Real Grade Aile Strike Gundam Review

By Loran

When Real Grade started out with the original RX-78 Gundam I was… kind of upset, really. It was less than a year after we got the 30th Anniversary High Grade Gundam. It just felt a little premature to be giving us “the ultimate kit” so soon after that. Time went on and I grew a bit more interested in the whole Real Grade concept. After all, everything great about Master Grade, High Grade, and Perfect Grade in one package sure did sound pretty cool! Actually getting one for free at Otakon meant I could finally take a look at this new concept, even if it was on a SEED suit. ;)

The Strike Gundam is the third mold in the Real Grade series. I find it odd that they went for this so soon after the Gundam and Zaku—I was really expecting something like the Zeta Gundam or Nu Gundam, but whatever. I will say that the Strike did need a new 1/144 kit as the old High Grade was… lacking a bit. I personally wanted an updated kit based on the Strike Noir’s frame, but this is much better than that would’ve been!

Though to get things started off I wanna get the one major flaw out of the way: the head. It’s REALLY loose. I can fix that with a bit of clear nail polish, but man, it flops around with even the slightest touch. It does have clear eyes, however, and with the yellow behind them, all you’ll need to paint is the black.

The torso has some SERIOUS articulation, much better than the typical “I can turn side to side!” fare we get on most 1/144s. It can tilt! The cockpit also opens with a bit of effort, but sadly there isn’t a pilot in there.

The arms have excellent movement in all directions, it’s great. Even the bar at the top can come up. What I like the most is what happens when you pose the forearms—the armor plating actually moves with it! Maaan, I am NOT looking forward to painting that.

Each part of the skirt armor is on a ball joint, and yes, that’s front and back. It’s nice to see that much articulation—usually kits at this scale can’t pull of running poses all that well. The hips even contain the little armor-schneider knives! The knives are pretty damn detailed, too.

The legs have the same kind of articulation as the arms, with the same sliding plates on the thighs. The first time I moved the arms I seriously thought something wasn’t in place and I was breaking it! The feet are pretty complex, too, and allow for great posing with the “toes”.

I’m surprised the kit actually came in the two-tone white/gray color scheme. I thought it was going to be something you’d have to paint. This makes painting a lot easier, too. If you’re not a painter, well, pretty much everything is already colored, except for those crazy silver and copper details, which come as stickers.

However, I do have some issues with the accessories on this kit.

Only two hands are offered, closed fists and open hands for the accessories. The fists are at kind of an odd angle and the accessory hands are, well, as frustrating as they always are. No open-palm hands, sadly.

One of the most frustrating accessories is the beam rifle. It’s nicely detailed, yes, but the tab designed for the slot in the hand is VERY annoying. Getting it to stay out then go into the hand can take forever.

The shield is nice and beefy. No complaints there, and I love the latching system.

A small figure of Kira Yamato is included, and judging by the way it was attached to that runner, we’ll probably see a Strike Rouge at some point with Cagalli in his place. I approve.

A small adaptor is included for an action base, though I can’t show this in use because none of mine are compatible (mine are made for 1/100 kits).

The Aile Striker can be kind of a pain. For one, it’s quite heavy, and the new leg style can have a hard time supporting it. Also, the top tends to fall off pretty easily. The large, dynamic wings are a huge improvement over the dinky wings of the High Grade.

Okay, you know how I always complain about kits never coming with beam saber blades? This one doesn’t have that problem, but rather, a DIFFERENT saber-related problem. Two styles of saber are included, one for holding and one for the backpack. Problem is, you only get the bottom of the hilt for each style. You only get one set of parts for holding the blade! Taking these off and putting them back on is a pain, too.

Now despite all my gripes with the accessories, I do really like the Real Grade Strike Gundam as a kit. Some of my problems with the Aile Striker will probably be alleviated once I glue and paint the kit, but I can’t think of any way for the rifle to stop being annoying. Still, the kit comes highly recommended as it’s a VERY fun build, and I recommend it to SEED fans and general Gunpla fans alike. Come into FPNYC and grab yours today!

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