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By Thomas Wheeler

The "Arch Enemy" Series Gundams are probably the most limited Gundam series of all. To date, there have been four of them. The first two, released a couple of years ago, represented GUNDAM WING, and featured the TALLGEESE III and the WING GUNDAM ZERO CUSTOM. The Tallgeese III is excellent. The Wing Gundam Zero Custom -- I dunno. I could never quite get my imagination around a giant robot with feathered wings.

The figures stand roughly 7-1/2 inches in height, distinctly taller than the popular standard action figures, which are 4-1/2 to 5" in height, and slightly taller than the 7" line of Gundam figures.

They're also a good bit more expensive, which probably kept the Gundam Wing assortment from selling all that well. However, the price has been lowered somewhat for the newest pair, and for those who like loads of articulation, detail, and plenty of accessories with their Gundam toys, they're superb.

The new two represent the original MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM series. First up is the RX-78-2 GUNDAM, probably the most basic Gundam of all. And, frankly, it looks it. It has the standard "primary colors color scheme, dominated by white, with blue, red, and yellow trim. The "Arch-Enemy" assortment has always had a certain amount of airbrushed "weathering" on it, but while I normally despise this practice, they don't go overboard on it here, and if anything, it makes the molded detailing stand out a bit better without making the Gundam look like it's been through too many battles without its 50,000 mile checkup. We're not talking anything on the order of that disreputable "Battle Scarred" series here.

For the accessories fanatic, the GUNDAM RX-78-2 is a dream come true. The figure comes with several spare hands, as well as a Hyper Bazooka, two Beam Sabers, two shields, a Beam Javelin, a Gundam Hammer, and a Beam Rifle. Additionally, the center of the Gundam splits open to reveal its Coreblock syste, which includes a detachable unit that transforms into an FF-X7 Core Fighter! Even better, most of the accessories are large enough so as to not be mistaken for vacuum cleaner bait.

Articulation in the figure, of course, is superb.

Next up we have the MS-14S GELGOOG, a somewhat larger unit used, albeit briefly, by Char Aznable, primary opponent of Gundam pilot Amuro Ray. As with the Gundam, the overall detail is excellent, and the minimal "weathering" paint only serves to enhange the overall detail.

The Gelgoog, despite its seeming bulk, is also very well articulated, even having a mid-torso articulation that it's smaller, standard figure counterpart, does not have. The Gelgoog is somewhat more limited accessory-wise than the Gundam, but it still comes with plenty of weaponry, including a Beam Rifle as well as an absolutely freaking huge Beam Bazooka, a twin Beam Sword, a flight backpack, and a large shield.

About the only complaint I have about the Gelgoog is that, on mine, at least, the jets that emerge from the lower torso and the lower legs of this figure are extremely loose, just sort of hanging there. They don't seem to be in any danger of detaching, but I wonder why they're so loose.

The GUNDAM is the more common of these two figures, and can be found in either a blue or newer red box. The GELGOOG is reportedly rather scarce. It's been most often reported at K-Mart, although I found mine at Target, and it seems to only be available in the newer style red box.

To the best of my knowledge, the Tallgeese III and Wing Gundam Zero Custom haven't been seen anywhere in a long time. I would, however, definitely recommend the Tallgeese III if you can still find it. It's still the most impressive of the entire lot.

This GUNDAM ARCH ENEMY COLLECTORS SERIES is no significant threat or competition to any of the standard Gundam figures or even the kits. It's really more of a nice side-line for those Gundam devotees who want something a little larger, more detailed, and perhaps better equipped than the standard figures. To what degree it may continue beyond these most recent offerings I do not know. The most recent Gundam concept, G-GUNDAM, has run its course with no sign of any Arch Enemy figures (although a lot of people think a Shining Gundam and Master Gundam in this line would be pretty cool), and the newest Gundam series, GUNDAM SEED, is just getting started.

However, if you've got the bucks for these, you won't be disappointed. They're superbly well made GUNDAM toys!