Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Golden Gundam Arrives!

And no, it is not the Delta Gundam.
Behold the Dragon Momoko Akatsuki.
I was really, REALLY eager to get this kit since it was announced. Seeing how good the DM Sword Strike was, I had very high expectations on this one and I was not disappointed:
- The gold, compared to the Hyaku Shiki 2.0 has a richer, stronger shade. It has a nice grainy texture compared to the smooth finish of the former, but more importantly, all the parts have a uniform coating, so there are no weird faded-almost silver parts like in the Shiki and EVERY part is undergated. Suck on that one Bandai.
- A mere glance at the runners confirms that the inner frame is the same one as that of the Strike. In this regard, I can see DM milking the shit out if it with lots of Strike variants. Can you imagine an updated version of the Noir Strike? I would also totally get that one.
- A major improvement is in the hands. The previous Strike had really shitty hands due to DM trying to copy the sonic-welded hands of Bandai. While this kit also includes them, you also get 4 extra fixed types of hands: palm open, fists, trigger finger and holding hands for the beam saber. That's great!
- Also, among the extras, you get a medium sized sheet of waterslide decals and 7 pink beam effect parts that are HUGE. They look super cool and the biggest pairs, which are intended for the double beam saber are almost as long as the giant sword of the Sword Strike! The only thing that was missing was a way to display the funnels in mid air, but I'll think of something to do that.
So yeah, I'm really impressed so far by merely opening the box of this kit. I can alredy say this is going to look great once complete.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

MG Hyaku Shiki 2.0

The original golden mobile suit!
I was never too much of a fan of the Zeta Gundam designs, however, when they announced a renewal of the Hyaku Shiki, I decided to go ahead, since I kinda wanted to add a golden mobile suit to my collection. I was really pleased with the final result, as the model has very sleek proportions, and the shiny gold finish makes it really stand out from everything else.
While the gold finish is the main selling point of this kit, it has some issues. A closer inspection reveals many irregularities and uneven surfaces on the pieces. Similarly, in some areas, the paint is so faint it almost looks silver. The most glaring issue is that not all the armor parts are undergated. This is especially noticeable in the part that cover the wrists, the handles of the beam sabers and the wing binders.
Nevertheless, they are not THAT noticeable, and once put together, the kit looks so great that's just a minor issue.
While the gold finish isn't so fragile and allows you to touch it with no problems, I didn't want to fuck it up, reason why I didn't apply any kind of topcoat to it. Instead, I did so only for some sections of the inner frame. As for painting, I used Mica Blue for the chest and backpack, followed with semi gloss topcoat, same for the feet, just with Mica Red. The reason is that I didn't like that much the dark, dull colors you get out of the box for those parts, and I think the metallic touch makes a nice combination with the gold.
I didn't even bother to pull off poses with this guy. The Hyaku Shiki is one of those suits that looks awesome merely standing there. While I did build the bazooka it comes with, I decided not to display it, since it kinda looks off hanging from the back of the suit.
Overall, this is a great MG that anybody will enjoy, since it requires minimal effort to look good. I can totally see Bandai reusing most of it to release a MG Delta Gundam, most likely as a web exclusve though.
Having completed this model makes me excited to see how good the gold of the DM Akatsuki will look in comparison. Hopefully, mine will arrive soon...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Plamo Exclusives

The whole "exclusive" label for some gunpla is really getting offhand...
I'm a real fan of the Crossbone Gundams, so even if I already have the trio in Robot Damashii form, I intended to also collect it in plamo form. I even went as far as making a custom X-0 Ghost.
Unfortunately, we all know what happened: Bandai decided to make this X-2 Kai a web exclusive item, resulting in a more expensive product than the vanilla HG X-1 it is recycled from. The real downside is just how damn lazy this thing is: virtually identical to the X-1 save for the color and the slighlty different v fin. You can even make the normal X-2, since they didn't even bother to remove the normal X shaped binders.
However, the more aggressive ones, which are the trademark feature of the X-2 Kai, are completely molded in black, you only get some lame purple/blue stickers to detail them, same for the additional thrusters that are also molded in them and not as separate parts. Bummer.
Even worse, its signature weapon, the Shot Lancer was completely ignored! Real low Bandai. Good grief I got that lance weapon unit from Kotobukiya exactly because of this.
At this point it is a given that the HG X-3 will also be a web exclusive item...
As for the Wings of Light for the V2? They are 2 SINGLE FREAKING runners Bandai decided it was totally okay to sell as a separate item for 2,000 yen instead of including them in the damn kits in the first place. Screw you too.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Golden Loot

