First off the score. The only times I ever give a lower than max score is when something doesn't work, breaks easily, has poor tolerances or requires you to parts-form something and store a whole bag of extra parts for the purpose.
This kit doesn't have any of those problems, but it has an absolute ton of nubs, so I'll get the negativeout of the way:
Normally when you build a gunpla's legs or arms, you have two sides, a front and a shoulder/knee, occasionally with one or two extra. This kit has 16 white panels PER LEG, and each one of them has a minimum of 3 gates that need to be cleaned up, because by far most of the nubs on this 2012 kit aren't undergated. On top of that you have all six skirts, both arms and both shoulders in majority white parts which also need to cleaned up.
You *need* something to file down the nubs with and I highly recommend the 'raser' glass file (or some other nano glass file) to get red of them without scratching up the plastic.
On to the review:
This is the titular AGE-1 Normal Gundam of the "Gundam AGE" show. The 'normal' denotes that it's in its original state without any other parts, because it is a modular system that allows it to swap out parts to become Gundam Titus or Gundam Spallow (as well as many others in the various media, such as games). For Gunpla you just have the variants in their own kits, you don't buy option sets.
There's quite a lot to cover despite the 'simple' design.
The AGE-1 is a different looking Gundam than most other protagonist mobile suits. The entire show of the style is aimed towards a younger audience, whereas G-fighter, Wing Gundam, Seed and 00 were aimed at teenagers, this was aimed at early teens or younger.
Different from other gundams, it has oversized parts and blockier parts, such as big hands, a big head, the big central cockpit hatch and the absolutely over the top massive spoiler on the back with rocket boosters and the chunky beam rifle. The beam effects rather than being the classic long beams, are a flat and elongated diamond shape. It all works together to make a kid's idea of a 'racecar' looking gundam which some will love for what it is and others will shy away from.
This model kit takes a few more liberties, as the panels have tiny vents dotted all over the mobile suit, on the legs and arms, which gives this Gundam a bit more of an industrial feel to it, so it actually looks like an 18 meter mech and not just a toy. There are a ton of subtle detail that keep the model kit from looking too plain.
There are a decent amount of panel lines, however a lot of them are hidden seams and don't take well to panel liner, as the liquid just goes under instead of settling.
Unusually, there are five different sheets of stickers and decals. You have the usual foil stickers for eyes and cameras, but then also a back-light sheet of foil stickers for behind the eyes/top camera and the big A on the chest, to let light reflect through the clear green plastic.
That means that you can choose to paint around the eyes and front head camera or use the normal sticker. one sheet is for two thick plastic stickers for the knees. One is a sheet of dry transfers and the last one is a sheet of sticker decals.
This model kit is full of polycaps. While the kit isn't floppy, it limits the poses it can go into because the little rubber joints can't hold the weight if it isn't well balanced.
It has a good range of articulation that places it above most kits, but not near the best. Notably it has very good shoulder range and the front arms turn, which is always a nice feature. The hands themselves have an extra turning joint.
This Gundam doesn't *do* anything - It's a regular protagonist Gundam before it gets all its bells and whistles, so don't expect anything to open or transform.
What the model kit does do, however, is give you a unique building experience, because it's a lot different from others kits, such as the "tube" cockpit that extends, shoulders that dislocate/tab in, double jointed front and back skirts (which limits them to up/down, but they're quite special) and beam hilt side skirts which allow the beam hilts to fold out. The legs have three parts that slot into each other, rather than building them as one coherent part. Useful for painters.
You get a beam pistol with an attachable barrel. It has a bottom brace which fixes the gun to the arm and the barrel can turn, has a folding side stock and a tab that folds out for storing it on the back skirt.
There is 1 shield which tabs into either arm securely (but otherwise does nothing), 2 flat/angular beam hilts and 4 beam saber effect parts, 2 long and 2 short. You get an assortment of swappable fingers.
This is a quite special, unique kit with a unique look and I highly recommend it for collectors and builders who want to try something a little different. It is not perfect, but it's good and fun!