Wednesday, April 13, 2011

RG 1/144 GAT-X105 Aile Strike Gundam - Review (Part 2)

RG 1/144 GAT-X105 Aile Strike Gundam (Release Date: Apr. 30th 2011, Price: 2500 Yen) 
Just finished the straight built of the RG 1/144 GAT-X105 Aile Strike Gundam today by completing the Aile Strike Pack & armaments. I must say, I really enjoy the time spent building this kit.  Building an RG kit is far more interesting than putting together your average HG kits.  The amount of details given to each piece of plastic is truly worth the price of admission. 
The Aile Strike Pack is pack with dense panels line on almost every parts.  It should look pretty awesome after a clean paint job, panel line wash & decals.
The first thing I wanted to do after completing the Aile Strike Pack was to see if theres any neat gimmick with the wings.  Unfortunately, the answer is pretty much 'no'.  Yeah, the wing can be tilted to a certain degree as expected, but then it could not be folded down in pre-launch mode as seen in the image below (Right - MG Aile Strike Gundam).  A missed opportunity for this RG offering a SEED fan, I would had liked to be able to do a pre-launch mode pose with this RG version of the Aile Strike Gundam, especially since it has the cockpit door gimmick.  And also, for those wondering about the flaps on the wing, no.. they cannot move at all. 
Now onto the weight issue.  Can the kit support itself upright with the Aile Strike Pack attached?   Well, call me a party pooper for having to say for most of the time, the weight is an issue.  If you pose the legs in a certain way, the kit could stand on it's own.  But any slight movement made, could easily toppled the kit backwards due to the weight.  So don't breath heavily when posing this kit
Armament wise, is pretty standard stuff.  It comes with 2x Armor Schineider combat knives (stored in the hip armor), 2x Beam Saber (stored in the Aile Strike Pack), Shield, and the 57mm High-energy Beam Rifle. Two sets of hands are also available (Close fist version & movable fingers version). 
A nice little touch on the beam rifle is the handle attachment.  The attachment piece can be pull out from the rifle's handle (as seen below), and attach it to the hand so that the beam rifle can fit securely.  This feature is very helpful, since the hands alone cannot support the beam rifle, as the fingers on the hand are pretty flimsy.
The side hip armor houses the Armor Schineider combat knive.
Action Poses:
An attachment part is included to attach the kit to any Action Base Display Stand.
Final Thoughts:
The RG 1/144 Aile Strike Gundam impressed me in every way, packing in such a huge amount of details in a 1/144 scale kit is no small feat.  Although there were some disappointments, but those were generally expected and was in no way a show stopper.  The kit offers plenty of articulation for creative poses, but do note that the Aile Strike Pack does add a bit of weight to the back. 

A comparison shot with the RG 1/144 MS-06S Char's Zaku II
NEXT... Preparation for the painting phase.

