Painting and building of the PG Unicorn are complete. I’m awaiting some water-slide decals arriving, so as it will now be a while before I can do proper photos and the transform, here’s some quick ones to show the mech and weapons. Even in a non-transformed state this is a good looking kit! And the psycho-frame LED lighting works wonderfully! It’s also great that the stand is very well designed to hold the weapons and shield and is robust enough to allow you to safely carry the model around. Just that little bit of green poking through with the eyes is wonderful, and I love the purple UV glow on the arms! Putting the normal lights up, we can see how the stand holds all the weapons. I love the details on this gun and the little energy pack magazines that snap together.I didn’t go overboard on the shield. I masked off the edges to leave them grey, but the rest remains white. I did use the fluorescent green in a few places though! For the backbone piece I masked off the gunmetal and painted the details with Alclad polished aluminium and added some details with Tamiya smoke. The machine guns are great! Again I carried through the grey/blue colour scheme, although the rounded body pieces were a real pain to mask! I really like how the bands of polished aluminium work and tie into the lines of the polished aluminium on the flat sections. Like on the other guns I used the fluorescent green on the lenses. The bazooka is large! I guess it has to be for a mech this size. Like so many of the pieces on this kit, it responds to time and care with masking to add in colour differentiation and there’s more than enough detail for you to decide how to implement your colour scheme and carry a theme through the kit.And of course, those lovely brass bullets visible at the back! A bit of careful hand painting really pays here to sell the effect.
Overall I’m incredibly happy with this kit. I’ve built some old and some new PG kits and while I really loved the frame of the old Zaku II, the armour didn’t quite have the detail we’ve come to love and expect (especially after being spoiled by some of the 1/144 RG kits). The armour detail on the PG Unicorn is excellent although I can always crave more, especially for the knee and elbow joint areas where it takes extensive and careful masking to actually bring out that lovely detail.
The assembly process was not flawless, although I suspect some of that is down to the added complexity of a transforming kit. That the majority of pieces are under-gated really makes for a pleasurable build with little or no need to get the sand-paper and sanding sticks out to refine the pieces before painting. The plastic quality was up to Bandai’s normal excellent standards, although there are some oddities. The grey plastic for the frame seemed to be off-grey depending on the lighting looking bronze-like on some runners. On the co-moulded hands, the parts would alternate in shade! Of course, once painted you don’t see this, but it might be a touch problematic on an unpainted build. The grey plastic on the shield runner was softer (less “snap” when you use your cutters to remove the pieces from the runner) than the rest.
I was happy with how the LEDs installed, even though it’s quite a tricky process. Bandai designed channels into the frame to carry the wires and the LED’s wiring is strong enough to not come apart as your route it. The wiring makes good use of connectors so no soldering is involved. Although expensive, the LEDs are a very worthwhile addition to the kit.
Stability seems excellent. It’s a big and heavy kit, and the system of POM and PC parts seems to hold well and give firm, positive movement with limbs that stay where you put them. The included stand also helps with this.
On the negative side, you have to get the P-Bandai Full Armour pack to get the water-slide decals, or turn to 3rd party suppliers. Really the water-slides should be included in any kit that says it’s “perfect”. Some of the part fits were very tight and I had some scratching issues during assembly, and that leaves me a little concerned for the transform.