The State of the Gunpla Union – 073009

This week’s notes, along with a photo dump of various pictures over the last few months.

 First off, the Exia snap-build is done.  This is a kit that would benefit from panel lining, so that’s something to do between Sinanju sessions over the next few weeks. 

exia03

 Quick impressions :

  • Smaller than I thought, but that’s to be expected of anything other than Sinanju.
  • Hologram strip parts are neat, but really don’t stand out from a distance. 
  • The led GN drive is cool. 
  • Don’t really like the feet, while having toe, sole, heel for articulation, they kind of suck. 
  • The bling bling swords really come off nice. 
  • The only problem though is again, Bandai puts the sprue cutting points on the blade, so you get a nice chunk of the finish cut off no matter what you do.  
  •  Also the regular swords (hell if I can remember if it’s GN 1, 2, or whatever) tend to fall off the hands pretty easy.  
  • Lastly, it’s not easy, or even recommended to switch between regular Exia and Repair version, so for those who want both, you’ll have to pick up one standard kit and one ignition kit.  For those who then want both kits to light up, you’ll need two ignition kits.

 Now, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and pose with it just yet though, just finished, so these are just initial impressions.  Still, at the cost for the gimmicks, and weapons alone is well worth it.   Overall, was worth waiting past all the HGUC kits and 1/100 kits for this.   Makes you wonder what’s nexts in the Gundam 00 MG line up, hopefully they do the other Gundam’s before jumping to 00, although I would be interested in an O Gundam.

 Next up, the HGUC Kshatriya has been announced for an October release, but I finally stopped to check out the price.  At around a whopping 4200 yen, this is ringing in as a high baller.  Unfortunately, while the price of the MG line is gradually going up, a majority of the kits have managed to stay in the 3000 to 5000 yen range.  HG kits, as we see here, tend to run the gambit though, which some being available for as low as 300 yen, to 4000 yen plus.  I for one would like to see a little more stability in their lower end model line.  I’d buy the Kshatriya at that price if it was an MG kit, but HG is going to make me pause.

Moving on, the buyer for the remaining HGUC Green Tokyo Project Gundam 30th kit has fallen through from lack of response.  If interested, it’s asking price is $40 US dollars (or 4,000 yen) shipped anywhere in the world.  Please post or mail if interested.

Now for the Sinanju summer project, for the time being, I’m stuck waiting for good weather.  Unfortunately the color I picked is fairly sensitive to humidity, going so far as to have a warning to not spray on humid days.  So the project is going to go fairly slow for a while. 

Lastly, I’d like to do a little photo dump of random pictures taken over the last couple of weeks.  I had thought about making it a separate little trend, but figured I’d tack them on the my State of the Gundam Union posts whenever the pictures have piled up.

Here’s the Gunpla parts shop that Danny Choo mentioned before.  It’s the Yellow Submarine shop in the Radio Kaikan, 4th floor.  Quite a load of parts, so could be good if you wanted to stock up on a variety of weapons, etc.  The prices varied from 200~300 yen to 3000 yen(!).   Planning on hitting it up again this weekend so will try and take more pictures.

 pd01

Yellow Submarine also carries pro shop releases.  They had quite a few of the Mechanical Clear Gundam 2.0 available.  I’m debating picking up one the next time I go.  The only problem is that Pro Shop releases can’t be discounted, even by places like Bic Camera, so it’s the full 4,410 yen…

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While checking out the 4th floor of the Radio Kaikan, I saw quite an awesome life sized helmet and figure for Gabranth from FFXI.  Unfortunately, the helmet is over $1,00 dollars, and the figure, while bad-ass, is also around $450 dollars.

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Akihabara Station’s Electric City Exit is under construction.  Wonder how they “new” Station will look

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Debating on making a jump to my first DSLR.  While apparently the Olympus Pen is not technically a “true” DSLR, it’s got style, and takes damn good pictures by the samples I’ve seen.  Now just to use my upcoming 30th birthday as an excuse to get around the price…

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Last, saw my first rainbow in a very long time, while out in Kohoku New Town for dinner. 

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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

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
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Partially built
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We have light!
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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
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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.

Gunpla Construction: PG Gundam Astray Part 1

We’ll catch up with the GFFMC in a few days, but first up, the Astray.  I finished up the feet plus the inner armor of both legs plus the outer armor of one of the legs.  Overall, for the most part the legs are the same as the strike.  We see obvious differences in the feet and the outer armor though.  I do like the dark red color of the frame, it’s really nice.  The outer armor, especially around the knee is really fat compared to the strike.  not sure if I’m liking the swollen knee look just yet, but we’ll see. 

This time around I’m going to try building the part, doing the lining, then putting on the seals/decals before moving on to the next part.  One thing is all the decals here are dry decals as well, so got to try not to screw up on the transfers!  Anyways, should finish up the other leg, do decals, and put top coat on both legs tomorrow night at this rate.

Today’s  total work time: 5 hours

Overall total work time: 5 hours