(Here is is, Jeff. Yes, it’s taken me too long to review this kit, but I was busy with other things. I also knew that the review would be an undertaking in and of itself. I took over 100 pictures for this!)
It feels like it’s been some time since I built a SEED kit and other than the HG and PG versions of the Strike Freedom I messed around with the last SEED kit I built was the MG Sword Impulse. And it was awesome! This year being the 10th anniversary of SEED Bandai has promised us some MG SEED action and the first one out was the Duel Gundam Assault Shroud. I have my reservations about how close it will come to the greatness of the Sword Impulse but it looked promising when the first shots were released. The big boost to this kit’s appeal is that Assault Shroud.
How does it stack up?
Overall Look: without Assault Shroud = 9/10 with Assault Shroud = 9/10 Average = 9/10
I really like the look of the Duel Gundam with or without the Assault Shroud. I am kind of leaning towards liking it more without the Shroud but in both iterations it’s an impressive spectacle. The proportions are fantastic, especially naked, and it shares the design elements that I like from all SEED suits. It also has one of the sexiest backpacks I have seen.
And the Assault Shroud’s backpack additions are sexy as well.
My only real gripe about the look of the suit without the Assault Shroud on is those small blue parts on the shoulders.
I’ll gripe a bit more about this later in the review.
Colors: without Assault Shroud = 10/10 with Assault Shroud = 9/10 Average = 9.5/10
Love the color scheme of the Duel Gundam. It’s subtle, a little dark, and somewhat menacing. Not a drop of white anywhere on this kit and it looks fantastic for it. I’m a little torn on the Assault Shroud’s color scheme, though. By itself I don’t know if I like the lighter blue color and the orange really stands out, maybe even too much (and this is coming from a guy whose favorite color is orange), but when you combine colors of the Assault Shroud with those of the Duel Gundam everything works.
You get a lot of stuff in here. A shield, two beam sabers, a rifle, a bazooka and another weapon that mounts on the Assault Shroud. The Assault Shroud version of the Duel really lives up to its name. but…
Articulation: without Assault Shroud = 8.5/10 with Assault Shroud = 7.5/10 Average = 8/10
The legs are awesome!
Down there this kit moves well though the side hip armor can hinder it somewhat.
Luckily the movement is the same with the Assault Shroud parts on so you can still play with it quite a bit, it’s just a bit heavier up top and can tend to fall over. Bandai has even designed the armor at the bottom of the Shroud to move a little allowing more play with the feet.
Probably the only issue I have with the articulation of the kit is in the shoulders. With that previously mentioned blue piece there the upwards movement of the arm is hindered.
Trying to get that straight-arm, rifle-pointing look can be difficult.
In order to raise the arm more I had to lift the frame shoulder part up and then tilt the blue piece back. I think I will have to do something about that.
You also shouldn’t expect much movement of the head once the Assault Shroud is on.
But don’t worry. You can get some sexy poses out of this thing.
Build Design: Duel Gundam = 8/10 Assault Shroud = 7/10 Average = 7.5
Let’s start with the Duel Gundam alone and start with the good stuff. The build of the suit is solid and everything you would expect from an MG. You’ve got some cool gimmicks such as the openable hatch.
And also the way the knee armor/joint moves is cool.
And the simple foot design allows for some great, floor-hugging ankle articulation.
I do have an issue with some of the shoulder armor, however. While playing with the arms the shoulder armor had a tendency to pop off quite easily.
The design of the Shroud is pretty cool, too. It also features a hatch that opens.
And you’ve got those movable thrusters.
The Shroud attaches quite easily for the most part. The front leg section is held on when the side section is put in place.
Though you do want to be careful here, and handle the kit by the upper par to the legs because these parts can come off quite easily.
The chest portion of the Shroud fits into a couple grooves on the chest and stays there nice and snug.
The two parts for the upper torso that are applied next also slide on really well accompanied by a satisfied clicking sound.
And the shoulder sections easily slide on from either side of the shoulder.
And the shoulder mounted weapon has a bit of movement of its own.
The shoulder missile hatch closes quite firmly to avoid falling open.
It can mean however, that you will have difficulty opening it. I had to slide the edge of my Hobby Knife in there.
The arms Shroud parts are also no problem. All you need to do is remove the hand to get the bottom part in place.
And the top and bottom backpack Shroud parts are a piece of cake to attach and have them stay there.
Then you get to these.
The skirt Assault Shroud parts. Yikes.
The idea is that the small protrusions on the underside of the Shroud seen here.
Will fit into the hollows found on the skirt frame parts as seen here.
(I feel like Dalong. heh)
Ya, right. The rear Shroud actually fits on alright, thankfully, but this is due to the fact that the rear skirt armor is one solid piece.
The front is a completely different story. The grooves in the front skirt armor into which the protrusions are supposed to fit are on two independently moving pieces which means lining them up when trying to attach the Shroud.
These pieces being very small are mighty hard to hold in place and are a source of a great deal of frustration. Many modelers are coming up with ingenious solutions to this problem such as using blu-tac and even magnets, but shouldn’t this work as intended right out of the box?
I was able to get the front Shroud section attached for these photos but laying the kit down face up on the table, strongly inserting one side of the Shroud and then proceeding to hold that part in place while using my other hand to push in the opposite side. Fortunately it stayed but it did mean I was very hesitant to test the limits of the Assault Shrouded Duel’s articulation.
Now let’s talk about the weapons.
The Duel Gundam, like most recent Master Grade kits, uses swappable finger parts for the hands. Everyone knows how I feel about these. With the exception of the new Gundam AGE MGs this hands suck and on the Duel Gundam they suck even more. For instance, the part that is used to hold the rifle doesn’t even fit properly into the groove made for it on the rifle’s handle.
I had to use my side cutters to remove a small edge of the plastic and even after that it was hard to get it to get in.
The reverse of that is the Bazooka. It uses the same design however the hand doesn’t secure strongly to the Bazooka and always falls out.
The only way to get the kit to pose with the bazooka is to have the bazooka resting on the shoulder of the Duel so that no weight at all is on the hands.
Of course this means that posing Duel Gundam with his coolest weapon will be more difficult than it needs to be.
Luckily the shield attaches very easily to the back of the arms and is held quite firmly.
You can also have the Duel gripping the shield handle or not by changing the bottom piece around.
The issues with attaching some of the Assault Shroud and weapons might seem minor, but they add up.
Fun Factor: without Assault Shroud = 9/10 with Assault Shroud = 7/10 Average = 8/10
Assembling the Duel Gundam is a lot of fun even if you’re not a fan of SEED kits and the Assault Shroud portion of the build is also fun until you get to attaching it to the suit where you will find a lot of frustration thanks to the skirt armor and the occasional failure of the leg parts. That said, it’s still a quality Master Grade kit but it could have been better.
Plenty of stickers and plenty of dry transfers means you’ll be able to spend quite a bit of time detailing the Duel Gundam as you see fit. You do get many extra hand parts but in this case it’s almost more of a detriment. I would have liked to see a separate unique front armor piece that comes into play when attaching the skirt armor. Part swapping just the one piece would have eliminated all of the frustration with that part of the assembly and allowed people to enjoy playing with their Duel Gundam Assault Shroud that much more.
There’s a lot to like about this kit and it’s recommended for SEED fans and MG Die-hards. Just be wary of the little issues you will encounter and be prepared.