Well everyone, here we are at the conclusion of what has easily been the longest going project I’ve had bar none. I started this on February 23rd and it’s finally done after six long months of work. It’s the first PG kit I’ve really done serious hardcore work on, the second kit I can actually call finished with my airbrush (as ReZEL is not done yet, just very close. The rifle still isn’t done and some areas are in dire need of a touch up), and easily one of the biggest things I’ve undertaken in awhile. Aside from being a massive undertaking, this kit also is special in regards that it was the first group build with Gaijin Gunpla, Busterbeam and ASM since our Sinanju GB way back in the day.
The kit itself isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. Katoki did a great job with his tweaks to this mobile suit and I think that played a very large part in swaying me to get it despite it’s giant price tag and the price of EMS shipping (thanks goes to HobbyLink Japan for having a “save 50%” promotion when Strike Freedom first came out). Strike Freedom doesn’t suffer from some problems like the PG Astray Red Frame’s annoyingly limited ankle articulation or PG Wing Zero’s perceived flimsyness (at least, the kit does not feel nearly as solid as the newer PGs I own; this is somewhat to be expected though due to the Wing Zero’s age) but it’s certainly not without it’s own flaws which are mostly centered solely on the absolutely massive wings that it’s packing.
They’re simply too damn huge for the way they designed it and there’s not really much anyone can do about it but deal with it or get creative with how you have the two halves of each wing put together. The only other thing I’m not really a huge fan of on this kit is the somewhat limited neck articulation and the stand which limits the posing for this behemoth to mostly neutral poses since it attaches to the backpack and makes the torso unable to move at all. Otherwise, the size and detail of this kit along with some of the pretty neat gimmicks it includes (like the open wings) certainly make it ‘worthy’ of the PG name if there is such a thing and that’s coming from someone who’s only seen about 19 episodes of Gundam SEED and absolutely none of SEED Destiny. I should note though, that tightening the sections on the wings where the two sides came together provided a lot of added stability as well as the ability to pose them up like in the promo shots. That said, the wings in general were the most frustrating part of this build for me due to a lot of problems and in generally feeling like I was fighting with them every step of the way while posing them. The engineering in the is cool, but god damn is it picky.
The paintjob on this was inspired by the Hi-Nu (not ANA, as it’s so often assumed) though with a much more shiny end result. The process of applying Alclad II chrome to so much of the kit was really a daunting thing and also most assuredly what caused this thing to take so long to finish. Coating the areas I needed to with gloss black and then a day later Alclad II chrome took long enough but doing those two steps plus adding clear blue over it made an already lengthy process even longer. Add that in to the frustrations I’ve had with bits of fuzz or other foreign materials stuck to the surface of the kit and you have a real fiasco on your hands. The end result is totally worth it though even if I don’t plan on going this particular route (next time I think I’ll use spray cans for the clear color coat instead of my airbrush to reduce mishaps) again any time soon. It’s just too much work to do even this much of a model like this but then again maybe it’s just because of the sheer size of the kit that it burned me out on chroming things so quickly. There’s a Quebeley in the basement awaiting a treatment like this but god only knows when I’ll feel like tackling this kind of task again. For those who haven’t been with us since the start, here’s a list of the paints used. This is one of the most common questions I get about Pride so I’ll be sure everyone sees it here:
- Alclad II gloss black base
- Alclad II Chrome
- Mr. Hobby Clear Blue
- Mr. Hobby White
The candy blue that is comparable to Bandai’s chromed/ANA’s blue was achieved by coating the shoulders/knees/ect with Alclad II chrome and then with a few coats of Mr. Hobby clear blue. Again, this was a giant hassle on something so large but the end results speak for themselves.
The decals are from Samuel Decal and the default sticker sheet that comes with the kit…I have mixed feelings about the Samuel Decals. They look very, very cool. That much is absolutely certain. However, I’ve had silvering problems with them even after gloss coating (that’s why the markings that were previously on the shoulders are absent now), which is a real downer and irritates me, but at this point it’s a very minor flaw that is only present on the wings when they are inspected up close. I don’t think I’ll be going that route for decals again in the future, instead just going with default sets or making due without.
Like Sinanju, there are a few things I learned while working on this that will definitely be indispensable when working on other kits in the future. Wetsanding is the number one thing I’ve finally picked up on, having never bothered to do it before now. If I had gotten the gist of it sooner it’s a very safe bet that this would have been finished way before now as it makes re-doing certain areas that have an imperfection or two a million billion times easier AT LEAST. The wing armor is the chief candidate for this, as I had to get a bunch of replacement parts during the course of this project care of Gaijin Gunpla who’s own PG SF is turning out as something insanely inspirational. As always, big ups to the masking master.
The other big thing I started doing (which has crept in to a few of my other works and will no doubt be utilized in the future) is the useage of custom LEDs. While I originally used some LED units from a local radio shack and some 22 gauge wire, Zeta Newtype (head of the GAF blog) hooked me up with this little number of a website and I took to it like a fish to water and you can bet that I’ll be using them for any project that calls for an LED in the future.
The other members of the Four Blogger’s circle have been quiet about their plans with the PG SF, though if one browses through the GAF thread you can see busterbeam has taken some steps and has carved off a few sizeable chunks of plastic from his own PG SF and has been really grinding it out over the last two weeks. Rob’s hint “We’re going Digital” makes me expect to see some exciting stuff on the horizon when he is able to work on gunpla again (A bouncing baby boy tends to take away from model building time and with good reason). Lastly of course is Gaijin Gunpla, who like myself is done with his kit but he’s going the extra mile and making a little diorama base for it which is turning out incredibly excellent. Of course they’re not the only people who are still taking part in the Gauntlet GB, other GAF members like Shiad, kman and a few others are also using this GB as a means to power through the rest of their PG SF builds and they’re also really turning out some stellar stuff that you can take a look at in the thread here. Best of luck to everyone who still has stuff left to go, it’s really getting down to the wire!
You can see PG SF in all of his irresponsibly large glory here.