Bandai introduced a new Gunpla category at the Shizuoka Hobby Show 2014, dubbed Reborn/One Hundred or simple RE/100. It is a new line of Gundam model kits on the 1/100 scale with detailing and complexity comparable to the more recent High Grade releases.
For those of you who are not collectors of Gundam model kits, there are many different categories or “grades” available. The four main grades are the High Grade in 1/144 scale (also the oldest); the Real Grade, also in 1/144 scale; the Master Grade in 1/100 scale; and the Perfect Grade, which is in 1/60. They also differ in terms of complexity of construction and level of detail.
The High Grade is your basic collector kit, with the most simple form of construction. Newer HG releases have excellent details, but their main draw is their collectability (they have the most number of kits in any scale), and price. The Real Grade is a relatively new line and their draw is being highly detailed kits with an inner frame comparable to the Master Grade but in the 1/144 scale. The Master Grade is a popular line that offers high detail and realistic inner-frame. They also feature such things as a cockpit, a pilot seat, and a small pilot figure. The Perfect Grade is said to be the ultimate in Gunpla, with the most details, having up to 100 or more parts for just one leg. It has the most gimmicks, and their construction is most complex.
The RE/100 line is not the first non-Master Grade kit made in 1/100 scale. Before it were the “No Grades” which usually accompany a series like SEED, SEED Destiny, and 00. The NG are little more than 1/100 versions of the HG and can be unstable at times (as I experienced with my Strike Freedom 1/100 NG). The RE/100 line promises a much more stable construction – as the below screenshots may show – as well as an opportunity to release designs that would otherwise be difficult or impractical to make in the Master Grade.
Making and selling model kits isn’t as simple as most Gundam fans would think. A design would have to go through development teams to provide line-arts, proto-types, costing, and other financial related stuff. How they choose their next project is most likely a closely-guarded secret, although I would probably like to think that fan opinions, rants, and comments especially in websites like Gundam Guy are not part of the equation. Many fans love to ask for things without care for the process of making it. It’s not as if Bandai doesn’t want to release those requested designs in the first place, it’s just that making them would be too costly, and selling them would be too risky.
With the RE/100, Bandai is trying to work a compromise wherein models that where either too big (the Nightingale), too costly (both the Nightingale and the Gerbera), or too obscure (Gundam Mark III), to be released in MG form, will at least be released in 1/100 scale with details and technology at least two steps ahead of the HG. It might not be the type that many fans wanted, but it at least allows the kit itself to be more affordable than it would have been had it been released in MG.
If there is one common denominator among the three announced kits for this line, it’s that all of them are Mobile Suit Variations. Mark III was never featured in an anime, the Gerbera was featured in a side story, and the Nightingale took the place of the Sazabi in the novelization of Char’s Counterattack. Does this mean that this line will also feature variations of mobile suits or designs that for some reason or another, didn’t make it of off the development table? Honestly, I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that the choice of these three kits to kick-start a line is highly unusual (Bandai has the tendency to use the RX 78-2 Gundam to start a new line), and it raises the hopes that some designs may see the light of the day. Like failed Gundam prototypes, obscure Zeon grunt suits, and a certain large Neo-Zeon mobile suit.
What does this mean for your average fan? Not much, I’m afraid. Certain designs will be made, with details that are only slightly better than a High Grade’s, and basically that’s it. But for modellers, those who love to customize kits, the possibilities are endless. Because the kit itself is expected to only have basic connectors, you can use the body to make your own custom cockpit, or maybe even use parts from the RE/100 on Master Grade models (like the old NG 1/100 used to do).
Like it or not, the RE/100 is a very solid line that you have to give some chance to. Sure, you might feel that the Nightingale “deserves” a special Master Grade version, but this line, with its low cost offering, and improved connectors and parts, you might just fall in love with it.
Credits to Gundam Guy and Hobby Search for the pictures.