Monday, July 27, 2020

Building a RG Eva 01

“God's in his heaven. All's right with the world!”

Over the last few months, I have started to build various Bandai Gundam kits. Not needing to paint the models and their impressive level of articulation makes them a nice change of pace from Games Workshop models. Although I have always loved Gundam, particularly the Universal Century, due to its exploration of how war affects people, my favorite animated series growing up was Neon Genesis Evangelion. While the series has its share of mecha battles, its look at depression and mental illness is was what gave it its most lasting impact. Therefore, I was excited to see that Bandai started to make Real Grade versions of the different Evangelion Units, the first of which being Shinji Ikari’s Eva 01. Having assembled two RG models so far, a Zaku II and Char’s Sazabi, I decided it would be fun to see how the Eva Units compared, and got Eva 01.

The RG Eva 01 in all of its glory!

When I started assembling the Eva, I was unsure whether I wanted to paint the model, but after assembling the torso, I was incredibly impressed by the color separation, with it rivaling the other two RG models I built earlier. This convinced me to forgo painting the model. This notion only increased as I continued to assemble the model, particularly its head. Eva 01 has an iconic purple horn with two green stripes. This piece was made by dual injecting both purple and green plastic, so that the single piece was color accurate. The model’s eyes are also impressive. Rather than using a sticker to achieve their lightning bolt appearance, they created this by injecting white plastic into a piece of grey plastic, adding additional color separation between it and the purple armor plating. The entire model is characterized by smart design choices that allow superb color separation with an impressive level of articulation. As you move the arms and legs, different armor plates shift with them, the back opens allowing you to remove the pilot’s entry plug, and the arm fins open to reveal stored progressive knives. In addition to coming with a pallet rifle and a set of progressive knives, the model includes an impressive 7 pairs of different hands

Eva 01 comes with a runner that injected multiple colored plastic into each piece, removing the need for paint or decals to achieve the color separation.

Eva 01 with one of the included progressive knives.

Eva 01 with its pallet rifle.

Although I chose not to paint the model, I decided to experiment with waterslide decals, due to the huge amount of lettering and other symbols on the model. The kit came with a vast array of stickers, which while very detailed, looked like they would be difficult to attach convincingly, due to the many organic lines on the Eva. I found a set of waterslide decals for Eva 01 from SIMP models for less than $10. It had been many years since I had used waterslide decals, so I was a little apprehensive about the process. Having watched many scale model Youtube videos over the years, I decided I should use a decal solution to aid in the process, something that softens the decal and allows them to better conform with the model. I heard good things about Tamiya’s Mark Fit solution, and decided to give it a try. I added the decals directly to the bare plastic, applying a small amount of the Mark Fit solution to where I wanted to place the decal. Then I cut out the decal and soaked it in water for 5-10 seconds, before pushing the precut decal onto the model with a silicone color shaper. I then used the color shaper to do any fine adjustment of the decal’s position, before using a cotton swab to wick away the excess solution. After allowing this to dry for a few minutes, I did a few light coats of Mark Fit, allowing it to dry each time, doing more coats to areas that had panel lines or additional details that I wanted the decals to conform to. Tamiya makes a more aggressive decal solution, Mark Fit Strong, that I believe would have been superior in a few areas, particularly the arm fins. These fins had a large decal that covered a series of panel lines. I needed to apply a large number of coats of Mark Fit to get the decals to sink into the panel lines, something that would have been reduced had I used the Strong variant. Overall, the process was quite straightforward, and not overly difficult. Adding some of the smaller decals was a little stressful, but if I was ever unhappy with a decal position, applying more water allowed them to detach and permitted me to reposition them. The process is quite time consuming if you have a lot of decals to attach, with the Eva taking a few hours (and there are still a few small decals I could add to it). The decal solution was not absolutely essential, but I would never want to do the process without one, since it really helps make the decal look like a natural extension of the model.

Rather than using the stickers that came with the kit, I ordered a set of aftermarket waterslide decals from SIMP, which I applied directly to the plastic.

The model comes with a detachable umbilical power cable!

Eva 01 has an impressive level of articulation in its limbs and torso.

All of the additional hands and weapons included with Eva 01.

Eva 01 next to Bulbamorph.

Being a huge fan of Evangelion, I think I was always going to like this model, but was delighted to find that it builds on the already exceptional quality of Bandai’s Real Grade line of models. From clear instructions, to well placed gate marks requiring little cleaning, to excellent color separation and articulation, I cannot think of a better tribute to Evangelion. The only thing I would recommend is to get some aftermarket waterslide decals, as the kit’s stickers do not hold up to the quality of the rest of the kit. If you are a fan of Evangelion, or just want to build a great model, I cannot recommend the RG Eva 01 enough!

- Eric Wier


  1. Personally, when it comes to classic mecha anime, I have to go with Patlabor as my favourite. The second film was especially brilliant! :3

    1. I do not think I ever saw the 2nd Patlabor film, but really like the 3rd, Wasted XIII. It has been quite a while since I saw it though. I need to go and revisit them!

    2. Mamoru Oshii has had a hand in a lot of great things. I know he directed the 2nd and 3rd Patlabor film. I only ever saw the 3rd film, which I liked. I recall it being a brooding detective story with the mechs thrown in for only a very short portion.

      Oshii, of course, was behind the animated Ghost in the Shell films. And he wrote the script to Jin-Roh, which is perhaps my favorite thing he has done (at least that I have seen).

    3. Patlabor 2 strays from past iterations of the Patlabor series by heavily focusing on political themes. It touches on domestic and international issues that the Japanese government faced during the 20th century.[3] The film focuses on the post-occupation status of Japan, during which the country had economically, politically and technologically progressed under prosperous years without being involved in another war after the nation surrendered and was occupied by the Allied Forces after the end of World War II. Essentially in the film, Japan gets caught up in a false war orchestrated by a disillusioned veteran that ends with the country being occupied by the UN Peacekeepers and tensions just get ramped up thanks to this veteran.

      In my opinion, it really is the best of the three films. However, seeing as you've mentioned Oshii and his involvement with the Ghost in the Shell films, you'll find a lot of similar themes in the first Patlabor film. :3

  2. Its definitely on my want list, although I don’t know if I can justify the fancy version that comes with the launch base!

    1. It certainly is a great model! I have the launch base here, which I have yet to assemble. While it is cool, I do not think it is really necessary.