Since its first appearance, the Astray Red Frame has always been one of my top favorite Gundam designs. It is stylish, unique, functional in unorthodox ways, and most importantly… it favors wielding a katana (or its pilot does anyway). “Astray” is a fitting name because the series and the Gundam designs itself are so far off (see: better) from the mainstream SEED stuff that it is sometimes hard to believe both are in the same universe.
The original 1/100 Red Frame was held in pretty high regards due to its awesome articulations and poseability, and many people likened it to be on the same level as Master Grade models at the time. Now that there is a real Master Grade of the Red Frame, it is not unreasonable to have high expectations of it since it will certainly surpass the the original much-loved Red Frame. So let’s see…
OUT OF THE BOX
28 runners in total (most are small), decals and clear stickers that looks more like graffiti than anything else, special action base 2 included for Tactical Arms, chrome blades for the you-know-what and crap-colored parts, manual, and clear parts for the crotch area that no one should care about.
Why is the part around the cockpit the only white part on the body? Anyway, Loads of little parts that stack on top of one another until you form something that looks like a body. Due to the way it is assembled, do pray that you don’t have to disassemble it because… it is very hard and it is a long tedious process to remove each little piece part by part. I had to take it apart to tighten the shoulder joints so it doesn’t sag when I lift up the arms.
Assembly was a breeze for the most part but… painting the fingers is not. Separated the fingers into individual digits with my modeling knife before I paint them as it seems to be easier that way.
Oh how much I hated working on this area. The parts, as you can see, are tiny and abundant. Topcoating this part is also a nightmare because it has like over 50 surface areas and slights, indents, gaps, and such here and there that makes it hard to get an even coat. Notice that on each side of the lower leg there is a rectangular peg slot… makes me wonder if Bandai has something planned for the Astray Frames in the future. C’mon MARS JACKET!!!
Nothing much going on here… it is as simple as it looks.
Compared to its 1/100 counterpart, the MG model is a lot sleeker and has more details. Even though the clear part for the forehead comes in a clear green, I painted it anyway because it wasn’t dark enough. The v-fin sits almost kinda loose…
TACTICAL ARMS IIL
Build just like MG Blue Frame’s TA but with some slightly different parts for Red Frame’s own unique forms. All the parts to convert to the Blue Frame’s TA are included though (minus the beam effect parts for it).
Just slap the parts together and get it over with.
GERBERA STRAIGHT/TIGER PIERCE
No explanation needed. This is the main reason why I bought the Red Frame.
For the Gerbera Straight and Tiger Pierce’s handles and scabbards, I decided to pass on Tamiya Gold Leaf and use this Gundam marker instead. The color is like…well, however you see it in this review whereas the Gold Leaf was a bit of a dark bronze and I didn’t think that matched well with the white and red. Do not ask me for the code/paint number of this gold marker because I will not tell you. WARNING: The gold marker’s paint has a magical chipping property though. It is not as resistant as well paint and it grinds off easier. To top it off, I think it also fades quicker too… I had to apply several layers over and over to preserve its luster >_>.
Yeaa… without decals and top coat, it doesn’t really look like much… ^^;
COMPLETED MODEL- SWORD FORM
NOW that’s something. Unless you have the waterslide decals, I say you can pretty much forget about applying most of the markings. Most of the markings are applied through multiple surfaces, across panel lines, and tight spaces so it makes things rather difficult. I just applied the stuff wherever I see fit.
While the TA might be dreadfully heavy, it can support the Red Frame with standing in this form since the tip can touch the ground.
A closer look at the various details throughout the Gundam’s body.
The first of the few admittedly useless (model-wise) forms the TA on its back takes on.
The form looks a bit out of place for my taste so I didn’t bother posing with it. This also makes the model incredibly top AND back heavy… hence the use of my Hasegawa base to keep it standing.
So maybe it can stand by itself for just a bit…
The second form… all you do is fold down the “claws” into a V and change the directions of the “arrows” on the bottom and you’re done!
What I said about the Delta Form applies here as well.
Turn the V Form upside down and you get Flight Form :D. I thought this would be similar to the Blue Frame’s setup but…
I didn’t think it would sit so low… so low that it looks kinda awkward with it. Well, at least the handle on the TA can help the Red Frame stand against all that weight on its rear.
The proper way to display the Gundam in this form is to impale it on its action base or whatever to hold it up.
The above is the ORIGINAL kitbash that I came up with… like a good year before this MG Red Frame was even realized. Bandai took my idea… xD
Now in MG glory.
The original Flight Form…
has also been faithfully reproduced.
RED VS BLUE
Blue is only ever so slightly taller. Process-by-process, step-for-step, these two are just about 100% the exact same model with one obvious difference (Bandai marketing at its greatest). I’ll say it now… do not build these two one after another.
Now we can finally move on to the action…
One thing I wish they include was a palm/effect part for Red Frame’s “Shining Finger” attack.
The Red Frame is truly a Super Robot misplaced inside a Real world.
No… it’s not a beam rifle nor is it a beam saber. It’s a TORCH… a beam torch at that. Flame torches are sooo outdated by this time apparently (and I’m guessing it wouldn’t work in outer space). Leave it to Lowe to have some of the most unconventional conventional weapons(?) at his disposal.
Can’t help but to pose it like a beam rifle though ^^;.
RISING ARROWWW!!! Yet another one of the TA’s many forms and yet another unconventional weapon of Lowe’s because regular beam rifles just aren’t cool enough. When was the last time you saw a Gundam using arrows since Rising Gundam?
