The Sazabi…Master Grade release number twenty nine. It’s pretty old (almost 9 years), but still punches in at one of the largest master grade models available aside from the Perfect Zeong. Being a dated model, you can’t go in to this expecting something that’s amazing like the master grades of today or even some of the more simple suits that came out around the same time and due to Sazabi’s size and design things will naturally not be insanely articulate.
In addition to the original release of this model, Bandai did an extra finish/metallic coating version of the Sazabi, which looks really wonderful but due to the nature of coating kits (horrible sprue marks) turned me away from it along with the fact I got the normal version for 40USD. I had some special things in mind, anyway.
Sazabi is BIG. By proxy, it has a lot of runners and whatnot although a lot of the outer armor parts are made up from large pieces as to usually avoid horrible seam lines. I didn’t count the number of part runners, but suffice to say that the number is over 25. A couple runners are simply duplicates for the arms and legs, but still. The box for this is about the size of the PG Wing Zero box, maybe a little thinner.
Originally I had planned on covering up the two-tone look of this kit by priming the entire kit, then going over it with Tamiya’s mica red or metallic red but upon further inspection of the Sazabi’s art I found that the two-tone is part of the design. As such, I simply sprayed the red pieces with the metallic red paint which yielded fair results, the difference in tone still visible despite the paint. Metallic black for the underframe with some chrome silver detail here and there and some gunmetal for the shotgun round out the rest of the painting for this kit. My process for this was simple, just cut out all the red parts, paint them and then follow up with the same thing for the black parts. I had worried about losing track of which part was which when I started chopping parts out but after reading the manual a few times it was easy enough to tell what was what, along with organizing parts in the box post-painting.
For the most part, building Sazabi is fairly easy. The frame and everything else for the Sazabi are pretty big, so you’d be hard pressed to have a hard time figuring out what goes where or losing parts.. The only really annoying thing about building it is the TUUUUUBES, which drive me absolutely insane when they’re handled like this (pre 2.0 days). Once the process of painting was taken care of I built the rest of the model up in a single night. The only thing noteworthy might be the fact that this model is probably the first MG to have individually jointed fingers. The wrist design sort of gets in the way of the hand like Sinanju, but not so much that it makes in unable to hold it’s weapons. In the end, there isn’t a lot of posing to be done with this model. For the most part, it’s meant to simply stand there and look huge and terrifying and to it’s credit, it does that very well. There are a lot of nice details throughout the kit ranging from vents to pistons to the HUGE variety of boosters but some extra effort will need to be put forth if you want to bring them out.
My major complaint with this model, something I noticed while building it, is that the legs cannot move apart AT ALL. The way the joints were designed with the actual polycap so deep basically dictated that the Sazabi stand straight up like in the previous picture, or at least it felt that way to me. He had a really hard time standing up with the legs spread apart, and the same thing applied to the ankle joints. After some deliberation between a friend who was present and myself, I got out the dremel.
The difference is subtle, sometimes I’m not sure myself if it made that much of a difference for it’s linear pose but it felt like this at least allowed the Sazabi to stand with it’s legs spread a little farther apart without the legs popping out of the joint. The ankles got a similar treatment, being ground down enough to allow for some movement although the offending part here was some part of the frame that ran in to the armor. Dalong’s appears that doesn’t have an issue standing with the legs apart, but it felt so gimped to me while building that I just bit the bullet and went ahead with grinding parts out.
Char’s final suit certainly is an elegant one, the bell-bottomed look took a bit of time to grow on me but this MG, despite being slightly bulkier than some of the lineart I’ve seen, manages to look very good standing tall.
As you can see that I did drum up the will to put some extra effort in to detailing the various pipes and boosters that are healthily distributed around the model, something that I think benefits the final product very well. It’s rare for me to go the extra mile on detailing bits of the frame like this, but after taking the time to paint the model and verything else I had figured I might as well go all the way.
As expected, Sazabi is not nearly as articulate as Sinanju. The joints still have a penchant for popping loose when you’re posing them, so I got used to just taking the part off, adjusting it and then putting it back on. Mainly though, the Sazabi will probably be standing in a linear mean looking pose on your shelf/desk/whatever. The finished kit has a plethora of weapons, as would be expected with such a behemoth-
As you can see in the first picture, Sazabi has the reverse of the new 2.0-era tabbed hands, in that the weapons have the tabs on them. This works wonderfully for his beam tomahawk, but the rifle tab is too skinny and only kind-of seats the weapon in his hand. It can be a pain to pose with it but the weapon looks good enough to make any fanangaling worth it. Another neat note is that the grip part slides! The weapon is very well made and looks damn good in gunmetal and is usually the one sitting in the hands of the big red behemoth.
Mega Particle Gun
Chest mounted scatter cannon? I’ll take ten. With Sazabi’s huge output, this thing packs enough power to easily take out groups of mobile suits with one shot.
Beam Axe/Bastard Sword
The beam axe/bastard sword is stored on the shield, the same peg that goes in to Sazabi’s hand keeping the weapon secure on the mount. Both weapons are fairly cool, the beam sword being absolutely massive in size. I find Sinanju’s smaller axe blades look better than Sazabi’s but I guess that’s to be expected. Either way, Sazabi’s limited range of movement kind of work against him when it comes to showing off these weapons.
Look familiar? This characteristic, which both Nu and Sazabi share, carried over to most mobile suit designs beyond this. Both the Unicorn and Sinanju both rock the wrist mounted beam sabers although with a fair amount more of style, considering they can utilize the weapons while they’re still in the wrist thus leaving their hands free for other weapons.
Sadly, there’s no display bits for Sazabi’s funnels since this is such an old MG kit…but they do look nice after being assembled, pain in the rear as they are to detail.
After taking time to take a bunch of pictures, I have to say that for having such a terrible rep around the gunpla community I think that the Sazabi managed to hold up pretty nice as far as articulation goes. Then again, I have fairly low expectations for this kit due to the size and all of the negativity I had heard about it. Overall though, I’ve very happy with the kit and how the metallic paintjob for it turned out. Eventually, I’ll be getting some waterslide decals for additional detailing since the dry transfers of early master grade kits are about as good as trash and giving it a loving dose of Tamiya’s clear gloss coat to really make that red armor shine. For now though, this model is certainly a fair buy if you can find it discounted or if you’re a VERY hardcore fan of the Sazabi. I’m not sure if I would have gotten mine if it wasn’t half off, but perhaps if you’re a big enough fan and can appreciate the model for what it can do, dropping the 80USD on it might be worthwhile. If the pricetag is still to steep, I would point you at the HGUC Sazabi, which was released in 2008 and is likely far superior in terms of engineering. Personally though, I’m a stickler for the 1/100 scale and don’t mind something that can’t pull off super dynamic poses as long as it can still look appealing, which as I’ve said before, Sazabi can do without a problem. So depending on what you expect out of your model, check this one out.