The Duel, along with Heavyarms, was always one of my favorite mobile suit designs. I loved its general simplicity and orange/blue scheme. The 1/100 No Grade kit had always been on my to-get list, but once the Master Grade was announced I scrapped those plans. The insanely detailed redesign seen in the early lineart for the new Duel was jaw-dropping. Its now become a hallmark of the new MG Seed kits.
Always liked the Duel without its armor best. The Assault Shroud’s nice and all, but it just adds a little too much bulk for my liking…never really catered to the Full Armor designs.
In its ground state, the Duel is insanely maneuverable. The new inner frame Bandai engineered with the GAT machines in mind is mind-blowing in how much it can move and how stable it is. Given the Duel’s inherit lack of armor as well, this is a highly articulate model. Colors, build, and everything are great. Love how stable the whole thing feels.
Again, articulation is pretty insane. Without the Assault Shroud, the Duel poses exceptionally well. Sticking with the basics – beam rifle and shield. The hands don’t sport individually articulated fingers anymore, like the older Master Grades. Only the thumb moves on a ball joint, while the primary hand has to be swapped out. Not a huge deal since it all works out well anyway, and in some cases is more stable.
I like it in this form in that everything there is essential; no loose or useless armor flaps hangin’ around and falling off; nearly every part of the suit is made so that it’s the bare basics of torso, head, arms, and legs.
Always had a thing for opening cockpits, one of the reasons I cater almost exclusively to Master Grades now. I remember the Duel’s cockpit didn’t actually open this way in the show, though it hardly matters; very impressed with Bandai actually being able to engineer around the awkward chest block; seems like it would be difficult to throw a cockpit hatch in there.
More of how awesomely dynamic this kit can look…the new details and scribes all over the kit (compared to the old HG/NG kits) is really breathtaking; I don’t think most MGs even have this level of detail.
Two basic beam sabers included in the backpack; you get two clear pink beams with ’em, though I was just too lazy to cut ’em out so I used my ‘ol Unicorn’s red beams, left over from forever ago.
Assault Shroud ON!
…meh. The detail on the armor is nice and all, and I suppose it fills the Duel out a little more (‘specially with the added skirts) but when you actually have the kit in person, it’s rather cumbersome and the skirts in particular tend to come off extremely easily.
The articulation is now severely restricted, ankles in particular, taking away the kit’s ability to pose wide on the ground. The waist also never had much articulation to begin with, but god them skirts…it’s a Knightmare. Every time you touch them, they’ll fall right off. I’ve even tried fixin’ ’em with glue to tighten the pegs, though it doesn’t so much.
The rail gun on the right shoulder and missile pod on the left are both pulled off well. The gun is actually very highly articulate, being able to swivel, rotate, and move up and down. The missiles on the left are also great in that you don’t need to paint ’em; they’re given in their actual colors and slot right in, and look pretty nice.
The Assault Shroud itself is also fairly easy to take on and off; while most of it isn’t loose, like the chest and legs, you don’t need to dismantle the entire kit to take the armor off.
So apparently the Duel was originally slated to have this giant hyper bazooka to round out its armament, seeing as it otherwise would’ve just sported a beam rifle, shield, and two sabers, to the other G Machines that had like three swappable equipment packs and invisibility cloaks.
The bazooka itself is actually a pretty nice weapon; the hands hold on to it pretty well, though there’s really no sideways movement with it whatsoever. The arm’s stuck in place while holding it, otherwise it’ll fall off. Essentially the Duel’s gonna have to turn its entire body to aim and fire the thing. It also originally came all in gray, and I went ahead and painted in the rounds on the back white.
Can’t really get any impressive poses out of the Assault Shroud, though that’s more my fault. I was so used to the XTREME posing of the basic Duel that when I tried to pull that kind of stuff off with the armor on, it didn’t turn out as well. It can pull off a basic shooting pose, though nothing like what was seen above.
Overall the Duel is a splendid kit as Master Grades go. My opinion is obviously biased in that I absolutely adore the mobile suit design, but the kit itself is generally pretty impressive. Articulation in its basic mode is jaw-dropping, and you have no stability, balance, or build issues there. Proportions and design are also top-notch.
Add on the Assault Shroud, however, and things get…bigger, to say the least. I don’t have too many design qualms with it, and most of the armor stays on pretty darn well, but it’s those damn skirts…both the front and back skirt armor have this stupidly nasty habit of popping out at the slightest breeze.