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Bandai HG 1/48 scale "86" Juggernaut (Shin Use) plastic model kit

Build a scale model of the creepiest and coolest fighting mech ever
Kit:2577053 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$33
Articulated, posable legs; easy assembly
No decals; vague paint instructions
Injection-molded plastic; 146 parts (dark gray, white, red, and clear; 2 black wires); stickers
I’m a sucker for sci-fi vehicles and hardware that looks cool. The Juggernauts from the anime series 86 trip this trigger for me. When I first saw the animation of a Juggernaut in action, I said: “Bandai had better make models of these, because it would be a shame not to.” And behold, they have produced three: one for each version used by the 86 in the series (General Purpose Type, Long Range Type, and Shin Use). I received a Shin Use for review. Although there are slight variations to the weapons for each model, the Juggernaut bodies build pretty much the same.

Much like an airplane kit, the black-and-white instructions start assembly with the cockpit, complete the hull, move to the legs, and then finish with the “high-frequency” blades and smooth-bore 57mm cannon. The color guide calls out Mr. Hobby colors, but the locations for the colors are vague, leaving you to pore over a couple of small photos of a finished model and the cover art.

As you might know, many Bandai kits don’t require glue, and they are molded in color to allow builders who may not have the space or skill to paint to still enjoy the process of building. If that’s the route you take, the Juggernaut can be built in an afternoon. The articulated legs can be posed and repositioned as you like. The cockpit cover raises to reveal the cramped interior, and there’s even a 57mm shell that can be inserted into the smooth-bore cannon. A clear plastic pedestal helps support the weight of the gun and keeps the legs from sagging.

Going the other direction, if you want to paint and detail your Juggernaut, it will soak up as much time as you want to put into it. The cockpit isn’t particularly detailed, and because I wasn’t interested in opening and closing it, I decided early on that I would glue it shut. I also wanted, if at all possible, for the Juggernaut to stand without the need for the pedestal. I built the cockpit and hull, gluing the parts as I went. I assembled the spidery legs but did not glue the joints; that would happen later.

I didn’t put any of the armor on the Juggernaut, choosing to wait until after it had been painted off the model. My plan was sound, except the side armor (parts A2 and A3) are designed to go on earlier rather than later. (If I had it to do again, I’d snip all of the armor parts off the trees and paint them before I started building—a lesson I’ll remember for the next one!) Lastly, I built the cannon.

To get the legs positioned correctly, I test-fit the cannon to the Juggernaut, inserted the legs and positioned them, using the pedestal as support. When I was happy with the positioning, I glued all of the leg joints and let them dry overnight for a solid hold.

At that point, I primed everything Vallejo German Panzer Gray (No. 73.603), custom mixed a color for the armor, and applied various metallic and gray paints, as wells as filters, washes, and chipping to get a result I was pleased with.

There is but one marking on the Juggernaut — a headless grim reaper on the side. Bandai provides two as stickers. They’re thin, but not decal thin. I applied it over clear gloss and then brushed three coats of clear gloss over it before polishing the edges smooth. Under a flat coat, it still has a slight sheen, but it mostly disappeared with weathering. Decals would have been better.

The kit includes two figures: the processor Shin (the dystopian world of 86 doesn’t call them pilots) and his commander, Major Lena. Both are nicely detailed. I would have preferred Bandai offer a standing Shin rather than Lena—familiarity with the show aside, it makes more sense for the model. The kit also provides an M101 Barret combat support mecha, affectionately named Fido. However, the backs of its loading arms are hollow, and the chassis is very basic. Like the Lena figure, a model of the M101 is included in the other two kits, too. If you have a second Juggernaut kit, you could combine parts for a decent Fido.

Overall, I enjoyed building Shin’s Juggernaut. I spent about 40 hours on it and can see many display and diorama possibilities. If you’re a fan of 86, then this and the other two models are must haves. If you like creepy looking mecha, then by all means, jump on these. Bandai has announced three more kits from the series, these of the advanced Juggernauts called Reginleif, and they should be available soon.

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