Kit review: HG TWFM 1/144 Gundam Calibarn

The Vanadis Institute developed countless prototype units in addition to Lfrith before the establishment of GUND FORMAT technology. Of these units, the Calibarn is the most unique of all. Unlike the Lfrith, which could be operated with minimal impact on the human body within a certain permet score, Calibarn prioritized mobile suit performance to seek the utmost limits of GUND-ARM capabilities and adopted extreme measures that did not guarantee the pilot’s life protection at all. True to its name, the Calibarn is a monstrous mobile suit that Suletta has to risk her life to tame, all to save her family.

The Calibarn is the final battle upgrade for the protagonist, so it’s decked out with some of the coolest mechanism and gimmicks. It is no-doubt a much sought after kit for all fans and builders alike.

– Info: 
HG TWFM 1/144 Gundam Calibarn
Series: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury 
Price: 2200 yen
Release date: Jul 15, 2023

– Design: Calibarn’s appearance is quite similar to Lfrith and Aerial because they were designed by the same mechanical designer: JNTHED. If you look closely, many of its details are similar to Aerial Rebuild. Because it is a prototype, its main color tone is mostly white with permet panels all over its body, which invoke a Unicorn-ish feeling. Its main weapon is a long cannon, the Variable Rod Rifle, shaped like a flying broom with thrusters at the back, making Calibarn look like a little witch. Along the body is also empty slot – which was obviously intended to be Gund-bit attachments.

– Build quality: The plastic quality of this kit is similar to other HG TWFM models, with softness and easy nub handling. The color separation is very good, but you still need to apply the Permet Score stickers. Except for the top part on the chest which is pre-printed like the v-fin, the permet details in other parts are all decals and have a layer of clear part placed on top (similar to Aerial Rebuild). The cannon’s barrel and its rear thrusters have many green decals, you can choose to use them or not (There are 4 stickers on each “thruster” so in total there’s 16). The Permet details on the head, torso, shoulders, and thighs all have rainbow colors (permet score level magic). Its special feature is that the V-fin is pre-painted in a rainbow color as well.

– Articulation: Calibarn’s Articulation is sturdy and flexible. Most of them are quite similar to Aerial Rebuild. The shoulder joint can be pushed forward to help hold the Variable Rod Rifle with two hands better without getting entangled. The waist and knee joints have a deep bend to help pose better. The front and back of the foot use swivel joints to help increase surface contact when standing. The 2 thrusters on the backpack can move on ball-joints.

The “Beam Broomstick” is connected to the backpack using a sub-arm that is heavily jointed, so the positioning of the weapon is easily adjusted. The thigh’s top however is a closed part, so the sideway spread of the kit isn’t very good. Of course if you want to, you can cut out the part but it would require a lot of care and effort.

– Accessories & Gimmicks:

+ Variable Rod Rifle: A large rifle cannon shaped like a broom. It is connected to Calibarn’s backpack by joints. Next to the gun body, there is an auxiliary handle that helps Calibarn hold it with both hands. The gun’s tail is made up of four large thrusters with an articulating mechanism that helps them open to form a cross-shape.

+ Escutcheon: As in the final episode of the anime, 11 gun-bits of Aerial Rebuild are transferred to Calibarn. Therefore, the gund-bits in this kit are exactly the same as Aerial Rebuild except that the blue parts have been changed to white. As a result, Calibarn can use the same functions as Aerial: separate each bit attached to the body or use it as funnels, or assemble them into a shield. In addition, to use bits like funnels, you will need to purchase a dedicated base from the HG TWFM series which is sold separately.
+ Beam Saber: Calibarn also has two beam sabers like Aerial mounted behind the backpack. Its plugs also cannot be moved.

+ High Maneuverability Mode: In this mod, there are not many changes, only the front feet and rear armor are folded down to move in space. 
–> Overall: As the latest HG TWFM model of the series (anime only), Calibarn still shows that it is a top-tier kit of the line with a cool design and interesting gimmicks. There is no doubt that this little witch is a kit you should have in your collection if you are a fan of this series. Highly recommended to display with Aerial Rebuild to create a duo of sibling rivalry. Note, do not leave both of them near the Schwarzette and Pharact or they will disappear.