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Gundam Barbatos: Gundam Universe

The Gundam Universe line of newly released figures is here! Wave one brought us the RX-78-2 Gundam, Wing Gundam and the Unicorn Gundam, but now we have wave two which brings the Gundam Deathscythe, Gundam Barabatos, and the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam to a shelf near you. Leading with the RX-78-2 Gundam, Wing Gundam and the Unicorn was a clever move on Bandai’s part, getting three of their most recognizable suits onto the market first. The Wing Gundam and RX-78-2 Gundam where generally fantastic figures with good articulation for being as hard wearing and cheap as they are, whereas the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam was mostly considered to be merely okay. So how will wave two measure up?

Given as how this isn’t Gunpla, we’re going to be doing things a little bit differently, but the format will remain largely unchanged. So tag along as we have a look at the Gundam Barbatos in its Gundam Universe debut.

Regretfully, I think that this may be the weakest entry in the Gundam Universe series of figures, which is unfortunate given the widespread popularity of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. To get my main gripe out of the way quickly, this figure simply feels strangely brittle. Bandai have long had an issue with their glossy plastics feeling brittle and prone to breaks or cracks, until recently that is with some of their Gunpla featuring fantastic glossy plastics like the superb RE/100 Zaku II Kai FZ.

RE/100 Zaku II Kai and what feels like the best glossy plastic Bandai have produced.

Seeing as how this is an action figure and not a gunpla kit however, it seems as though Barbatos hasn’t been given the same love as the RE/100 Zaku II Kai FZ. The glossy white plastic that makes up the majority of the armor plating on Gundam Barabatos is unpleasant to handle and also results in another issue.

Unlike its stunning, and cheapest Gunpla counterpart (which may be an unfair comparison) the Gundam Universe iteration of Barbatos loses practically all of the surface detailing to this unpleasant glossy plastic.

Without panel lining, something that shouldn’t be required on an action figure, the details that would typically be easy to see simply vanish into the soft edges that can be found all over this figure despite its sharp angular design.

When it comes to looking at the various accessories that come with this figure, you may be a little disappointed. You’ll find the Long Sword and Mace, a set of closed hands and a set of open hands. Both weapons are completely cast in a very dark blue plastic which, while accurate enough when compared to their appearance in the anime, appear flat and lifeless. The Long Sword fits snugly in the hand, but the Mace does not, and is best used for striking a pose. Even then, a simple pose can be an issue because of the articulation.

Striking a pose proves difficult when the shoulder pauldrons have been scaled up to a ridiculous size. So ridiculous are the proportions, you can’t even perform the basic “over the shoulder” weapon pose without putting the pauldron at an angle, tucking the pauldron into the inner elbow and then angling the hand to the extent at which it will pop out of the wrist socket should you try to move it. You get the usual range of movement that can expect from a basic peg and socket wrist, but it’s generally sufficient for display purposes. You’ll also be able to get the basic bicep curl, insofar as the pauldron permits movement. The lack of a swinging shoulder joint means you’ll have a hard time supporting the Mace and you’ll most likely find yourself using it as an impromptu support stand.

The leg, as tends to be the case with the Gundam Universe figures, is pretty decent insofar as action figures are concerned, but little has been done to make the massive flipper-esque feet of the Barbatos in any way unique or useful, with a fairly basic ball joint being used.

There’s little to be said about the Barbatos that’s positive, it generally seems to be the lesser of the Gundam Universe figures and that honestly feels like a mistake on Bandai’s part. As previously mentioned, Barbatos has some of the greatest HG kits in recent memory with options galore and superb possibility. This figure would not get a recommendation for me unless you plan on posing it as best as possible then never touching it again.