GUNDAM UC Episode 03 'The Ghost of Laplace' Review

GUNDAM UC Episode 03 'The Ghost of Laplace' Review
By Team GG's xxnike629xx

This review is spoiler heavy, please read at your own discretion.
Story/Plot - 8.9/10
This new episode starts off with a bang with the battle at the asteriod Palau. We were left off last time with Banagher and the Unicorn being taken as prisoner on the asteriod. This new episode begins with the execution of the battle plans discussed in the previous episode, which was to cause a distraction by splitting up the 4 asteroids of Palau with the ultimate goal of retrieving Banagher and the Unicorn Gundam.
This was yet another great episode, the pacing definitely felt a bit rushed in some places through the episode, but it can be viewed as a good thing in the sense that it adds to the sense of urgency and we're not left dawdling around like some moments in the previous 2 episodes. It was a good change of pace.
The separation of the 4 asteroids that make up Palau begins with huge detonations from the explosives placed by the ECOAS, as expected. This is immediately followed up with the deployment of mobile suits from both sides and the firing of the hyper mega particle cannon from the Londo Bell's battleship Nahel Argama.
The power of the Hyper Mega Particle Cannon is seen as it tears through enemy mobile suits as well as it ripping through the asteroids of Palau as if they were a thin sheet of tissue paper. This reminds me of the Endless Waltz movie where Wing Zero Custom blasts the underground fortress towards the end of the movie. Quite an impressively powerful beam blast.
Banagher then is seen making his way to Gate #14 where he meets up with his Unicorn Gundam once again. Are we about to see some intense battles soon? Let's hope so!
Outside, the battle continues as Palau is being bombarded. Full Frontal steps into battle in his Sinanju and slaughters many mobile suits with ease, and finally Banagher shows up in the Unicorm Gundam. Things really start to really pick up here, as the two powerful mobile suits are out in the field to duke out some heavy damages.
The Unicorn begins by trying to use the Beam Gattling gun. The charge isn't quite ready yet and the Unicorn takes a beating. But soon enough, the Beam Battling Gun fires and pwns the Driessen that was attacking. Banagher then contemplates the reason for war, and starts to show some signs of doubt.
Riding in Riddhe Marcenas's mobile suit Delta Plus, Audrey comes into communication with Banagher. Riddhe Marcenas then opens the cockpit, as Audrey tells Banagher her plan to go down to earth to meet with Riddhe's father Assemblyman Ronan Marcenas, and tell him everything that had happened in hope to find a peaceful resolution for the current conflict.
We're then move on to the Kshatriya making yet another appearance, and of course the Unicorn and Kshatriya battle it out. Banagher immediately calls out for Marida, and Marida is surprised that he knew. Marida goes on about her usual rant of being "...combat units called pilots..." That line is already getting old. Banagher desperately makes a plea to stop the fighting for Palau's sake. He also mentions that Audrey was there, and Marida demands Banagher to tell here where Audrey is, and if he complies, they would withdraw their forces. Cliché... Marida and Banagher can't come to an agreement (of course) so Banagher goes HAX0rz and goes into Destroy Mode.
The Unicorn manages to disable Marida's control over her funnels and the Unicorn starts pwning. In between battle sequence though, there was quite a lot of discussion from Full Frontal explaining the Psycho Frame and the New Type Destroyer (NT-D) system. Filler scenes if you ask me, and it takes up too much time...
Unicorn continues its barrage on the Kshatriya...nearly killing Marida in the process. But of course in typical Gundam style, they go into their naked-newtype mental world. Marida's past is shown, and Banagher stops the fighting.
Kind of a lame way to end the battle after so much angst that was built up from the start. It could have lasted a little bit longer. But again, this episode's pacing was definitely faster.
Banagher then wakes up from his bed in the medical ward, defending Marida claiming that she would never harm anyone else, and the assumptions made about her being a cyber newtype were not true. There's a lot of philosophical talk in between, and Banagher goes to visit Marida who is still lying on the sick bed.
The more I think about it, the more I get the feeling of déjà vu. A lot of the Psycho Frame and NTD system reminds me of the ZERO system from Wing Zero.
Banagher and Marida talk a while til Marida freaks out.
Daguza and Banagher have a discussion. He makes a note that Banagher has gone into combat 3 times now with the Unicorn, and that he may have saved some lives, while other lives were lost. He says that Banagher needs to take responsibility, and this angered Banagher. Banahger just walks out feeling upset.
We get some insight on Daguza. He doesn't seem a bit softer, and not much of a badass/hardass that he portrayed in the previous episodes... Nice bit of character development there.
Now we move on to what seems like the final battle for this episode. And it was an epic hell of a fight. So far, the fights in this episode have been a bit on the dull side. This is an OVA series that they have months to prepare, animate, etc and we really shouldn't have to go throught yet another relatively dull fight with the Kshatriya vs. Unicorn.
The battle near the Eath's atmosphere starts off really well. We get a strange radio signal. The battle starts off with an epic soundtrack. Full Frontal makes his appearance in his Sinanju. In an effort to give Banagher motivation to fight hard, Daguza sacrifices himself as a decoy. As Full Frontal come into contact with the Unicorn inside the wreckage, Daguza sets off a few explosives and then shoots a rocket right at Sinanju's face. That only did little damage, and Daguza was killed right there saluting Banagher.
That moment was emotionally daunting enough for Banagher to re-awaken the Newtype Destroy Mode, and Banagher goes on a rampage shooting his beam rifle and went after Full Frontal. Angelo tries to engage Unicorn, but the Unicorn easily cuts him up, but didn't kill him. 
Then the Sinanju and Unicorn goes into intense battle. In a fit of anger, Banagher goes head on while both the Unicorn and Sinanju are burning up in the atmosphere. The Sinanju barely escapes and as it is fleeing, Unicorn fires a shot right at Sinanju, but Mr. Gilboa takes the hit instead. Banagher was traumatized and the Unicorn goes back to Unicorn Mode. This ends the episode. What an awesome finale. In the short few moments of the final it manages to make up for all the small fallacies this episode had. An awesome episode. overall.
As the credits roll, we see the Unicorn falling down to earth. Banagher is seen crying with a tear , and the episode concludes with a nice shot of the Earth. It looks like the fight is going to continue on Earth. EXCITING STUFF!!

Animation - 10/10
As expected, the animation and art quality was fantastic. Simple as that. I mean hell, they had quite some time to do this episode. =P The beam shots were all epic & grand in scale, the fight scenes were all very well animated, almost to the point of being believable. There were no instances of animation failure. But then again, at the very least the animation quality is always top notch on OVA anime series. They have extremely high production value and the animation studio always has quite a while to create the episode compared to the usual weekly airing anime episodes. Great stuff.

Total Score -18.9/20
Imo, if they could just made that Kshatriya vs. Unicorn battle a bit better instead of making it deja vu for most of it, this episode could have gotten a perfect or near perfect score. But it just barely missed that mark. Regardless, this was a great episode, and a great followup to the last one. We got a lot of character development here and got some more insight with Marida, which was a welcome thing. This episode had great music as well. The music accompanies the more intense action-packed moments well. It's sad to see 2 key characters in the series die in this episode. I wonder how this will effect Banagher's view about war & humanity.
With the final scene showing off the Earth, it looks like the next episodes and battles will take place on Earth. Maybe we'll also see the Full Armor Unicorn soon. I'd love to see that. The green psycho-frame as well as all the weapons...

Interview with Kazuhiro Fruhashi, Director of Gundam UC: HERE
Interview with Harutoshi Fukui, Author of Gundam UC: HERE

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