Quick Review: Gundam Astray Red Frame (Flight Unit)

The following is a quick review: My thoughts on the 2013 HG Astray Red Frame. Because I plan to use this for a custom project, I did not apply any stickers and kept panel lining to a minimum. Click Here for the full Imgur album.

From the very beginning of my hobby reboot, I had my eye on a Red Frame. It is an eye catching design with sleek, smooth curves in harmony with hard cut corners, the poses I have seen the Perfect and Master Grade pull off are simply amazing, and who can deny a mobile suit with katanas? I knew I would pick one up, but I did not know I would be getting a High Grade version.
I have always regarded High Grades as economy kits with poor articulation, but kit after kit in the High Grade line, I find that these cheap 1/144 scale Gunpla are still very good, especially for kits that lack an inner frame.

The Astray Red Frame (Flight Unit) is no exception. In fact this High Grade kit is an exception of the opposite: its articulation is amazing relative to many High Grades. There are double joints on the feet, there are four different articulation points on the arms, and the waist is made up of two different articulation points. With so many articulation points on the Red Frame, the poses one can pull of is unbelievable, especially for a High Grade.

To top his kit off, there are quite a few accessories included: Two beam sabers, using the long flat blades introduced in either 00 or AGE, a beam rifle and shield that can be stored on the flight unit, the iconic katana, and a BuCue head with HGUC effect beams coming out on each end.

Though there are many amazing features on this kit, there are also some disadvantages alongside the features. Because of the Red Frame's articulation and slender body, there are some loose parts to the kit. The two pieces that stand out as loose are the side skirts and the white pieces on the back of each calf. The side skirt armor tends to fall out easily, causing posing the sheeth attached to the skirt armor frustrating. 
The calf piece tends to fall off when the leg is bent, blocking the leg from going straight again. This can be solved with a little glue, but that should never be a solution if Bandai just made the piece better.
Another problem I was having is the articulation. Yes, its a good thing to be have a good range of motion to pull of some really good poses, but it is double-edged sword: the amazing range of motion also makes getting the pose perfect really frustrating, since you're fiddling with 2 or 3 joints rather than just 1. It is not a deal breaker, but it is definitely an aspect that needs to be addressed for anyone interested in the kit.

Overall, the kit is great and I highly suggest it to anyone who is even slightly interested in this Gunpla to get it. Yes, some pieces would look better if painted, and there are quite a few stickers, but even without the stickers and paint, Red Frame as a lot of detail in the plastic, and looks amazing.

Thank you for reading (or skimming) my quick review. If you're looking for a more in-depth review, check out rrobbert184's video review series. My general overview does not cover nearly as much as rrobbert does.

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