The Zeta Gundam is the third Universal Century Gundam Mobile suit and features in the titular show Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam the continuation of the original show, piloted by Kamille Bidan (and don't you dare tell him it's a girl's name).
This is the 2012 #10 Real Grade and closely mirrors the MG Zeta Gundam 2.0 in mechanics.
It is a true transforming kit and its only 'partsformation' part is the shield that attaches as a fighter jet nose.
This kit has a reputation of being a "hand grenade", which means that it drops parts and comes apart easily. While there are small parts that could be knocked loose, I can definitively say that it's not a true rumour, at least for the kit I've bought in 2023. The tolerances are great and nothing is wiggling around.
That being said, you can come across old RG kits and the RG#01 I have is an entirely different and somewhat negative experience. This kit is a vast improvement on that.
Real Grade means the model is designed to look like it would had it been made in reality. In practice it means more color variation/gradients and more panel lines and there's a lot of lines to fill in to add definition, especially to its last iteration the MG 2.0.
While the thighs are thinner, the overall height-to-width proportion is lower. The yellow collar is under the chest which looks a little odd, like a kids head poking over an armour breast plate.
The kit comes in your classic gundam colors (blue, red, yellow, white, grey) and some nuance variations in having a grey'ish white, lighter grey and black-brown, plus clear light blue for lenses.
Since it's an RG it comes with a sticker decal sheet with clear and foil stickers. As usual, getting witerslides is better, especially for dark and blue plastic.
Due to the saturation of the blue, which isn't well shown on the pictures, it's a kit that would benefit visually from a matte coat, although that might seriously hamper its transformation.
There's an elephant in the room and its name is the MS Advanced Joint system, which is a pre-mold technology that Bandai has reluctantly moved away from almost entirely and stubbornly kept for some movable parts in all newer RG kits.
The problem here is that there's a ton of these joints in this kit and that guarantees a future where it doesn't hold its own weight any more.
The mechanics of this kit are 75% transformation and 25% articulation. That means that in order to enable its transformation, the limb posability is secondary.
Posability in itself is... okay. The 2005 MG 2.0 struggles due to its weight while the RG can actually stand in a somewhat natural pose without leaning forwards and without falling backwards. There's plenty of range on the limbs and the feet are quite good, but it's also not great.
The 'advanced joints' don't feel good to pose in the hip area and there's an early period where they're stiff, then just right and then too loose, so you already don't want to pose this very much.
The skirts are very posable and lend themselves well to 'knee up' poses.
There's a ton of little parts that move, which is nice.
The main event of this kit is the transformation and... I haven't done it, because for one I've already done the MG 2.0 and second I don't want to pose it as a jet fighter, I actually like the way it looks just fine in its mobile suit mode. If I ever want to transform it, I'd actually buy another one to place it next to this one.
I have no doubt that this transformation is just fine, that you have to wiggle limbs a bit to do it properly and that it probably holds together just fine.
Check out Dalong for pictures of the process.
1 Beam Rifle that extends and folds in order to equip on the jet nose
1 Nose Cone Shield that extends and has an attachable missile pod
2 tiny Beam Saber Handles stored in the side skirts and 4 beam effect parts, 2 long and 2 short which also fit in the beam rifle barrel
2 Grenade Packs that are attachable to the forearms, though it takes up a shield slot it you use both
6 Hands - 1 Holding Hand, 1 spread open 'slapping' hand (for 'correcting' insubordination), 2 fists and 2 RG pre-molded hands
It's an early Real Grade and an ambitious one at that.
The problem is that I'm experienced enough with these kits to know that I don't want to do the main feature which is its transformation and that's a little sad. You can totally do it and probably do it half a dozen times before you feel a difference, but I'd rather not.
For transforming, get the newly released Ver.Ka instead or if you like the 2.0 proportions better then that one's perfectly fine despite being older, it's much sturdier!
As for its infamous reputation, this kit is just fine. All old RG's suffer from the advanced joint system and this one happens to be a little more involved, so you need to be a little more precious with it.