Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamThe crowning glory of the Victory toyline, the 1/48 scale Victory Gundam was the only figure from the range to attempt the anime mecha's complex combination system, and the largest 'complete' Gundam toy made up to that point - I can't think of too many larger since either (Fix Figuration Psyco Gundam, maybe?), let alone in a comparable scale.

Standing at a whopping 13" (which is roughly 1/48 scale) and coming in a box big enough to house a small child, the figure sure is impressive. Like all the Victory packaging it has that early-1990s tackiness to it, but does have "Stand Up To The Victory!" written on it a few times, so I'll let it off.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamOne word really sums this figure up - absolutelybloodymassive. It's overwhelmingly big. At the same time, it weighs surprisingly little, being largely made up of hollow plastic. It's good quality stuff on the whole, though there are a few moulding issues - notably the moving sections under the knee, which refuse to stay anything approaching flush to the rest of the legs. As with the 1/72 Hexa and other Victory figures a number of the accessories and exterior parts have to be removed from plastic trees and clipped together for the final look.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamThe design of the Victory Gundam isn't a great personal favourite of mine, being a variation on the original Gundam. This at least means that while it's not anything groundbreaking it has a good, solid base for a solid dynamic robot. However, even at this size making the forearm storage particularly subtle was beyond Bandai at the time and the red mounts for the Beam Shield, together with their hollow housings, are all too obvious in most poses, which is a big shame.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamDetail work is surprisingly sparse - though in the thing's defence it does come with a sheet of stickers I've not yet applied. But there's little engraved work on it, leaving long expanses of white plastic (especially on the legs) and making the screw holes look huge by comparison. Still, the head cast is very good, while there are some other neat features - the fully moving booster array on the back being nicely done. There's no electronics, though - presumably the space is taken up by the combination mechanics.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamThe articulation is a mixed bag. The head can turn, the arms move at the shoulder, elbow and wrist, the hands have individual moving fingers, the front panels of the skirt can move in line with the hips, the knees can bend and even the feet can move a little. However, its' legs can't hold a huge number of poses, partly due to the legs clipping together at the groin under the skirt. This isn't a particularly solid connection, meaning every now and then the robot will just slump by five degrees. Nevertheless the Victory can manage a few basic poses, just nothing that'll impress anyone used to newer figures.

Accessories-wise, the toy comes with a Beam Rifle (itself over 7" long) which, like that featured on the Hexa, twists behind the trigger to allow it to be placed in the fists with greater ease (and less stress on the plastic), a Beam Saber and Beam Shield. The Beam Shield again mounts on either of the flip-around posts under the wrists, while the Beam Saber can be placed in either hand ('gripped' would be an exaggeration). I've not seen enough of the anime to see whether it's inaccurate, but toy-wise this monster is missing a couple of bits seen on the smaller Hexa - there's no large cannon weapon, or gun pods for the hips. The hips do have the mounts for the things, though. They're hardly essential parts, but it just seems a bit of a cut corner. The Victory also has the same post and mounts on the outside of the knee for the Beam Rifle.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory Gundam
Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory Gundam
Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory Gundam Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory Gundam

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamWhat the Victory can do that the smaller Hexa toy can't is separate into different modules. Now, in the cartoon there were three main parts - the Core Fighter (head and upper torso), Top Fighter (arms and lower torso) and Bottom Fighter (hips and legs). The toy doesn't quite manage this. What the box refers to as the Top Fighter is really the combination of the cartoon's Core Fighter and Top Fighter, but is quite neatly worked. The way the nosecone and cockpit flip out of the chest is neat, as are the folding chest pieces underneath. However, what lets it down is a lack of balance, tipping the thing forward on a flat surface and making it a pain to display.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamThe figure does come with a plastic Core Fighter - in scale and non-transforming. This allows for a smoother profile and jettisons the anime inaccurate folded arms on the side, but at the same time it feels like a bit of a cheat - was it really so difficult to make the arms easily removable, as per the Hexa? I'd even settle for the Core Fighter wings being additional parts.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamAs well as acting as a model in its' own right, the Core Fighter can attach to the legs to form what the toy's packaging calls the Bottom Fighter. This is a little easier to balance, but it's such a shame the simple connection to the leg segment wouldn't be added to the transforming top section rather than the dummy - I can stand the occasional cheat piece for a combination, but half the toy really is a bit much.

Victory Gundam 1/48 Victory GundamThe Bottom Fighter as seen on screen can be created easily enough just by omitting the Core Fighter, and then it looks like a pair of legs with a few boosters and bits protruding from them. Despite this rather mixed set of modes, it must be said that combining everything to form the Victory Gundam is well-worked and very good fun, and maybe that's what counts - not many people will want to display the Bottom Fighter or whatever anyway, the modules are best for play and not for display.

Despite its' flaws, there's a lot to appreciate in the Victory Gundam. It's impressive to look at, and makes a great centrepiece for a Gundam collection (especially if you've the skill to round out the detail). There are a decent array of features, and the combination is nicely done. However, there's just a feeling that it's a bit of work away from being a truly excellent figure, suffering from problems which should really be sorted for something of this size and scope. It is more impressive than the smaller Hexa, just not by as much as it probably should be.