Gunpla Build - Witch From Mercury Option Set

It took a little bit longer than expected to arrive, but the Witch From Mercury Option Set - or as it’s officially called, the “Mobile Suit Gundam The Witch From Mercury Expansion Parts Set 1” - is finally here.

Let’s crack it open and build it.

About the Kit

I wrote about this thing back when it was announced in October, but here’s the TL:DR - a bunch of mobile suits in Witch From Mercury got weapon upgrades in the back half of the show. Since these weren’t full on midseason upgrades, Bandai didn’t have justification to release full new model kits, and since there weren’t all that many new weapons, they didn’t have enough of them to justify releasing multiple Option Sets (like they did for Iron Blooded Orphans or Build Fighters). Instead, the best they could do is bundle up all the new weapons into a single pack, to release after the show was finished.

And then they went ahead and made it a Premium Bandai release. For reasons.

When the set was announced in October a lot of fans complained that this should have been a regular retail release, with some even speculating that it was supposed to be one before Bandai decided to change course. I disagreed with that assessment at the time, as I believed there was enough evidence to suggest that it was always meant to be P-Bandai.

But now that I have the kit, I have to admit that I’m pretty sure I was wrong. This feels an awful lot like a retail release.

Exhibit A - The Box

Here is what the sidewall of a typical P-Bandai box looks like:

It’s just the name of the kit. No flavor text, no promotional photos, and no artwork.

Now here’s the sidewall for this Option Set:

It’s still pretty plain, but it’s got a photo and even some background shading. That’s not normal for P-Bandai.

Exhibit B - The Instructions

This is what your typical P-Bandai instruction booklet looks like:

It’s plain and monochrome. Again, there are no pictures or flavor text of any sort.

Now here are the instructions for this Option Set:

That’s a full color manual, in the exact same style as all of the other Witch From Mercury kits.

I’m not going to say that no other P-Bandai release has ever had a full color manual, because I simply do not know if that is true. But at the very least I would guess that it isn’t common.

Between the color manual, and the design of the box, I have to assume that the fans were right, and that at some point this was intended to be a standard retail release.

Retail Theories

If this was meant to be a retail release at some point, I have some theories as to why Bandai might have changed their mind.

The first theory is that it was due to cost. Your typical Option Set for Iron Blooded Orphans or Build Fighters will run you about $11. On the other hand, this GWitch pack costs twice as much. Maybe they thought that it was too much of an ask for mainstream fans, and figured that only the most diehard builders would spring for them.

The second theory is that perhaps they feared that people wouldn't consider it a good value. IBO and Build Fighters kits were designed to have swappable parts. You're supposed to be able to mix and match them to create custom designs, and the same is true for the weapons and accessories included in their Option Sets. You can buy a Set and use most of its parts with whatever Gunpla you have lying around.

That's not at all true for the weapons in this set. Each is specifically designed for use with one - and only one - mobile suit. It's not just that they'd look weird in the hands of another model - in some cases there's no way to attach them to another model.

The only people who are going to want to buy this Option Set are a) people who have all the corresponding mobile suits, and b) people who have one or two of the mobile suits, and love them so much that they just have to have the new weapons. In other words, diehards.

My third and final theory is that maybe the ratings and/or Gunpla sales for Witch From Mercury began to drop as it went on, and that by the time it was over there were signs that a retail release would go over like a lead balloon. I don't say that to crap all over the show - while I didn't love it in the end, I have nothing against it either. But it does seem as if it dropped off the face of the Earth once it went off the air.

I've been around long enough to know that Internet buzz doesn't always equate to real world success. I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't the case here, but I also wouldn't be surprised if it were.

Prelude to the Build

Here are the runners:

A few observations:

  • There’s not a lot of decals to be found here. My experience with past accessory packs suggests that this may mean some of these weapons aren’t going to be color accurate out of the box.
  • The kit comes with a couple of weapon display stands, which I completely forgot about. That makes it feel like a little bit of a better value for the money.

My main focus for this build is going to be on the Darilbalde’s accessories, since that’s the only one of these mobile suits I have. I’ll still assemble the other weapons, but I’m probably not going to put any extra work into detailing them (at least not right now). With that being said, let’s dive in.

