Monday, February 06, 2012

Presenting the worst implausible plane ever

Decided to take a break and build stuff that doesn't require me busting out a slide rule and protractor. Picked up a Perfect Grade Strike Rouge and the accompanying Skygrasper. I had finished up watching Gundam Seed Destiny recently. That anime makes a good drinking game if you take a shot per every 5 minutes of re-used footage, and have a death wish. I actually don't care for the Strike Gundam much, but I read it was a very good example of a perfect grade model, and I need more puppets/test subjects.

I liked two things about the entire SEED series. The Moebius Zero, and the Skygrasper. Well, three if you count the pilot for both of these. The Moebius Zero model involves a lot of painting. Anything I paint looks five times worse than if I left it in primer, so that was out. What was left was the PG Skygrasper, which doesn't involve painting. Hooray! I decided to roll with that. And since it comes with a Aile Striker pack, I figured I'd get the Strike Rouge so the pack isn't worthless.

I found myself liking the Skygrasper less after examining how the model was designed, as a vehicle and as a model kit.

Landing Gear
This model does not offer any folding landing gear. There's actually NO space in the fuselage or engines to modify to fit the landing gear in. The space under the cockpit  has room for half the wheel diameters before touching the pilot's feet. If you were dreaming of modding this to have working landing gear, no luck buddy.

The front landing gear actually can't fold in even if wanted to. The canards and the region where I presume hardware exists to control them blocks the region where the wheels would fold into, and there's actually a panel that obstructs the wheels anyways. The panel lines don't even suggest that this panel moves. It has a protective flap to top it off. The front flap's existence is to solely allow you to get a fingernail under the landing gear cover to remove it.

The landing gear has four wheels, two on the front and one on each rear strut. The wheels are molded separately, and are attached by friction pegs. They do not freely spin at all. If this is the case, then why did they put a flat on the wheels? To stop the non-existent movement the wheels have from making the model not slide? Now you have to precisely orient the flat sides of the wheels on the ground, otherwise it looks odd. I guess it's to replicate a loaded tire?

The Main Cannon
Oh boy, do I hate this stupid cannon. How bad can it be, you ask?

This gun is a detriment to the plane in so many ways, it's not even funny. Actually, it is quite funny. First off, it's the size of something that should be mounted to the side of a battleship, and not a plane. Its so large, that if you turn it perpendicular to the fuselage, the profile of the gun would theoretically disrupt airflow to the tail fins and create control issues. The turret can spin around and easily smash the tail fins with the cannon barrel, so the tail fins are doubly worthless.

The best part about this cannon is the elevation. It can change the elevation to aim at targets in a fairly good cone. It's great for tracking targets. Its also great if you had a really bad day and wanted to kill yourself, as it can shoot into the cockpit. And the engines too, if you wanted to go out in a fireball.

I can also presume that the Skygrasper has no ejection seats.  If you consider that ejection involves shooting out the canopy first, you'll also need to eject the turret too, otherwise the seat will collide with the long barrel. Then again, pilot safety is low on a Gundam series' mechanical design department.

The turret is the only outlandish part of the design, and it would have been acceptable if the rest of the plane was designed in an absurd manner. I removed the turret and plan on replacing the hole with some sort of cover or fan or anything that isn't an obnoxiously large gun. I find that the plane looks much better without it. If I was so inclined, I'd cut away the turret ring and make it transition to the front fuselage better.

The Color Scheme
I just don't like the blue. It's too bright and not fitting for a military plane.  So despite my original plan, I decided to paint this. I chose to replace all the blue with "gunship grey" which turned out to be the same as "Bandai plastic grey". Whoops. Still looks better than an elementary student's coloring sheet. I did like the yellow though, so I kept it on the intakes. I would have kept it on the engine/gun pods, but I damaged those with a large fissure, and required painting to hide that.

I've finished my first attempt at painting over the blue, and have removed the turret. I think it looks a lot better.  Just need to detail the cockpit.

Anyways, enough about the plane. The kit comes with three pilot figures, which is weird since the plane is a two-seater. I've also never recalled two people being in one Skygrasper in the series.

Gundam Seed was a bit hazy. I recall the pilot's name for the Skygrasper starting with an "M". I did my best to paint him like I remembered how he appeared in the series. I think I was spot on.
And who can forget the scene where the Skygrasper pilot M-something docks with the experimental Mobile Pants, and riverdances over the enemy forces in a might of Celtic flurry.

I still have quite a bit of work to do on the Skygrasper before I'm happy with it. Once that's done, I'll have the Mobile Pants part to fix up. I think I can see where the next few months are (not) going.

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