Click here for the Full Album
The third year of college brought many different things into my life; one of them was the discovery of Red Frame Astray. However, I could not get my hands on the Master Grade kit. Fast forward to 2014; with the dawning of Build Fighters, a mysterious new challenger appeared before me. It was the Red Frame, but with a kind of Samurai / Juvenile Delinquent feel to it. The Sengoku Astray. It was perfect; the golden trophy standard that I needed to put on my shelf. However, this would all change the more I saw.
Un-Boxing / First Impressions
When I first looked at the box, there was something that really bothered me. All the kits I saw from the Build Fighters universe showed the mobile suit in high contrast. The pose of the mobile suit showed how cool the item in question was. The Sengoku however is standing in a defensive pose, and is blended with the background; It does not pop out at me. In fact, I passed by the kit several times before I found it in the Toys R Us in Sasebo, Japan.
Of course the Sengoku being a High Grade, it was expected that pieces like the Oni mask shield and the katanas were all single pieces of plastic. The plates came in red, white, dark grey and light grey most of which was red and white. Dark grey was dominated by the Sode (shoulder armor for samurais) and the light grey was the lower section of the core.
Building / Color Separation
Like with the M-1 Astray and the Astray Red Frame, the armor plates surrounding the red frame are few and far between. This made it an interesting build because it felt like I was piecing together an inner frame despite the fact that it was a High Grade kit. However, the additions added to make this the Sengoku version really subtract from that idea. The shoulders surround the front and back of the arms and go past the elbows, the giant Sengoku knees block out the knee joint, and the suneate (greaves or shin guards) block out the bare shins that were there before.
These would all be fine, however not even the Master Grade counterpart has any color separation in these aspects; there is no hint of any metalic detailing, or separate gem holders (whatever those green shiny things are) or anything. Although yes, I could agree that there is really nice color separation especially in the legs, and all over its back, however I would add this; it is all covered up by what makes it the Sengoku version.
In addition, the massive knee pieces are actually attached to the thigh armor and awkwardly cover the calf and knee. Of all the pieces mention thus far, these knee caps feel the weakest and are the farthest attached pieces on the kit. This is because the thigh armor plates are connected to the inner frame by one point and the knee armor is then hooked on to the bottom of said armor plate. Despite the fact that I mention this, the armor plate only fell off once while trying to find the maximum articulation of the leg.
The additions that make this kit unique also make this kit less posable. For example, the arms are double jointed which means it should be able to touch it shoulders. It does, but the shoulder happens to be as low as the elbow. This means the arm can only bend ninety degrees when facing forward.
Speaking of the shoulders, the Sode, when stowed, also get in the way of the arms from moving outward. This ceases to be a problem when the sode are unhooked to transform into the hulk hands, but will only move about 10 degrees otherwise.
The core movement had no problems, but I did find the side skirts fall off easily. So watch out for that when moving the legs or the core around. Because the pelvic area has no typical dangling skirt armor, the legs are free to move basically anywhere. one eighty degree splits to epic soccer kicks; all of this is possible at the joints by the pelvis. However, the legs can not stand parallel due to the over sized knees.
In my Opinion
You know what, forget everything I just said; I love this kit! The Red Frame is great; the Sengoku is a great twist to the kit; the swords on the shoulders is unique; this kit, with a little work, will look terrific on the shelf! So what if you can not make this kit stand at attention. No Ronin should be posed at attention; they have no lord over them, they do what they want! HULK FISTS! who questions hulk fists? This guy has four arms! FOUR ARMS! in fact, I should get two Master Grades so I can have FOUR SWORDS FOR ALL FOUR ARMS!
Anyways, I was excited for this kit when I first heard about it, and I enjoyed building it. Sure, I have my complaints, but it is a High Grade; what High Grade is perfect?