Friday, October 06, 2006

PLAMO Review 14: MG Aile Strike Gundam

MG Aile Strike Gundam isn’t really a new model anymore. It was initially released in 2004 I believe. However, Bandai’s new merchandise for this month includes MG Strike Gundam Integrated Weapon System Pack (IWSP) and Grand Slam, which features the same MG Strike. This new release makes this review seems quite relevant now. Maybe you’ll get some idea about the kit after reading this review.

I think I can safely assume that all Gundam fans have watched Gundam SEED, or at least heard of that series and some of the Gundams featured in it. With so much marketing strategies put into promoting SEED, it’s hard to imagine that any fan don’t know anything about it. Anyway, Strike is the leading Gundam in that series, and supposedly everyone’s favorite as well.

This action pose is actually straight from the box design

Up till today, Strike Gundam has been developed into all categories of merchandises possible. In terms of models, you can get 1-144 scale simple assembly and HG version, 1-100 HG, MG, 1-60 scale, PG as well as the cute SD version. Other merchandises include MSiA, resin kits, capsule toys and many more. It doesn’t really matter which kind of Strike you want, Bandai has one for you. Plus, you have to multiply all that with Strike Rouge, the pink version of Strike. You will get the picture of how profitable Strike is to Bandai.

Nonetheless, we all love Strike.

I guess it’s because of the popularity of Strike Gundam, and the fact that there are too many versions of models based on Strike, Bandai put a lot of effort in designing an exceptionally good MG for Strike. As a matter of fact, the MG version’s design is so good, there are many features that have been inherited in the later MG releases, and the PG version as well. Just how good the model is? Well, it’s up to this review to tell the story from my experience of assembling the model.

To start off with, MG strike is a relatively easy model to be assembled. Even though the MG line is meant for intermediate modelers, some of my friends’ first modeling experience is actually from assembling this model. And they got addicted to Gundam models after Strike :-) There are just two screws for the entire models, which are for the shoulder joints. As compared to earlier models like Nu Gundam, Sazabi and so on with a lot of parts, and some with many screws with different sizes, and cost me a few days just to assemble the models. An average modeler can finish Strike in one or two days (well, at I think so).

Work in progress for the body unit

MG Strike has a near-complete inner frame design. Complete meaning armor pieces can be taken off from the entire body and the model still has a lot of details to show. While most of the previous MG releases has inner frames that are disproportional to their complete models, i.e. when the armor is on, the models look cool; when the armor is off, you often imagine how such a thin inner frame can support such a huge mass. Strike looks quite natural with or without armor on. Like a mini PG model, yeah, that would give all of you a better picture about the inner frame. Nonetheless, Strike’s mechanism design is famous for its half-concealed-half-exposed inner frame anyway.

Details for the arms. Very details indeed, but very hard to ink

Really cool kneeling position for a MG model. Wait till you see MG Freedom Gundam

The brilliant design of the inner frame also allows a lot of action and playability. The shoulder especially, since there are now joints for the shoulders to move vertically, the actions of the arms is now near-perfect for the MG models. This feature was then being incorporated into the PG release of the same model, plus almost all the MG models after Strike. The thigh design is also a huge attraction. The inner frame of the thigh allows the armor pieces to shift when moved, mimicking biceps and triceps action of a normal human being. It’s exceptionally fun to play with :-) this is actually an old concept inherited from PG Wing Gundam Zero Custom, but it’s great to see that it’s being incorporated into Strike. The cockpit can be opened, as with all MG models, so I guess that isn’t much of a selling pointy anymore.

The Aile pack is quite well design as well. The lower wing verniers are designed with ball-type joint, so they are able to move in all directions, and more importantly, the joints are strong enough to hold them in place. Actually, the entire model uses a combination of normal parts, rubber parts and ABS hard plastics, which makes the assembled model really sturdy. In terms of the armaments, the beam rifle and the shield are quite normal, but I sort of feel that the beam saber is a bit too small. They are like two little sticks can suddenly generate beam when necessary :-) Not only the MG version is small, the PG is the same as well, just that it has more designs. Maybe it’s just me :-P The Armor Schneider are a bit small (which reminds all of us the different between anime and real models) and the blades to be painted to reassemble the silver shining knife that can really work.

Strike holding beam saber

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The Armor Schneider anti-armor knife, my favorite weapon for Strike, and my favorite action pose as well.

The model also comes with a huge display base, with a hell lot of details on it. There’s a power cord that can be attached to Strike’s ‘ass’ (I really can’t find another word, since the position of power socket is right there) mimicking its launch sequence from Archangel. You can adjust the display stand, and pose the model in any action you want in midair.

A huge display base for you to play with. People with Gundam paint, are you going to paint this as well?

Finally, the stickers and seals are really cool. Their designs are quite stylish as futuristic. Often I don’t talk about these ornaments since they are just, well, ornaments. But for MG Strike, the stickers really makes the final model looks cool. The markings are so rich in details, showing everything associated with the model, like Archangel, OMNI, Cinque (code name for Strike), GAT-X Series etc. There are also custom markings for Mwu La Fllaga, the pilot of Strike after Kira upgrades to Freedom. I end up using all of them, plus some for my HG 1-100 Sword Strike as well :-)

By now, MG Aile Strike is considered a thing in the past, since MGs like Zeta Ver 2.0, Nemo, Gyan and F91 has features beyond comparison to Strike, or any previous MGs. Nonetheless, if you see this model on sales, be sure to pick him up. There’s little possibility that he will disappoint you. All of the images are from the photo gallery on MG Strike, so check it out if you would like find out more.