MS-06F Zaku II

The MS-06 Zaku II was the second combat-ready mobile suit ever completed and became the mainstay of the Duchy of Zeon's mobile forces during the One Year War. The MS-06C was used early in the war, as it was heavily armored around the cockpit to protect the pilot from nuclear and biological weapons which were used to wipe out almost half the Earth Sphere's population during the opening One Week Battle and the Battle of Loum. After the Antarctic Treaty (which banned the use of NBC weapons), the MS-06C's were modified to remove the extra armor, cutting costs and reducing the weight of the mobile suit, this was the MS-06F. The MS-06J was yet another modification of the Zaku II, this time to remove all space-specific thrusters and other systems, to better suit it for terrestrial-combat. With the Zaku II's unmatched firepower, Zeon was able to fight the much larger Earth Federation to a standstill for months, until the Federation managed to produce it's own mobile suit, the RX-78 Gundam.

The venerable Zaku II was the second Master Grade I ever built. The Zaku II F/J was one of the first Master Grades made and, as such, it isn't quite as well designed as the later Master Grades. Where most Master Grades attempt to hide most seam-lines, the Zaku II has a few very visible on the hand and the 'snout' on the head. Since I have no modeling putty (in addition to no clue how to properly use it) I've pretty much had to just bear with them, as you can see in the pictures. This is the model that forced me to learn to use the fine-tip Gundam marker, thanks to the 'calves' of the mobile suit which are quite unfit for the sharpie treatment. The outward cabling that runs along the head, sides and legs of the mobile suit is made up of a plastic guide, a spring-ish thing to go over the guide and then a whole ton of green circlets that go over the spring. That was a bit of a pain to build, but the effect is very nice. I did have to glue the leg cabling on, though, as it was a bit lose. The skirt armor does prevent you from doing a whole lot as far as posing goes, but honestly it's not much worse than the Gelgoog and it's huge legs of doom. The kit allows you to choose weather to build the space-type 'F' version or the land-type 'J' version. Basically the only difference between the two (besides the model number decals) is the type of exhaust nozzle on the backpack and the little grey thruster-ish thing on the backside of the calf (for the 'F', the 'J' just goes over that part with more green). That grey part is the part I screwed up on most as far as the looks of this model go, I just couldn't figure out how to make it look right, so I just filled in the thruster part black, leading to the strange looking black dots on the back of the legs. Perhaps I should have stuck with J-version? The pink mono-eye can be moved from side to side via a series of gears that can be controlled from the lower back of the head. Unfortunately, it's not the sturdiest system in the world, so I tend to leave it alone as much as possible. The weapon assortment is very nice, you get two different types of machine gun (the original version and the 0080 version), a bazooka, a couple cracker grenades. The heat hawk has a few problems, though. For one, it's in one color plastic, which doesn't match any color it's supposed to be, and secondly it has a little peg protruding from it's side to allow you to mount it on the Zaku. Unfortunately, that makes it look like crap anywhere besides mounted in on the Zaku, I cut the thing off, personally.