WiP: PG Strike Freedom #05

With the mobile suit itself finished, we move onto the next step, the wing units and dragoons.  Otherwise known as the tedious part.  We all joke about weapons block, or decal block, and what not that tends to hit almost every model kit out there, but in this case, the Strike Fredeem has boring repetitive parts block.  I found the best way to handle this was to just do it in bits and pieces off and on over the last week and a half or so.  Business trips and the usual company affairs did keep me away for some nights so it’s not like it really takes that long.  It just feels like it does.

So, onto the dragon units themselves. Considering that there are eight dragoons, I went ahead and knocked this out over a couple of nights.  I did a couple the first night to get it down, then set up an assembly to knock out the rest the next day.  In particular, nothing special about this, just a gimmick to slide the “thruster” part of the dragoon in when you attach it to the wing tip.

A jumble of parts, all this just for the dragoons

A step by step from top to bottom for the complete dragoon build.

Setting up the assembly line.

After working on the dragoons, we move onto the wings themselves.  Basically there are four wing units with two wing tips, if that makes sense.  It still means that you’re building eight wing tip units though.  I knocked these out as well over three nights doing two or three units a night.

The parts needed to put the wing tip together.

Put together you get some simple interlocking movement as well.

Which you can see the range below with the dragoons attached.

The second wing type, pretty much the same except for the top, which will connect the wing to the previous built wings.

Same range of extension as the last parts.

So after building all this wings, it’s time to put wing type A together with wing type B.

And throw on the top and you’ve got one of your four wing sets.

All four finished.

What you don’t see in the above pictures are the gold decals that are put on to highlight the wings and dragoons.  I’m planning on saving those after panel lining and top coating.  Overall, the wings are just huge.  The length of one is easily the height of your average MG.  The interlocking movement, while simple, works well.  The downside is that the gold latticework, for lack of a better word, doesn’t pop back into the wing easy on some of the wings.  Also, like Buster noted, putting the dragoons on and having them stay in the closed position can be touchy sometimes. I’ve taken apart a few of the wings and put them back together, but still have touch parts, or less that smooth movement.

Overall, the gimmicks work well, but when you have 8 of the same thing, the probability of one of those wings not working as well as stated increases significantly.  While good for posing as well, there is no extra attachments for the back to have dragoons flying around, like the MG Hi-Nu.  Again, I come back to very solid kit, but with some design choices left to be questioned…

So that leaves very little left to do, just the connecter for the wings and the backpack.  But that will be a section all its own, as I plan on tackling the wing joint fix.

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WiP: PG Strike Freedom #04

So I’ve finished up the mobile suit portion of the PG Strike Freedom, and we’ll take a look at some shots.  As I’ve mentioned before, the gold plated and extra finish parts of the frame only cover maybe 75% of what’s actually visible.  Overall this doesn’t distract too much, at least at this point, but it’s still a small disappointment after such hype what made about the finish.  So let’s take a look at some shots and you all can judge for yourselves.

The biggest offender of the bunch, the waist mounted giant rail guns

Unfortunately the back of each of the waist armor pieces aren’t plated either.

The waist itself, as well as the fairly visible leg/waist joint there.

As see with the rail gun attached

Right on the ankle joint, but not really noticeable here

The side of the lower leg, also not as noticeable here

The arm is fairly fine, save around the elbow area. Unfortunately you get nub marks on the back side which are visible.

The shoulders, when extended, you can see some yellow.

