Ah, AGE…I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a legitimate Gundam series get so much hate from the fans who have never bothered trying it out. Regardless of how the TV show fared though, I certainly liked a few of the mobile suit designs. I know I’m not the only Guntoka who signaled out the AGE-2 Normal as my all-time favorite.
The AGE-2 Normal SP Version appeared in all of two episodes in-series, but I still fell in love with the all white color scheme as soon as I saw it. Unfortunately for both myself and many other fellow Guntokas around the world, the AGE-2 SP only ever got an exclusive HG (the exclusive Memory of Eden Master Grade kit was just announced recently, but its ugly faded yellow parts are nasty) so I took it upon myself to actually attempt another full-on custom paint job…
Do know that this is my like…first legitimate attempt at an actual full-custom job. I’ve done some things in the past with Gunpla before, but those never amounted to much, never had much effort put into them, and should all just die quietly with the flow of time.
I’m still a novice at large-scale paint jobs (I like to think I do small detail parts well) so naturally I cut some corners with this kit. The only parts I sprayed white were the non-white parts on the kit…the pieces that came in white plastic already, I left alone. I know true modelers would spray over those as well, and it would prevent any texture and shading inconsistency, but in the end it really didn’t matter…it’s all white.
Not gonna lie, painting a Master Grade knowing that if I screw up a $50+ kit would be wasted was kind of a daunting aspect. Kind of why I only ever painted extensively on cheaper kits in the past, because if I mess up the stakes wouldn’t be as high.
The actual painting process itself was a long and arduous journey, full of dungeons, dragons, life-changing battles, heroes and heroines.
Just for this project, I went ahead and poked a box full of holes, stuck toothpicks in them, and stuck the to-be painted pieces said toothpicks and sprayed it all down at once. It was a fairly effective method, just gotta make sure you get all the angles and sides of all the pieces.
White is notorious for being one of the hardest colors to paint on. Usually one coat is way too thin, unless its on white plastic itself or a very light color. You’d need several coats (anywhere up to like 5) to get a solid white color. But in doing that, the paint gets very thick, which is no bueno.
Turned out to be one coat of silver as a base, then spray the white over it and BOOM solid white. Worked out extremely well on the blue pieces of the AGE-2, I was very pleased. The other colors on the kit (red and yellow) however, proved to be stubborn little butts…
For some reason, a single coat of silver over the red and yellow pieces would yield a fine result, beautiful silver finish. However, when I tried to apply the second coat of white, all hell broke loose. I don’t know what kind of dark gypsy magic was infused in those plastic pieces, but every single time, the yellow or red would leak through the white. The silver went on fine and covered it all though! How does it leak through and tint the piece in those colors?! How does it work beautifully on the blue and have a smooth white finish but somehow on the other colored pieces it decides to run wild?! I’ll never understand this paint chemistry.
In the end I all but gave up on spraying those pieces; I went ahead and just glomped on my regular white acrylics. Brush and water-based paint gets the job done. While not smoothly, it still got the job done. You can tell some parts are brighter and thicker-looking than the rest, like the stomach area, because of the thick acrylic paint.
Here’s a list of the paints used (all regular house or crafts sprays, you can buy them at Wal-Mart or a crafts store like Michael’s and JoAnn’s)
- Design Master Super Silver
- Krylon Fusion for Plastic Satin White
- Krylon Metallic Silver
Panel-lining was also an interesting adventure on this kit. I used the usual Gundam Marker to line most of it, including the painted areas. However, some of the painted parts required some extra work, including sanding and repainting, which ultimately ended up erasing some of the original panel lines. As a result some parts have lost some detail (bottom of the Hyper DODS Rifle) and some lines are a bit messy.
Head, eyes, and chest bloc were all painted with the usual Metallic Green Gundam Marker by hand.
Alright, now with all the paint ranting out of the way we can turn to the actual model kit itself.
I love the AGE-2’s mobile suit design in and of itself, but I’m honestly pretty sorely disappointed with the Master Grade as a model kit. The paint aside, this is just not a very stable kit.
I think it’s due to the transformation gimmick, as well as the fact that it has such a slender build, the inner frame is just a hollow skeleton barely able to support itself. The legs are particularly horrible, with the knee areas being poorly designed. The kit is literally weak at the knees.
Another very irritating thing about this kit is the shoulders. They feature this “locking” mechanism that…doesn’t actually lock. It’s based on a polycap, so naturally the connection is very loose, and the way it’s designed, that single area is supposed to hold the weight of the entire arm up. Needless to say this is too much of a burden for one polycap to handle, so the shoulders sag downwards rather often. “Locking” them back in place doesn’t do much, they just fall right back out.
The giant wing binders are also much more obstructive than I thought. But hey, they actually look really cool so you get a nice trade-off.
AGE-2’s standard armament is the Hyper DODS Rifle and a dinky shield that doesn’t look like it serves any real purpose. The rifle is pretty nice, I love its design, and the AGE-2 can actually hold it fairly well. It has a clip that plugs into the underside of the wrist to hold it steady.
Included are also two standard flat-edge beam sabers. Very simple stuff, the hilts are stored on the back skirts.
A big gripe I have with the beam sabers comes from the AGE-2’s hands. While it doesn’t really have much of a problem holding the Hyper DODS Rifle, for some reason the hands themselves are stupidly loose.
AGE-2 uses the same new swap-out manipulator system that Bandai’s been using for many of their recent kits, but for some reason its fingers are extra loose and fall out at the drop of a button. This can be fixed with some glue, but it was nonetheless very irritating at first.
Wave Rider Mode G-Strider Mode
I’ve transformed this kit once and shall never do it again. I did it for the sake of the three shots taken in this review, and I shall never attempt to turn AGE-2 into Strider mode again. it was an absolute Knightmare.
I now understand why I hardly ever see fully painted kits transformed. I cried tears of blood as paint chipped during the transformation.
The entire process seemed much more complicated than it should have been, and the paint notwithstanding, the entire kit was very difficult to work with. Definitely not a smooth and easy transformation, and while the pay-off actually looks pretty cool (I like the X-Wing vibe) it’s not something I’d ever do again, and the kit’s biped form suffers from this feature.
BABY COME BACK!!~ ROMARY DON’T LEAVE ME!!~
At the end of the day, I like to consider this a successful first custom paint job. It certainly isn’t anywhere near perfection, but I suppose I can say I got what I wanted to do done. The AGE-2 itself as a kit was a pretty big let-down, barring any of the custom painting. However, that only speaks for its play value. Aesthetically speaking, I love this model.
I’m still a huge fan of the AGE-2’s design, and this makes a great kit in the display cabinet to look at, but I just wish my favorite suit from AGE would have some more play value to it. I think the biggest thing it suffers from was Bandai trying too hard with the transformation system and fitting it all in there, but that’s really nothing new. Almost every transformable kit to date has had its fair share of stability issues, AGE-2 just got the really short end of the stick.
In short, if you’re looking for a kit to mess around with and re-pose often, I’d advise steering clear of Asemu’s suit. I’d say Flit’s AGE-1 fares much better in that department. Nevertheless, I’m proud of my first custom paint job and I can safely say it makes quite the fabulous display piece.