HGCE Aile Strike Gundam

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It should be no secret by now that I’m a total Strike fanboy. It’s probably (read: definitely) my favorite mobile suit design ever, and I’ve come to own just about every model kit iteration it’s spawned. I had never really been into High Grades much before now, but if I were to choose any suit to kick off my HG All Gundam Project collection, it’s a no-brainer that the new and improved Strike would be at the top of my list.

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I don’t have the original High Grade model that came out with SEED‘s first airing to compare here, but it’s obvious from a glance that this Remastered kit has been heavily stylized and especially streamlined. Gone are the big goofy clown feet and chubby wubby calves – the proportions are now somehow petite and muscular at the same time.

For my All Gundam Project, I’ve decided to do every kit in uniform – they will all sport Gunmetal Gray frames and painted matte stock finishes. I’m not simply going over all the armor with matte coat though – the colors will remain uniform throughout each kit that shares a color (which there will be a lot of, since Lead Gundams usually don’t get too creative with their common palettes) by way of full color repaints. I’ve done this once before with a friend’s HG AGE-2 Gundam Dark Hound and I rather loved the results.

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I’ll also be doing as much seam line work as I can on these kits and basically tuning them up to look exactly as they do in the manuals, sans the custom touch of a Gunmetal frame in place of flat gray.

Strike’s articulation here is superb – helped in no small part by the near-complete inner frame and advanced modern-day joints it employs. The toes of the feet don’t quite have individual movement, but the hips are on more than just ball joints and the elbows and knees can all bend as far as the armor allows.

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As I hadn’t worked on a High Grade in quite some time, I often forget how absolutely tiny 1/144 scale really is. I was a bit bummed that it was basically impossible to paint in some red detail on the rear skirt blocks the same way I was able to for the rear thruster, but I ended up being very proud of the clean paintwork on the underside of the feet (the entire thing came stock in red – the middle section along with the ankle joint area were hand-painted Gunmetal).

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The classic Armor Schneider combat knives can’t be stored in the side skirts, but they are included as two individual gray pieces.

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As a High Grade though, I kind of figured it would be a universal rule to sharpen just about every bubbly edge I could find on this kit. The v-fin was a no-brainer, but the knife points were also very well-rounded, so I took to it with some sandpaper and tried getting them to sharpen up.

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It didn’t work out as intended; I ended up sharpening them a bit too much at the tips (to the point where they actually hurt if pressed against my skin) and the bases still look a bit fat because I got too lazy to actually sand the handles down. In short, the ends look too tapered now so they don’t really come off as proper knives anymore. Good thing I won’t be displaying Strike with them.

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Cue obligatory beam rifle/shield combo and big backpack with wings.

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The Aile Pack isn’t remarkable as a Remastered piece, but then it was never a mind-blowing piece of equipment. I’m kind of upset that there are seam lines on the lower boosters that I couldn’t seal up because of the need to paint the pieces separately though.

6/14/16 Update:

P1180064Sooooooo, after recently completing my HG Gundam Barbatos as part of the All Gundam Project, I decided to go back and work on Strike a little bit to bring it up-to-date with my latest work.

P1180063Barbatos required a fair amount of seam-line work, a lot of which was a royal pain in the arse because it involved cementing armor around already-built pieces of the inner frame. Normally I’d only ever remove seam lines on areas that could just be totally painted over after, but I figured after having done it on the Barbatos, I could come back and edit Strike a little with the same techniques.

P1180065I didn’t fill in the seams on the back of the legs initially because it requires masking of the areas around each section. I decided to come back and do it any way now.

P1180086After filling in a bit with putty and cement, I also realized that I totally forgot to paint the mounting section of the Aile Pack gray. For whatever reason I just left it white, so I went back and corrected that to the proper gunmetal.

P1180067Masked the red wings of the Aile Pack thrusters off because they needed to be painted back after seam-filling. This is the sort of simple thing that I was too lazy to do back then, but I decided I wanted my All Gundam Project to all be in line with each other, which means every kit has to look tip-top.

P1180066I also decided to add some metal detail-up parts from a MG Zaku II that’s currently still on the workbench just for kicks. I really didn’t need to do this, but the Aile thrusters looked so dull and the metal bits fit perfectly.

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Well, they fit perfectly for the upper two thrusters at least. The lower large blocks had to have the red vernier covers trimmed to allow the metal bits to fit.

P1180180After all is said and done, the ones on the lower thrusters are barely noticeable, but hey the devil is in the details…

P1180182I actually ended up not being able to completely get rid of the seams as I did on the Barbatos. They’re still barely visible, but it’s enough to me that the effort is clearly there, so I’m satisfied for now. Some of the photos above have also been updated from their older versions to reflect the current changes to the kit.

P1170582The beam rifle and sabers aren’t anything special; the rifle is kinda boring being that it’s supposed to be all gray stock, and the targeting sensor here is really too small to even paint and bring out in color.

P1170571The shield is interesting though – given how recent this kit is, color and part separation can be expected to be significantly better than the older Strike. The original kit came with the shoulders in all white and the torso gray “pillars” molded in blue.

The only part that needed actual color correction here was the white strip on the upper end of the shield. I had a pretty difficult time getting it done at first just because white always sucks to paint on top of red plastic. It seems to be a pretty easy bit to fix by just including one extra piece of white plastic though, so I’m kind of confused as to why Bandai decided to just skimp there.

P1170584The underside of the shield is technically also supposed to sport a bit more gray/gunmetal, but this actually really varies kit to kit. I happened to own the Perfect Grade kit at this time, so I just went ahead and modeled it after that particular version.

Back-heaviness with the Aile Pack tacked on it kind of an issue when the Strike is on the ground, as it’s always been with just about every iteration of this suit. The frame’s rigid balance (helped quite a bit by the paint in this case) help once you get everything in the right position though.

The only parts that are really loose on this kit are the red forehead jewel and the yellow secondary v-fin, which plugs right into the forehead under the former piece. Given how tiny and easily lose-able these pieces are, I just went ahead and glued the entire v-fin assembly in place.

The beam sabers are pretty standard – Strike can of course reach over its shoulder to pull them out, and the nice thing is this new kit doesn’t move like a block (looking at you, OG HG Strike) so it can actually strike (haHA laugh at my puns please) some dynamic moves with a blade.

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So there’s obviously no question that this Remastered version of our classic Strike is a much-needed and welcome addition to the Gunpla world. I’d definitely recommend it as a first kit for a Gunpla beginner (and I’m sure its sister kit the HG Star Build Strike ended up in that position plenty of times thanks to Build Fighter’s wonderful doses of hot-blooded goodness) and anyone looking for an easily customizable High Grade model.

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