Overall, the biggest stand out has to be around the waist area and the reail guns at this point for me. Considering how you slide the rail guns around to the back, the yellow is visible, even when you put the beam rifles in their place. Also, a huge complaint I have about the rail guns is they fit very loosely on the pegs, and will fall off easy. Due to the way they are made, you can’t stick the peg in all the way to get a good fit, so I find it a little frustrating.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for the mobile suit. The build is solid and I find the engineering to great. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table like PG 00 Raiser did with locking functions for arms and legs, and GN drives, but it is solid. Unfortunately, the planning on the extra finish/gold plated parts falls short, and it shows. This means you have to go that extra mile to touch things up if you want the full effect. Of course it can be argued that a Perfect Grade is all about going that extra mile for perfection, but I thought that when you drop 26,000 yen, or well over $300 for a PG, you’re paying for that perfection already included. Slight rant if you will, but you want to go into a PG kit expecting the best, and so at this point I’ve seeing great, but not best.

So, here’s a bunch of quick shots of the mobile suit for you, and this weekend I plan on moving onto the final part, the dragoon system.

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #03

Moving on with the build, we’ll go ahead and jump into the waist, arms, and rail guns.  Starting off with the waist, there really isn’t anything special about the build.

The parts for the waist

Put together

As I mentioned before, I’ll be skipping the build pictures for the legs, as GaiGun has a good post up on them already.  But still to give you an idea of how they look, here are the feet and legs for you.

Feet

Legs

Pretty articulate at this point

Putting what we’ve built together and…

Next up, the arms and rails guns. Honestly, there isn’t anything special about the arms either. In regards to the waist mounting rail guns however, the curse of yellow plastic that I mentioned last post rears its ugly head yet again.

A completed arm with the pieces required

Also pretty articulate at this point

Completed rail gun and parts needed

Unfortunately, no plated or extra finish gold here

With the arms finished, we’ve come to the end of the frame build at this point.

Completed frame

Overall, the design and construction is rock solid, as befitting a PG kit. There are no complaints here, but at the same time, there isn’t much that’s “new” aside from the various gold plate/extra finish parts. If anything, the one disappointment in regards to the gold is for as hard as they tried to make it work well with all visible parts, it still comes off half ass considering how much of the regular yellow plastic looks to be visible. Of course, it may not be as bad as I’m making it out to be once I actually put on the armor. So, the net plan is to move onto the outer armor for the mobile suit. Depending on how things look, I’ll consider painting the visible frame parts. So the next post will be looking at just that.

Just how will it turn out…?

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #02

Continuing on with the WiP for the Strike Freedom, today we continue on with the backpack and torso. The backpack itself isn’t a complicated affair, but I run into an issue that will rear it’s head a few times during this build.

The parts for the backpack

As you see above, it’s a pretty simple affair of putting the two halves together and snapping on the thrusters. You notice as well that there are only 3 plated gold parts, the thrusters and a part that sticks out a little in the rear. Completed the backpack looks like this.

Side

Back

Front

So that issue that I just mentioned? It’s that not all the visible gold parts are of the plated, or extra-finish type. With the backpack, obviously Bandai is assuming that you’ll be too busy with the Dragoons to notice, but even then, I find it to be lazy, considering how well they designed most of the rest of the kit.

Speaking of the Dragoons, I’ve left them for last, due to the other engineering foresight, brought up by Plamo Addiction. There are a variety of methods to counter the joint issue, but I’ll think about that at the end.

Anyways, sticking the backpack on the stand and you get something like the below. In regards to the stand, I’ll direct you to GaiGun’s WiP #0 on that.

Stand

So with the backpack out of the way, let’s move on to the torso. Going through this, it seems to be fairly standard torso fare, similar to the PG Strike or PG Astray. We have a “center” block style, and then the “left” and “right” torso sides. These then slide into the “center” block.

We start off with the cockpit

Completed cockpit with the “central” block pieces

Some sliding action for the cockpit there.

And the completed “central” torso. You see where the “side” torso pieces hook in.

The side torso pieces.

Left side completed.

And the torso, completed.

From there we stick on plated gold parts for the chest vents and neck area, but I’ll showcase that next part when I look at the waist area. So far, there’s been nothing spectacular with the build, but this is pretty basic stuff right now, and as always, there’s only so much you can do with the torso. Next up, I’ll be moving onto the waist or arms. In regards to the legs, rather than double post, I’m just going to direct you to GaiGun’s WiP #2, as he does a great job.

