The RX-78-2, the original "Gundam", is where it all started and this was another new beginning for the franchise.
This kit was designed for the 30th anniversary of Gundam to launch a new and ambitious line of products from the best model kit maker on the planet, to take the experience a step further.
What they ended up releasing was a stunning looking kit with impressive detail even for a Master Grade kit, in a 1/144th scale, but it comes with its own share of problems.
When Bandai decided to create the line, the focus was to be on a pre-assembled inner frame that could be cut off the runner and already have a range of motion, which is hard to overstate just how impressive that technology is and is absolutely fascinating to read about. However, it has its issues, one of which is that these limbs lose their stiffness over time and any arm extended out will inevitably droop and be unable to hold a weapon, a hard truth for a model kit and there is no remedy to fix these parts, beyond gluing the model in place.
For this kit, it is especially true as it is the first of its kind and even built out of the box there is a palpable difference between kits, even others that use the same technology and the joints are immediately much weaker on this kit.
Something else is that Bandai introduced much tighter tolerances with this line, that no High Grade or even Master Grade could match, with hundreds of tiny pieces covering the inner frame to build up an absolutely stunning and highly detailed exterior with color separation everywhere in several tones of the same colors.
I have collected quite a few RG kits and I have yet to build one that has had as much emphasis on separated panels, but the end result is overdesigned, finicky to work with due to the tiny parts and while the tolerances are comparatively amazing to anything else, they are not perfect on this kit and it suffers for it. If you knock this kit over, something will fall off and more often than not it will be several pieces, especially around the shoulders, its thrusters and whatever it's holding in its hands. The entire arm came off at one point, despite not even being hit hard. I am experienced with over 20 years of building models, on and off, and this one still gave me some headaches.
The hands on this kit are articulated, but that means they are weak and can only hold on to things via the tab on the handle of the rifle or bazooka. Similarly the shield is attached to its forearm, as with many other kits, and the fit is so shallow that it holds it worse than the majority of HG kits.
Impressively they recreated the 'Core Fighter' which actually slots into the middle of this kit and holds the torso and legs together, however I strongly advise not to do this, as you have a separate option of a "fake" core fighter that can take its place, which will severely weaken the build further. Instead you can have both displayed, which Bandai planned for with that fake core.
The kit includes a colossal decal sticker sheets, almost all of which are optional. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully as a lot of these are to be placed internally (they show through), so you place them as you build it.
Why the low rating? Is it a bad kit?
It's reflective of what Bandai makes now, not what the kit was when it was made. You can't hold this up against newer RG kits like the Wing Gundam, Nu Gundam, Sazabi, Force Impulse and many other RG kits, as those are much more stable and more appropriately designed.
It's not a bad kit for its time, but today this is a nuisance to work with, especially if you're new to the hobby.
However, When I look at this kit, I am extremely impressed with what they managed in 2010 and how ambitious they were. It looks utterly amazing, not just by the standard then, but today!
If it is appreciated for what it is, the first version of a new line, the first version where they tried multiple new features and processes and with the scope and ambition in mind when they designed this, then you are gifted with a beautiful kit that will make you smile despite its flaws whenever you look at it. Just don't touch it after you're done and lock that sucker behind glass.
RG has since this kit become, in my eyes, the best line that Bandai makes. Perfect Grades are special in their own right and the scale of Master Grade kit allows for mechanics that are hard to replicate on a smaller scale, but Real Grade has come so far along that the newest kits are near perfect. Bandai has mastered their trade and some of the best kits of all times are found here. Just maybe start with a different kit first.