Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1/100 SA-16 Stylet Review

Another flawed yet promising Kotobukiya's lineup.

This kit belong to recent Kotobukiya's lineup known as Frame Arms which was rolled out One and half year ago. This lineup is the original idea from Kotobukiya unlike most of their kits which are based on mecha series other than Gundam. The internal frame is a great step up for Kotobukiya to improvise their Kit's articulation though the internal frame is not perfect yet. As for this kit itself it has a great design though had some issues as well which prevent this kit to be popular yet.

At first glance when i saw the design my first impression of this mecha is that it serve as Middle ranged aerial units which happen to be pretty much correct in the manga. Kotobukiya did made some short manga to provide the background of the mecha which proven to be a good choice. I willpost at the end of this review.

It took me 3 days to work on this kit, assembling the kit is really easy considering the parts are quite less for this kind of kit. The real challenge is painting this kit which really prevent this model for beginner since you need plenty amount of paint in order to look good and worse is that the masking process for this kit is rather tedious as well considering the parts come in big pieces where the unpainted section is a small fraction of the part. Biggest mess that i did during building the kit is that i mask the torso part pretty poorly which result in the white paint smudge over the torso and i had to "clean up" abit that result in picture above.

The internal frame came built already when you bought the kit and for your interest the internal frame are hand-built which is not a good idea for plastic models. You will see noticeable amount of nubs(not in this pic) in the internal frame due to save cost for labors. Some of the parts are quite loose which you need to apply some glue to keep them firm. As for articulation in theory the model should have great articulation however the articulation is still pretty limited due to the armors. I would say Kotobukiya need to release the Version 2.0 of the internal frame though i doubt it will happen any soon.

This kit comes with 2 weapons, the gatling gun and 2 missiles mounted on the left arm and no melee weapon. In my opinion Gatling guns is not suitable for aerial units since it doesn't really represent an aerial unit characteristic which is agile and accurate. Machine gun or Rifle would suit better as the main armament for this model. As for the missile probably they are used to take down larger targets such as enemy vessels or command base.

I would say Kotobukiya is intentionally making the Frame arms kit rather incomplete in weapons since Builders are suggested to get their Modelling support goods in particular the Weapon Unit. There are plenty of weapon to customize the kit and i am planning to get some of those for customizing my frame arms kit and probably will post the review as well.

Frame Arms lineup has 2 distinct mecha design, the first one are Stylet models which are Aerial Units and the second is started from Gourai which is shown on the picture above. Gourai served as Land units which are solid in Offense and Defense while rather look pretty Blocky. Kotobukiya intentionally create the disitinction since in the Frame Arms world basically there are 2 major nations and each of them use Stylet and Gourai respectively and fight with each other. The main protagonist of the series apparently use Gourai type of mecha which means Stylet are the bad guys in the perspective of manga. However i still prefer Stylet over Gourai since i favor sleek design over the blocky one.

Frame Arms lineup have quite a potential of being successful. Perhaps some of the design is still not promising yet considering it is relatively new but give it 6 more months or 1 year and perhaps it will show its true quality. Kotobukiya still need to fix this lineup to be more competitive with Bandai's or other Mecha manufacturer. Probably the best solution is to make the kit more friendly to the beginners.

Here is the link for the manga though it is in Japanese


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