You guys asked for it, so here’s my photo review of the of 560-page Mobile Suit Illustrated 2013 [+ Drawing]!
So, what’s in there? Well, for starters the cover you see above is the dust jacket. Underneath is a gold-toned softcover:
The dustcover does add a feel of quality to the book but I think I would have preferred a full-color cover without it, as dustcovers tend to be unwieldy, especially on a paperback.
Once you get under the cover, the book is broken up into five distinct sections: Universal Century, Experimental & Event Movie, Another Century, Game, and Design of all Mobile Suit. The first four sections are illustrated in full color and organized by series.
As you can see from the above, each section includes a mini table of contents to help you more quickly access suits from whatever series you wish. Of course it’s a mix of Japanese and English, so you may find these of varying utility.
The picture pages are a vibrant mix of full-color renderings and drawings of well-known and not so well-known suits from pretty much all Gundam media. I tried searching for some of the more oddball suits and wasn’t disappointed, save for some things that are just too new to have made it into publication, such as the Banshee Norn.
The suit details are pretty much all in Japanese, but you can casually pick out some details like the suit heights and weights. It’s also worth note that the pages are pretty dense, so most images are about 2 to 3 inches in height. At that scale, you might find it difficult to use some of the images as reference art for a custom build.
The section of this book that differentiates it from the Popular (Blue) Edition is the Design of All Mobile Suits. It’s an expanded set of line art that a little more than doubles the size of the publication. It is still broken up by series, but lacks some of the organization of the first four sections.
Do I think it’s worth it? Definitely, but I’m largely hoping to use it as a source of inspiration and reference for doing some scratch builds. You might be better off saving yourself the $20+ dollars if you’re just looking for something to put on your coffee table. Whichever version you decide is best for you, I imagine this will be a one-time purchase. There’s really no reason to buy future editions unless you really love something that Bandai rolls out between now and the next release.