Robot Damashii: Gundam F91

Gundam F91 (short for Formula 91) was the very first Gundam series I was exposed to as a wee lad. Its compact streamlined design, coupled with its sexy “Variable Speed Beam Rifles” (VSBR) and beam shield, all of which were a new commodity to Gundam at the time, fortified F91’s appeal.

The epic showdown against Mobile Armour Rafflesia as Seabrook went all out in his F91 left me in awe, and the ending song that soon followed right before the credits rolled, is in my opinion to this day, one of the best anime EDs ever. (Hiroko Moriguchi (森口博子) – Eternal Wind ~ Hohoemi wa Hikaru Kaze no Naka) Speaking of which, I saw it on a Laserdisc my parent rented, if you don’t know what that is, look it up. 😛

The old 1/100 F91 model kit wasn’t exactly cheap at its time, so fate didn’t allow it to be my first Gundam kit. But I made sure the SD Gundam version of F91 was; which also happens to be the first model kit I learnt to build.

When the MG kit was announced back in 2006, I was very excited about it as it included the top of Rafflesia complete with its tentacle rods as a diorama base. I actually finished building the kit due to how much love I have for F91; the other untouched kits in my wardrobe aren’t so lucky.

But when Bandai publicised its plans for a Robot Damashii F91, I was a bit dubious, as white suits from the <SIDE MS> line often ended up in tears. But the figure is out, and the verdict is unanimous, Bandai really brought out their A game on this one.

I have no complaints about its aesthetics and proportions, Bandai really delivered this time, and it just looks damn good. The quality of the white plastic used is first-rate, and doesn’t have that awful semi-transparent look to it.

But as you give it a few twists, you’ll find that the thighs are actually way too short. This causes some problems when you try to recreate ‘those’ type of poses where the suit has one thigh lifted up, knees bend backwards, and the other leg straight, afloat and ready-to-attack in mid-air. This was a fair disappointment to me as I was looking forward to recreating the pose depicted on the old 1/100 Gunpla box art.

The accessories included are substantial, and the panel lines on the rifles are actually quite deep, so additional work on darkening the panel lines isn’t really a must. The hands also provide a pretty good grip on its weaponry.

The material used for the beam shield however, makes it very susceptible to fingerprints. It was also damn near impossible to get the white piece to latch onto the shield, because it just didn’t fit. I spent over an hour trying to get it on, and eventually had to cut the outstanding sprues, and sand down each side very carefully until it finally clicked on.

The F91 insignia is very well done, but some of the yellow details on the skirt armour and thrusters have been left unpainted.

The face is pretty much perfect. The eyes are accentuated with a metallic blue paint app., and the panel lines on its mouth are spot on.

Two heads are included, so you have the option of displaying F91 in its unmasked form. The pair of antennas attached to the default head on the left is made of PVC, and the one shown on the right is the spare made of ABS. But the PVC pair is so well made, that you can hardly tell the difference between the two.

The legs came with the panel lines already done.

The articulation is very stiff all round. Perhaps a little too stiff for my liking, but it still beats a floppy figure.

I’m not sure of the point of bending the feet backwards to this extent as this isn’t Wing Gundam, but it’s possible.

The waist’s ability to bend backwards is very strong, but the same cannot be said in reverse. The neck could also do with more mobility, as it can’t tilt it’s head upward much.

Parts will need to be replaced for the thrusters to open.

An optional piece is included if you wish to attach the beam launcher to the rear end of its skirt armour.

There is now a hole positioned underneath the skirt which allows you to attach the peg of the Tamashii Stage stands directly into the toy. A welcome addition, as it provides a stronger hold than clipping onto the waist, and allows for better and more precise angles in display.

The mobility of the VSBRs is very high, but it’s still difficult to get the hands to grip onto the handle.

The beam shield remains a favourite Gundam accessory for me.

“Cecily!”

Anyone else think the scene in which Squall goes after Rinoa in space in Final Fantasy VIII is a lot like the ending of Gundam F91?

Gundam F91 is definitely a strong contender for one of the most outstanding <SIDE MS> releases in the Robot Damashii franchise. Hopefully, sales will be strong enough to convince Bandai to release the rest of the suits from the Crossbone Vanguard militia, because I’ll certainly be getting every one of them if the quality is as promising as this F91. (Not to mention the designs are all really badass.) It appears Bandai has no plans for a Master Grade Vigna-Gina as it’s been 4 years since the MG release of F91, but I sure hope there’s going to be  a Robot Damashii version!

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  1. Nice views of the photo and stances. I am interested in buying these do you know any where to buy them?

  2. You can get Robot Damashii figures from most online toy retailers that sells Japanese toys, since it’s one of Bandai’s more popular lines.

    You can try some of the following stores:
    http://www.amiami.jp/shop?set=english
    http://www.hlj.com
    http://www.angolz.com
    http://www.1999.co.jp/eng

    Or try a local Japanese hobby store if you have one. (Probably will be more expensive though, unless you live in an Asian country.)

  3. Also try http://www.gundamstoreandmore.com They have a full line of F91 models.

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