Academy God Phoenix Model Review (with LED update)

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The Other Jason
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Academy God Phoenix Model Review (with LED update)

Post: # 105Post The Other Jason »

Hi all!

I received one of the new Academy Model Company's God Phoenix kits on December 31. What a way to end the year! I was looking forward to this since I first saw the designs a few months ago. I'm not always big fan of re-imagined designs, but I think this one manages to capture its "Newtro" target very nicely.

It's here!

The biggest thing I didn't like in its preview images was the orange top piece on the fuselage. That detail doesn't stand out quite as much in person. It's far from a deal-breaker, but it might have been nice to have an optional opaque red piece to fit there instead.

This version of the God Phoenix model does not come with the LED kit. It will likely be sold separately. The only place I've seen the LED kit so far is packed in with the Limited Edition version of this model. Academy's New God Phoenix model was initially sold the same way; as a limited edition with the LED kit. The LED option was eventually available with the standard model though. I do not know when it will be available for this model, nor how much it will cost. It will probably be designed for use specifically with this God Phoenix kit.

It also appears that the sheet of ttakji game pieces I mentioned in the preview thread for the model was a special through a retailer in Korea. Perhaps directly from Academy. I wish I could read Korean to know for sure!

The box for the model is a lot larger and deeper than I was expecting (16" x 10.5" x 3.5"). The top is full-color, printed on very nice, glossy thick stock. The sides of the box have artwork for this model and other Gatchaman model kits in the series:
No. 1 - New God Phoenix
No. 3 - God Phoenix
No. 4 - G-1
No. 5 - G-2
No. 6 - G-3
No. 7 - G-4
You will note that No. 2 is missing in the series. Perhaps it will be the GatchaSpartan?

Inside the box are several sealed bags of parts sprues. A warning insert says to make sure all the parts are included before opening the bags. This is easily done by checking them against a list printed on the back of the instruction manual. Additional bags include one with stickers and decals and another with a screw, hex nut and spring for the base.

The full-color instruction manual includes Korean and English directions. It says you can download the instruction manual from Academy's website, but I checked and it's not available yet. There are also a number of smaller paper inserts and notices, all in Korean and English.

A close-up of the instruction manual

A good set of side-cutting clippers to remove the kit parts from the sprues is very helpful. Additional supplies should include a sharp X-ACTO-style knife and a small philips-head screwdriver. A sheet of light grain sandpaper may also help for some areas.

The model parts are molded in seven colors - black, white, red, blue, grey, silver and clear orange. The parts are highly detailed, if not a bit thinner than I was expecting. It's very rigid plastic, especially the clear parts. Care must be taken not to stress the the larger, flat pieces when separating them from their sprue trees. Otherwise they can discolor and turn white at pressure points.

Multiple parts sprues

The tiny G-1 - G-4 vehicles included with the kit are molded in white and unpainted. The instruction manual gives details for the required colors needed to complete them. The rest of the model is molded in proper colors and looks very nice unpainted.

Assembling the kit is time consuming. I think it took me between 5-6 hours (there was no approximate build time listed in the manual). Even though it is a snap-together model, it required a lot of work to get the parts to fit together cleanly once they were removed from the sprues. In many snap-together kits I've made, the extra pieces left after removing the parts did not have to be dealt with further, or they were covered over with other parts to hide them. Not so in this kit. Nearly every part that snaps together with another had to have the extra sprue pieces completely removed.

These bits have to be removed from nearly every part

I took care of the sprue pieces with a sharp X-ACTO blade and lots of patience (this was especially true of the sixteen tiny tires for the landing gear!). Others may prefer sandpaper. Once they were removed, nearly all the parts snapped into place and stayed with no additional effort. The only parts that did not fit well were the rear engine covers. For some reason, both of mine were rather loose and fell off a couple times. I solved the problem by sticking small pieces of double-sided tape on their interior edges. That provided just enough extra surface area to get them to stay.

Several parts have very sharp edges (especially the clear orange ones), and fingers can easily become victims. The instruction manual warns about many instances to watch out for, but not all. Be careful when pushing some of the pieces together (like the engine flame effects, nose cone and inserting Ken's jet into its bay). I didn't lose any blood in the construction, but it was close a couple times.

Finished version of the model

Builders have the option of applying a lot of decals, or a few stickers. I have not tried the decals, but the stickers look nice and cover two of the most important details; the red on Ken's jet tail, and the "G-5" logo for the God Phoenix's wings.

