I'm here again with another review of a kit I recently built. I spent a good amount of time building this while I was off of work with the ridiculous snowstorm in the Northeast. Thanks Juno!
Today I have for you, the Master Grade Aegis Gundam from the Gundam SEED series. Gundam SEED was really what got me back into the Gundam franchise back in the mid 2000s, when I was but a teenager renting Netflix DVDs. I watched the series in its entirety and was captivated by the mobile suit designs. I played the video games, and bought the MSIA action figures too.
As you might already know, I love transforming suits. The GAT-X303 Aegis is a transforming mobile suit, but it is unorthodox in design. The odd transformation gimmick in this suit provides for some interesting issues and also positives for this kit that we will talk about shortly.
As per most of my MG reviews, we won't go into the specifics in the parts, however there are runners A-J with the A runner being multi-colored, with some transparent parts. There is one B runner molded in a light red, 2 C runners which make up most of the armor pieces, a D runner with pieces for the manipulators (which I also believe contains parts from the Strike, so I'll hold on to it for now). There are 2 E runners which contain dark blue pieces for the waist skirt and the feet/arm, an F runner which holds pieces for the beam rifle, a G runner which contains frame pieces for the waist, 2 H runners which contain inner frame pieces for the arms and legs, 2 I runners for the beam sabers, and 2 J runners for the waist binder armor. Finally there is a polycap runner.
The Aegis is a moderately tall mobile suit, which stands at 18.86 meters. Compare this to the Sword Impulse which stands at 19.37 meters, and the Astray Red Frame Kai which stands at 18.00
However, with the protruding shoulder armor, and the waist binders, the Aegis seems much bulkier of a kit than the other two. Standing straight up, it would be right in the middle of the Impulse and the Astray in head height.
Weapons and Manipulators
This kit comes with some interesting manipulators for a Master Grade. It basically gives you parts to build the palm with the separate movable thumb. This palm has a slot that you can interchange finger parts for various play options. It has 2 trigger fingers specially designed to hold its beam rifle, where the tab under the fingers slots into the rifle's handle. It has 2 holding hands, which can hold the shield. It also has 2 open hands just for posing. This kit does not come with the typical Master Grade manipulator with the movable trigger finger and thumb.
This kit comes with 1 anti-beam shield, 4 beam saber effect pieces which can attach to the arms and feet, and a high energy beam rifle.
Because of the transformation gimmick, this kit actually can bend and articulate its limbs in some ridiculous ways. I'm pretty sure if you moved it around enough, you can get a full split. Be careful however. With the myriad of moving parts, you can easily break, or unhinge some sections.
As you can see, with a little bit of fiddling around, you can get good bends on the arms and legs. However, you have to move the binders and the front skirts out of the way of the legs.
Color and Quality
This kit is a beaut. Unfortunately, the color it comes molded in leaves a little to be desired. Its a lighter red than I would have liked, as I really grew to love the deeper red from the anime. Besides that, the color separation is pretty good. There are parts where the grey and dark blue pop out from the red. The white blades and sharp edges really add to it as well. The kit only requires 5 metallic blue seals for the head camera lenses, and the beam rifle, and 1 seal for the eyes. The dry transfers are a must, as the kit tends to look very bland without any decals...
To talk about the quality, I want to address some aspects of the transformation gimmick that takes away from this kit. The main torso is actually separated into many moving sections. As you can see, the chest is actually comprised of an elongated arm section that pops into a mechanism that is very similar to a waist section. The head and collar section, which has to move out of the way to transform, is only held down by the front chest section, which hooks into it. As you can see, the cockpit section also refuses to stay down.
Also with the many moving parts, the ankles are actually two ball joints plugged into each other. This causes some issues with weak ankle joints. The folding mechanism in the feet is also fragile. I almost snapped it while putting it together. The front skirt actually separates and folds down so you can transform it. This part pops off from the waist mechanism all the time.
Pros and Cons
You've heard it before and I'll say it again. I love unique kits. More so, I love kits that have been a part of my Gundam history. Not only is this one of my favorite nemesis kits, but its in my favorite color, red! I've heard some bad things about this kit, but most of it is fairly sturdy. The sharp edges, combine with the color and unique design really makes me love this kit. I love the weapons it comes with, and also the fact that it has 4 beam sabers which protrude from its limbs for flailing close combat goodness.
However, it suffers from some issues, especially with the design of the transformation. I've heard there were a lot of moving parts which creates problems for how sturdy the kit is, and just some nuisances of parts popping off and what not. These are true, but in general, they're not as bad as I originally thought. The biggest issue I have is that with so many moving parts, you risk breaking some fragile areas, and also risk popping off some parts when you extend them past a certain point. Areas that suffer from this are the shoulder armor, the waist, and the knee armor.
I decided to give the transformation a shot, just to show you all what it looks like. Its pretty interesting, if you remember the anime. It becomes sort of this claw machine which has an energy cannon in the center. Honestly, this must be a pain to pilot, with the spinning, grabbing, and transforming. In general, the transformation was a pain and I probably won't be doing it again... unless its to recreate an iconic scene from a certain battle in the anime. For a mobile suit with a namesake of a shield, this looks more like a spear... interesting...
This kit is a pretty whopping $50+ from Amazon. However, I got this as a Christmas gift from my sister. I really really really like its design, however, I would rather it hold the price tag of the other GAT-X series of nemesis mobile suits, and the Aile Strike which tops off at around $45.
Its build was very complex and unique. Compared to your typical Master Grade, this guy will give you a new perspective on the build. I haven't built any kits like it, and where there is usually some sense of familiarity in sections of Master Grades, be it the torso, the arms or legs, or the shoulders, this kit had none of it. Even the head had a unique build, all because this kit transforms. Should you get it? I would say yes. This kit looks great, and the build is so different. If you really enjoy the process of building, this will give you a unique build, with none other really like it.
So with my birthday and Christmas, I actually obtained the final two kits of Athrun Zala's mobile suits. Truth be told, I always liked Athrun more than Kira. Now I have the MG Infinte Justice, MG Aegis, and HG Saviour all built. I have the RG Justice in my backlog, and once I finish it, I will have my Athrun Zala collection.
The other thing I really wanted to do, was have the opposing rivals. Thankfully I had the MG Aile Strike in my backlog from before. I will probably build this guy next. I was going to today, but I ended up not having any time to even start.
Until next time!