Preview : Bandai HG 1/144 GAT-X105 Aile Strike Gundam

Kit Info
Manufacturer: Bandai
Scale: 1/144 HG
Media: Injection
Parts: 96 + 27 Polycaps
Price: S$21.00 (est. US$12.00)

The Subject
The GAT-X105 Strike Gundam was one of five experimental Mobile Suits developed by the OMNI Alliance to counter the mobile suits deployed by the ZAFT faction. It is the most versatile among the five units as it was given the ‘flexibility’ to be upgraded with weapons packs : Aile, Launcher and Sword. The Aile (‘Air’ in French) pack adds additional mobility in space to the Strike Gundam as well as flight capabilities on Earth. Weapons-wise, however, the Aile only adds two beam sabers to the Strike’s standard equipment list.

The Kit
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED just happens to be one of the first Gundam TV series that I’ve followed closely (I know the Gundam universe fairly well, but I haven’t seen stuff like Z Gundam, ZZ Gundam et al). I’m not much of Okawara’s fan when it comes to Gundam designs but on the whole, I do like his designs for Gundam SEED, with the Strike Gundam being my favorite.

This is the more complicated version of two 1/144 kits that are available in the mass-market. The HG series of Gundam SEED is equivalent to the HGUC Gundam series. Therefore, there are: covered joints, clear parts (well… in some of them anyway, not this kit), color-coordinated parts and ball joints. The Strike comes only with the Aile pack (you can use the Launcher and the Sword packs available in the No-Grade Strike Gundam kit if you want to arm your HG Strike although modifications are needed).

Because of the way the MS is designed and the way the parts are broken down, the kit’s legs will require a bit of planning to make the eventual painting of the kit easy. This involves a simple cut to the leg to separate the parts. Unlike most HGUC kits, this kit will require a fair bit of prep work due to a number of fairly obvious seamlines.

Construction looks to be fairly straightforward and based on the box photos, it will be a pretty poseable kit too. Quite remarkable considering the scale. While I would have preferred that they provided clear beam sabers, I tend to not display my kits with beam sabers anyway so this is a minor point to quibble about. Like the HGUC series, the fists are oversized for the scale and unless one buys the expensive resin hands or scratchbuilds a set, there’s nothing much that can be done.

Proportions-wise, this is in my opinion, the best looking (in my opinion anyway) Strike Gundam kit in the market right now. It even looks better than the MG version I think. The 1/100 scaled Strikes suffer from having big hips. This is probably because of the fact that they are compartments for the Strike’s daggers (officially called ‘Armor Schneider combat knives’ but I call them as I see them). The HG doesn’t have the compartments so the hips are much thinner and streamlined. Other design elements also make it one of the better renditions of the Strike in the market – smaller feet and less bulky shoulders.

As usual, Bandai includes a set of stickers instead of water-slide decals for this kit. Seeing as how the Strike is supposed to be devoid of markings, this is not really a big deal.

All in all, another nice little kit from Bandai. Their 1/144 scale kits are getting better engineered now and that’s good news for everyone.

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