While all the rest of you were out enjoying yourselves with NYCC, I was at a friend’s house staying up until 5AM playing Gundam SEED Destiny: Alliance vs ZAFT II Plus (geez, what a mouthful) at my friend’s house. Despite the subject matter, it’s a great game and it’s tons of fun. Well, I don’t know what exactly it was, but something just seemed to spark my interest in kit building again. Too bad all I want to do is from SEED now. Oh well.
But enough of that. Let’s talk about some goddamn Gunpla.
One of the few “innovations” That I’ll actually give the SEED franchise credit for had to be the swappable weapon packs for some of the units. It hadn’t really been done before-usually it would be something simple like a new gun, or a completely different unit altogether. Regardless, it got us to buy even more kits and feed the Bandai war machine. The first mobile suit in the series to get this treatment was the Strike Gundam, the hero’s mech of the first series. I like the Strike, honestly, and the additional weapon packs made it much cooler in my eyes.
Unfortunately, the High Grade kit only came with the Aile Pack, the one most commonly used by the suit. In order to get the Launcher and Sword packs, you’d have to buy the ugly, unposeable “No Grade” kits. They’re cheap enough, but man it feels wasteful just chucking out the extra Strike or using it as a paint guinea pig…
First up is the launcher pack. As you can see, I don’t have it equipped to the Strike Gundam-instead, I have it on a 105 Dagger. Yes, all of the Strike packs are fully compatible with any variant of the Strike and the 105 Dagger, which allows for some really fun “mix and match” potential.
Now, the major issue with these two packs is the shoulder piece. If you glue and paint your kits, once that part is on, it’s on-you’re not getting it off. If you want your Strike to have all the packs and you want them to look good, well, either get a second set of arms, or buy two extra Strikes. The Launcher pack fits into the little “handlebars” on the shoulder armor. It fits in pretty snugly with no modification needed. If I remember correctly, there’s a bit of excess plastic on the fins that needs to be sanded off to look fully accurate.
Of course the highlight of this pack is the nasty launcher itself. It plugs into the backpack and extends out on these weird hinges. It comes out under the left armpit and is held by the left hand. A second handle pops out for the right hand to use, but getting it to look right is kind of tricky, especially on the Dagger (the beam saber gets in the way). But hey, it’s a pretty cool pack, and I really want to get a few more of these.
Next and last for now is the Sword Pack. Again, this was only available with a no grade kit, and here I have it temporarily equipped to by Strike Noir (I might actually do something with this but I’m not sure what yet).
This one comes in more parts than the Launcher pack. The backpack and the larger weapon are both separate this time, with the backpack only needed for storage. The sword is big and nasty-like a potato peeler on crack. Unfortunately there’s no way to remove the larger beam so it’s constantly in the “on” position. Like the other packs, you’ll need to cut off some excess plastic on the blade to make it nice and pointy.
The shoulder armor is a bit different from the launcher pack. This time, you have to remove the base kit’s shoulder armor completely to put it on. Also, there are six little pegs that have to be cut down in order for it to fit properly on the high grade kit. The armor’s big and… kind of pointless, until you pull out the weird handle thing-it’s a beam boomerang! What an awesome weapon, and probably one of the best concepts SEED had.
There’s also one last weapon with this pack-this weird grappling-shield thing. It’s pretty cool, with “open” and “closed” claws, but there’s no wire to attach the claw to and make it look like as though it’s extending. Also, I don’t keep it equipped on my Noir because there isn’t any place for it to fit on it. Oh well. And as you’ve probably noticed, the paint on my sword pack and Strike Noir are both pretty awful-I need to get to redoing them sometime soon…
Overall, these two packs are great buys and they can be found pretty cheap. Keep checking the shelves for them, because trust me, they really make owning any High Grade Strike a lot more fun. And hey, think of it this way-pay for the packs and get extra kits for free!