MSZ-006 Zeta GundamThe Gundam releases in the High Complete Model series initially got off to rather an obscure start, drawing on the designs featured in the Mobile Suit Variations book.

Variations was released to take advantage on the sizeable hardcore following built up by the Mobile Suit Gundam animation series. Published in three volumes, it recounted the mecha seen in the series (as well as extrapolated experimental variants) in much the same fashion as military hardware almanacs, such as the Jane's Fighting Ships annuals. The text ranged from detailing precisely which model of Zaku was used at which time to creating a whole background for Project V and devising non-show characters such as Johnny Ridden.

Bizarrely, the big hitting mecha of Mobile Suit Gundam like the Gundam itself, the regular Zaku, Char's custom Zaku or the Guncannon were ignored (well, some were initially planned, but dropped) in favour of designs featured in MSV. One of these was the Gelgoog Cannon - based on a limited-run version of the Gelgoog mobile suit, in this case customised in the colours of one Thomas Kurtz.

High Complete Model MS-14C Gelgoog CannonThe Gelgoog is a spectacularly ugly robot. I'm not mad on the Zeon mono-eye design ethos as it is (though the Zaku has a certain amount of style), but this one really is repulsive. The head reminds me of that bit in Beetlejuice where the dead couple are distorting their faces to make them look more ghoulish, while the chest is lost between the massive waist skirt and the upper torso armour.

High Complete Model MS-14C Gelgoog CannonInto this you have to factor this being in the Kurtz colours - in Char's scheme or even maybe the default Zeon one, it might have been bearable, but the addition of tan to the green really doesn't help. The very layout of the robot only highlights the scheme's failings - it looks like a tan endoskeleton with random pieces of armour plating over it. This very well may be the case, but it looks rubbish (plus they've very carefully left the bulk of the limbs and the head unarmoured if this is the intent).

High Complete Model MS-14C Gelgoog CannonArticulation is rather disappointing to boot. The legs are about standard for the line, though the big curved feet and heel armour means balance is a bit harder to achieve. The head can turn and tilt a little. However, the arms are disappointing - the decent shoulder joints are very inhibited by the preposterous spiked shoulder-pad armour, while the elbows can turn, but only bend to a small degree.

High Complete Model MS-14C Gelgoog CannonDetailing is largely left to the sticker sheet, and while the arm flashes look smart, the rest of it does little to break up the dark green/tan expanses. On the whole, the figure is sturdy - however, the hands (as well as the Beam Rifle and Beam Cannon) are made of a dark silver plastic that seems to be a lot more brittle than the compounds used elsewhere - I'd go gentle when switching what the figure is holding.

The backpack is the 'variation' part, and has a moveable Beam Cannon built in. This has a fairly limited arc - it can't even rest flat on the shoulder as the Gelgoog's ugly, misshapen helmet gets in the way. The moveable boosters on the back are a nice little touch, though, even if they'd completely fry the sword that's cleverly stored underneath them. That's a lot of logic failure on one toy...

The Gelgoog Cannon does come with a few other weapons. Firstly, there's the Beam Rifle, as seen in the second picture above. The arm articulation means it generally has to be waved in one hand with no support...

High Complete Model MS-14C Gelgoog CannonThen there's the twin-bladed Beam Sword. This is present in two ways - as a deactivated hilt that can clip to a removable mount on the Gelgoog's bum, or a full 'ignited' version. That the Beam Sword has a more conventional curved blade compared to Federation Beam Sabers helps (considering like most HCM energy weapons, it's a single piece of unpainted plastic), but the biggest problem is, again, the narrow range of the arms, which make it very difficult to get the robot to grasp it in both hands.High Complete Model MS-14C Gelgoog Cannon

The final accessory is a battery of wrist-mounted grenade launchers. These come at the expense of the wrist boosters, but then at least the dark silver serves to break up the colour scheme a bit more. It's easy enough to fit, with a plate of the same colour going on the other wrist for a bit of balance, but it's hardly enough to save the figure from its' myriad other failings.

The Gelgoog is an all-round disappointment. The basic look of the suit is ugly, which is exacerbated by the colour scheme, and to top it all off it isn't a particularly well-designed figure. The features and articulation are mediocre and often badly thought out, and the thing's basically no fun. A very poor figure - those that obsessed with such an obscure variant will probably find model kits that are more suitable. There's nothing here for anyone just after a decent toy robot.