Some new kits arrived! And straight to the backlog they go...
The gold plating in the MG Hyaku Shiki 2.0 and the HG Delta Gundam looks really cool. I'm sure they will look great once completed.
The HG Stargazer Gundam has a very interesting design I always wanted to check out, while the MG Gundam X was a kit I wanted since a while ago and was restocked recently (why is its box so small compared to the Hyaku Shiki's?).
Finally, two Weapon Units from Kotobukiya (lance and beam sabers sets), along the giant gatling gun thing from GBF.
I also got the Wing Zero Custom NX Edge Style. I dig the SRW look this thing has and I think I may go and get some more of these figures.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

DM Sword Strike

This is the meanest configuration of the Strike Gundam!
As you should know by now, this kit is made by Dragon Momoko. Compared to Bandai, there are a few differences regarding what you would call, "original" kits, so let's mention them:
- The plastic is softer than Bandai's. This means the nub removal is much easier.
- All the runners save the gray ones are undergated! This makes the cleaning and painting process even easier!
- Unfortunately, some sections have issues, as you don't get perfect fits. This happens in the lower section of the torso, the rear skirt armor and the plates that cover the cheeks in the head.
- The worst part of the kit are the hands. They are really, really crappy. The fingers are extremely fragile and you can easily break them, not to mention that they can hardly hold the weapons. It is for this reason that I left the model in a single pose, copying the boxart.
That aside, once assembled, the final result is very impressive. The proportions and details are those of a PG! The Sword equipment is noticeable different from the original lineart, as it is much larger (especially that shoulder flap) and has a more agressive design.
 
As the name implies, the Sword Strike is designed for close quarters combat. Besides the armament mounted on the Strike itself (head-mounted CIWS guns and combat knifes), the Sword Striker adds a large anti-ship sword, a rocket anchor and a beam boomerang to slice things up.
It is worthy to mention that of all the Striker Packs available for the Strike, Sword Striker is the lightest and it also provides the highest combat endurance as its energy consumption is the lowest, not to mention that it is the only one that can be used for aquatic combat as all of its weapons, except the beam boomerang, can be used underwater.
Stored in the shoulder is the "Midas Messer" Beam Boomerang. It is a throwing weapon that emits a short beam blade on one end, and can return to the owner after throwing, often catching enemy units by surprise. The kit provides you a beam effect part for it.
Mounted on the left forearm is the "Panzer Eisen" Rocket Anchor. The front portion is a rocket-propelled grappling claw that can be fired to hit or grab an enemy unit and then retrieved on a line. The whole weapon itself can also function as a shield and has anti-beam coating to defend against beam weapons. It can also be used for aquatic combat. The kit gives you a very sturdy wire that can hold up the claw with no problems. 
 
Finally, the real deal is the "Schwert Gewehr" 15.78m Anti-ship Sword. It is the largest and primary weapon of th Sword Strike. It is a large physical sword that has a laser blade along the cutting edge. The large blade is designed to easily slice mobile suits in half or to cut off sections of a ship such as the guns. Although the sword was designed to double as a laser gun at the bottom end, the Strike only uses the prototype model which lacks this feature and has it replaced by a short beam blade emitter. Due to its sharp tip, the sword can also be used for aquatic combat.
This by far, the most impressive part of the kit. It is taller than the Strike itself! However, due to its size and weight, the model has some difficulties to properly hold it up, so expect to fiddle with this accessory for a good while. The kit provides you with the beam effects, but they come molded in pink. A coat of clear red makes them look much better. Similarly, you have the option of choosing between 2 different tips for the sword.
Overall, I highly recommend you this kit (or the Launcher version) if you are a fan of either of those versions or are tired of keep seeing the Aile Strike everywhere. Just a few words of advice:
- It definitely needs some painting, at least the red and blue parts of the Strike itself, as the color out of the box is almost cartoonish.
- The waterslide decals are a pain in the ass to apply but trust me, be sure to put EVERY SINGLE ONE, it will make the kit look fantastic.
DM is also about to release their version of the Akatsuki. After how nice this Strike was, I'm pretty sure their take on that golden mobile suit will also be great.