipped with six remote funnels (basically, beam cannons strapped to maneuvering thrusters) controlled by the pilot's mind via a psycommu. The Sazabi would also be the first mobile suit equipped with a psycoframe, which consisted of microscopic psycommu receptors embedding throughout the cockpit frame, thus increasing a newtype pilot's perception and sensitivity. Oddly, this technology would apparently be purposely leaked to the Anaheim group constructing the RX-93 Nu Gundam, which would be assigned to Char's bitterest rival: Amuro Ray. Sazabi's conventional weapons included a beam shot rifle, two beam sabers, a powerful beam tomahawk, and a powerful mega particle cannon build directly into the stomach. Led by Char, Neo Zeon staged several drop operations against the Earth Federation. Char would see front line action in Sazabi against the Federation's Londo Bell unit, leading up to a final climactic duel with Amuro Ray.

For years I've read that the Master Grade Sazabi isn't quite all it's cracked up to be, but how could I not get it? It's the Sazabi for cryin' out loud, Char's last mobile suit and one of the sweetest designs from a movie full of sweet designs. As it happens, though, they weren't all that wrong about this Master Grade. The hand area is poorly designed, the forearm armor rides almost right on top of the wrist, blocking it from being able to rotate more than a few degrees in either direction (a killer for a lot of poses). I had plenty of problems with the whole shoulder area, the extra thruster assembly which usually floats a bit above the arm isn't held as solidly as I'd like on either side (most of the time it falls and rests on top of the arm). The shoulder armor itself also seems fairly loose, and while that doesn't necessarily detract from it's overall look, it just leaves it feeling a little soggy. I've also been having trouble with the left arm, which isn't being held very well in it's polycap (this might just be my bad luck, rather than a design flaw, though). Though it's to be expected on a design like this, the feet don't have a ton of freedom of motion either. The Sazabi also features the most annoying piece I've ever had to deal with on a Master Grade kit. The two small thrusters (the yellow circle bits) on the crotch were, for some reason, molded in black rather than the expected red (quite rare to have such a mis-colored piece on a Master Grade kit). Granted, if you have the slightest bit of painting skill (or if you at least have half-decent supplies) this probably wouldn't be a huge deal for you, but I possess neither (one of the reasons I stick with Master Grades). Due to various errors on my part, it took me three tries to get the thing painted right, fortunately I think it came out looking okay.

I did have a good time putting it together, though. The box itself is huge, around three times the size of the smallest Master Grade boxes (Zaku II and Gundam, for instance). Sazabi itself is around two heads taller than RX-78-2 Gundam (or a bit taller than 10 inches) and it possesses considerably more girth. While I haven't exactly been keeping count, I think it's safe to say that this kit had the most pieces of any I've put together to date. Their was plenty of detail work to do, but it really didn't look half bad with nothing more done to it than filling in the black dots on the yellow thrusters. Still, though, I wish I could have done more with those things, but they're so small that I can't get anything reliable down their. Anyway, despite the kit's flaws, in the end it's still a pretty sweet looking kit, which I'm glad to add to my collection.