Bandai's Bardiel-13th Angel
by Jason Gillard
This is a kit I have awaited for release for some time, as it is my favourite Angel model from the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series. In the story as the Evas of NERV (the good guys) awaited a long overdue re-enforcement Mecha to aid in their struggle to save Earth from the Angel Invasion, the new Eva-03, is subsequently possessed by an Angel, thus becoming an Angel itself, running amok and causing great damage before finally being overcome by it's former team-mates.
The Kit itself is of the 'larger' category for Bandai (the new kits come in a large and small scale. That EXACT scale is, however, never stated on the boxes/instruction sheets). It is simply a joy to look upon what awaits the builder inside the box. Amongst the wrapping is 140 injected moulded parts (including two single piece models of characters from the TV show), which are wonderful in detail. Seam lines and flash are minimal, and the dry fit shows the parts join nicely. Minimal filling and maintenance work will still be required, although much less than most other Sci-Fi models of this size!
The instruction sheet is written in Japanese with English headings, as per Bandai's usual habit, so it is vital to be attentive to the exploded diagrams illustrating the progression of assembly, as this looks like quite a detailed and complex construction process due to the addition of several multi-part joint connections. The Color Guide is also a mystery to those not fluent in Japanese, but some wonderful Color photos provide suitable visual aids (as well as the box art).
A small decal sheet is provided for those who do not wish to paint the white parts of the model (I personally do as I feel it will add to a more authentic finish).
The greatest strength of this kit is the multiple options available for the modeller to chose a suitable pose for Bardiel. Viewers of the series would no doubt remember the unnaturally elongated arms of Bardeil once the Eva was possessed, and of the eerie crouching stance it assumed during combat. Different sized variants of arms and multiple sets of fists in varying poses enable all of these looks to be easily achieved if desired, and action scenes from the Eva vs Eva battles could be effectively recreated without much effort if one had both models concerned and the will to do it (an idea I may explore myself !).
An extra touch is the ejected Pilot plug component covered in slime, preventing full clearance from the Angel as per events in the TV show. It is a little too thick in the moulding but essentially for an out of the box build it would suffice.
With the recent wave of Bandai Neon Genesis Evangelion kits has come a new hope for Science Fiction Modellers. Starting most notably with the Star Wars Episode I models from a couple of years ago, Sci-Fi models seem to be undergoing a pleasant trend of increased subject accuracy and attention to quality (unlike in past times where it really was a case of 'anything goes' as far as consistent scale, panel lines and precision were concerned). The 13th Angel is certainly in a high-quality category and will make a fantastic representation of the subject concerned for Evangelion nutcases such as myself. Its only drawback is the price - at $80 Australian ($40 US) it is an expensive luxury, but in my option, well worth it considering the care and skill gone into the planning and moulding. The masters from Bandai have done it again - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!