I have added the Firebird head and flame effects on the engines at the back of the ship. They are both easily removable. However, there are a number of additional optional opened/closed pieces, which I built but have not shown. They include a Bird Missile launch bay on top of the ship, two Super Bird Missile launch bays on the bottom of the ship, and bays for the G-2, G-3 and G-4 in their appropriate locations. The God Phoenix can also be displayed in its G-5 Hovercraft mode by removing its nose cone and canting its wings downward.

The Firebird effect

Finished from the front

G-5 Hovercracaft mode (yes, I forgot to remove the G-1! ;-))

This is a very nice looking model, and despite a lot of optional features and display options, it *is* a model and not a toy. The plastic is lightweight and will not stand up to a lot of pressure from any side. It has to be treated carefully, especially when swapping out the optional parts.

The finished kit and stand weigh 7 ounces together. When I can find an LED kit for it, I will pick one up, add it and update my review.

Please check the thread on this board for details on how to order the model directly from Korea. I found it was a reliable way to get it for a lot less money.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to see additional photos.
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The Other Jason
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Re: Academy God Phoenix Model Review

Post: # 132Post The Other Jason »

Hi all!

I received one of the LED kits for my God Phoenix model. I bought it separately for about $17 US. When it arrived, I took my previously-built God Phoenix model apart to install it. It wasn't a huge amount of effort, but care had to be taken not to stress or mark the plastic when separating the parts. Of course if you did the smart thing and waited until you got one of the LED kits to build your God Phoenix model, you wouldn't have to disassemble it like I did!

The instruction manual does a great job of showing how to put it all together. I got it to work first try, which was a pleasant surprise. However, I thought it would be nice to put some photos up for anyone who might have questions, or to point out some things I found out while putting it together. Hopefully this will be some help to anyone considering putting the LED kit in their model. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer.

Here is the model with the LED kit contents.

Here are the LED kit contents. LEDs, wires, contact points for batteries, an on/off switch, a sheet of pre-cut opaque masking adhesive strips and a sheet of pre-cut tape strips to secure wires to certain areas (these are very handy!).

Here are all the pieces that need to be separated. The base and support arm have to be taken apart also. The top bay for the G-1 didn't have to separate, it just popped off when I was disassembling everything else.

The first step is to connect the LED wires to the lower portion of the body. Pull the plastic off the ends of the LED wires (this is simple, all wires that need to be stripped already have the ends cut for you). Make sure to wrap the black wire end around one of the silver wire contact clips, and the red around the other. The black goes on the front post in the model as shown, and the red on the rear post. Then, be sure to get these clips positioned fully down on the posts. Otherwise, the curved contact points (see next photo) will not stick through the lower portion of the fuselage enough to connect with the terminals on the support arm.

These wire contact points on the clips have to stick through these openings enough to connect with the metal terminals on the stand's support arm.

Then place the LEDs where indicated in the instruction manual. Make sure the longest LED goes to the top dome along the fuselage. The rest of the lights go to the rear.

These are the locations for the remaining LED wires.

Two of the rear LEDs slip into the outer sides of this rear section on the ship.

One each of the other two lights go through the engine nozzle openings in the rear.

Then one each of those lights slip into the engine nozzle parts.

Put the battery terminals into the base, as shown in the instruction manual. The silver ones slip into slots and the copper ones click into place so you'll know they're tight.

Here is the on/off switch and wiring locations for the base. Make sure to slip the yellow and blue wires through the top of the base, then wrap them around the terminals to be placed in the support arm. Pay close attention to the instruction manual to make sure the correct wire colors wrap around the correct points.

This is how the wiring connects from the base to the support arm. Do NOT put it together like this, the wires have to go through the holes at the top of the base before they go into the support arm. I'm just showing this is as an example of where all the wires will end up.

The support arm part must be completed and connected to the top of the base before putting the rest of the base together. Now the big thing. The instruction manual calls for three AA batteries. This is incorrect. AAs won't even fit. You'll need three AAA batteries instead.

With everything connected, now we're done! If all went well...

You should get this. Believe me there's light there, it's just really hard to see!

Unlit from the rear.

Unlit from the rear - again.

We've definitely got light!

Looking good in the dark with the flame effects added

Another shot from the rear with the flame effects in place.

One more shot from the side in the dark.

Installing the LEDs was a pretty easy process. it took me less than an hour, even with taking the model apart again. If you're installing the LEDs as you put the model together for the first time, it will go even faster and easier. Other than the little hiccup on battery size, the instruction manual was pretty clear on most things. Hopefully these additional photos and descriptions will help a bit more though. Good luck!

If anyone puts theirs together, please post your results here!
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