RGM-79 GMAppearing later in the original cartoon series, the RGM-79 GM (pronounced 'Jim') was a simplified, mass-production version of the RX-78 Gundam.

As such, it's probably more groundbreaking than anything else featured in the first Gundam series. The Gundam, Guncannon and Guntank might have had more mundane origins than many of their predecessors and a more realistic setting, but they were effectively still Super Robots (well, maybe not the Guntank, which was rubbish if lovable for precisely that reason) even after Tomino edited a lot of the wackier stuff out of the theatre version of Mobile Suit Gundam. The GM was the first 'good guy' one to be genuinely mass-produced (the baddies had always had mass-produced stuff, ruling out the Zakus seen earlier in the series).

Of course, it was also the first one to get utterly pasted. The GM isn't actually in Mobile Suit Gundam that much, and whenever an example does go anywhere near the White Base, the main cast's incredible character armour sees that they're swiftly destroyed so we can get more great characterisation for Kai and Hayato. Marvellous.

As such, it's a bit of a surprise that the Jim got the nod for the Chogokin 20th Anniversary Kadoh Senshi Gundam range over the Guncannon, or something else that was actually good. The type did get a redesigned workout in 10th anniversary anime Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 - War in the Pocket and OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 - Stardust Memory, but it's still hard to imagine the original version being all that popular. Not that I'm complaining, mind you - it means a GM in 1/144 scale with diecast parts.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMFittingly, the GM actually seems to reuse a lot of the parts from the Gundam figure. The arms, thighs, feet and ankles look to be the same parts, while the chest and shins seem to be minor retools. Actually, this might have been a serious factor in the GM being chosen for the range, as really only the head and some of the accessories would need to be made from scratch for the figure.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMThe GM is bluer than I was expecting. I always thought the secondary colour was white, and the pictures on the box lean in this direction. It doesn't seem to be discolouration either. Weird. After the initial confusion at this development, it doesn't look so bad actually, and makes it stand out a bit from the Gundam. What new casting there is does the job too - thankfully the original rounded head is reproduced rather than one of the more busy retconned designs (as used for the Fix Figuration figure, among others).

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMArticulation is identical to the Gundam, which means it's very good. Indeed, it might just be the two examples I have, but it seems even better on the GM due to slightly revised hip joints and rib sections - these are slightly more restrictive, but just that little bit tighter and thus make for more stable posing.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMThe same clever joints are used on the elbows and calves too, giving the figure an excellent range. The GM also comes with the same four pairs of interchangeable PVC hands, which go a long way towards making the poses more natural.

Model kit enthusiasts would probably cite the lack of detail as a problem. However, the basics are all there and the smooth, clear expanses give the figure a nice retro feel in keeping with the design itself. The GM is perhaps a little on the dull side, but then that's it's job, really, and it certainly gets across the feeling of being an unloved grunt unit. You really can't blame Bandai for sticking to the original concept of the type, after all.

Like the other Kado Senshi Gundams the GM does come with a range of accessories. Again, most of these are identical to those packed with the Gundam.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMFirstly there's just a single Beam Saber. This follows the same design as that on the Gundam - the removable hilt fits into the Jim's backpack while a clear plastic 'blade' can be added if it's drawn. In a neat touch, the figure actually has the articulation to reach back and lay a hand on the hilt. The Gundam Shield is another reused part from the Gundam, albeit now with aqua instead of white plastic. It can be held in either a partly-open fist, attached to the back or to points on the underside of the elbow. The excellent articulation means the latter isn't a problem and it can be moved into a number of good poses.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMThirdly there's the Hyper Bazooka, again as seen on the Gundam. The GM's larger head means it doesn't rest on the figure's shoulders quite as well as it did first time around which is a shame, but aside from that it's generally well done.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMThe only new accessory for the figure is Beam Spray Gun - essentially a weaker, less spectacular version of the Beam Rifle. This is accurate and can be grasped by either of the partly-open fists but doesn't really do much else.

Chogokin GD-28 RGM-79 GMWhile the Gundam included a figurine of Amuro Ray and the 'Red Comet' Zaku II included a figurine of Char Aznable, no-one remotely interesting from the original series even touched a GM. So instead there's a plastic model of the Fan Fan, presumably to scale. This was - if I remember correctly - the thing Lieutenant Woody was flying in the caves of Jaburo when he was killed for not being central cast. It's not a particularly great design but is at least well-made, with rotating blades, some nice detail and a little display stand.

The GM is difficult to rate. It doesn't actually do a lot wrong, being very well crafted, having a decent range of accessories and a wide array of poses. It's just a case of life imitating art I suppose - in the cartoon, the GM was devised as a no-frills version of the Gundam and thus what we're left with here is a no-frills version of the GD-16 figure. The GM lacks the same impact and it's probably fair to say is only really necessary for Gundam fans who want a GM alongside the Gundam itself. More casual buyers are advised to go for the RX-78 option if in an 'either/or' situation - especially as the Jim is harder to find now.