It is finally here: The second and final piece to the puzzle! I had a kitbash concept in my mind since January and I finally have the components I need to try it out. But before I jump into the kitbash, I decided, like the Gundam Astray Red Frame, to do a quick review of the kit. So without further ado, I present to you an out-of-box straight built 105 Dagger + Gunbarrel!
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The eye-catching component of the kit, without a doubt, is the Gunbarrel Striker. Similar to the Moebius Zero, the Gunbarrel Striker is a mobile armor with four wire-operated gunbarrel pods. This mobile armor, however, can transform into a Striker Pack, similar to Aile Striker: the flight unit for Strike Gundam
Each Gunbarrel pod can detach from the mobile armor and have the components to deploy its rail gun, though try to do so with a little caution. I was not rough playing with the Gunbarrel Striker, and one of the tabs that held the Gunbarrel to the mobile armor snapped almost immediately after assembling. It still holds together to a great degree, but it is only a matter of time before I start breaking the rest of the tabs if I am not careful.
In striker pack mode, there is an adapter that fits on the front after the nose has been folded upward (articulated by a double joint). The adapter is a single piece of plastic that is connected to a poly cap in the striker pack and can be inserted to the upper back of the 105 Dagger, which is received by another poly cap.
The stand is very specific to this kit and the lower stem is used to mount the Gunbarrel in mobile armor mode and rests at the back end of the Gatling gun, though relatively loose I would point out. Because the Gunbarrel Pods have two modes and optional pieces, the stand has slots to stow these tiny pieces under the stand and on the stem. They are somewhat loose for my taste, but they are still relatively secure.
Overall, the Gunbarrel Striker is a great simple piece, and worth every penny, even if it were to be displayed as a stand alone mobile armor.
Now on to the part that was, with some prediction, disappointing: 105 Dagger.
Understandably, this kit was released in 2004. Compared to the 2013 HG SEED kit I just reviewed, this kit pales - i mean pasty white sort of paling - in comparison. Granted, there is almost a decade's difference in engineering, and the Red Frame was designed to be articulate, even relative to kits of the same year. Even so, it is hard to review this kit without bias right after playing around with one of the best HG SEED kits ever created.
The build was overly simple with very few moving components. Shoulders are attached to fixed pegs on the torso, and the connection to the legs do not have a center-rotation piece. The abdomen is attached by a peg and polycap rather than a ball joint, so rotation is the only articulation. All in all, articulation is not 105 Dagger's strong suit
Color separation is relatively okay, though there are strips of black sticker that are for the arms and legs. It should not be a big deal if done right, similar to the 2001 MG G Gundam, it is just a factor that I wanted to point out. I believe there are also supposed to be some gray on the shoulders, but to get that color, Bandai gives the builder no choice but to paint.
Accessories, other than Gunbarrel Striker, include twin beam sabers, a rifle and a shield. The beam effects are not included in a way modern kits do as separate runners - they are attached to the 'A' plate - I am not certain how similar they are to the HGUC beams, but they certainly look like they are the same. There is nothing special about the rifle, and the color separation of the shield is just bad - the center is supposed to be yellow, but there is no sticker, let alone color separation by plastic. Without the yellow, the shield is really dull.
Overall, this kit's saving grace is the Gunbarrel Striker: Nothing else about the kit is in any way is appealing. If I did not have a kitbash in mind, the only two ways I would display this kit is the Gunbarrel Striker in mobile armor mode, or on the back of the Strike Gundam to replicate the mobile suit that Mu La Flaga pilots, named Gunbarrel Strike, in a Gameboy Advance game (as a non-canon bonus playable character), Mobile Suit Gundam Seed: Tomo to Kimi to Koko de.
I might do a custom paint job on the 105 Dagger. I'll have to avoid the dull colors of the Slaughter Dagger, so maybe I'll try out Tamiya JA Green with touches of Olive Drab and JA Gray. As for the Gunbarrel, as I stated in the beginning, it is the second and last piece of the puzzle for a custom project I have been thinking about since January: MBF-PV01+AQM/E-X04 Gundam Gunbarrel Astray.
The image above is a preliminary attempt to complete the kitbash. Unfortunately, the adapter to the Gunbarrel is a little smaller than that attachment point of the newer Astray kits, so the Gunbarrel Striker is very loose - to the point of falling out. I also had to remove the beam saber holster for the Striker pack to fit. There will be a lot of tweaking needed to be done before I even think about painting. I also plan on taking Gunbarrel Striker's nose off and using the Gatling gun as a stand-alone weapon, fusing one of the existing weapons to it for the handle.
An update on this project may not come so quickly, since there were unexpected, but almost predictable, problems with the compatibility of these kits. The biggest issue is fixing the Gunbarrel Striker without simply gluing the component to the back of the Red Frame.
Let me know what you think about the kitbash, until next time, thanks for reading!