Unfortunately, the TA Arrow is a bit too heavy for the hands to hold it in that position, rendering the need to use an action base to prop it up. While it looks really badass, it is very hard to get a good angle from it since it is so big.
Guess Lowe also took a page out of Kyrios’ construction manual. Claw… Crusher… Pincer… whatever you like to call it. Only Lowe would build something that looks this intimidating and relegate it to construction duty.
With your pincer, crush the heavens!!… or something.
TACTICAL ARMS SWAP
Noticed anything different about the TA?
Parts swapped from Blue Frame’s TA for the Gatling mode.Note: the ammo pack is not included with the Red Frame. I supposed there is some merits to owning both Frames…
pewpewpew. It can also form the Sword Arms too but didn’t know where I put the beam effect parts ^^;.
THIS is it! THIS is where the Red Frame shines! THIS is what the Red Frame is about!
Ditch everything else and stick to the basics.
I wish a dedicated hand was included to hold the scabbard just like the 1/100 did. Well, the tip of it can plug into the palm so I guess that works too.
I’ll admit… for some reason, it was kinda hard figuring out how to pose with the GS until I warmed up to it.
Elegant. Efficient. Effective. Effin’ awesome.
Wish the head could tilt up some more in this pose but this is like my favorite shot in this review ^^
This was also the hardest pose to take a good shot of. I had to retake it several times before I was satisfied with the result.
A pose I took from the manual. This is one way to demonstrate Red Frame’s articulation ^^
Posing straight proves to be a little more difficult with that giant thing strapped to its back though.
Oh so shiny…
fingerprints are unavoidable though… unless you wear gloves.
Ha! My setup works better than the rest since it can actually support Red Frame in wide stances! Not to mention it looks better…
The Red Frame looks good in aerial poses too!
PROS AND CONS
- Gorgeous, sleek rendition of a great design; lean and muscular without being anorexic; this model does the Gundam justice.
- wide range of unobstructed motion and articulation; great poseability
- Feels like it has more of a solid stance than the Blue Frame.
- Very versatile Tactical Arms… even if most forms are meaningless for the model.
- Red Frame looks just as great without the Tactical Arms
- Gerbera Straight and Tiger Pierce
- In some situation, the Tactical Arms can actually help with posing.
- No original backpack… though after this review, it’s really no big deal.
- V-fin is fragile and easy to knock off… I almost want to suggest gluing it.
- Topcoating this model was a PITA
- The shoulder joints aren’t as strong as I would like them to be (they sag when the hands are holding a weapon). I had to increase the friction on the joints by letting krazy glue dry on it.
- Tactical Arms is too heavy to be of any viable use; I think this TA is heavier than Blue Frame’s since it has some extra bits… for something of this size, I think that little bit amount of mass counts (Blue already has delicate balancing with his as is).
And there you have it… the long-awaited-for Master Grade Gundam Astray Red Frame Kai. Now I can put away my old 1/100 Red Frame. This model undoubtedly bests its original 1/100 counterpart in every way and the more subjective stuff are up to personal preference. By itself, I think this is a very playable model after completion as it can hold poses extremely well with little to no problem. Not to mention you have quite a unique assortment of armaments to mess around with compared to the standard “beam rifle and saber” setup. Having the Blue Frame can only enhance the play value of Red Frame. What I’m saying is… there shouldn’t be any reason to question whether you should pick this model up or not ^^.
PART 2- DUEL
“Ah man… just where did I put it… At this rate, I’ll never be able to find it!” *beep beep* “hm?”
“SURPRISE BUTTSECKS!! Incoming attack from the rear, Lowe!”
“HA?! No matter how you put it, that sounds kinda wrong, 8!”
“RED FRAME! LOWE GUELE!”
“Today! I will have my revenge!”
“Guess it’s hard to be famous…”
“Guess I have no choice huh… but I want that backpack! Let’s do it, 8!” “ROGER!”
“ATTACK RIDE: SWORD FORM!”
“What power…! Why… someone so little… like you! A Natural!!!”
“Then behold my NATURAL Power!”
“It’s not over yet! I still have THIS!”
“Wait… that can’t be it…that’s the… that’s the… GERBERA CROOKED!”
“Be careful, Lowe! That blade is said to be able to cut even general unsubdued nuclear drive assault modules!
“No time to be worrying about that now! He’s coming!”
*Tosses away the Tactical Arms* “Katana vs katana… GERBERA STRAIGHT!”
“How persistent… TIGER PIERCE!”
“I”ll destroy you with my BARE HANDS!”
“But… you don’t have any hands left… Whatever. 8! Recall the Tactical Arms!”
“FINAL FORM RIDE: A-A-A-ASTRAY!”
“UGH! LET GO!”
“Let’s finish this! 8! Route all the battery’s energy to the right foot! I want to try something new…”
“That’s dangerous, Lowe! The Red Frame’s leg might get destro–”
“8! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?! I AM LOWE THE JUNKER! WALKING THE PATH OF—”
“Alright! Don’t blame me if we end up in the junkyard!” “Don’t interrupt my speech!”
“FULL CHARGE! NOW, LOWE!” “LET’S DO IT!” “FINAL ATTACK RIDE: A-A-A-ASTRAY!”
“… Will you cut that out?”
“What are you doing?!” “HISSATSU! ORE NO HISSATSU WAZA!”
“You really overdid it this time…”
“This is how the Junk Guild rolls…”
“Lowe… we’re out of power”
“… … oh crap ^^;”
*FEW HOURS LATER*