Starting in October of 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai was hosted by Dubai of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and "Gundam" was appointed as the ambassador for the Japan Pavilion. Designed by mechanical designer Kunio Okawara, the anime industry's first credited mechanical designer, the Japan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Ambassador Gundam is now available as a HG Gundam model kit.
The new design has been integrated into a 1/144 High Grade Gunpla utilizing a brand-new mold and it comes in a limited full-color package with a leaflet containing a special interview with Kunio Okawara himself.
Unlike the original RX-78-2 Gundam in Mobile Suit Gundam, which features the classic red, blue and yellow color scheme, the Expo 2020 Dubai Japan Pavilion PR Ambassador Gundam features a bold red, white and yellow color scheme. The base color palette took inspiration from the Flag of Japan, which features a red circle over a white background. This version of the RX-78-2 also has the Japanese Kanji for "Japan" (日本) boldly displayed on its shield, as well as a few other stylistic differences from the original mech design.
For those new to Gunpla modeling, be sure to check out our beginner's guide to gundam modeling, where we talk more about how to build Gunpla along with all of the tools we personally use when building kits like this one. We also have a full list of all of the gundam model kits releasing in 2022 if you'd like to check that out as well!
That all being said, here's my full review of the Premium Bandai HG 1/144 RX-78-2 GUNDAM [PR ambassador of the Japan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai] kit!
Right out of the box the colors used on the Expo 2020 Dubai Gundam are striking and vibrant. Like most High Grade kits, this one makes use of stickers for some of the color separation on the feet, arms and legs.
Sometimes stickers can really stand out on a kit, but it looks like the stickers on this kit are applied strategically in areas where they provide more of an accent than anything else, which I'm a big fan of. I also really appreciate that Bandai included stickers with transparent backgrounds for markings on the shield and shoulders, because they have a more seamless and edgeless appearance.
Color and Design
As mentioned in the first impressions, the colors chosen for this kit are eye-catching. The red and white contrast each other nicely and the pops of yellow are in the same places they would appear on the original RX-78-2. For a High Grade kit, the color separation is much better than I've experienced in the past. The waist piece in particular has a decent amount of small pieces to highlight the amount of detail present. The white in the knee piece is also a separate piece showing through the red, and not a sticker, which is nice to see.
The stickers actually add a lot to this kit also. My favorite sticker is the one placed on the kit's shield. It symbolizes the Japanese flag's red circle and has the kanji for Japan on it as well, which is a nice touch. Some of the stickers are also seen on the original RX-78-2, so in addition to celebrating Expo 2020 Dubai, it pays homage to the original as well.
In terms of color and design, the Expo 2020 Dubai RX-78-2 lends itself better to the High Grade format than most of the other RX-78-2 variants that I've seen. The choices made in color separation and the subtle yet bold details, which differentiate it from the original, make for a fun build that, once completed, looks incredible on display.
Being that the kit is a High Grade, there wasn't anything particularly difficult about the building process. That being said, and as someone who usually builds Master Grade and Perfect Grade kits, I think this kit is suitable for a beginner or a more experienced builder. It's a unique kit with a special meaning, and this makes it worth picking up, no matter what stage you are at in your Gunpla building journey.
The most difficult part of building this kit was the sticker application. Any time you are wrapping a sticker around a piece, especially a squared off piece, you have to get it placed exactly in the right spot or the corners won't line up correctly. I usually start applying these types of stickers at the first corner to avoid misalignment and this method worked well on this kit.
The sections where the stickers go on this kit are also right up against the edge of pieces or in a slight indentation in the molding, so you know exactly how the piece should line up. I didn't have too much trouble with the placement of any of the stickers. The one that was the most nerve-racking was the large "Gundam" sticker on the shield, only because it has such a presence on the shield of this kit. If it were off-center or crooked, it would be really noticeable, so take care when applying this one in particular.
This kit also looks great built directly out of the box. Most of the nubs are placed in areas that aren't visible once the kit is assembled, and since it is predominantly white, nub and stress marks aren't as noticeable anyways. The instructions are great, as always from Bandai, and there weren't any parts of the build where I felt unclear on how to assemble the pieces.
Being that most of the joints on this kit are connected via polycaps, the range of motion in the arms and legs is really impressive. Since the shoulder armor on the RX-78-2 isn't too bulky, the arms are able to be raised fully above the head. As far as the legs go, it can't do a full split, but the range of motion is still great for a High Grade kit.
The neck joint has decent range when looking up and down, and since it's connected with a polycap, it can turn a full 360 degrees. The waist has the least range of motion, but this doesn't restrict the kit all that much when posing. All-around I am impressed with the articulation of the HG RX-78-2 Gundam [PR ambassador of the Japan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai] kit.
The Expo 2020 Dubai RX-78-2 Gundam comes with a number of weapons and extras you would expect with the RX-78-2. You get two beam sabers, one beam rifle, one shield, which can be held or attached to the back of the kit, and 8 different swappable hands. This makes for a great variety of different display options, when it comes to posing the kit!
I was also excited to see the kit came with a special booklet containing an interview with the original mechanical designer for Gundam, Kunio Okawara. It was amazing reading about the design and the thought process behind this particular kit as well as the original RX-78-2 and more.
No matter how many RX-78-2 kits you've built at this point, event exclusive kits, like this one, are a unique addition to any collection. The Expo 2020 Dubai RX-78-2 stands out when displayed and it was an enjoyable build all-around.
The HG RX-78-2 Gundam [PR ambassador of the Japan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai] kit is up now on P-Bandai's website for $27 USD, so be sure to pick it up while you can! You can check out images of this kit and its different poses in the gallery below.
Where to Shop
HG RX-78-2 Gundam [PR ambassador of the Japan Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai] Gallery
All images in this post were taken by us, so you can see this Gundam kit, its weapons, and poses firsthand.
In other Gundam news, check out all of the new Gundam model kits releasing in 2022 so far!