Bandai's Eva-00 Prototype
by Jason Gillard
In recent times, the popularity of the TV show 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' has spawned a new wave of kits fresh to the Western Sci-Fi modelling market from Japan, covering both a great range of subjects on the Eva's (Good Guys) and Angels (Bad Guys) in superbly detailed kits from Bandai. In the last couple of months, Bandai has re-issued forth more kits in the above theme, this time in a smaller (and some would argue more collectable) scale. One of these kits I have chosen for this particular review is the Eva-00 Prototype, the first workable Eva created by the NERV organisation in the TV series.
The kits in this smaller scale than the previous releases, almost exactly half the height of Bandai's large Evangelion Kits (no exact scale is mentioned on the box or instructions, so I would be hesitant to guess at the exact numbers) and comes as such in a nice thin compact box. The Eva is split over two injection-moulded sprues and would make a very simple construction job - the kit consisting a grand total of 17 parts (three of these weapons) plus a decal sheet. The detail of these parts is quite good, with minimal to no flash, although it has prominent seam lines on most parts to clean up. A dry fit of the kit shows that it will assemble well enough, but unlike its larger cousins, small to medium sized gaps will need to filled over the entire model volume where the parts meet - not quite snap-tight I'm afraid, although not a problem for 99% of modellers.
The one thing I don't like about these smaller variants by Bandai is the lack of options - the larger EVAs have, for example, several alternative sets of hands in varied positions (eg open handed, grasping, close fisted) for different modelling poses. Unfortunately, a limitation if the smaller kits is that you get what you get, and not much more! EVA-00 has a rather lame open-handed pose, and although the main body/legs can be manipulated into more exciting positions, the hands severely detract from the overall look of the finished model, which is unfortunate, as the remainder of the model is nice. With some neat hand conversion/scratchbuilding for the ambitious among us, it would be dramatically improved. The real question is would it have killed Bandai to throw in some better hands to save us all this trouble?
The instruction sheet are typical of all the Bandai kits I have seen in this range (and I have quite a few!). All the written information is in Japanese, so you will have to look carefully at the exploded step-by-step diagrams for assembly details. The color guide is also in Japanese, but this is no obstacle as both schemes EVA-00 was painted in (blue/white and orange/white) are detailed in color diagrams on the back of the sheet. The decals seem to be nicely done, and match the TV detail well.
Overall, you get what you pay for. These range of kits are smaller and less detailed than the superb full sized figure kits. However, they are less draining on the wallet ($40 Australian vs $80 Australian for the large kits), and would be easier to store long-term. If you are prepared to do a bit of work, the kit will reward you. Have fun!