Golden Week

So, today is one of the first holidays of the “Golden Week” holidays, and finally with some free time, I was set to sit down and do some photos of the Astray.  Unfortunately, my significant other decided to go home to Osaka early (yesterday) and it turns out she took the camera with her.  So, pictures are delayed until she’s back with the camera next week. 

In the meantime, one leg to go and I’ll be done with the Turn A.  Here’s a photo of how the kit looks so far.  This kit is sleek, the curves and lines are done excellent.  Quite a bit of panel lining is needed, but if you’re careful it’ll come out nice.  I’m using a 0.02 copic marker since they’re thinner than the Gundam Markers and have had excellent results.  I’m not even finished but I’m going to give it my seal of approval.

 f1040175

I’ll be heading to Osaka myself this weekend, but if I have the chance to stop by Gundams in Nihonbashi I’ll take some pictures.

Advertisements

Gunpla Construction: PG Gundam Astray Part 4

So, in the home stretch.  

The shoulders were a quick build, and overall, very huge.  It’s interesting to see the detail that’s done for the inner vents as well as the rear of the shoulders.  It’s funny because for the most part it’s detail you’ll never see once you put the outer armor on and attach the arm.

Shoulders astray74

More shouldersastray75

Moving on to the arm, it’s a straight build here too.  It’s very impressive to see the amount of articulation that they’ve done with the arm.  If there is any complaints, is that when you curl the arm up, the fore-arm has the tendency to pop off, so you have to be a little careful.  Also, note the comparison pictures of with and without outer armor, and again, how the outer armor really bulks up the arm, but doesn’t affect the articulation at all.

Built shoulder joing/upper arm and said piecesastray76

Built forearm, and a completed armastray77

Comparison shot 1astray78

Comparison shot 2astray79

Comparison shot 3astray80

Hand, already made for  you, just twist togetherastray85

Just to give you an idea of how it’ll look attached to the frame.  Looks a bit unbalanced with only one arm armored.

astray82

 

And with that, the construction is done.  As mentioned in the first WiP post, I tried a new method of decaling and topcoating pieces as I completed them.  Not sure at this point if that took more time than doing decaling/topcoating after all the parts are built, but it there is a nicer sense of satisfaction, especially knowing that I balanced my decaling time out this way.  

Next post will be the pictures/review post. 

Preview!astray88

The State of the Gunpla Union – 042009

Just random stuff today.  I’ve done a little cleaning on the menu side to the right here, getting rid of the tag cloud, and simply making categories for the kits I’m building.  Hopefully it’ll make it easier to find what you’re interested in.

The PG Astray is 99% done, finished top coating the last couple of pieces yesterday, just need to put it together.  Overall, a good kit, and I think the red looks even better after the top coat.  Even the wife, who has absolutely 0% interest in Gundam though the same.  I’ve posted part 3 of the WP, and will finish up in part 4.

Next kit up for building… still thinking about it.  I picked up Turn A yesterday because the local department store had it for 1800 yen, so maybe I’ll build that.  I’m actually thinking about doing my first “mod” so to say, as I’ve stocked up on some metal parts.  I’m most likely going to bling bling a Zaku II kit, as I’ve got 5 (!) of them.  From there I may go back and finally finish the Hi-nu.  I really like the Hi-nu kit so I want to do some practice with metal parts before I try my hand on the Hi-nu.  So next up is most likely going to be the Turn A followed by a Zaku II (Shin Matsunaga’s unit).

I should probably take the time to break open my Zeta Plus GFFMC, as I’ve not even touched it in the PG frenzy.  I guess I really shouldn’t have worried about not being about to find the Limited blue model, as it’s still widely available, and I’ve already seen some places offering it for 14,000 yen or even cheaper.  In the long run, the GFFMC’s are a tad on the expensive side, so I guess that’s why you see even the limited editions perpetually in stock.

On the Gundam front though, news has indeed been slow since the double whammy release of the Zeta Plus and the Astray.  Guess Bandai is wise enough to let everyone’s wallets recover…  For the foreseeable future, there is simply nothing coming out that I’m interested in.   The only thing that has me somewhat excited is going to go see the life size Gundam that will be put up at Odaiba, and next year’s Unicorn Gundam Movie.  Would prefer a TV series over a movie but you take what you can get.

As for my thoughts on Gundam 00.  Nearly a month after it’s finished, I’ve looked back, and I’m pretty much eh.  At this point, there isn’t very many things “new” that a Gundam series can do, but the first season started off with a great premise.  Armed intervention of warfare with Gundams.  Unfortunately, we ran into a big problem of having too many characters, much more than was needed.  Did we really need the Gundam Thrones?  Do we really care about Patrick or Mr. Bushido, or the majority of the innovators that are introduced?  I feel too many characters led to poor character development.  This is particularly true of the second season which simply focused a little too much on Setsuna.  The others had their moments, but it felt like we were clearing them up in the first 10 episodes and then it’s all Setsuna. We also see then the obvious play on previous Gundam themes such as the classic, fall in love with the enemy girl for the oh so convienient “Hi, I’m Lock-on’s twin brother” (See Lala (First),  Four (Zeta), and Stella (Destiny).  Allelujah’s character development was finished in the first season, so we throw in Soma Peries who for the most part just joins up and that’s that.  And probably the most original character of the show, Tieria, well, he’s just enigmatic.  No for the most part, season 2 was all Setsuna, stone cold Setsuna, with the annoying, do we really need Marina? (See Relena Peacecraft (W), Lacus (Seed)  and whiny Saji.  No, overall by the end of the show, there were just too many characters, that really made it hard to care about just any one.

