Monday, June 4, 2012

Gundam Battle Scared: From Good to Bad

In 2003, Bandai began re-releasing older UC timeline figures into a new assortment, their Battle Scarred line. The line was pretty straightforward offering Gundams with high amounts of weathering and battle damaged parts. Unfortunately Bandai would carry the line till they quit selling Gundam in the US around 2006, and the quality that made the first Battle Scarred Gundams charming was lost early on.

As mentioned above, the original assortment contained only Universal Century mobile suits, and although I admit I have a preference for that timeline, it wasn’t what made these figures cool. These figures came with a lot of swappable parts, allowing you to decide the level of damage on the figure. The best example being the RX78-2 Gundam, where you could have its legs, arms and head blown off, or have Gundam only in a slightly weathered state. Although I’d consider that Gundam the best from the line, it’s contemporaries were mostly the same with the damaged parts.
What was fun was the added level of playability from this, but unfortunately this charming aspect was soon lost as the line went on. That’s not to say there weren’t good figures through the rest of the line’s duration, but that much the fun was gone from there. Soon they would add Endless Waltz and G Gundam into the mix, but the results were subpar at best.
Although I won’t take the time to go over every item the line would offer, Wing Zero Custom had a mound of plastic on one shoulder which killed any pose you could get with its twin buster riffle. It’s so bad it actually reduces the functionality of a balljoint to a swivel. Another terrible figure to come would be Bolt Gundam, which could have been decent had they chose to include a full arm. Instead, they sold an action figure with the left arm torn off, and rather than include a swappable arm, you got a display base instead. Ultimately you had a concept that could have made for fun and unique action figures, which would instead produce what were mere novelties.
Although the brunt of them died down, the Battle Scarred subline was one Bandai kept until the line died, and still had plans for more figures. A wave featuring the original Wing Gundams was planned, as well as a handful of Mobile Suits from the then new Gundam Seed. A few carded samples of the Astray Gundams would even make it into the hands of collectors, and a Zeus Gundam would even show up in sparse numbers at retail overseas. To say the line’s end was abrupt might be an understatement.
It’s a little baseless, but for me I can’t help but feel this was part of what killed the line. There came a point to where it was harder to find normal, newer Gundams for all the Battle Scarred ones. Many of the toys just didn’t move (especially Bolt Gundam), which almost makes me wonder if it might’ve been because people weren’t attracted to what seemed like beat up, old toys.


  1. Now these I remember, especially that one with only the one good arm (what the hell!). The detail here was great. Wing versions would've been a nice addition to either set though.
    I seem to recall the Gundam line going on for a while, and then suddenly it was over.

    1. Thanks X! The whole thing sort of abruptly fell apart at the end, mainly do to Gundam Seed underperforming on TV, Cartoon Network ditching it, and WalMart canning the line as well. It was my favorite toy line back then. :(