First released in 2007, the Master Grade Unicorn has been re-released several times over each time with minor revisions and enhancements. The first re-release featured was the Titanium Version in 2009, then the OAV Version in 2010 with improved articulation and the added MS cage, followed swiftly by the Full Armor Unicorn in 2011. With the release of Gundam Unicorn Episode 5, this kit is re-released yet again as the Unicorn 02 code name “Banshee”.
While nearly identical to the base Unicorn kit released in 2007, the Banshee does contain a few new elements:
Molded in Dark Blue
Transparent Yellow-orange Psycho Frame
Right arm mounted Beam Cannon
Left arm mounted Claw
First and foremost, it should be noted that the Banshee is a transforming suit, as such, some concessions had to be made during the engineering of the kit – the first of which was the articulation. One should also take notice that the base kit is 5 years old, thus in regards to articulation does not quite stand up to more recent master grade kits – such as the Heavyarms or Duel Gundam.
The shoulder joints of the Banshee can swing slightly forward perhaps only 3-4 degrees possibly to aid the First Unicorn kit to perform a 2 handed beam rifle holding pose. The elbows have a single jointed configuration that allows the arm to bend at roughly 90 degrees. The head and neck are mounted on a ball joint and can freely rotate. The Banshee features a double jointed wrist that sports both a ball joint to mount the arm as well as a hinge which mounts to the palm. Furthermore, the Banshee features an articulated trigger finger and thumb which mount to the palm via ball joint. The Unicorn can rotate at the waist, but is not able to perform a stomach crunch due to the transformation mechanism. The unicorn features hinge joint at the legs that allow the legs to be spread and rotated with relative ease – which comes in very handy when attempting to balance this beast. The biggest drawback in terms of articulation on the Unicorn is the articulation of the legs. Simply put, it is extremely limited. The Banshee’s knees feature a single jointed configuration, however due to the armor pieces of the back legs, the knees are unable to bend to a full 90 degrees.
The ankles of the unicorn are constructed in a double hinge configuration which is designed to aid the transformation between the Unicorn and Destroy mode. It should be noted however that because of the configuration of the armor panels on the feet and ankles of the kit, the feet cannot rotate or bend while in Unicorn mode. This problem however is not present in the Destroy Mode configuration.
It’s striking color scheme aside, the most prominent distinguishing feature of the Banshee is its armament package. Like the unicorn, it features 2 beam sabers on its backpack and one on each forearm. However, unlike its predecessor, the Banshee features a massive beam cannon built into its right forearm and a claw like weapon built into its left forearm. When not in use, the beam cannon can fold backwards on the Banshee’s forearm revealing its hand and more importantly enabling it to handle its beam saber. The large claw on the left arm can also be displayed in a closed formation in which the claws fold in on themselves giving the appearance of a large boxing glove. In either configuration, the left hand is enclosed by the claw, thus not really having much use. It should be noted however that there are additional parts that come with this kit that enable one to build the Banshee with out having the weapons built over the arms. Furthermore, all the parts needed to build the unicorn’s shield are included with the kit as extra parts, thus it will take some figuring out if you wish to build the shield. There are however hi res scans of the first unicorn kit’s manual to be used as reference in this task. While the beam sabrs on the forearms are attached to racks on the arms that allow them to swivel forward, the weapons on both arms block the hinge mechanism rendering them not particularly effective. Also included with this kit are 2 clear pink beam blades for the sabers.
Color separation on this kit is phenomenal. Even the small vents on the legs that previously had to be painted in the HG version are cast as separate pieces thus negating the need for masking. The only part that actually requires paint work or decals for that matter are the front of the V-fin which needs to be painted black. Even the yellow highlights on the beam cannon and claws are cast in separate colors thus resulting in an astounding kit. It should be noted however that being primarily dark blue, this kit should be constructed with care so as not to leave obvious cut marks when the pieces are cut from the trees. I highly suggest a BRAND NEW X-acto blade or craft knife be used when trimming the flash off the parts. Be forewarned however, that the small vent parts in the legs are tiny can be lost easily if not careful.
One of the highlights of the MG Unicorn is its transformation mechanisms. Sliding mechanisms throughout the kit enable the user to transform the kit between Unicorn more and destroy mode. Though, sadly, articulation and stability had to be sacrificed to achieve this feat of engineering. It is not recommended that this kit be transformed often as it will cause the joints to stress and maybe even break. Perhaps purchase two of these kits? Furthermore, some parts are prone to falling off, such as the ankle guards pieces. In regards to spare parts, the original collar and breast plate of the First unicorn are included in this kit. Thus, if you wish to build your Banshee to more closely resemble its Novel counterpart as opposed to the OVA, that option is available to the user. Lastly, for t hose that do not wish to transform their Banshee, the kit does included fixed V-fins for the unicorn or destroy mode.