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The newest assortment of figures based on MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM has arrived, and the results are most impressive and proving to be highly popular. They are derived from the movie MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM: CHAR'S COUNTERATTACK. This was a movie, made some years after the original MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM series, that wraps up the conflict between lead characters Amuro Ray and Char Aznable. According to the package description, it is thirteen years after the One Year
War (as chronicled in Mobile Suit Gundam), and Char returns to destroy the Earth Federation and plans to free the humans living in space. Amuro and the Federation must now protect the Earth from Char and his Neo Zeon movement.

There are six new Gundam figures individually packaged in this
distinctive assortment, and they've been flying off the shelves. They originally turned up at K*B Toys and have been known to sell out in less than a day. They then started appearing at Wal-Marts and Targets with similar results.

The first thing one notices about these new figures is their size. They are distinctly larger than previous Mobile Suit toys. However, they are nonetheless essentially to scale with their smaller cousins. Gundam fans more expert than I have reported in the "alt.anime.gundam" newsgroup, via research from a number of popular Gundam Web Sites, that the Mobile Suits as they appeared in the Char's Counterattack movie were in fact decidedly larger than their predecessors. (Of course from a visual standpoint that may be like trying to prove George Lucas' claim that the Death Star in Return of the Jedi was twice as large as the original in Star Wars. Big is big at that scale any
way you look at it.) But that greater size is reflected in the toys. The average Gundam figure is around 4¼" in height. The tallest of the lot is the Gelgoog, coming in at 4¾", not counting the topknot that certain models have. This is comparable to the shortest of the Char's Counterattack assortment, the Geara Doga, which measures just about 4¾" as well, but looks larger
because it's slightly bulkier. The tallest of the Char's counterattack assortment is the Sazabi, a whopping 6" in height, leaving this Mobile Suit towering over everybody else. Technically, Bandai considers them all 4½" scale. And they're all supposed to be compatible with one another.

So, how is the Char's Counterattack assortment overall? Extremely impressive. The most "Gundam-ish" looking of the lot, and oddly the least popular among fans, is the RX-93 NU GUNDAM. This is a fairly straightforward-looking Gundam, and I'll admit that his greater height makes him look unusual when
standing next to shorter, but similar-looking Gundams. But the figure is still very nicely done and highly articulated and detailed, as are all Mobile Suit Gundam figures. The NU GUNDAM is, of course, Amuro Ray's Mobile Suit.

Next there are the MSN-03 JAGD DOGAs. Please don't ask me to pronounce that. There are two models, a green and gold one, and a red and silver. Both are unique Mobile Suits, not representative of some division of Mobile Suits. The green one is piloted by Gyunei Guss and the red one is piloted by Quess
Paraya. Please don't ask me to pronounce those, either. They're
impressive Mobile Suits, bulky and with more curved lines in their construction than we're generally used to, with huge flared lower legs and shoulder pads. Their heads are very odd designs, looking almost birdlike to me.

From there we move on to the AMS-119 GEARA DOGAs. Again there are two models. There's a dark blue one, which is distinctive to Rezun Schneider, a squadron leader, and as such is a unique suit. The bright green GEARA DOGA, however,
is a Mobile Suit representative of a division, and as such one might readily see multiples of this Mobile Suit, and it's a very impressive one. Green, for some reason, doesn't seem to turn up all that often in Gundam designs, at least not this bright a green, and as such this GEARA DOGA stands out, and is
one of my favorites of the line.

Finally we have the MSN-04 SAZABI, which is piloted by Char Aznable. If this thing existed in real life, it would probably be the height of a seven story building. Even at a "meager" 6 inches, it's pretty darn scary-looking. I first saw a picture of the Sazabi some time ago in a Gundam Model Kit catalog, but I'm not really one for building the kits, even though I own a number of them. I prefer the figures. I thought at the time that the Sazabi
would make a cool figure, and I was most certainly proven correct. This bright red Mobile Suit is big, bulky, and looks meaner than anything. The detail level is as astounding as the articulation. If I had my way, I'd be sending the designers from every other toy company around over to Japan to take lessons from Bandai on how to do action figures properly. I'm sick of
pre-posed plastic statues cropping up all over the place.

All six of these figures come with a wide range of accessories, and if you're a fan of Gundam, or even just a fan of very cool and very well-made action figures, then I highly recommend the CHAR'S COUNTERATTACK assortment of MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM. They're a bargain, too, in my opinion. They're all
"Deluxe" figures, but you can find them at Wal-Mart for less than eight bucks apiece. Given the size and quality, that's a deal.

There's a few more items yet to come out in the assortment. A boxed mobile suit with small vehicle included, the RGZ-91 RE-GZ with Back Weapon System, for starters. Based on the picture, this is another fairly "Gundam-ish" looking Mobile Suit, so the Nu Gundam will have some company.

Then there's the 11" figures. I was amazed that Bandai is putting this much into one specific aspect of the Gundam saga, but we can look forward to 11" scale figures of the RX-93 NU GUNDAM and the MSN-04 SAZABI. If that make that one to scale, he's going to be huge! I plan to start saving money for him
right now.

And the movie from which all of these Gundam toys hail, HAR'S
COUNTERATTACK, should be available on DVD sometime in the near future. This way you'll get to see the Mobile Suits from which these toys are derived in action! I recommend it all very highly!