Again, season 2 decided to rip off the Grypps war from Zeta, by replacing the Titans with the A-Laws, with a mixture of Char’s Neo-Zeon ideals of moving humanity to the next level.  Now I liked the Grypps war story, but I also cared about the characters, here it was, oh, yet another innovator popping up, or prattle from Marina…

As for the mech design, I’ve said before, I’m not the biggest fan of the 00 designs.  Particularly season 2, which outside of Exia -> Double 0, the others were just tweaks.  I will admit the Exia, Double 0, 0 Gundam design grew on me, but not enough to make me want to go out and pick up a kit to build.  Outside of the 300 yen SD figure.   When they eventually make the MG line, I’ll look at it, but there simply wasn’t something that made me say, bad ass!  I will admit some of the fights were cool, but by the end of it I was more like, just let Setsuna handle it, apparently he’s the man, everyone else takes the backseat.

Quality of animation was overall topnotch, and outside of Marina’s shitty song, the music was over all good.  (Still doesn’t hold a candle to stuff like Turn A and some of SeeD’s music)

So in the long run, I found it to be enjoyable, but definitely not the best.

Would love to hear what others thought about 00 overall, what are your opinions?

Gunpla Construction: PG Gundam Astray Part 3

Moving on with the slow as molasses updates:

First up the backpack, fairly simple snap together.  As mentioned in a previous comment, the backpack fills like an afterthought to me.  I realize it’s part of the design, but after to you have the beefy legs, and the general “bulk” of the whole frame, the backpack just looks like a flimsy little attachment on the back.

Backpack partsastray57

Backpack completedastray60

The head was also an easy snap together.   The battery pack is also much more accessible than it is in the PG W-Zero. 

Head Parts
astray61
Partially built
astray62
We have light!
astray64

Moving on to the weapons.  I did build the beam rifle, but as Lupes mentioned in his picture review, there is no point in really showing it.  I build the shield as well, but now that I think about it, I’m probably not going to use it either.  The main attractation for the Red Frame is it’s big ass sword.  Unfortunately, this is where you see some lack of foresight on Bandai’s part.  With the gold and silver parts, I really wish they have done under gates (As per Hyaku-Shiki).  There are some pretty obviously points that you snip, which leaves damage, no matter how you do it.  While I put a dab of Gundam Gold on the parts, it’s still a little frustrating.  Another point to be careful is that you can’t do panel marking on the gold parts, as it’ll take the gold off.  Also, top coating the gold is probably not a good idea.   Still the assembled sword is just huge, you can hold the hilt in your hand and it’s almost like you have a dull knife. 

Hiltastray67
Sheathastray70
Sword completedastray71
Shield partsastray72
Shield completedastray73

Up next post, the shoulders and arms, followed by completion and thoughts

Gunpla Construction: PG Gundam Astray Part 2

Ahem, well, I guess I must be one of the slowest updaters around,  between work and hanami’s and Killzone 2/Ryu ga gotoku 3 I’ve been slacking off on the Gunpla, sorry about that. 

Anyways, back to the in-depth look at building the Strike 1.5 Astray.  We left off with one leg being built, but since then I’ve completed both legs, along with decals/seals and the final top coat.  You’ve probably seen a couple of photos in the quick updates I’ve done recently.

Next up the waist.  Again, no where as near a pain in the ass as the PG W-zero.  The biggest probably is that the nice long codpiece armor thing is pretty long, so with the fattened thighs of the astray as well, it gives the model less articulation compared to the Strike.

The pieces for the waistastray35

 And we’re done, that was easyastray36

 Testing with the legsastray37

 With armor, side viewastray38

 Rear viewastray39

 Top viewastray40

With that done, next up is the torso, also another easy piece compared to the W-Zero.  This was another quick build.  You see a few differences however on the outer armor compared to the strike, but the internal is the same.  Including the slot to shove in the Striker Pack. 

Cockpit
astray41

With front armor onastray42

  One of torso/shoulder joint piecesastray43

  Torso’s internal frame completeastray44

  With Armor attachedastray45

With the lower torso/waist part attachedastray46

Side Viewastray47

 Back Viewastray48

 

On the subject of the striker pack, I gave it a try, unfortunately, due to the slight armor differences, it won’t fully slide all the way into the slight, and you actually have to take some pieces off of the torso to even slide it halfway in.

 With Striker Pack, top viewastray49

Side Viewastray50

Another angleastray52

Next post will move on to the head and the laughable back pack.

Quick update

Made it through the crunch of last week, and things should finally start slowing down now that we’re pretty much done with the end of the year fiscal closing and such.  Unfortunately that means I’ve not been able to work as much on the Astray for the last week.  It doesn’t help that I was playing Killzone 2 all week. 

Anyways, I have been keeping up with the pictures and will do some picture intensive posts of the sections this week, once I get the current pics uploaded. 

Current progress is as follows:

Built, seals/decals applied, topcoated – Legs, waist, torso
Built – Backpack, head

Overall, doing the buidling, seal application, topcoating of each piece as I build it could be taking more time then waiting to do seals until the end, but doing it piece by piece is probably breaking up the monotony and boredom of doing it in the end.  Also, a plus is if you do it as you go, you don’t have to worry about taking the kit apart after the fact to get at some of the hard to reach locations.  There are a few with the dry decals as well.

About 70% done now though with only the arms and weapons left.  Astray is defintely one of the easier PG builds, like the Strike model, and is almost a complete 180 degree flip compared to the W-Zero on complexity (no wiring, only 3 die cast parts, and only 1 screw!).  One thing I’ve noticed is that due to the fatness of the legs, particular the thighs, you”ll see a loss in mobility compared to the strike.  Poor Astray has a chafing problem you could say.

Anyways, a couple of photos from the cell phone until I can update with proper posts.