Re: Any opinions about RG470AHZ or RGA42TFMZ as first guitar?
The RGA42TFMZ is my choice. The ash body is nice, but all things being equal (and hardware-wise, they pretty much are) it comes down to looks, the body woods (darker sounding mahogany versus brighter sounding ash), and the extra sounds available from the extra middle pickup. The Flame finish on the RGA is a thin veneer, and won't affect tone to any noticeable degree, just consider it a mahogany bodies guitar. The necks will be identical, save for the inlays.
Having said that, the red RGA is hands down more professional looking, whereas the ash RG looks closer to an entry level Jackson.