Thursday, April 26, 2012

MG Gundam AGE-1 Normal Part 7

Somewhat like 1/100 scale, somewhat like Master Grade

Time to complete my first Master Grade kit of this year: Gundam AGE-1 Normal which was left in the closet since late March. ^^

Even though the Titus and Sparrow forms are already out, with the latter just released today, this is still the latest Bandai release in my collection. Right now most of my expenditures on hobby are used to continue my "pursuit" for older model kits I like but missed when they first came out, or to pre-order future action figure releases. Spending on recent model kit releases in kind-of on halt at the moment, not that they are not good, but they are not my priorities right now. With that said, somehow the Master Grade series seemed to have stopped with Gundam AGE-1 Normal for me XD

As usual, the weapons will go first. ^^

Parts of the DODS Rifle.

(Left) The rifle's body has many one-piece parts that cleverly hide the seam line between them. ^^
(Right) Two components for the entire rifle.

The handgun mode.

The handle is movable, and the main purpose of this joint design seems to be to facilitate an easier connection to the hand unit.

The connector on the bottom mount rack part is movable as well, but its application will be more important when the rifle is in its Normal mode.
The handle's connection to the mount rack part is via a ball-type joint that allows some degree of turning, which is more visible when the rifle is handheld.

The two movable joint's "knobs" can be seen below the mount rack part: on the left is the connector, which only allows swivel rotation; on the right is the handle's ball-type joint.

The DODS Rifle in Normal mode.

The rifle barrel can be flipped upward until the side sensor covers the one on top ...

... for a super simple transformation of the weapon into its Sniper mode.

In Sniper mode, the supporting handle can be expanded.

Parts of the shield.

Done for the shield.
The design seems fairly simple for a Master Grade kit.

Dry transfer decal of Earth Federal Forces' emblem applied in Part 6.

Parts of the beam sabers/daggers.

Just two parts each for the handle.

Beam sabers.

Beam daggers.
The beam parts come repeated straight from 1/100 Gundam Exia.

All the weapons for this MG kit. ^^

Done with the weapons, moving on to the inner frame of Gundam AGE-1 Normal with its arms first. ^^

Inner frame parts of the arms and shoulders.

As with the legs, mechanical details on this kit can be found mostly on the "horizontal" faces of the parts, which are almost entirely segments between the joints.

As effective as it is, the elbow joint design is extremely simple. ^^

Major components of the arms' inner frame.

(Left) The long peg joint from the elbow connects all the way till the forearm part.
(Right) The completed inner frames of the arms.

The shoulder armor's joint is attached only via simple clip-on to the shoulder joint's polycap part.

Using a separate joint inside the shoulder armor's inner frame, the latter can be flipped upward.

The completed inner frame of both arms.

Parts of the hand units.

Only the palm area and thumb require assembly.
Each hand has four different "expressions" to present. ^^

Each finger set has a tab to connect to the palm.

The thumb has two movable joints. ^^
While its flexibility is very impressive, it's actually the only finger with articulation in this kit. ^^;

The four hand unit configuration.

With the hand units attached to their respective arms.

Very crazy articulation design for the wrist, definitely the best so far in my collection. ^^

The forearm can be rotated, but its application is more useful for the left arm and the shield's connection I think.

Mounting the right hand to the DODS rifle is no easy task unfortunately. ^^;
There's a tab inside the trigger-type finger set that snaps onto the rifle's handle.

The finger set must be attached to the handle first before assembling the whole thing to the palm area.
The rifle must be adjusted upward while the bottom mount rack part must be expanded widely so that the two segments don't collide with the wrist during the assembly.

The last step in the entire weapon "setup" is to lock the mount rack part's connector into the polycap behind the forearm.

The right arm equipped with DODS Rifle.

Swivel joint of the mount rack connector allows the rifle to move with the hand unit without affecting the former.

Mounting the shield to the left forearm is a lot easier than the rifle's configuration. ^^

With just a turn for the forearm, the shield can appear to be on its back, or the side of it.

There's no tab/slot for the beam saber/dagger type finger set. It's purely tight grip that keeps the weapon locked inside the hand.

I like the finger sets' design very much. They are certainly a lot more natural-looking as compared to the "one-hand-for-all-purpose" type in most older releases or the ones from "Gundam UC". ^^; The joints between the fingers are more visible, giving them a nice mechanical feel. ^^

Then again, the troublesome configuration for the beam rifle made me missed the old hand units a lot. It wasn't even fun for the first time, as I was struggling to move the thumb, flip the bottom mount rack and adjust the connector to match the forearm polycap, all done while worrying that the decals on the rifle and clear stickers on the back of the hand might be affected. ^^;

So far, the articulation design of the wrist is a huge positive point of this kit, the troublesome rifle connection on the other hand is not really my favorite design.

Moving on to the legs and waist next. ^^

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