Guel’s Dilanza’s Accessories

Guel’s Dilanza comes with green effect parts for its Beam Partisan. In the world of GWitch green beams mean the weapon is under the Asticassia School’s safety limiters.

But when the Dilanza comes back at the tail end of the show, it engages in a battle without its limiters, at which point its beams are a normal (read: lethal) pinkish red.

This Option Set comes with those red effect parts:

It’s not much, and I’m not even sure if they’ll even look good (the color is too close to the color of the Beam Partisan’s handle, and I’m concerned they might blend together). But it’s a nice addition nonetheless.

Gundam Pharact’s Accessories

In Season 2, Gundam Pharact trades out its long sniper-esque rifle for a pair of “Beam Calivers”. Basically a pair of pistols:

They can also combine into a single “Beam Musket” for long range attacks:

I hesitate to judge these unless/until I detail and topcoat them, but out of the box they look and feel really cheap and flimsy.

Maybe the problem is that the guns don’t look as detailed and mechanical as most Gundam firearms do:

But again, I’ll reserve judgement.

Michaelis’ Accessories

I don’t love the Michaelis, but even I have to admit this is a cool weapon.

It’s actually two weapons. The first is the Drill Javelin:

It’s a javelin, but also a drill. And it has a little hidden blade you can use for shanking people.

Next there’s the Strike Brace:

The manual describes it as “an expandable defensive equipment modified from a short shield”, but it’s basically the Michaelis’ eqvuialent of a Gund Bit. If can fly around on a wire, it has guns built into its wings, and it can emit a beam saber. Oh, and I guess it can act as a shield too.

This accessory is highly playable. You can combine the two:

Or put the javelin on a wire:

Or the Strike Brace:

I can see this being very fun to pose with. My only complaint is that the included wire is a bit too long, and I hate having to cut wires (for fear that I’ll cut it too short and regret it).

Darilbalde’s Accessories

Now we get to the grand finale. The Daribalde by far gets the biggest upgrade in terms of weapons and equipment. So much so that I’m willing to say that this Option Set may be worth the price just to upgrade this one single Gunpla.

New Shields

The new shields are the same basic shape as the old ones, but they’re much bigger:

They also have a big thruster inside, which really drives home the idea that these are capable for moving around (quickly) on their own.

These really make all the difference to me. The original shields were a good idea, but they were too narrow. There were a lot of angles from which they simply looked weird. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem with these new ones.

New Backpack and Drones

This is a substantial change. The backpack has double the thrusters, and stores double the drones/arms. Also, the new drones are black instead of red. I’m not sure why they made that change. I think they look better when mounted on the backpack, as it keeps the mobile suit from looking too red. But when deployed - or even worse, attached to the forearm - it’s going to be immediately obvious that they’re not the same color as the original red arms.

New Weapons

First we have the Beam Shotgun:

If you thought the Darilbalde already highly resembled the Sazabi, this only makes the comparison even more blatant.

I think this is a much needed accessory. I know the original design of the Darilbalde was all about honorable melee combat, but it always felt like something was missing, and it turns out that that something was a gun. This makes the mobile suit feel that much more complete and versatile.

Plus, it’s impressively large. Got to love a big old boomstick like that.

Next we have its new sword, which is technically a Gunblade. Notice both the trigger and the barrel:

This is actually the sword in its dormant form, where the blade is folded in half. When in use, it extends and gets glowy:

If you want to, you can even store the sword on the bottom side of the gun, though one can argue that this makes it look unreasonably large:


When you factor in the weapon display bases, I do think this is a solid value for the price. For the most part the accessories are well made, with good gimmicks and details. And while some of them can use some extra detailing and touching up to make them look better, none of them are strictly color innacurate out of the box. That’s a rarity for these kinds of Option Sets, and is another reason this feels like a good deal.

Setting aside the fact that you’d have to wait for a reprint from P-Bandai to nab this, I’d say it’s worth it depending on which of the Gunpla you own. If you have just the Darilbalde? Yes, so long as you’re a big fan of it. If you just the Pharact or just the Michaelis? Probably not. And if you have two or more? Absolutely.