But, the one thing I’m seeing, and you’ll see in upcoming WiP’s, is the curse of the visible yellow frame will strike again.  Meaning, I’m going to have paint some of the frame to have some consistency.  Now what gold to use…

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #01

As noted by my initial 00 WiP, I’ve already jumped in and started on the head. Let’s start off easy and ramp it up from there. So let’s take a look, shall we?

The parts for the head

You may note the led there, unfortunately, while it’s strong enough for the eyes, it’s obviously quite lacking for the front and back clear sensor areas, so for those who want to have some color there, you may want to look at painting or doing something there. One thing I do like is the vulcans are made of two pieces, with the black standing out a bit more than just one white piece.

Halfway done.

And before you know it, the head is complete. Overall impression looks good, so I went ahead and panel lined it. There’s one decal for the head, but I’m debating on waiting for the most likely water slide release. Again, kudos to Bandai for never releasing water slides at the same time with the kit.

Front

Side

Back

And with the head done, I jumped straight into the beam rifles, as I have a tendency to hit weapons block if I leave them for last. As is, they are both fairly simple to build with only slight differences allowed for the combining feature.

Parts for the first beam rifle

And completed.

Second beam rifle parts

Closer look at how it comes together

Closer look at how it comes together

Completed and with the second beam rifle

This rifle has some connected movement, pull back and the sensor moves up.

So, stick one up the, ahem… other rifles rear and…

You get a giant ass rifle!

With rifles out of the way, I feel relieved knowing I won’t have to drag myself to do them at the end. So far at this point, all is simple, and I’ve managed to use up 1 of the 55 runners. Now 54 more to go. Next up, jumping around again, we move on to the backpack and torso.

WiP: PG Strike Freedom #00

As mentioned, the PG Strike Freedom arrived on Friday, and while I wanted to jump in, business kept me away for the weekend.  However, I’m back and it’s time to unbox and get ready to get at this monster kit.  First off, one thing I notice is despite this PG being the biggest in terms of volume and runners, it comes in a smaller box than you would imagine.  The OO Gundam Raiser kit and the GP-01 definitely take the cake for big boxes, but Bandai stuff 55 total runners in this box rather efficiently.

Front

Back

Sides

Unfortunately, while cutting back on box size, you have a ton of plastic bags to open up to get at the runners themselves.  So much for thinking ecological?  But still, just the sheer amount of runners is amazing.  The wife was definitely wondering when I would stop taking runners out of the box.  She was also not happy with the amount of plastic bags leftover from unbagging.  I think it must have taken five minutes just to get the runners unbagged….

Mount Plastic Baggies

After getting these all unbagged, we go from Mount Plastic Baggies to Mount Plastic, as all I can say is wow, this kit is going to take some time!  Having been building HG kits lately, I’ve started to get used to building a small kit with 5 or 6 runners, but unboxing this kit reminds me of the effort and dedication that a PG requires.

Runners

With everything unbagged, it’s back in the box.

Normally I organize my runners in alphabetical order, but the idea of doing that with 55 runners wasn’t appealing, so I went with separating by color. Looking close at the runners, we see that dull yellow gold color (I hate this color, it looks so cheap and bleh) runners take up quite a large portion of the kit.  Thankfully the design calls for those yellow parts to hidden behind armor, and uses extra finish to be used for visible areas.  My bigger concern going forward will be how gate placement will be for other pieces.  The downside of PG size means you have larger gates, which means larger damage is always a possibility.  Speaking of going forward, my plan will be to work on the PG Strike during the week after work, depending on how many Japanese end of the year parties I have to attend, while continuing to make the MG ReZel my weekend project.  Rather than going in order as well, I’ll probably be jumping around, and will most likely do the head, dragoons, and weapons first.

WiP #01 coming soon!