I was being royal and waited for Bandai to announced MG Hazel Custom one day – hoping that it would be a standard release. I was being naive. Bandai broke my heart by announcing it as a P-Bandai release. Being upset, I pulled the trigger on this one – “MG” Hazel Custom by Magic Toy (MT).
You definition of “bootleg” may be different but to me, anything that is not a straight copy of Bandai’s kit is acceptable. This kit uses Bandai’s design, but it is an entirely new kit. The only thing that is being “copied” is the open hands; everything else is brand new.
Below are the runners; 18 in total.
Only one beam rifle runner (E) are shown in the manual, but two were included. Another interesting thing is to K runners (clear green) are included but only one is actually used…
One sheet of foil sticker and waterslide decals are included.
Mold quality is fantastic! Being a non-Bandai kit, this kit has a surprisingly nice, matte surface. There are several spots with sanding marks but it’s not bad at all. There are tons of details to break apart all the white.
Panel lines are crisp but wider than Bandai’s – very typical for non-Bandai kits.
Click on the pictures to enlarge
Build, Mold Quality & Details
The build is fair. As expected, there are some tight and loose pieces throughout the build; thankfully, fixing these fits are extremely simple. Too tight? Use a hobby knife to shave the polycap or the peg. Joint being too loose? Add a bit of glue and let it sit overnight before assemble it back.
This guy comes with a separated thumb and index, other fingers are fused together with each of its own ball joint. I went ahead and separate them which turned out to be a terrible idea because hand armors are very easy to fall off taking fingers along with it.
V-fin is molded very sharp. It’s great, but can be very fragile. Handle with care!
Included decals are fantastic! They are not as thin as Bandai’s, but not thick like some other third parties’. A single coat of matte will cover up edges making these decals as they are painted on. About half of these decals are placed based on the instruction, but the others are from my imagination. You still end up with a lot of extra decals though.
90% of armor pieces are under-gated! A lot of those regular ones are well hidden. If you really insist, the only spot I can clearly see nub marks are the elbows.
Couple flashes can be seen, but not bad at all. The plastic is soft enough so trimming them isn’t really a big deal.
Color separation is great! There are only few spots that do not have accurate colors; most are easy to paint. For example, the yellow “bars” on Hazel’s head come in all white. Base on the actual color scheme, finger tips and bolts on the shield booster are supposed to be red, but I prefer it this way so I leave those unpainted.
Articulations & Posing
I’m sad to say that the articulation of this kit isn’t as great it could have been.
Arms could bend 180 degrees, but an armor part on the forearm prevents them from doing so. Take some time to sand down the edge and you should be able to bend them with no problem.
Shoulders feature some side-to-side and up-down movement, but the shoulder armors prevent them from showing off their full potentials.
Waist could have rotated 360 if it wasn’t because of the back skirt armor. Rotating the waist beyond 5-10 degrees will send that piece flying.
The worst part is the leg-to-crotch connection which is a standard ball joints with no mechanism what so ever. This means Hazel can barely spread it legs; completely remove most of dynamic pose options.
The legs could only bend so far due to the MS’ design. Bandai’s HG has similar problem.
Other that what is highlighted, other points of articulations are the same to be expected from Bandai kits.
Posing the kit isn’t hard, but can be frustrated at some point. As mentioned, there are several loose pieces so it would be great to glue some of them in place before handling. It is also worth mentioning that there is no action base connection on this kit. What you need is the wide fork-type adapter (included with all Action Base 1). The kit just rests in it – not really a secure fit but you can always cut a small piece of sticky tape and stick to the tips of action base adapters.
Gimmicks & Accessories
MT’s Hazel Custom comes with two beam rifles, one standard shield and one shield booster. There are also two spare e-packs attached to the side skirts, but they cannot be attached to the beam rifles.
The shield booster can be attached to Hazel’s backpack or either of its arms.
Cockpit hatch can open, but there is no details nor pilot figure inside. It is also worth noting that the hatch does not really closed all the way but it doesn’t look terrible by any mean. If you are a perfectionist, some modding is suggested.
Thigh armors slide as you bend the knee. There are some inner frame details inside so painting could improve the look.
Bandai’s standard LED unit can be insert into Hazel’s torso which will shoot through the eyes and main camera (head).
For experienced builders, it is quite obvious that this kit does not have that “Bandai” look; the proportion is a bit off and design language is quite different. However, I have to give MT a clap for taking a step with this kit. Dealing with blocky designs is tricky as it can turned out way too thick or too skinny – in this case, slightly too thick.
Also, to be expected from all third party kits, there are several improper fits. You can live with those if you wish to but it will be so annoying when you try to pose the kit. With some minor modding/gluing, the kit will become more stable and a lot more fun to play with.
Despite all the cons I mentioned, Magic Toy’s Hazel Custom is, to me, placed among the best third party kits I have ever dealt with. There is very little to complain about, and many to be praised. If you want to wander into this realm, this might be one of the best entries.
- Small detailed painted
- Matte coated
- Panel lined
- Minor mods to improve articulations
Before purchasing third party/bootleg kits!!!
- These are unlicensed product which mean they are technically illegal and provides absolutely no return to Bandai & Sunrise – the developer of Gundam franchise.
- It is perfectly normal to run into improper fits on third party kits. Some basic modding skill is recommended before building one.
- Due to lower QC standard, it is possible to run into mold defects or evening missing runners entirely. Make sure to check fore defects before tear open plastic bags. Claiming these defected third party products can be tricky depends on where you get them.
With all being said, I do not support illegal products, but I sure wish Bandai has some competitors, therefore, I only wish to support products that aren’t straight copy of existing Bandai kits in term of the build.